Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Black Widow by Black Widow: Perfume Review

I love trying out new things. Now, Black Widow is not a brand new fragrance – it was released in 2004 after all, but I was not aware of its existence up until recently. When I saw it was being compared to Opium, one of my all time favorites, I knew I had to try it. The comparison itself is dangerous: these are big shoes to fill. Having tested Black Widow a number of times already, I have to say that those looking for a similar fragrance will be disappointed – the two are as far removed as they can be, except perhaps where the impressive sillage of both is concerned. But those looking for a modern oriental will find something exciting in Black Widow, a peculiar and provocatively flirtatious composition. Inherently naughty, but still comfortingly warm, it can definitely be characterized as a winter scent. Smelling it, I get the feeling Black Widow delights in comfortably hovering between being controversial and highly wearable.

The opening is high-strung, sharp and potent. It takes me a while to recover from its demanding nature, which even though befitting the intriguing name, is not really me. Gladly, this impression does not last very long; the spicy heart notes quickly rise to the top and I find myself drawn to their full character. A striking clove, beautifully blended with nutmeg is the most arresting feature of this piquant heart. If you like nutmeg, you are sure to appreciate it here: it is not just an accent, it is prominent and proud, dressing up the clove like a full dress. Undoubtedly though, the clove is the star of this fragrance. It is central to the composition and to my nose, it seems like everything circles around it admiringly, as though it were the sun in a system of planets. I am intrigued by the strange rendition of the note. It lacks the blooming floralcy, the characteristic notes of carnation most often associated with clove in perfumery. It is stark, dark and earthy instead – a new take on a common theme. The bitterness of the scent is tempered by the rising musk as the fragrance warms on the skin. A really deep musk, strong and persistent, that willfully enfolds the body. It not only serves as an enhancer to the spicy notes, but also adds an element of intrigue in its own right. This is certainly not an innocent, clean musk, nor is it purely animalic. It is darker than that, bewitching, making me wish I could experience it separately. It combines beautifully with resinous opoponax and sandalwood, whose added warmth pave the way for the full, rich amber accord that slowly makes its way to my consciousness. Sweet in character, the amber is enigmatic, mysterious, evoking images of a briefly seen kohl-rimmed eye behind a brilliant orange veil. I find myself pleasantly taken by surprise by the rhythmic interchange that follows and remains throughout the drydown: bitter and sweet, bitter and sweet, coming and going like a hypnotic wave of incense, lapping at the shores of my senses. This alternate cycle through darts of poison and kisses of deep honeyed sweetness keep me alert and excited, finally understanding how well the name, Black Widow, fits the scent itself. Have I found a new love in this perfume? No, even though I have been complimented on it both times I wore it in public. The truth of the matter though is, I find it's not really me. I would have preferred it to be slightly smoother and less sharp. Despite this, I appreciate it. Not only for its lovely interplay between bitter and sweet and its delightfully mysterious character, but also for its inovative presentation of clove, which happens to be one of my favorite notes. Yes, it is true, few things that contain copious amounts of clove fail to find a place in my heart.

Image: Author's Own.
More information on Black Widow can be found on the Black Widow website.


The non-blonde said...

I'm not crazy about the name, but you had me at "nutmeg". I have to try this out.

Divina said...

I know what you mean about the name - I had the same initial reaction. But somehow, the name grew on me :P Then again, I like spiders... And reading Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys right now which is full of them. So it fits the mood. Gawd, I'm babbling in the morning..

Flora said...

This sounds intriguing! Love the name and I am a huge fan of nutmeg, which is woefully underused as a main note in fragrances. IMHO. The web site says it's all natural ingredients too - I just might cave in!

Divina said...

Hi Flora, so nice to see you again :) Why don't I send you a sample of it to try out on your skin? I am preparing several little packets for friends this week and I wouldn't mind sending an extra one out :) Send me an email with your details if you would like to try it out on your skin.