Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dark Earth and Burnt Amber by Neil Morris : Perfume Reviews

Good afternoon everyone! Today we continue delving in the wonderful world of Neil Morris perfumes and put the focus on two fragrances that are wondrous journeys in olfactory magic.

Burnt Amber:

As is the case with Parfum d’Ida, Burnt Amber is a scent that Neil Morris has co-created with the lovely Ida Meister. How I wish I could have insight in the creative process of this marvelous collaboration! Smelling it, I instantly feel like a synaesthete: a whiff is enough to produce the involuntary experience of color in my mind, liquid amber, with hues of deep burnt orange and the golden yellow of ripe wheat. But most importantly, smelling Burnt Amber, I am transported...

A lover of luxury, there is a place in the beautiful city of Amsterdam I love to visit, even though admittedly, there is nothing in there I could utilize myself. The only reason I go there, time and time again, is to please my senses. The place I am talking about, is the House of Hajenius, a two-centuries old, luxurious cigar house, catering to cigar, pipe and tobacco lovers alike. Being in the high-ceilinged, opulent, original art deco interior, I feel bathed in luxury. But it is not just the fact that the space is so incredibly aesthetically pleasing that every visit is food for the soul. The olfactory experience is what keeps me returning to the House of Hajenius every single time I visit our capital city. The humid air is beautifully scented with the most marvelous smells: Cohibas, honey, dried flowers, heavy pipe tobacco scented with malt whiskey and the scent of leather chairs mingling with the light scent of books coming from the library. Wearing Burnt Amber is like a visit to P.G.C. Hajenius, right here in my own home. With a name like Burnt Amber I was expecting a resinous scent, but instead I find myself taken on my favorite tobacco journey. The perfume is absolutely, incredibly moist, dark and gently sweet. Those of you who have smelled good quality pipe tobacco will know immediately the type of mellow sweetness I am referring to. It is filled with honeyed, flowery nuances and undertones of wood and rich tonka. Throughout the development, the rich smell of smoke gently curls around every rounded curve and rises up in the most seducing manner. All the smells I explore in my visits to this most luxurious of shops, bottled in astoundingly rich liquid. Comforting and sensuous, this is a perfume I beg you to try. It is a journey, it is a personal scent, it is an invitation, a cozy hearth, a beautiful autumn. A luxury like no other. I am so very thankful to be able to experience it.

Dark Earth:

Neil Morris’ Dark Earth is a walk through the forest after a storm. The trees are gigantic, but majestic, rather than foreboding. The dark, rich, full of nutrients soil is thankful for the gift of rain. I can’t help but get a feeling of belonging and being one with nature when wearing this beautiful creation. The forest Neil guides us through is three-dimensional and life-like, with not only appropriate smells, but also sights and sounds. The ground under our feet is soft with both fresh and rotting leaves and needles, the tree-trunks are covered with moss, the birds are beginning to timidly call every now and then. At times the silence becomes the most audible sound of all, with just the imaginary sound of sap shooting up with ancient powers from the roots to the high branches of the trees. And that is the note Dark Earth opens with, for me: Green sap, golden-green resin being pumped inside the pine trees, and sometimes forming a beautiful tear on the bark. Precious resin that has overflowed through a tiny tear. It is beautiful and intense and its green, sticky, addictive aroma combines beautifully with the scent of freshly turned soil. As it warms, the scent assumes a beautiful, lightly sweet quality that is felt gently on the back of the throat as I hungrily inhale, my nose pressed close to the scented patch of my skin. The sensation slowly intensifies, both bitter and sweet now, and dare I say, ever so slightly vanillic. To my surprise, in the drydown Dark Earth loses most of its deeply aromatic, acrid yet sweet resinous qualities. It transforms into a deeply erotic, dark patchouli and lusty musk combination, gently caressed by the creamy woodiness of sandalwood. Dark Earth is indeed an intricate journey, starting with rain and moisture, progressing to resinous forest smells and earth and then going through bittersweet darkness on the way home to a log cabin where the air is permeated by honest, lustful eroticism and freedom. Oh, yes..

Images: The pictures of The House of Hajenious were sourced from and respectively. Image of forest, courtesy of


chayaruchama said...

How lyrically you decribe these !

I love them both-
For me, Dark Earth is a cousin of Un Bois Sepia, but more layered and fascinating; it brings me closer to the damp soil I idolize.

Burnt Amber is rich without cloying, and rounded in a voluptuous way- a complete experience, for me.

How marvellous that you share these impressions-

The wonder of perfume-
a scented link between people so geographically 'apart'.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts !

Scentman said...

Divina, you are a Word Artist! Such incredibly detailed and lovely descriptions of Burnt Amber and Dark Earth! My darling Chaya is coming over tonight! I wish you could be with us. I'd love to meet you!



Anonymous said...

Oh my! *fans self.

Where do I get to find that log cabin?

Divina said...

Chaya my darling, thank you for making the link possible. You started the silk thread, it flew up and away and I caught it :) Thank you, thank you so much!


Divina said...

Oh, Neil, how I would love to be there with both of you! Words are beautiful, your sentiment makes me feel like part of me was there :)

Divina said...

*laughs* Lee, I hope when you do find it you tell me about it as well!

Btw, the gorgeous drydown lasts and lasts... I woke up this morning and it still smells... So wonderful to open my eyes and smell it!

PinstripedZebra said...

Wow, I just love that place you describe the House of Hajenius is fantastic. Especially if you are into smells (or smoking for that matter).

Just something for the interested, a lot of famous people have a personal humidifier there so they can enjoy their own sigars in the smoking room...


Unknown said...

You know up until now Divina I haven't been too obsessed with trying Neil Morris, but your description of Burnt Amber has officially got me.

Divina said...

Z, that is so interesting! I had no idea!

Divina said...

Jen, it is soooo lovely and luxurious and longlasting. (It only gets better with time too!) I absolutely, wholeheartedly recommend it!

Girl-Woman said...

What a poetic and lovely post.

Divina said...

:) Thank you so much!