As usual I’ve a bit of a hard time with fragrances known for being “skanky”, “dirty”, “animalic” and in broader terms, “challenging”. Because they never really seem so to me. And this is the case of Kingdom, too. It’s a fantastic fragrance, that’s for sure, but I get really nothing dirty or skanky here. Either I’m too used to live in the dirt myself, or have dated particularly clean people, because I get really no smell of sweat or “ladies’ parts” (let alone “man’s crotches”) here, or whatever other kinky stuff. Kingdom seems to me basically a complex, yet actually surprisingly mannered blend revolving around notes of rose, sandalwood, musk and cumin with a dark ambery-mossy base accord, and a silky frame of whiter floral notes. Surely not a light scent, and I see how a hefty dose of rose combined with an equally generous dose of cumin on a thick load of musk and woods can result into something “carnal”, alluring, almost intoxicating, but it doesn’t really seem anything particularly “skanky” or challenging to wear to me. It’s just more very vibrant, warm, refined and sensual, surely much “human” and somehow “carnal”, but not exactly dirty to me. Also as I said, it seems actually quite more mannered and smooth than I thought – not a “bomb”, really. It’s surely rich and deep, but not loud or more powerful than many others. It’s very velvety actually. Most vintage chypres are way more dirty, loud and challenging than this.
Anyway, aside from the fact it smells truly good, absolutely quality and surprisingly versatile (not sure why but in some way, this reminds me of a rose-spicy version of Yohji Homme, with a touch of something androgynous), the reason why I really like Kingdom and consider it a totally worthy gem is because of its charming complexity. That kind of intricated complexity that presents you a very harmonic, balanced, perfectly consistent blend that at first seems almost comprising only a small bunch of notes... until you get captured into it, and thrown among the myriad of nuances it has. And it’s like in a well-written poem – everything is in the perfect place, with a perfect timing. You don’t even have to pay that attention actually; you can wear it and forget about it, it will all come to you. Eventually you’ll get whiffs and echoes of carnation, amber, mossy notes, gentle powdery-floral notes, hard spices, even something resembling to silky orange blossoms (I guess the top citrus-neroli notes combined with the “whiter/softer” side of musk), just as if you’re wearing a half dozen of different scents, with an astounding clarity even in the tiniest, most ephemeral details. And yet, you’re always wearing just this one. It’s a peculiar effect some scents have – to release “minor” notes and nuances erratically during their evolution, and yet to keep their, say, “main structure”. I mean, it’s not that it changes or evolves dramatically – ironically it doesn’t that much. A pretty linear scent, in fact. But it has this cinematic effect of releasing coming-and-going nuances throughout its evolution, behind the main consistent structure of rose-cumin-sandalwood-musk, which makes wearing Kingdom a captivating, vibrant, extremely fulfilling experience. And anyway it smells just great, deep and classy, it lasts long without being obtrusive or challenging. Total quality. Prices today are really crazy for this, but you wouldn’t probably regret the purchase – even just to keep it as a reference collector’s item (or a beautiful piece of design... I mean, look at that bottle!).