Kingdom and I have a history that goes two or three years back. I was in love with the bottle long before I smelled the scent. To me it is the most beautifully designed bottle, feels very expensive and has no flaws whatsoever. It is even extremely practical once you figure out how to make it stand straight and still. I must admit though that the first sniff was a shock, nothing like I imagined it to be. I loved the monumental dimension of Alexander McQueen’s clothes and the aggressiveness of his aesthetics but somehow I expected something cold and detached, something to rise above and look down as the name suggested. Instead I got a violently romantic scent, dramatic, intricate and unique. Exactly what I should have expected. Kingdom is usually classified as a spicy oriental but to my nose it is wood that stands out. A very thick, dark and polished wood, an intricate, artisanal chest that has just had the finishing touch from the hands of the master carpenter. Of course a lot more is going on here. The legendary cumin opening is there and is really breathtaking. No one has ever dared put cumin in the spotlight like this. What is surprising is that cumin coupled with the polished wood accord feels more like part of the lacquer than a spice. The initial phase of Kingdom lasts for quite long and feels very aggressive, thick and slightly metallic. In this stage it doesn’t come of as a feminine scent at all. It certainly isn’t soft and the intense red glass of the bottle and silver skin seems to me like one of the most successful pairings of perfume and perfume bottle. As cumin starts to integrate with the other materials a floral heart shines through. I can pin down neroli and carnation, a combination that creates a creamy heart that also manages to carry over the metallic theme of the opening. The drydown is creamy and soft but it has a rounded, impenetrable quality. It feels like a soft suede cushion.
Notes from Parfumo.net: orange, mandarin orange, mint, neroli, bergamot, lemon, carnation, ginger, rhubarb, jasmine, celery seeds, rose, amber, musk, oakmoss
Notes from my nose: cumin, mahogany, metal, neroli, carnation, suede
Two years before the release of Kingdom, another legendary perfume hit the market. Nu was the first YSL perfume launched under the creative direction of Tom Ford. It was the female partner to M7 which created more noise with its innovative use of oud and full frontal male nudity campaign (in Europe only). Nu however wore a breathtaking bottle that looked like a silver hockey puck, hugging a purple-blue glass container. The sensual, mystical theme of the bottle was also reflected in the scent itself. An opening of pepper segues into a sandalwood heart with a delicate jasmine note. The base is creamy and rich, soft and warm.
Notes from Parfumo.net: bergamot,cardamom, pepper, orchid, jasmine, sandalwood, musk,vetiver
Notes from my nose: pepper, sandalwood, jasmine, suede, coffee
These two fragrances felt immediately similar to my nose before I even knew that they were created by the same perfumer, Jacques Cavallier. Of course their similarities are as many as their differences but their common genes are masterfully manipulated to diverge to opposite directions. In the heart of both compositions a full bodied, succulent ball of leathery flowers with a hint of metal is the sensual centre of attention. For Nu, Jacques Cavallier chose to dress this sensual accord in a velvet night gown, chic but understated. Two years later he pushed the envelope by trapping it in a cage of barb-wire cumin and woods. Both fragrances are beautifully sculpted, compact and tactile. Their respective textures are stunning. Kingdom feels hard and shiny. Nu is soft, wet and rich. Suede is to Nu what vinyl is to Kingdom. Researching Cavallier’s work I realised that he is responsible for such iconic fragrances as Tuscany Leather, Rive Gauche pour Homme, Opium pour Homme, Midnight Poison, Bulgari pour Homme, Gautier Classique, L’Eau d’Issey and L’Eau d’Issey pour Homme and last but not least the misunderstood, avant garde masterpiece, Le Feu d’Issey. An impressive portfolio that shows that he is a master in creating three-dimensional perfume compositions, full of texture.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.