Despite being touted as an aldehydic chypre, Citizen Queen comes across to me as a bold, leathery floriental, succulent, sweet and poisonous, lacking the patrician beauty and restraint of conventional chypres or the whip-cracking attitude of animalic chypres. The opening is decidedly musky, deceptively soft despite its faint, fecal undertones. Within the space of just a few minutes however, the scent intensifies, loudly broadcasting its dominant nature. An aldehydic kick renders the floral edges blurry as they emerge in an almost psychedelic sequence of color. The intense, sweet scent of violets splashes deep purple against a backdrop of black, while wispy green vines grow uncontrollably to surround them. Soft iris paints thin, fluorescent lines across the canvas, lending fluffy, powdery, feathery softness and acting as a contrast to the heavy feel of the composition. Marvelously, the musky, amber-infused base is incredibly effusive and its intense sweetness can be felt throughout the development. In fact, it is this incredible musky sweetness coupled with the divine scent of violets that truly forms the identity of this scent. However, what makes Citizen Queen really stand out, is its animalic character. The gentle bitterness of the leather in the composition can be felt even through the intense sweetness, but even more striking is the undercurrent of something dirty and intensely human, which adds a perverse streak to this beauty. Smelling at once familiar and disturbing, this animalic accord adds an element of human essence to the perfume, like nuzzling the crown of someone’s hair.
Citizen Queen proudly stomps all over any preconceived notions that our overly obsessed with cleanliness and political correctness culture might hold about what perfume should be, and what’s more, she does so with an unapologetic grin and killer heels to boot. This is not only a perversely dirty, poisonously sweet animalic scent, it is also one that is improbably potent; Those of you that remember experiencing Cacharel’s Loulou for the first time and feeling the resolute punch it delivered, will recognize the subtle nod to its unique tenacity. Having only a sample at hand and experiencing its improbable, rule-defying sillage with just a few drops, I can’t help but feel that it would be more than sufficient to dab this perfume rather than spray it. A few drops on one arm are enough for others around me to detect it and comment on it and the tiny sample phial on my nightstand exudes the most wonderful perfume every day even while securely capped. In fact, it has now happened so often over the past few weeks that I find myself wondering where the fabulous smell is coming from before realizing it is the sample next to me while in bed, that I am seriously considering buying a full bottle!