Skip to main content

Blackpepper – Unconventional, exceptional and so, so very wearable March 29, 2017

Image - CdeG Black Pepper -

Sometimes when I sniff a new fragrance, I am uninspired. That doesn’t mean I’ve lost my passion for perfume or that I’ve become cynical, I haven’t. It just feels like I’ve had my last rodeo. That there isn’t really anything new or exciting – not in the weird way, but in a great-perfume-smelling way. I don’t want to wear ‘weird’ perfumes and I don’t want to write about them either. We, you and I, both deserve better than that here at perfumeniche.

Which brings to mind a story. Kay and I were sniffing fragrances one evening with a mind to buying a few. She sprayed something on her wrist that filled the air around her. Then she made a gasping noise and then she made terrible gacking noises. Between breaths she said, “This smells like it fell out of someone’s ass.” Of course, in the spirit of scent sisterhood I felt I should get up close and give it a whiff. I wish I hadn’t. Her description was bang on. We got rid of most of this scrubber (tip: my favourite way to remove fragrance from my skin is to run a stainless steel spoon over it. Works for removing garlic and onion smells from your hands too!) but the memory still haunts us both. In fact, I still suffer from occasional olfactory flashbacks that bring tears to my eyes.

It wasn’t until I smelled Blackpepper by Comme des Garçons that I found what I had been seeking – a unisex fragrance that is unconventional, but not strange or weird, and a joy to wear and to smell.

OK, the name, Blackpepper kinda gives a hint as to what it smells like but this fragrance is so much more than cheap heat. It’s a love affair that will last through the ages…or as long as CdG makes it.

Right off the top there is a glorious blast of pungent Madagascar pepper. Is it too much? Nearly, but no. The word is that nose Antoine Maisondieu made blackpepper 20% of the formula. But don’t worry, he knows what he’s doing, after all he’s created five other fragrances for CdG, and one of my all-time faves Fat Electrician, for Etat Libre d`Orange.

Once the nose-tingling ends, austere, balsamy, cedarwood comes forward. I smell dark, spicy patchouli and resinous, musty oud too. It’s coming from rich, fragrant Akigalawood, a synthetic created at Givaudan that has an odour profile similar to patchouli but with spicy, pepper and agarwood facets. The woods elongate the warmth of the pepper and soften it, creating a gentle spicy, smoky glow.

There’s a point about an hour into the fragrance when the woods and spiciness open up and allows a lush, fresh floral note to peek through – such a gorgeous surprise – before Tonka bean appears and sweetens it just enough. Oakmoss at the base grounds the woodiness and adds its own slight sweetness, while a musky accord binds it all together.

For all the pungency it has at the opening, Blackpepper dries down to a beautiful spicy/woody skin scent. Unconventional, exceptional and so, so very wearable.

I guess I’ve got a few rodeos left yet….

Blackpepper is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.