Something as dark and decadent as this new fragrance launch could only have come from Alexander McQueen. McQueen Parfum is just brilliant; everything about it has been executed with absolute precision, from the theatrical black glass flacon to the way the perfume changes and fades upon the skin. It’s mysterious, powerful and completely unpredictable, with Sambac Jasmine, Tuberose and Ylang Ylang – described as “night blooming florals” – at the heart and top notes of black pepper, pink pepper and clove.
Night blooming florals? This is clearly no ordinary scent!
Before we get into the true nitty-gritty of this evocative fragrance (in my imagination it conjures up scenes with dead-of-night Parisian alleyways and feather-cloaked murderesses and black velvet curtains) it is worth noting that McQueen Parfum is very much in the realms of haute parfumerie and priced accordingly. It’s also only available at Harrods and at the Alexander McQueen boutiques in London, Paris and Monaco, so very exclusive. It’s not a scent you’ll end up smelling on lots of people, should you take the plunge and invest.
But back to those night blooming florals: what a gorgeous, dark, wordy twist on what would usually be called a white floral. Suddenly everything sounds just a bit more debauched and erotic – the jasmine and the ylang-ylang and the tuberose become a dangerous, heady aphrodisiac, administered to unwitting victims by an evil seductress who tempts her prey under the cover of darkness and then beds them and finally (I’ve given this a lot of thought) poisons them. Or perhaps strangles them with her silken stockings.
And the bottle: it’s beautifully gothic but with a modern edge. Like something a modern-day Lady Macbeth would have on her dressing table next to her bejewelled dagger and her leather-bound journal. The jet black glass, the studded lid, the intricate shawl of antiqued golden feathers around the neck of the bottle – it’s just a small work of art. Incredibly heavy in the hand with a sexy, smooth feel – a bit like holding a very weighty piece of forbidden fruit, except that the smooth glass is interrupted by the sharp little edges of the feathers.
McQueen Parfum is femmes fatales, it’s Marquis de Sade, it’s risky liaisons and obsessions that wake you in the dead of night, it’s everything I’m not (and – let’s face it – will probably never be!) but don’t mind pretending to be. This is fragrance so powerful it feels like a costume. I haven’t ever felt so readily, happily transported into a fantasy world by a scent and am quite taken aback at how easily this one manages it. If you can sample it then please do – I’d love to know whether it works its dark, mysterious magic on you…
McQueen Parfum is £285 online here.