Thursday, February 2, 2012

Take me out to the black, tell them I ain't coming back...

I recently switched cell phone providers to an Android phone, and uploaded a bunch of music to Google Music to try it out. It turns out that I forgot I had a bunch of audio clips from TV shows and movies I love on my hard drive, because I will occasionally build a mix CD off some other medium -- a piece of visual artwork, but more frequently a quote from a poem or book or film or show -- and I like to use the audio clip to open or close the mix CD. FN1. So now occasionally I get these clips mixed in with my music, which is surprisingly delightful, particularly when the following song seems to pair with the quote.

I aim to misbehave.
One of the quotes I keep running into is this from one Malcolm Reynolds, captain of the firefly-class space ship Serenity: "The darkness. Kind of darkness you can't even imagine. Blacker than the space it moves through."
So imagine that you are me, mindlessly drafting away on legal documents, listening to music, and then these words pop into your head. What perfume do you instantly think of?
For me, it's obvious: Bvlgari Black.
Created in 1998 by Annick Menardo, Bvlgari Black is described on the Bvlgari website as follows:
Black is unconventional, a fragrance conceived around the smoky, woody notes of Lapsang Souchong tea, that celebrates the pleasure and freedom of expression. A fusion of cool, stripped-down design in high-tech matte rubber with a chrome cap and transparent glass.

Notes are black tea, rosewood, bergamot, cedar, oakmoss, vanilla, amber, sandalwood, and musk.
What can I say? Black is  a multitude of wonderful smells, and yet, difficult to describe. Its immediately evocative of hard vanilla candies, incense smoke, hot rubber, the smell when you pull cold water rushing over stones into a cup in your hands and bring it to your lips, the smell of the inside of your boyfriend's leather coat when you are held with it wrapped around your whole body. 

But that's just me.  Other people get "celery salt and rubber" and "pale green;" "dark vintage cashmere allure;"  "urban cool;" and a tie for my favorites: "biker eating an ice cream cone" and "most likely work best on attractive young yuppies or hipsters of either gender." It's somehow everything, and nothing, and appears to change a lot, based on the person wearing it. Not unlike looking out into the Black, I suppose.

Do I like Black? Of course I do.  It's sweetly strange, delightfully sexy, and weirdly delicious.  I can't decide if I want to taste it on my lips when I kiss someone's neck or spray it on a riding crop or spray it on my scarf on a cold morning.  Perusing reviews, it seems the real test of Black, though, is how it holds up next to one of my all-time favorites, the equally avant-garde L'Artisan Dzing!

Ah, the infamous hockey puck!
Trying them side by side, Dzing! and Black seem like cousins. Okay, perhaps less cousins, and more like.... You know how, when you see someone from the back or the side or at a weird angle and you are110% sure that it is someone you know and it is not until you actually walk up to them and say something that you realize they are a complete stranger and you have made a complete fool of yourself? That's what mistaking Dzing! and Black is like.  You are sure they look alike, but when you really pay attention, you realize they are nothing alike. FN2.

 I never thought there'd be two of them, and there aren't really.  Black is sweeter, smoother, and less aggressive or muscular than Dzing! Dzing! is heavier on the rubber and salt on me, while Black is heavier on the amber and sandalwood end of things. I like them both, and I think my preference for one over the other would probably hinge on my mood, or the weather, or the day, or my destination, unlike the great LT, who put Black in the top 10 fragrances of all time. FN3. Me? I think I might be more of a Dzing! girl, but I'm biased. After all, I've lived with and loved Dzing! for years now.  That said, at the low price point one can acquire a bottle of Black, I say, why not have both? I found a 100ml bottle on Amazon for $35 of all places!

Black is marketed unisex, and that's a good thing, because it is a lovely scent that could work great on anyone.  And at the low, low price of practically next to nothing, I command you to get thee to a Sephora to try it, and don't be dissuaded if they happen to have stuck it on the 'men's' perfume wall. 

 Want more? Try:
~ a review from Robin at Now Smell This!
~ a review from I Smell Therefore I Am
~ a review from Muse in Wooden Shoes
~ a review from Bois de Jasmin
~ a review from + Q Perfume Blog
~ a review from ChickenFreak's Obsessions
~ a review from All I Am - A Redhead
~ a review from Pere De Pierre
~ a review from Nathan Branch
~ a review from Scent of the Day
~ a review from Scentsate
FN1. Yes, I love the mix tape, for lo, I am a child of the 1980s, and I *still* have tapes x-boyfriends made me twenty years ago, even though I have nothing to play them on, because I think they are some of the most personal gifts I ever received.

FN2. Or, Oh! You know that tumblr of Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber? It's like that! Like mistaking one of those lesbians from a distance for the real Bieber! (BTW, I have an IRL friend who was actually featured on the site.) (It's even Bieber approved (See video clip below.))

FN3. LT = Luca Turin, author of Perfumes: The Guide, and other fancy perfume accomplishments.  If you don't know, google it.


Bloody Frida said...

oh how we love Nathan!!

This post reminds me to re-sniff Black - it's been AGES

Undina said...

You should transfer those tapes to MP3! (I'm sure if you search online it won't be hard to find a service that does that)

I like Black and was planning on getting a bottle... for a year now. I will get it eventually!

lawgoddess said...

Hey! I've been reading you for a while, and I love your blog. We have a few things in common- I'm a lawyer, I love Firefly, and I adore Perfume.

I ordered a bottle of Black from Amazon on your recommendation. I hope it will be something I'll love, but if it isn't , it wasn't a huge investment.

Keep up the good work. Loved the Jerry Maguire post. :)

Diana said...


How can anyone *not* love Nathan!?! He's super.


Diana said...


I should transfer them to mp3. I just need to find the box they're in first. :) I am happy to say I have a beloved bottle of the infamous hockey puck in my position, and have no regrets.


Diana said...


Another Firefly-loving, perfume-crazed lawyer! Glad you found me! Hope you love your bottle of Black. If not, let me know and maybe I can show you where best to swap it. :)

Thanks for reading!