June 18, 2014

Blackbird Perfumes: Triton and Incense for Summer

Blackbird, situated in the Pacific Northwest (and now gone international) is a design studio that that has made several incense and smoke-toned fragrances.

All of them so far have been straightforward, minimalist, direct, sophisticated and subtle.

Triton is their new perfume. It continues their style, this time as a soft incense and dry linen paper composition.

My immediate impression was a large leather bound book with linen-paper pages infused with the vapors of incense, the pages fanning out in a cool room room with stone walls.  A castle room?  The softness of the incense effect is the most important part of it all for me. It makes it possible to wear incense perfume at any time, day or night, in any season.

I was immediately delighted by it and went for a full size, which is in any case small and travel and price friendly - 10ml roll on for $38 (samples for $5 or a sample mix for $40).  It goes well with many other perfume notes too, for use as a background note, if one is so inclined. Recently I tried it at the same time as Sarassins from Lutens on different areas of skin; makes a pleasing combination of  quiet incense with a rich yet cool jasmine.

At first I thought it might be best for gray rainy days (we had a long cool Spring here and there's their home office Seattle weather) but since then have used it on sunny humid days in Brooklyn. It will work for those who crave an incense tone even when the sun is hot and the air heavy.  The cool soft smoke surrounds everything with a sacred cloud; a liftoff of soothing relaxation, a fog that takes the edge off the nerves.

All the more reason to indulge a craving for incense: there has been a study done  that shows the scent of incense to be a natural psychoactive that reduces anxiety and depression.  It also helps people relax enough to fall asleep. Frankincense is the specific element known to work right on the brain itself, but personally I find that any incense toned perfume instantly lays a psychologically effective warm soothing hand on me.

There are several other soft incense-themed perfumes in the line. My favorite among the rest is Tinderbox, the scent of gunpowder stored in a metallic box, with some shine to it. Mizuchi has a cedar graphite black inky feel, the subtle vapor that surrounds precise mechanical drawing instruments. Pipebomb goes on like nothing at all and then builds up over time, as the time fuse burns down and then a spark from smoldering wet driftwood warms up with your body heat, holding close to the skin.   Iroko reveals several layers of different woods, opening with a refreshing cedar and then diving back into the soothing inner core of a teak tree.  Hallow is strong from the start, oud frankincense and benzoin keyed to hover over their most wood-like aspects.   Moto Oud is a road trip scent, leather jacket and light motor oil with a touch of warmed blacktop, a much gentler vision of the ride depicted by Comme des Garcons in Black (a big perfume, not so gentle).

All of them are like the warm fuzzy air trapped in a favorite cashmere scarf, they are very controlled and toned to be a sophisticated wash of scent color over the skin.

I liked the soap samples I tried which were slices off  the full size dense cube blocks, lightly scented with things that go with the perfumes, like black licorice, resin and ambers.  Saturated with color, some of them  (the blacks and reds) leave color like a watercolor wash that sluices off without staining.  Many are sold out so you can tell they are covetable items. Black Licorice warms up in hot water for a hit of that true fragrance. Blood Countess must refer to Elizabeth Bathory and the water stained dark pink going down the drain does bring up certain vampiric connections.  Good as small gifts or to give washing a graphic-designed sophisticated aura, organizing a daily experience under moderne principles.  They are all hand made in Seattle.

There are also several fragranced incenses that work together with the Blackbird aesthetic - they are described on the site as Ai [mossy geranium] Blood Countess [sweet resin] Hibernus [honeyed wintergreen] Izba [woody lavender] Muru [damp vetiver] Nahk[spicy leather] Ozo [licorice rose] Roheline [tomato leaves] Sepulchre [dry floral] Sofia [violet-leaf amber].

I find the best thing is to light the cones so they burn down to the bottom with a flame and then blow that out for the smoke to rise. These are also as subtle and soft as the perfumes, giving the impression and benefit of the fragrance without overwhelming with an over-smoky atmosphere. An incense sample mix is also available.

Experiencing all these different shades of incense as fragrance in various forms made me realize anew how much I love incense, and now how much I want to use it a lot more often, and so will make a point of it.  With a variety of styles including these sophisticated modern takes on the concept it will be a relaxing and soothing aromatic experience more available to me this summer than ever before.

For more on Triton see this review on Poisonous IV.
For beautiful music and some visuals to imagine an Everything Perfume by, this video.

Copyright 2014, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.
Above photos from the Blackbird site.

Please visit their site to order or search for local stockists, and for more information as to pricing and specific note profiles.  Samples received from Blackbird.

This is an independent review site and the opinions expressed are solely mine, without commission or compensation.

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