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Black No. 1 (FKA Blackbird ) – A ride on a magic carpet – February 21, 2018

Black No.1 by House of Matriarch,

The little bottle in its small black package has been on my shelf for way too long so it’s time to move it on to the table and talk about it.

From House of Matriarch in Seattle Washington, Blackbird was created by its owner and high priestess of natural perfumery, Christi Meshell, way back when her brand launched in 2012. It definitely made an entrance in the niche world and stirred the perfume pot – it was named “SEXIEST SCENT” at the International Artisan Fragrance Awards, and TOP MEN’S FRAGRANCE by Men’s Journal Magazine and BEST OF THE WEST by Sunset Magazine. Created from over 300 natural essences, Christi describes it on her website as “…a living work of liquid art…worldly and penetrating perfume…it whispers ‘anything is possible’. “ She recently re-named Blackbird as Black No.1, and re-packaged it in a beautiful new blue and copper bottle that  you see above, but she states that the formula has not changed one bit.

Original Blackbird  from House of Matriarch -

The fragrance is built around the leather note, her fantasy of the leather note that Christi says she had to build up bit by bit, not as a traditional pyramid, but note by note so that the perfume became really “just one big tincture”. As a result, Black No.1 is too incredibly complex to dissect, and who would want to, because it’s oh so easy to lose yourself in its layers and depths. It’s a fragrance to fall into, like taking a ride on a magic olfactory carpet.

I experience fragrance as pictures and colours and textures, a collage of sensations triggered by memories. In the first few breaths of Black No.1, I’m standing on the familiar Pacific shores where I grew up, the unmistakable scent of seaweed, salt air, wet stones and majestic Douglas fir trees filling my head, wild, balmy and fresh. Then the thick smell of supple well-worn black leather, scented with sweat and pine resins, green moss and drifting smoke from a beach bonfire merge into an aromatic cocktail that is pure bliss.

I smell wood notes, I see towering pine, cedar, and fir trees, and then aged agarwood which adds wonderful texture to the wood accord, making it powdery, dry, dusty, and as soft as a down pillow. There's herbal cannabis leaf with its faint grassy sweetness, and I distinctly smell lavender, wafting with purple elegance. There's a faint sweetness from golden amber and myrhh. The dark leather note is there throughout but is never too obtrusive or too masculine.

Black No. 1 is woven throughout with herbal, balsamic, resinous, mossy, woody, smoky accords, sometimes animalic, sometimes slightly sweet accords which rise and fall through its long dry-down. Majestic and pungent at the outset, dense and captivating in the heart, the animalic leather and incense notes add a wave of sensuous warmth in the dry-down. Black No. 1 is one of those fragrances that feels like it has spiritual power, touching deep feelings and stirring forgotten memories.

Christi Meshell describes Black No. 1 as “very robust”, not for amateurs, and I think she’s right. This is a fragrance for perfume connoisseurs who are seeking a soul-stirring experience. It is very powerful at first, but soon finds its cruising speed, slowing down so you can enjoy the long ride on its magic carpet. Composed mostly from natural essences (93%) the fragrance has a lovely soft sillage, one application lasts for hours, and it’s perfectly at home on male and feminine skin.

Black No. 1 is irrefutable proof that great things absolutely do come in small packages. And they're still great even when renamed and repackaged in bigger packages.


Black No.1 (FKA Blackbird) is listed in our Decant Store. Decants of the pure perfume are $12.00 for 1 ml.