Thursday, December 7, 2023

The Bizarre Summer Nostalgia of Universal Supreme

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We often think of gourmand perfumes as those modeled after food, but the truth is those gourmand fragrances rarely venture out of the dessert category. If a food scent would stand out of place in a bakery, you’re unlikely to find it in a perfume. It’s not hard to imagine why many foods don’t have corresponding fragrances. As much as I love Pad Thai or fried chicken, I don’t really want to wear them around like a badge of olfactory honor.

However, there are wonderful exceptions. You only need to look back at yesterday’s review from Kori to see the appeal of smelling like the world’s greatest BBQ pitmaster. There are also a number of fragrances that use leafy green or fresh fruit notes that appear edible, but they’re often in compositions that smell far more perfume-y than delicious. This is why Universal Supreme from Blackbird’s Nicole Miller is such an astounding fragrance: it is a gourmand that targets a food that’s brazenly weird, wonderful, and evocative.

That ‘food’ is none other than the Cherry Popsicle.

Universal Supreme Notes

Top Notes: Cherry, Strawberry

Heart Notes: Heliotrope, Iris, Cedar, Rose, Hay

Base Notes: Oud, Sandalwood, Olibanum

Universal Supreme is a miraculous fragrance in the literal sense. It is difficult to imagine how Miller, Blackbird’s nose and founder, arrived at such a convincing olfactory impression of the popsicle, a food marked more by temperature and texture than flavor. Universal Supreme is undoubtedly the iciest perfume I’ve ever encountered. I have the suspicion that the answer lies somewhere in the florals of hazy heliotrope and powdery iris coming together with a cool, textured frankincense in the base.

The fragrance is marked by two stages. First, we get the remarkable fruit-pop impression of the opening. However, it’s startling how quickly the fruit disappears from the pop. After a half-hour or so, the fragrance smells like a popsicle that has been evacuated of its flavor. This is a slightly-sweet, distinctly icy fragrance that will keep you cool far longer than it will tempt your tastebuds.

One thing is for certain – Universal Supreme conjures nostalgia for the summer. When I smell this perfume, I am whisked away to poolside birthday parties, pavement blazing beneath frantically tip-toeing feet, and the carefree afternoons of endless vacation. Though the popsicle accord remains central, I can almost pick out the scents of those memories hidden on the fringes of Universal Supreme. This is a joyful creation. If it’s any indication of Nicole Miller’s other creations, Blackbird is more a perfume home than a perfume house – one filled with the spirit of lived-in memories.

Sample or purchase Universal Supreme directly from Blackbird’s site to support the artist.

The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated. 

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  • Jade

    Jade is the Lifestyle Editor at the Fandomentals, where they obsess over perfume and underground music. Their wacky poetry is floating around the internet - beware! Follow them for fragrance and poetry content @johndarrextreme on Instagram.

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