Saturday, March 25, 2023

Fragrance Friday: Kemi Blending Magic

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I’ve returned after taking a week off to give my sniffer a break! This week we’re going to be looking at a line from the house of Xerjoff: Kemi Blending Magic, particularly its namesake, Kemi.

Now, why did I want to give my nose a break? Well, olfactory fatigue is a thing, even if you don’t join the 20 sprays club, and fragrance lovers can help prevent this from happening by giving themselves little breaks here and there to let their noses rest and recharge.

But I’m back and the break was probably a good thing because Kemi is not a shy fragrance!

The Italian house of Xerjoff was founded by Sergio Momo in 2003, and over the years they’ve had a few collections or related offshoots (Sospiro was also a Sergio Momo line, but its most popular scents have largely been incorporated back into Xerjoff via their Velvet collection). The Kemi Blending Magic collection was launched in 2014 and has 12 fragrances in its lineup. The namesake, Kemi, was released in 2014, and its nose is Chris Maurice. Before we get into my opinion, let’s do a quick breakdown of the notes.

Kemi Blending Magic – Kemi Notes:

Top Notes: Cedar, agarwood (oud)

Heart Notes: Balsam, caramel, castoreum, civet

Base Notes: Sandalwood, vanilla, additional wood notes

Let’s explain a few of these notes before moving forward. Civet and castoreum are animalic notes (they can be an acquired taste and I generally would not recommend someone new to fragrances jump in to sample these, at least not until their noses have developed) traditionally taking from a civet cat (civet) or beaver’s (castoreum) anal glands. Nowadays these notes are synthetic because otherwise harvesting these naturally would harm or kill the animals they come from.

Agarwood, or oud, is a very divisive scent in the fragrance community that most people either love or hate. Oud is created when the agarwood (aquilaria trees) becomes infected with a type of mold called Phialophora parasitica. When the mold is left to run loose, what results after some time is a very complex and smelly resin that is highly prized in fragrance making (and real, non-synthetic oud is NOT cheap). Oud-based fragrances are particularly popular in the Middle East but are gaining traction in other parts of the world as more fragrance houses are incorporating this note into their lineups.

So we have Eau de Anal and Eau de Tree Mold as notes in this scent. And, whether you like animalics or ouds, or if you steer clear of them, is shockingly rendered moot because in spite of these notes existing, that balsam note is so strong it overpowers nearly every other note in this scent. Seriously, y’all. I thought I’d sprayed my wrists with Vicks Chloraseptic Spray for the entire opening. Mixed in with the cedar and this was a trip to a Vicks factory located in the middle of a forest.

I’d say I had this on a good 90 minutes before it finally softened into a sweeter, woody scent with that vanilla finally getting a chance to peek out. Now, all of that said, fragrances are highly subjective and each person will have a different reaction. I sent a sample of this to Seher and she quite liked it, so just because it didn’t suit my nose doesn’t mean it won’t suit yours.

Still, it’s not my cup of tea, and I can go get a bottle of Vicks for a pittance of the cost. Oh, yeah, this doesn’t come cheap. A 100 mL bottle of this goes for a jaw-dropping $390 over on Luckyscent. But, if you want to test it out without sacrificing a third to half of your month’s rent, they have samples available for a 0.7 mL vial at $6.

Have strong thoughts about this piece you need to share? Or maybe there’s something else on your mind you’re wanting to talk about with fellow Fandomentals? Head on over to our Community server to join in the conversation!

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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  • Kori

    Kori is an entertainment writer and Managing Editor at the Fandomentals. In her spare time, she is a fragrance and watch enthusiast, lover of Eurovision, and Yanni devotee. Find her on Instagram at @fmkori

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