Perfume Pen Pals: Kerosene Black Vines



Katie,

I know nothing about most occupations but here's how I imagine roller coaster architects work: they draw up dozens of plans for coasters that are never built because the designs are so unruly, almost every rider would get sick. Eventually, the plans are meticulously reigned in and, because of this, these architects surely see their finished coasters as a compromise.


I bet they even keep early designs out of sentiment: drawings of rides with grueling turns, nauseating drops, seven...nine...eleven consecutive loops, along with the faces of terrified children sketched into the seats, eyes bulging, mouths agape. The most mischievous designers probably even draw in a little puke.

Kerosene Black Vines is the eleven-loop roller coaster of perfume. It's brilliant. And sickening. It's like the perfumer accidentally sent out his first formula, the one he was supposed to keep in his cabinet as an example of what he'd create if this stupid world were a more daring and courageous place.


At first, it's impossible to get any sense of Black Vines outside of its licoriceness. It's very, very licorice-y. If you can imagine living in a house that's made entirely of rich black licorice, and the house sits in the middle of the desert where the sun bakes down on the licorice roof and the licorice aroma just hangs heavy in the hot air (apparently the licorice house has no windows...who builds a licorice house in the desert with no windows?), forcing you to inhale hot licorice until you're tempted to stop breathing altogether, then you can imagine Black Vines. It's a towering monument to licorice.

Licorice building materials.

The fragrance eventually softens -- at last, a window! -- though much less and much later than you'd expect. (After fifteen minutes I was so overwhelmed and, frankly, emotional, I wanted to find the perfumer and give him a long, hard hug.) Gradually it turns sweeter, like licorice incense, and lasts for hours on the skin until it starts feeling like a licorice scent tattoo.

Black Vines creator Kerosene braces himself for a long, hard hug.

Black Vines is challenging to wear, especially if you consider the feelings of those around you and recognize that not everyone loves licorice. One spray and, bam, you've oversprayed. Go lightly so only a tiny bit of perfume trickles out and, bam, you've oversprayed again. Just thinking about wearing Black Vines probably constitutes an overspray.

Black Vines is great but it doesn't follow the ordinary perfume parameters. It's a cabinet perfume. Because cabinets have strong stomachs, KP, and they don't get sick.

Dan


Find Black Vines at Indie Scents and MiN New York

Roller coaster kids via

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Smelling perfume is my favorite self-mesmerization technique. There's nothing like huffing fancy French fumes to still the squirrels running wild in my head. It's a ritual: drain the brain, spray the scent, breathe, allow colors and words and images to fill the mind. And repeat. And repeat.

As perfumer Sophia Grojsman has said, perfume is “medicine for the soul.”

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