I've been wearing a rhubarb perfume lately in a desperate effort to bring on spring. Since it's 18 degrees outside you can imagine my level of success. But it's still worth talking about Devil In Disguise from Mark Buxton Perfumes. It's an interesting one and kind of subversive, despite its rhubarbiness and mostly lack of devil, disguised or not.
I didn't like the opening of Devil In Disguise the first few times I tried it on. The top notes create a synthetic, plastic, department store impression. I was actually reminded of the time a spatula dislodged inside the working dishwasher and fell on the heating element, slowly releasing burnt plastic fumes mixed with detergent. But spending more time with Devil In Disguise has revealed that there's quite a bit more hidden under the sweet rhubarb and burnt kitchen utensils. Perfumer Mark Buxton has done a lot of work both in the mainstream market as well as for edgier brands (mostly Comme des Garcons, but also Le Labo and Biehl Parfumkunstwerke. See the list of his creations on NST). It seems that in his Devil, Mr Buxton shows us what it takes to go go from an almost typical fruity-floral to a "niche" creation: burn the fruit and the plastic wrap it came with.
As Devil In Disguise develops on skin there's less artificial sweeteners and more air, sweet and open. There's also a leafy green freshness, like the a bunch of stuff you're about to shove into your juicer to make a green smoothie. The fire in the core and base of Devil comes from the vetiver, and I have to say that this is the most fun vetiver note I've smelled in a while. It's lighter and sweeter than your average grassy vetiver, and not quite as earthy despite the clear presence of patchouli in this juice. I like the latter part of the dry-down. It's darker and lived-in, without losing the charm. I only wish it lasted longer than the 4-5 hours I get from it.
Notes: rhubarb leaves, ginger, magnolia, neroli, patchouli, vetiver, musk.
Mark Buxton Perfumes- Devil In Disguise ($195, 100 ml EDP) is available from BeautyHabit and directly from markbuxton.com. This review is based on a PR sample.
Archibald A. McGlashan- Still Life With Rhubarb
Dominique Silberstein- promotional photo for Mark Buxton Perfumes