Friday, March 14, 2008

Dark Season & Gotham by Neil Morris : Perfume Reviews

It’s Friday, which means we have reached the last day of Neil Morris reviews here on Fragrance Bouquet. I am closing this week -which has been incredible fun by the way- with a review of my personal favorite, Gotham. For those of you who have already tried Neil’s perfumes, I have a question: Which one is your favorite and why? There are still a number of perfumes by Neil I really want to try and top of my list are October and Midnight Tryst. I hope I get to review those here on Fragrance Bouquet soon as well.

Dark Season:

I won’t lie to you: There’s something about Dark Season’s opening that I find deeply perturbing. There’s this almost fluid bitter core, surrounded by strange sweetness. There’s something almost medicinal and a strange body scent, I can’t ignore. There’s this mustiness that makes me feel as though I am all alone in a dark old house, rummaging around for some unfathomable reason... And then I open a drawer that creaks with resistance. It is wooden and empty, but it contains all the mustiness of an unaired tiny space and scent-memories of the various objects held in the past. My heart beats faster, anxiously. I need to get past it, for underneath I smell beautiful sweet spice and I so want to reach it... Patience. Patience for five or ten minutes, no more. And then comfort. The sweet, soothing scent of cinnamon washes it all away.

Candles are lit all at once and the old house is bathed in warm light. I’m glad I waited, every single time. Dark Season transforms into a beautiful oriental scent, perfect for keeping you warm in cold weather. Dark Season whispers of winter holidays, crisp cold air that makes the cheeks go red, happy smiles and joyful hearts as friends get ready to come together under one roof, in a house glowingly inviting. A house which smells sweetly of cinnamon and vanilla. Balancing the light, spicy sweetness, there are decorations of pine needless, smelling fresh, green and pure. Their branches are oozing sticky resin: a strong note with a sticky feel that lances through the composition from beginning to end and makes it positively addictive. But what I admire most about Dark Season, and what keeps me returning to my little sample is the cinnamon. As with clove and carnation, it is a note that can quickly become too thick and overbearing. Too obtrusive, if you will. But Dark Season’s cinnamon is simply perfect. Sweet, light, magical and sheer. It feels like it’s almost sparkling. The overall feeling of this perfume is warming, and as is the case with most of the Neil Morris scents I’ve so far tried, comforting. It has this beautiful ability to form an aura around the wearer, sweet and spicy smelling, rounded and deep, that can be gently smelled from a few feet away, inviting others to come ever closer to find the source. If I’m honest, I’ll admit that this fragrance has made me once again long for cold weather, and believe me, that’s quite a feat. I am SO ready for summer!


I’ve saved the best for last. From all the Neil Morris perfumes I’ve so far smelled, this is my absolute favorite. Every time I wear Gotham, I have the pleasure to see a different side of it, a different manifestation of its beauty. At times it’s all about the flowers, at times it’s all about its animalic base, at times it’s all about the leather. This is not only absolutely gorgeous, it is absolutely timeless. This is exactly the type of fragrance I favor: a “yes Mistress” perfume. Don’t laugh! This is all polished hair, immaculate attire, impossible yet utterly chic heels and... a whip. Cruel seduction, where the coolness of ice meets the heat of the flame. If I could choose only one word to describe this fragrance, it would be ‘magnificent’. The opening is an assault of the senses with a blast of seductive pepper and sparkling citrus. A period of reasonable, deceptive calm follows: a beautiful accord of narcissi and hyacinths that starts out smooth but soon intensifies in the most hypnotic manner. From incredibly floral and ladylike, Gotham soon goes dark and mysterious: A thorny rose scent, whose aroma is accentuated and deepened by the green scent of galbanum. And soon, our diva readies for the kill: the animalic base becomes all the more apparent with notes of musks and leather and even though I’ve never seen a mention of civet in the official notes, I swear I smell its warm pungency rising from my skin. Instant glamour. Instant Sex. Just add red lipstick. Diamonds are optional.

Images: and Flickr, originally uploaded by “Lady K!!”


PinstripedZebra said...

Yes Mistress! Hmm, interesting phrasing there..;P

Both scents seem very interesting and lovely. I really want to smell them.

'The coolness of ice meets the heat of the flame'


Anonymous said...

Divina, you need to go into Marketing... you have such a way with words that I think you could convince someone into buying something just by reading your ad!!!
I want Gotham, it sounds sooooo intriguing and complex.

Thanks for the reviews. Where can I find a sample in the states???

Unknown said...

Oh Divina that sounds like quite the "rowwwrrr" scent; very intrigued by the notes of narcissus. You have such a way with imagery.

Perfumeshrine said...

Gotham was the one I enjoyed most (I think, I am changing my mind all the time, LOL) as well.
Although they were all great!
They are all extrait de parfum strength, did you know that?

Ida was sooooo generous in providing them to us all, wasn't she?

So, which ones are you buying? I gather you're about to order many.

Divina said...

Lol, Zebra, I hope my phrasing was not too naughty! But there are those types of fragrances that have that crack of the whip, you know? And Gotham is certainly one of them :)


Divina said...

Italian Girl sweetie, thank you for your kind words on my writing. Its the passion and pleasure I feel that translates into words, I am sure. Of course, as we have discussed before, I don't advise anyone to buy perfume unsniffed - sample first! I hope Neil will weigh in on where you can find samples and whether you can order directly from him by email perhaps. I can tell you though, that I know that the Perfumed Court sells samples of Neil's Vault Fragrances. The address is

I hope this helps!

Divina said...

Thank you Jen! I've been thinking a lot about you while sampling Neil's perfumes actually - because I know that both of us have trouble with patchouli. (although I suspect you have even more of a difficult relationship with it than I) So, as I was saying, I've been thinking of you, because I adore the patchouli Neil used and have been wondering whether you will like it too :) Let me know if you get to test any of his perfumes that have a patch note.

Divina said...

Helg, I understand your inability to settle on one favorite, they are all amazing. And yes, of course I am aware they are all pure parfum strength.

As for me, I will certainly be buying something from Mr. Morris. I do want to try October and Midnight Tryst first, the first one because I've been looking for a perfume with a pumpkin note for over a year and the second one because I've heard excellent things about it.

From the things I have tried now, I would love to own Gotham, Spectral Violet and Burnt Amber...AND Dark Earth too... Oh God, he has made me fall in love with all of them, what can I say. However, being a university student with no work dictates that I cannot buy "many" of anything. Can you?

It will be very difficult for me to come to just one choice, but somehow, it will have to happen. The sillage, the longevity, the roundness of all Neil's fragrances have just taken my breath away.

Anonymous said...

I adore Gotham. I am so glad to hear you say that this scent is a changling 'cuz the second time I tried Gotham the rose came out to play and I swear it wasn't there the first time. I love the way this scent transitions. Layers opening upon layers. A lot of back and forth. Surprises everywhere as I don't find obvious middle and end starts and finishes. True genius! I just got more to try and I can't wait. I have enjoyed all of your reviews. Thank you. He has a website but the vault scents require a phone call 617.267.2315.


Scentman said...

Dearest Divina,

I am speechless. I don't know what to say. You're art of writing is exquisite, no other word for it. The best way for me to describe it is "Scripted Perfume."

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the reviews you wrote about our scents this week. I am thrilled with the joy you feel and humbled by your descriptive talent.

And thanks also to all the kind people who posted as well. As Anne said, anyone interested in samples or FB's of Vault Perfumes can call me at 617-267-2315.

Love and Fragrant Dreams...


Anonymous said...

Gotham - I wanted to try it just because of the name, but after reading your review and the notes you describe so well, I'm certain i'd have no trouble falling in love with it. Thanks for letting me know about this talented nose.
Is ordering from their american site the only way of buying these scents in Europe?

chayaruchama said...

You have no idea what pleasure it brings, to share all this scented adventure...

In addition to the quality, what appeals to me, is the love that goes into each bottle.

I think that's what makes these fragrances unique-
Something they share with those of Serena, Andy, Annette, Vero, Jenny, Ayala, Mandy...etc.

Amazing people pouring their hearts and souls into every vial.

[Then- there's you !
Who appreciate all that hard work- and describe it all in moving, lyrical prose !]

Kisses to you!

Anonymous said...

Well, you have got the art of motivating people through ads itself. so its better you for marketing. I personally thank you for reviewing about all the scents.

ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...


You have done such a fantastic job reviewing Neil Morris' scents! He is an incredible man and nose. After reading your prose I feel so badly that I haven't yet reviewed them! Thank you for piqueing my interest in the most lovely and generous sample packet that Ida sent to me!!

Divina said...

Anne, it sounds like we have a very similar experience with Gotham! And changeling is such a great word to describe it! (now, why didn't I think of that myself? :) ) Thanks for providing extra information on ordering by the way.

Divina said...

Dearest Neil,

Thank you so very much for your wonderful compliments, they really are heart-warming and make me so happy! :) It has been a great pleasure reviewing your scents and an even greater one sampling them. I've been haunted by Spectral Violet all week by the way. Favorites or no, she is calling to me every single night.

Kisses to you!

Divina said...

Edwardian dearest, I'm afraid it is the only way I know. Perhaps try to mail Neil about this? He is so approachable!

Let me know when you try his scents.. I love your taste in perfume and I am so curious about what you'll fall in love with!

Divina said...

My dearest Chaya, thank you for making it possible :) I agree with you, there's indeed heart and soul in every drop :)

Kisses back to you, my lovely

Divina said...

Hi David,

I am afraid I didn't understand what you meant very well, but thank you for visiting and commenting :)

Divina said...

Tamara hon, I can't wait to read your reviews too!!


Anonymous said...

I absolutely loved this week of reviews... I definitely want to try Neil Morris scents, your descriptions are so amazing I feel like I can smell them.


Divina said...

Christine, if I remember correctly you favor delicate scents. I think Spectral Violet should be the one you try! :)