Monday, January 19, 2009

Black Cashmere by Donna Karan : Perfume Review

Black Cashmere originally made a very short appearance in Europe, coming and going like a rare black bird that somehow lost its way while migrating. I remember seeing it, all peculiarly shaped (at the time bottles that did not stand upright were even less common than they are now…) like a large shining pebble that was recovered from a volcanic lake. Standing alone on a pedestal, supported by a crafty little stand, it seemed like a modern objet d’art that persistently called my name. Fascinated both by its look and its sensuous name, I picked it up and sprayed some right on my wrist with the conviction I would undoubtedly fall in love. Mistake; Thick, woody sweetness and an overwhelming sense of drowning in sandalwood and spice sent me running to the nearest sink to wash it off, my urgency exacerbated by my stomach’s protests. I stayed away from it thereafter, like a child that’s learned to respect the sullen nature of nettle and briar. And then it was gone, to my disappointment. Why disappointment? Because not liking something is not quite the same as not respecting it. In my mind, Black Cashmere had been branded as rare and unique, a perception probably helped along to a certain extent by its relative exclusivity, but nevertheless not illusory in its entirety. Black Cashmere was unique – indeed, it smelled like very few other things did at the time.

Smelling the re-released version now, I have trouble deciding whether the fragrance has changed radically, or whether it is my tastes that have changed instead. For Black Cashmere no longer evokes the dramatic reaction it once did. Whatever the case might be, it is still unique and edgy. It still is a controversial scent that challenges the notion of what an attractive personal scent is. The opening creates an illusion of dark leather, lovingly presenting a dominant, delectable, saffron note. As the top notes lift, the body of the perfume is sketched with feather light strokes, like a phantom: cinnamic and camphorous, a combination that gives the scent a rather medicinal vibe. Through a quickly dissipating cloud of smoke, comes a heavy, burnt rubber accord (constructed primarily out of excellent quality cedar)– a central aspect of Black Cashmere’s heart. Although it can appear slightly jarring and overly strange at first, it quickly mellows and shifts into the background, acting like the canvas upon which the rest of the notes are painted. The barely-there scent of clove is enfolded in the softest cinnamon hug, providing a soft, cuddly, comforting element to the already warm composition. The lovely scent of creamy, sweet sandalwood wafts in and out, caressing the harsh edges of cedar and snaking around the waxy, resinous scent of wenge. The drydown is beautiful, a coming together of dry patchouli, cedar and sandalwood, with amplified sweetness and a lasting impression of pure, sweet beeswax. Really, really lovely.

Images: www.parfumdepub.net and www.imageafter.com


10 comments:

PinstripedZebra said...

I am always wondering if I am the only person who gets attracted to a perfume from appearances mostly. I know this cannot be true since companies spend so much on creating a bottle or packaging. But when I am in the shop, what draws me towards trying a scent is nice bottle or a good color...

Interesting way of formulating Div, "Through a quickly dissipating cloud of smoke, comes a heavy, burnt rubber accord", seems very much like the perfume was thought up while hanging around the paddock at a motor race circuit!

Another wonderful review, you really make me want to smell this incarnation!

//Z

greeneyes said...

Black Cashmere is (was?) very close to Idole de Lubin, and in fact I think I prefer Black Cashmere. I wonder if this is true of the reformulation?

Hope you are well, dear Divina!

Ines said...

It is a bit strange, but I actually like it very much, especially when I want to feel warm and sexy (and men seem to like it a lot). ;)

Divina said...

Hiii Z :) Your comment made me grin, because I get attracted to great bottles as well but if the juice is not good then it's bye bye. In fact I used to complain that the GOOD perfumes (that is, the ones *I* liked) were never in nice bottles. :P I'm a frilly girl you see :P I like strange or girly or unique bottles best. And the perfumes I like (and especially liked back then) were mostly classy and simple. Think Aromatics Elixir, Wrappings, Private Collection.....

Divina said...

Oh Greeneyes sweetie, HI! I am very well, thank you. It's been ridiculously busy the last four months and I've suffered a little bit but I am recovering now :) How are you?

Hmm it's been a while since I smelled Idole de Lubin so I don't have it very fresh in my memory... Isn't it a bit tobacoish? Quite even? BC is not tobacoish.

Divina said...

Ines I am sure you wear it very well dear! :) It *is* a bit strange and at the same time it smells great. I love the drydown best :)

Anonymous said...

Well since there is a mini bottle discussion going on let me chime in with this, I wish they had let the original bottles well alone :o(
I never did try the originals, but all bottles were either stunning or at the very least innovative. These are bland and bleh.

Christine

Jenavira13 said...

I highly admire the bottle, but the scent never gets to that gorgeous soft stage on me. Although, and this will be blasphemous, this is really good layered with pink sugar.

Divina said...

Hi Christine :) Although I don't necessarily view these bottles as bland, they are definitely understated, in an elegant chic way. I still would prefer the old bottles, just like you. Sculptural, intresting and fabulous :)

Divina said...

Haha, Jen, you are safe with me girl, cause Pink Sugar is not sold here! In fact I haven't seen it anywhere in Europe, in any of the Sephora shops I've been. (or other boutiques and duty free shops I've been for that matter)