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Coal, Or A Lump of Coal?...
Coal opens with a gin-like juniper berry and very subtle pink pepper tandem, as a sweet near sugary accord permeates the composition early. As it reaches the early heart the juniper berry disappears, leaving the pink pepper and slightly diminished sweetness to meld with a strong slightly synthetic papyrus and dark coal-like woody accord with hints of rough leather rising from the base. As the fragrance transitions to the late dry-down the woods and leather never quite recede as they now support newly uncovered patchouli that steals the starring role with the earlier underlying sweetness now all but extinct. Projection is below average and longevity is average at 7-9 hours on skin.
Coal has an amazing list of published notes that I expected to love based on my similar preferences. What I did *not* expect was the rather significant sweetness that hits you right from the open, lasting well into the heart phase of the fragrance's development. What I also did not expect (or desire) were the tell-tale traces of synthetics used to approximate the papyrus and coal woody heart accord... My guess is it is my nemesis norlimbanol as the culprit. That said, the synthetics in Coal are much more skillfully integrated than the norm with the overall effect improving as time passes. The bottom line is the $135 per 50ml bottle Coal has its moments and is certainly a cut above the norm, but it never quite reaches its potential, held back by synthetics and overt sweetness, earning a "good" rating of 3 out of 5 stars.
Pros: Different than most releases nowadays...
Cons: Sweetness, and it's overt synthetic dark woody nature...
08 September, 2013 (Last Edited: 13 December, 2013)