I'm just going to out and say it. Tobacco Vanille meets Chergui. Bam. Mindblowing. Bar-raising. For less than 11 Euro? Are you KIDDING ME??? Un-be-lieve-a-ble.
On the back of the box, the notes read: Coriander, Ginger, Balcan Tobacco Absolute, Saffron, Vanilla, Amyris, Cistus Absolute, Cypriol and Java Wood. How is THAT for a note breakdown? This may very well be the most under-sold Zara fragrance ever made, it's that good.
The opening is a blast of spices and tobacco, with that familiar Tobacco Vanille (TV) vibe. I immediately get the ginger and tobacco, as well as the amyris and a touch of vanilla. On paper, the quality and blending is rather reminiscent of an oud offering from Juliette Has a Gun, but settles into the lipsticky spices from Chergui rather quickly. On skin, the similarity at a distance is closer to TV with the vanilla and woods being more prominent, but the spices are still there in the background. There's even a quasi-animalic touch that comes out on skin early in the mid, possibly due to the addition of cistus. To me, it's Christmas market vibes to a tee - holiday juice in a bottle, far more so than RWA and last year's holiday sweetie Unexpected Fresh Spicy.
And if you read the last paragraph and thought to yourself that it CAN'T be that good, I can honestly say that this is my favourite release from Zara EVER. It's not even close - and I've sampled or owned nearly every release since 2015. In fact, the quality of Warm Black harkens back to the good 'ol 2016 when Zara was releasing bangers like Tone Indeterminee, Exclusive Oud and the original Rich Warm Addictive. But this one tops them all in my opinion, with upwards of niche quality hidden in..... a stock bottle??? What's up with THAT? I still can't understand why this wasn't marketed as part of the tobacco collection.... Go figure.
As far as projection goes, it isn't as good as either the Tom Ford or Serge Lutens, but it's still nice and cozy. Longevity is fair too - about 6-7 hours - on par for a more mid-to-base heavy fragrance. It's just...for THAT price, it's difficult to fathom. Talk about a hidden gem! Essentially Tobacco Vanille on the cheap. The only concerning thing now is the supply. Because once people find out about this one....eeeep. Surely this review isn't helping? LOL Blind buy SUCCESS!!!!!