When seasonal trends pass, it’s time to return back to black, back to Costume National’s Scent Intense. I purchased this scent all the way back in 2005 from Kleins Perfumery, a little shop in my Melbourne neighbourhood of Fitzroy where I used to spend many hours wandering around. During a visit, I chanced upon Scent Intense sitting unassumingly on a shelf, sniffed the sprayer and sprayed it on the back of my hand on the way out. I couldn’t stop sniffing it all evening and went back the very next day to ask about the price. When I found out that it was over $200, all I could do was spray it one more time before leaving empty handed. It was simply too expensive for me. Still, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So over the course of the next few months, I actually saved up and eventually purchased it, after of course, returning several times to spray it on my skin.
Costume National’s website gives a rather accurate description of Scent Intense: “An intense fragrance sublimated by the deep harmony of amber and cystine. The mystery and radiance of a timeless energy with woody accents and natural deep warmth”. Scent Intense’s version of amber formed my idea of what an amber note is supposed to be – a sweetness devoid of any candy-like elements, staying close to the skin that develops into a deeper warmth as the scent wears on. Apart from amber, floral jasmine and hibiscus notes soften it whilst ambergris comes in later to add an additional layer to the fragrance. This waxy resinous quality that balances the amber is perhaps what I enjoy the most about Scent Intense.
In the day, Scent Intense adds a modern edge but freshly worn at night, it becomes almost radiant in its warmth and depth, like the scent of a soft suede jacket holding its own in a smoky club.
As much as I love this scent, I also do wonder about its popularity. When I first purchased it, I hardly saw it sold anywhere else in Australia. However recently, its distribution has increased tremendously and is also often sold heavily discounted. In fact, I recently purchased it at one-third the price of what I paid for nearly eight years ago. I had to hold myself back from not purchasing additional bottles. In the blogosphere, I don’t seem to sense much love for Scent Intense, seldom seeing it being referenced to or mentioned. Not that I mind really, rather, more of an observation.
Incidentally, “Back to Black” is of course, also a reference to Amy Winehouse’s song of the same name. It was ten years ago that Amy Winehouse burst into the music scene with her first album “Frank”, exuding a charisma and an intensity matched only by her originality. Despite being embraced by the public, her own demons ultimately got the best of her. I miss her but am grateful that I can still continue to enjoy her body of work.