Perfume Directory

The Black Knight (2019)
by Francesca Bianchi

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The Black Knight information

Year of Launch2019
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
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People and companies

HouseFrancesca Bianchi
PerfumerFrancesca Bianchi

About The Black Knight

The Black Knight is a gothic, intense, sophisticated perfume inspired by the historical character Giovanni Dalle Bande Nere (John of the Black Bands), an Italian mercenary captain of the Renaissance. The perfume tries to depict the atmosphere of a military camp, starting with the smell of wild shrubs, then the smoke of camp fire and the odor of horse tacks.  The evolution then delves deeper into the soul of this stern character, revealing the presence of a secret mistress, with a powdery rose rounding up the deep core made of vetiver.

Reviews of The Black Knight

The Black Knight opens with a bitter green deep woodland plant and mosses accord that is a result of the exotic touches of artemisia, caraway and bitter green narcissus overlaying a rooty vetiver, clean cedar and aged patchouli base. These notes create the dark mysterious Black Knight green moistened leather feel that flows into a cool vetiver, cedar and patchouli basenote. As the fragrance ages the leather and patchouli become slightly more assertive. The iris heart note provides some light to these cold dark strokes to prevent a collapse upon itself and become all density. The iris butter, honey and beeswax also adds a little lyrical twist of spring fed naughtiness that dances through the dark woodland shadows. The Black Knight is a serious dark green patchouli and moist leather, brooding medieval perfume that creates its own legend from a story of its own making. Rated 4 of 5 stars!
08th July, 2020
It took me a bit of time to understand this perfume, but after ten days straight of wearing the damn thing, I’m all in. Opening with a hoary ‘Old Man and the Sea’ vetiver that smells like a bunch of whiskey-sozzled men in damp tweed around an open fire in a cramped little Irish cottage beside the sea, it immediately establishes a tone of neglect and closed-up spaces. Slightly analogous to vintage Vetiver by Annick Goutal and Muschio di Quercia by Abdes Salaam al Attar, the vetiver here is denuded of all freshness and twisted into a grungy leather that smells more like something dug up from the bowels of the earth than grass. But for all its salt-encrusted, boozy ‘staleness’, I think The Black Knight succeeds for much the same reason that Patchouli 24 does, in that it balances out a smoky, barely civilized leather accord with a softening layer of something sweet and balmy, delivering both the sting of the whip and a soothing caress in one go.

The Black Knight swaps out the birch tar of the Le Labo for an interesting cuir accord built mostly (as far as I can tell) from that hulking vetiver and some of the bitter, meaty Cellier-esque, Isobutyl quinoline-infused leather that’s been popping up quite a bit recently (see Rose et Cuir). It takes some time to dry down into that softening layer of balmy beeswax – infinitely more balanced than the sweetness in Patchouli 24, which is more sugary and vanilla extract-like in character – so before we settle in for the final, long drawn-out waltz of leather and cream, there’s a surprising development or two.

Most notably, past the opening of dusty ‘grumpy old man’ vetiver, an animalistic accord emerges, pungent and sticky with honey, and almost honking with the freshly-urinated-upon-hay stink of narcissus. Bianchi’s treatment of orris is fascinating to me – she can make it high-toned and mineralic, or funky with the low-tide halitosis of ambergris or blow it out into a big, civety floral cloud. Here, the orris is briefly pungent, with disturbing hints of rubber, boot polish, tar, and urine. This pissy-rubbery stage almost never fails to surprise me – and I’ve been wearing these two samples for the past ten days straight. Don’t smell your skin too closely and you might miss it entirely.

The Black Knight seems to go on forever, dawdling in that balmy double act of creamed beeswax and ‘hard’ leather before eventually dropping all the sweetness, leaving only mineralic dust and the faint whiff of marshy runner’s sweat (a drydown it shares with Le Labo Patchouli 24). The Black Knight is a bolshy, mouthing-off-in-all-directions strop of scent that’s probably not the easiest thing for a total beginner to carry off. But it’s striking as hell, and never less than sexy.
24th June, 2020

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