Friday, 27 June 2014

Darling Clandestine Green and Blue Scent Reviews

Pacific Crest/John Muir Trail in Yosemite National Park, California

Patrick Suskind's novel 'Perfume' is one of my all time favourite books, however when reading it I can't help but lament the fact that I will never smell perfumes as complex and alive as the protagonist created, until now. Since my last post I've fallen head over heels in love with Darling Clandestine - trying to decipher their enigmatic scents is so entertaining and satisfying as, unlike other perfumes, it's incredibly difficult to pick out individual notes or even general ingredients. Moreover scent notes cannot even begin to describe DC's perfumes, and frequently do them a huge injustice as they're often irrelevant to the unique harmony they create - it's like trying to describe a work of art purely by the Pantone numbers used to paint it.

Instead of photographing almost identical looking samples and bitsy vials for each review, and to add a personal touch, I've tried to find photos I've taken that express the essence of each scent - I hope it's helpful or at least entertaining!

And finally, as always, I sniff and write my reviews before I look up the perfume descriptions and scent notes so they don't influence me too much, although of course I do remember vaguely what each should smell like from when I bought them. So without further adieu, here is Part 1 of my mega scent review series:


Gram Negative
Orchid, soil, moss, lichens, tea
This scent smells exactly like a greenhouse: musty earth, fresh soil and damp greenery. As a scent I love it, but as a perfume it's pretty weird so I mostly just sniff the jar and smile.

This gorgeous snake's colouring perfectly fits the mood of the perfume, just imagine he's basking on damp earth.
Anyway, terrariums are sort of like greenhouses right?

Maudlin & Bedlam
Honey, herbals, wood, green leaves
Gram Negative's fresher sister - the greenery is brighter, lighter with an edge that isn't sweet like florals but... alive maybe. There's definitely fresh soil but without the mustiness that indicates damp and warmth. If Gram Negative is the ground in autumn/winter Maudlin & Bedlam is the same ground filled with news plants in spring.

A swamp just outside New Orleans, Louisiana

Lilies, succulents, herbs, mitti attar
The "floral for those who don't like florals" - this was the scent I've been most eager to try as I both love and hate florals. It smells like a florist's when you first step in - green, alive, and bright with the sharpness of freshly cut stems without the sweetness of flowers: a pervading sense of bright, clean, green, light, fresh.

Somewhere in the Sierra Nevada, California, about half way through the John Muir Trail

Green tea, opium
Sepentina is a darker, warm green - it doesn't smell like living plants and is a much more comforting scent. It has an incense like backdrop which adds both warmth and depth but smells nothing like actual incense or smoke, this is what Mother Nature would smell like.

Aerial shot of the Okavango Delta, Botswana, from a light aircraft

La La La All Right
Breeze, fields, river and road
Intense fresh cut greenery - the smell of fort building amongst the bushes of your garden during the summers of childhood. Initially very sharp like a shot of wheatgrass but mellows to something warmer before settling to a softly sharp green, warm air and sun baked... something. Evonne is a genius - it's a sumer road-trip in a convertible driving on sunbaked tarmac surrounded by fields and blue skies!

Yosemite National Park, California


Lemongrass, vanilla, wood, marigolds
Lemongrass is one of the most distinctive scents for me having practically bathed in it as a mosquito repellant, Cloudswing however adds a whole new dimension (lemongrass is aptly named - it's citrus-y sharp and green) bringing a golden warmth and depth with what feels like the muted fire of ginger and hay. Imagine you're in a barn warm in your sleeping bag and covered in bugspray - essentailly, Cloudswing = summer camp.

Everyone loves summer camp! Blue Ridge Mountains North Carolina

Step Right Up
Blue-green, spicy, oceanic
The sharp freshness of greens mixed with the moodiness of blues give you a living but not earthy outdoors scent. I can't smell any pine in here but it has the same feeling as pines - green, but cold and sharp too. To me this is a mountain lake surrounded by trees. Cold air and chopping wood in the winter, very sexy.

Kings Canyon National Park, California


Monstre Delicat
Fig, rain, spiced wood, storms
I had no idea a scent could be moody until I smelt this perfume - at first it's aloof and cold, but with a strange underlying comfort that is not warm or sweet but... solid. Almost like despite its indifference to you this scent will always be there for you. Really though this scent is beautiful - it's a rainy day in a bottle, at first cold rain on the window leads to melancholy, but opens up to the possibility of a day spent with an old book and a blanket.

Denali State Park, Alaska

Lakes, sand
Watery, without a shadow of a doubt. For the first second it smells almost green but that disappears almost instantly giving way to the melancholy of Monstre Delicat, but without the solid base. This perfume is in every sense of the word all liquid. Every sniff brings to mind something to do with water - the air before a rain, a breeze across a lake, damp skin on the dock, rain on the road, rain on the grass, rain in your hair. I honestly have no idea how a scent can be 'watery' but this one is - not 'watered down' or damp or moist, but huge and wet and deep. (I'm not sure how to edit that sentence to make it less... anyway). This is one of DC's lightest and subtlest perfumes, I can't sense anything solid to it like earth, leather, smoke or skin, but it's deep. It's a deep lake of blue.

Chobe River, Botswana

Cold, blue, white
Mountain air - empty mountain air - when you've climbed so high every breath is deep due to its thinness. It's snow, it's cold, it's the biting wind. Brutally beautiful. Cold, clean, expansive. White but not sterile, with the clear blue sky beating down on you. I honestly have no idea how Evonnne creates scents like these - I can't pick out a single note of anything, but can understand exactly what the scent is trying to convey. If Mishigami is the blue of water, this is the blue of the air.

Goat Rocks Mountains, Washington

Overall, I adore every single one of these perfumes which is 
completely unsurprising as I love anything and everything outdoorsy, my favourites for myself to wear are Limerence and Serpentina, but I also particularly love the scents of Step Right Up, Monstre Delicat, Mishigami and Vortex. Moreover all of these scents are unisex as they contain no stereotypical gendered notes (like florals or 'Old Spice'-ness) and personally I'd be incredibly impressed to catch a whiff of a man smelling like mountain air instead of A&F's Fierce, unfortunately most of the time I'm in mountain air with men none of us have showered in at least a week...

On that delicious note, love,

Saskia X

1 comment:

  1. I ordered a bunch of Darling Clandestine samples a while back and they really didn't work for me but your post is making me want to try again! I found that the samples I had all seemed quite..similar? It's possible I just got a bad batch or something- Mishigami and Monstre Delicat are currently calling my name.