Black (Puredistance)

Last autumn, Puredistance mailed me a sample of their newest creation, a fruity-tobacco Oriental named Black. This was nice of them, given that I'd already closed up shop. Amidst the StressFest of my life at that time, even a bona fide masterpiece would simply not have registered. And even after I got around to wearing Black, more than simple malaise discouraged me from reviewing it. You see, Black resembles By Kilian's Back to Black too closely for it to be a mistake. The name, the smell, all the elements are there. I'm left puzzled by this move, and maybe others are, too.

Puredistance itself doesn't help. "Envision. Smell. Feel. Don’t analyse," founder Jan Ewoud Vos scolds visitors to his company's website. He declares that no notes list will be issued for Black and lectures us about society's lamentable tendency "to know everything and to show everything". At this point, duly chastened, society shamefacedly slides its credit card back into its purse.

With previous releases, Puredistance's refusal to itemize ingredients came off as playful, mysterious, a sort of guessing game for fragrance aficionados. Now it just seems lazy, as if they assume that our devotion to their product line is already so sure a bet that it needs neither to be earned nor maintained. This is not so. From its eponymous first fragrance right up to 2012's demure Opardu, Puredistance has demonstrated an absolute commitment to its customer base. I hope they will again.

Scent Elements: Who's to say?