When I am about to describe a perfume, I am always excited, and then the words come by themselves, for my endless passion for these magical potions that keep me company at all times. I want to tell you about Costume National’s Scent Intense, a genderless fragrance, as I like to think that all the scents in the world are because their creation is art, like painting a picture, a sculpture or composing a song. This perfume is enchanting. It’s shiny and dark but somehow accessible, like incredibly soft velvet, and has a contemporary smell without being synthetic. It is so brilliantly blended that it is challenging bringing out every single note. This gives it a wonderful mysteriousness, as it is not just a bizarre perfume, but a completely new one. It is one of my favourites during the cold season. The creation is a revisited interpretation of amber, which meets woods such as sandalwood and with intense patchouli that warms the olfactory pyramid’s heart. I can smell the amber from the beginning, dry and almost sharp along with the sour tea. Yes, because this fragrance features one of the noblest ingredients in perfumery, amber. The deep harmony of amber and woods is mysterious, magnetic, evil, dark, disturbing, passed out. It isn’t easy to verbalize, but there is undoubtedly something intangible in this perfume.
Very modern and perhaps even a little surreal, Scent Intense opens with a seriously dark woody tea accord that explodes into a lighter background of hibiscus, berries and incense. A deep dark brown berry note, as if someone cooked the berries on the stove with spices and tea. But don’t let it lead you astray. The subdued, soothing background acts as a sheet that only seems to emphasize the rawness and dryness of the power play of wood and tea. The hint of sweetness of the berry and the hint of floral spiciness of the hibiscus are a perfect counterpoint to the wood’s dryness and the tea. As soon as the hibiscus appears together with tea, it reminds me of the karkadè, the iced red tea made with hibiscus blossoms. The syrupy opening is very persistent, and it takes a little while for an exotic floral element to stand out. I quickly detected the patchouli in the introduction, which had a rather dusty and leathery feel. The beginning is strong, earthy and woody.
The heart offers the elegance of hibiscus and jasmine. An amiable jasmine note rises from the darkness, bringing with it an appealing intimacy. The suppression of the sweet allows the acidulated hibiscus note to float freely in the heart of this perfume. It looks a lot like the smell of hibiscus on a wet morning on my terrace. Very delicate and yet unmistakably floral. The tea combines beautifully with this concoction and allows the delicacy of the hibiscus to radiate and shine.
The more time passes, the smokier it becomes, acting as a smoke signal that draws attention to demanding, sophisticated, in touch, unrepentant macho men. The smoke hits you in waves: sometimes it’s a dry amber, sometimes it’s wet patchouli and other times it’s a thick smoky wood scent. This smoke is magical and something everyone should try. It moves somewhere between the masculine and the feminine and turns out exquisite. The finish is long and soft. I imagine a persistent and robust hibiscus, which tames amber. The background is amber and woody, still dry and a bit dusty, and not at all unusual. Yes, there is some frankincense, but I still see the perfume as a direct amber oriental. I smell a lot of incense, especially on the finish, which replaces the overall dominant amber and patchouli Incense envelops all the disparate elements and unites them in an atmosphere of sensuality and mystery.
There is excellent longevity in this dark and smoky beauty. Sillage and endurance are highly praiseworthy. It is a cult fragrance, unique, luxurious and outrageous, rich and resinous, and that’s what I love about Scent Intense. A very sexy elixir that always induces naughty intent every time I wear it or smell it. It is dark in the sense that it is very amber and incensed, only slightly fruity, and is complex and intriguing at the same time. Wear it in the frosty nights of late fall and winter, it will warm you up.
This review is based upon a 100ml bottle I own since May 2018.