So I’m writing about the house of Âge de Querelle Perfumes again. I know, I know, y’all are shocked Pikachu face.
It’s no secret I’ve been a fan of this house since I first tried Eau de Cologne, and the nose and owner, Chad Bylsma, has been kind enough to guest on an episode of Sartorial Splendor with me as well. Not to mention he’s been more than gracious any time I go off after hearing the word hyraceum. (John and I might have a problem.)
This time around, I’m going to take a look at the first of three fragrances from his Blacklisted line, No.1. Let’s take a look at the notes.
Blacklisted No. 1 Notes
Haitian vetiver, ambergris, vanilla, musk, castoreum, patchouli, oakmoss, geranium, birch leaf, bergamot, apple, and lavender from the Pacific Northwest.
Quick note lesson since it’s been a while since I’ve done one. While we’ve talked about ambergris, oud, and animalics like castoreum, many of you have probably seen the term vetiver popping up fairly frequently in the notes for fragrances we review.
Chances are, you’ve likely smelled vetiver before and haven’t even realized it. Vetiver is a fairly popular fragrance note derived from the vetiver plant (Chrysopogon zizanioides in taxonomy speak). The plant form is actually a pretty tall, clumpy grass that was originally native to India but has since been cultivated in other parts of the world. Also known as khus oil, depending on where you’re from.
Vetiver shares several similarities with other fragrant grasses, such as lemongrass and citronella. It’s also been used for animal feed, medicinal purposes, etc. But enough of that, you wanna know about the smelly bits. Right. So that part comes from the roots of the plant, and while it’s used in many cases because it has wonderful fixative properties in blending, it’s also got a beautiful earthy, borderline smoky, woody, leather essence going on. Haitian vetiver, in particular, has a more floral element to it than its smokier cousin from Java (due to climate and soil conditions).
Yeah, yeah, that’s nice, but what about Blacklisted No. 1?
This isn’t a traditional “cologne” in the sense that Eau de Cologne is. The Blacklisted line sees Chad grow more comfortable with his fragrance ideas and blending skills, and Blacklisted No. 1 is definitely a success. While I would still categorize this as a fougere, there’s a ton of complexity going on and the envelope is most definitely being “le pushed”.
The vetiver is definitely a star in this fragrance (obviously, or I wouldn’t have waxed poetic about it), but Chad ramps up the complexity of Blacklisted No. 1 by the addition of musk and castoreum adding a lovely layer of very palatable “funk” that’s soothed by a citrus/herby combo of bergamot and lavender.
Rounding out the blending are the oakmoss, patchouli, sandalwood, and ambergris. While vetiver is normally used as a fixative, Chad wisely grounds Blacklisted No. 1 with a nice bulwark of patchouli and ambergris, leaving sandalwood to smooth over any remaining rough edges.
Oh, yeah, so this has apple in it. And I traditionally hate apple as a note. But I surprisingly didn’t mind it in Blacklisted No. 1, and found it to be a nice compliment to the vanilla note, keeping that small burst of sweetness from being too cloying.
Overall, this Blacklisted No. 1 should put others on notice, as Chad is making a clear upward progression in his perfumery skills and daring, leaving the rest of us excited to see what he has in store next.
You can purchase a sample of Blacklisted No.1 as part of the Blacklisted Sample Set here for x. You can also purchase a travel size for $45, or a 50 mL bottle for $115 here. If you’re really daring, there’s a Parfum level concentration (note that I’ve reviewed the EDT version) available here for $55.
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The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews on fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated. In this article, for transparency’s sake, we want to clarify that Age de Querelle did provide Kori with a sample set of its Blacklisted line. However, she purchased Blacklisted No. 1 with her own funds.