I left Ireland for Bosnia when I was 22, without so much as a backwards glance. Over the following 16 years when people asked me if I missed home, I would always be startled and say yes – automatically – but it wasn’t quite true. I just never thought of home as being anywhere other than wherever I was right then.
I never realized that the gene for “home” was carried deep within my DNA until one dark night when I stepped out of a snow-stalled car into the deserted crossroads of a tiny village in Bosnia and was hit in the solar plexus by a waft of smoke from a coal fire.
Not just one – dozens of coal fires. All sending plumes of sweet-smelling smoke into the black, starless sky. In my mind’s eye, I could see walls covered with centuries of soot, men huddling round the heart smoking cigarettes, and the fingers of women putting more coal on the fire.
My mother’s fingers, black with soot. In that moment, every cell in my body ached to be back home, watching the familiar sight of her white fingers gingerly placing another coal on the flames, egged on by her always-cold children. Was she sitting beside her fire now, thinking of her first child, wondering if she was cold?
Comme des Garcons Black is the smell of home to me. It smells of coal dust, sweet woodsmoke, frankincense, dry cedar logs, licorice, and finally, in its dying moments, a salt-encrusted leather belt. Not of these things directly but of these things burned on a fire and sent out into the crisp, cold air of a Northern night sky as a single curl of smoke. Every time I spray it on, I experience a joy like that of launching into a sudden run.
If I were being picky, I’d say that the projection and longevity and projection of Black leave much to be desired. But I’m content with this in a quasi eau de cologne format. I’d be afraid that any attempt to make Black stronger would compress all the air out of its airy weightlessness. I like that Black takes the form of coal dust mites, shifting as you move; acting as your own personal force field.
I’ve long been looking for a smoky, woodsy birch tar fragrance that hits this exact spot – the coal-fire-in-Bosnia spot. I love Le Labo Patchouli 24 for coming close, but the vanilla syrup makes me pause, and Bois d’Ascese is far too dense and acrid. Memoir Man does smoky, charred woods and Frankincense beautifully, but it has a somber, sulky feel that might prove difficult. Black, to me, is what you might get if you were to put all these perfumes through a Photoshop filter and apply a filter to reduce the density by 70%. Black does indeed smell truly “black” but it’s more a sheer wash of color rather than a thick daub of oil.
I love it. It’s the first Comme des Garcons perfume for which I’ve been able to locate a heartbeat. I admire their modernist approach but something in their stripped-down aesthetic usually leaves me cold. Here there’s both an emotional core and a minimalism that’s entirely in keeping with the house signature. Maybe the heart bit is all me, but I do feel there’s something warm and human about Black.
Well, guys, I've approached skeptically this CdG's fragrance but have to admit I'm well impressed. Actually, if you like a soft licorice vibe, sharp-dusty frankincense, dry and "liquid" spices and "pencil-shavings" woodiness overall combined in to a softly aqueous, paradoxically translucent (modernly synthetic) and finally musky-leathery-resinous accord, well you can't miss Black. Vetiver, with its rooty saltiness, is "basic/central" imo and expresses its substance in to an intensely woody wet way (with vague conjurarions about scents a la CdG Wonderwood). Also leather is influencing (especially in the second part of the evolution) and I'm not detecting a classic "substantial" leather but a leathery "aura" supporting incensey-peppery dustiness and cedary muskiness. The extremely dusty (peppery and yet incensey) opening conjures me for few instants the Durbano Black Tourmaline's incensey mistiness with the addition of a soft hint of liquorice plus a progressively rising (peppery-incensey) pencil-shavings effect a la Carbone de Balmain, Gucci Pour Homme I or Montana Graphite. In a short while vetiver comes on stage with its central woody-salty role. There is actually a really smooth incensey-cedary feel which counteracts the woody "saltiness" providing a general sense of "misty and ambiental meditative minimalism". I agree with Colin Maillard since there is a huge dose of Iso E driven incense, synthetic woods and "musky galaxolide" in order to provide a cedary-incensey sort of synthetic muskiness immensely soft/smooth and vaguely resinous-aromatic (birch tar). Finally leather (a rubbery sort of leather) grows up in effects providing a really modern and distinguished vibe. This "conclusive" sort of synthetic musky-incensey-rubbery-resinous
dry down conjures me more than vaguely the final Jacomo de Jacomo's evolution and this old-school fragrance (especially in its aromatic rubbery-incensey feel) could have been ideally (possibly) source of inspiration for the Black's inception. A great take on synthetic-leathery/woody olibanum quite versatile and charming.
14th August, 2015 (last edited: 18th August, 2015)
Good vivisections in the prior reviews of a unique, albeit hardly inscrutable, scent. I'm inclined to say that this is the most successful of CdC's creative efforts. That said, despite owning a bottle, I am hard pressed to to find many suitable occasions to wear this. However, among the ocean of fragrances titled or subtitled "black," this is the only one that I am most convinced would be spot-on ideal for a black tie event. In my case that is only about six or so occasions a year, so this should last quite a while.
I imagine myself in the first Temple on the Jerusalem hills watching a sacrifice and being doused with the frankincense and myrrh penetrating from the open air chimneys. My throat warms, the beautifully pungent black pepper chokes my clothes. This is all smoke and churches. Even the drydown is a wonderfully odorous clove and camp fire. Dangerously unusual, evocative and sensual. Grab a bottle of this juice you wont regret it!
Almost categorically black: liqourice, black pepper, black tar, ashes. It's like a child has collected all the black things in the summerhouse. But it works well, the blend is exciting with the liqourice and tar competing for attention, and a hefty dose of dryness from supposedly Iso E Super keeps it fairly transparent and not to heavy.
I have a bottle. Almost never used it, don't know why. While i appreciate it's modern approach i also feel its concept is to shallow.
It's fun to sniff, but i feel it lacks the substance that makes me want to actually use it.
for me It starts a spicy.woody.but after a hour its smells like cinnamon mixed with sugar,I think this fragrance is good for women not for men with hair on chest