Blog post by Gwen
Photo: Black Licorice
A little while ago, someone emailed me and wanted to know what licorice/anise-based scents are available in the shop. I got them sorted out with some great recommendations, but it got me thinking about interesting licorice/anise scents that are out there.
It didn’t take long for Réglisse Noire, black licorice, the first fragrance by Canadian-born, Grasse-trained perfumer Jessica Buchanan to hit my radar.
Descriptions of the fragrance intrigued me, while Ms. Buchanan’s story captivated me. Born into a family of painters, potters and weavers in Vanderhoof, British Columbia, she spent her childhood on Salt Spring Island and on ranches in the Kootenays. After getting her clinical aromatherapy certification, she began exploring natural perfumery. Her passion for perfume grew, and in 2007, she moved to Grasse to study at the Grasse Institute of Perfumery, interning at Robertet and Mane. In 2011, she launched 1000 Flowers in Grasse.
Pretty interesting stuff, but life swallowed me up, and thoughts about Réglisse Noire, Jessica Buchanan, British Columbia and Grasse were put aside until, in the spirit of seasonal serendipity I was given a bottle as a Christmas gift by a cherished friend. One sniff of Réglisse Noire on my skin and bing, bang, boom, I knew life would never be the same because Réglisse Noire is like no other scent I have ever tried.
It opens with spicy, pungent white pepper, which is soon joined by an aquatic ozone note. The interplay between these two opposites makes this opening unique and reveals Ms. Buchanan’s perfume-making chops. Mint and shiso leaf follow, giving a fresh herbal backdrop to the heart. Oh, the heart! First, star anise appears, spicy and gently anise-y from anethole, and as it blooms from the heat of your skin, licorice appears, amping up the anethole and deepening it: think sambuca, pastis, or absinthe. A note of ginger emerges, warming things up while adding a zingy freshness that prevents Réglisse Noire from getting too sweet or too cloying. Allspice is here, too, and adds more spicy warmth, while cocoa gives it a deep, dark fullness and a slight bitterness. It all rests on a base of vetiver, cedarwood and creamy vanilla, softened by musk, creating a drydown that is like nothing else I know.
In many ways, Réglisse Noire is a well-crafted play of opposites: light and deep, sweet and bitter, cool and warm that dries down to softly sexy scent that is totally unique from a new talent. In fact, I’ve just taped a photo of Jessica Buchanan to my monitor cause she is definitely one perfumer to watch.
If you love anise-based scents, you’ve got to try Réglisse Noire, and if you don’t like anise-based scents, you’ve got to try Réglisse Noire, cause you won’t want to miss out on a great fragrance.
Check out Réglisse Noire in our Shop.