Bergamot and rose in the opening mix with a jasmine note that soon merges into a mildly peppery incense that is softened by a non-sweet cinnamon. Nice. The woodsy drydown, however, is dull on my skin, and the vanilla-dominated base a bit generic to me. I get very soft sillage, limited projection and four hours of longevity. Overall disappointing; 2.5/5
A joyous rose – gossamer like a fairy’s wing, I feel a wash of pale pink descend. The citrus in the opening is so juicy and yet with something of a lollipop quality, it set my salivary glands working: if there had been a ‘pause’ button to preserve its magic, my finger would have been on it. A green note (galbanum’s in the note list, but its characteristic bitterness is not evident here) to pay the rose gentle compliments and whisper reassurance, and the magic is complete.
The spices are low in the mix and I for one don’t miss them. No idea why they called it Black Jade, maybe Open Air Rose didn’t have quite the same ring.
The deep drydown waves an olfactory chiffon scarf – you know, powders, balsam, tres chic in the classic French style of, say, a house like Divine.
This is a complex French perfume. It has a fresh top-note of galbanum and bergamot that quickly morphs into a spicy pepper and cardamom rose, and then the jasmine and incense emerge in a supporting role to the rose over a well balanced base of patchouli, tonka and amber. As the perfume evolves it can, in summer, develop and almost cumin note, probably a result of the patchouli and tonka. I like it better in winter, because the progression unfolds on me better. This fragrance develops over time, it is not linear, and is a complex and sexy modern floral oriental. It took me a while to get used to it, and initially I thought I liked but didn't love it. However I reach for this time and time again to smell the progression of notes, and it has a very sexual but simultaneously serene, powdery aura. It works for day and also for night. It's a big thumbs up.
Ignoring the Marie Antoinette back story that everyone seemed so up in arms about and concentrating just on the quality of the fragrance, I love this! Upon smelling, I was immediately taken back to the now discontinued Libertine by Vivienne Westwood, also a green chypre, but make no mistake, this is far more refined. Beautifully blended, it has none of Libertine's somewhat shrill opening. It is smooth from start to finish. I consider this to be Libertine in its 40's, gone is the rebellion of youth, the middle finger is delicately clasped, the lady has emerged elegant, noble, smelling great and far cleverer at hiding her disdain for convention.
Having read many reviews focusing on the back story and stating that it isn't possible that a fragrance like this would exist in Marie-Antoinette's time, I find it odd that Libertine was supposed to be an olfactory expression of the socialite 'Libertines' of the 17th century and the two ended up smelling so similar. Anyway, I digress.
Worthy of its price tag. Find it, try it, buy it!
20th September, 2012 (last edited: 05th October, 2012)
Bought a sample last winter from aedes-very alluring scent. Definite head turner. Tried it lately-definitely for cooler weather. Recently found a great deal on a bottle and purchase, and looking forward to wearing this fall and winter