Fermented prunes, cognac in oak barrels and handfuls of woolen knits folded into camphoraceous tissue paper that emits that borderline vibe between poison and medicine. Shadows growing longer and longer as the passage of the sun on the horizon wanes; lacquered furniture glowing in the flick of tallow candlelight; crayon designs fatty and saturated hanging off the walls depicting strange faces of old Asian men. There's a certain oiliness and smokiness about Puredistance Black, the upcoming perfume launch by the niche company founded in Vienna, Austria,, adorning it with the striking bone structure of a silent film icon, when shadow and light played the game of drawing the eye across a never ending vista of possibilities; even the slightest tremor of facial muscles gained reinforced nuance in this medium. Or to quote Lydia in Beetlejuice: "Well, I've read through that handbook for the recently deceased. It says: 'live people ignore the strange and unusual'. I, myself, am strange and unusual."
Puredistance has wisely limited its aromatic outpour to one fragrance per year (or even less frequently) choosing to differentiate itself from the many niche brands who dilute their essence in too many simultaneous launches. It has also set the bar pretty high with their stupendous masculine M fragrance and their graceful I and Opardu perfume for women, so expectations are understandably high for their newest release. Black doesn't disappoint, especially since it fills a void in the line that we hadn't realized was there. It's different enough from the leathery and attention-grabbing M fragrance with its elegant 1960s character, and projects as something darker, untamed by the ways of the civilized world. The concentration of 25% essence in Black certainly guarantees a rich experience, however the concept of a whispering scent is adhered to most faithfully; the secrets of Puredistance Black are revealed very slowly, discreetly, from mouth to ear rather than on speakers, a feat by perfumer Antoine Lie (famous for the infamous Secretions Magnifiques and many Etat Libre d'Orange fragrances, among others), given the intensity of the raw materials.
The company doesn't give away any of those raw materials. I absolutely love this; it will make reading and hearing impressions by those who will subsequently test Puredistance Black a real treat, as the mind often interferes with what the nose perceives. Mine is attacked by a quasi-brutal opening with a tangy citric fruitiness allied to the darkest, earthiest patchouli possible, like snails coming out of the bush in the dusk, but the cloak of the night soon mollifies it with a woody cluster of honeyed plummy-cedar notes reminiscent of the Lutens canon and a "suede" orientalism. The sweet melange is also reminiscent of pipe tobacco, laced with a boozy aftertaste that lingers. (I hypothesize smoky cypriol/cyperus and vetiver should be featured too). Chewy, a meat course for non vegetarians.
The essence of the concept for Black by Puredistance was to create a perfume that is close to the wearer and releases sensual and elegant scent layers in a whispering way—without shouting. A mysterious fragrance that stays in the shadow, giving away —only every now and then—part of its nature. Perfumer Antoine Lie loved the concept presented by founder Jan Ewoud Vos and created a sophisticated perfume full of charm with the same elegant personality as the timeless classic Puredistance I, but then more masculine and oriental.
According to Puredistance, Black is created in Paris by the famous French perfumer Antoine Lie and it will be available from December 2013 in 17.5, 60 and 100 ml flacons.
In the interests of disclosure I was sent a sample vial by the company pre-release.