Belem fragrance notes

    • Lime, Bergamot, bay, Basil, lemongrass, Pink pepper, Jasmine, clove, balsams, cedar, Guiacwood, vanilla, Sea Air,

Where to buy

Latest Reviews of Belem

You need to log in or register to add a review
Belem by Clandestine Laboratories (2021) is a fairly high-concept fresh fragrance from the brand, and one that doesn't immediately avail itself to being what it ultimately is about; but that's not a bad thing. For the record, I do have a bit of a hard time actually disliking things from this house, although Tilia by Clandestine Laboratories (2021) gets pretty close to that; behind it I'd say comes Belem, as this is a fragrance I appreciate but don't enjoy enough to buy or wear, although this doesn't mean I think Belem is bad. Quite the contrary is my opinion here, as this is quite a good fragrance that accomplishes what it seeks, and much like Novochoc by Clandestine Laboratories (2022), you will find what you're looking for here in Belem if what you're looking for is a complex left-of-center interpretation of an experience other perfume houses seem to deliver rather much more watered-down than CL does. For me, Belem just reminds me of something not at all intended by its design, market copy, or likely even the perfumer, but more on that further down. Here we have a fragrance that wears very differently on fabric and paper than it does on skin, so I must get that out of the way. I think if you are to experience Belem at its best, you need to make sure some gets on your collar as well as skin, since the combined effect of both dry-downs make this more enjoyable; my breakdown with therefore account for both.

Lime is the dominant player here in the opening, followed by a bit of bergamot, and then basil. The basil leads to pink pepper, bay and clove which to me squishes out the jasmine on skin, but lets it breathe on fabric; herein is but one example of why I say wear this on both skin and cloth. Some ozonic-type synthetics offer up "sea air" notes similar to the zippiness in Tilia, again squished on skin and better on cloth. The base is a melange of dry woods and rounded balsams that get sweetened just a tad with vanilla. I find the final skin scent which merges these with lemongrass to be a bit more like a sage bush on skin, but once again zestier on fabric. Problem is, on fabric you won't get the warmth, so there again Belem needs to be on both. Ultimately, the skin scent version reminds me a bit of a few late 90's to early 2000's things that handle herbal notes, lemongrass, and creamy woody bases, although few come to mind and none of them sparked my interest then either, Particularly, I'm thinking of Moschino Friends (2005). On paper or cloth, Belem is much more of a lime and herb fragrance barely graced with pepper notes, woods, and balsamic heft, but lacks the tenacity of the base notes warming up on skin. Spray it on a shirt collar and neck before going out on a summer day, and all is forgiven. I'd say that Belem is perfectly unisex, although this leans a bit more masculine at times regardless of where you happen to spray it. Longevity and sillage are also good.

The brand specifically states Belem is "named for the historic coastal city in Portugal", plus "inspired by a great-smelling bay hedge across from the marina, the salty sea air and feeling of being near the water, and by the wonderful vanilla custard Pastéis de Belém", all of which I can see. From a conceptual standpoint, this does sort of remind me of life in a parochial sea-side town in Europe, even without knowing a lick about the city of Belém itself. I can just imagine the piers, the garrigue brush, the warm salty air, and mixing with the smells of humanity just nearby, tying up boats in the sweaty sun. Therefore, I'd say mission accomplished for Belem on that front. As something I'd wear? I would sadly have to say negative to that, as the combination of green aromatics over spices and vanilla reminds me a bit of the stale smell vintage perfumes can sometimes get when juice is trapped in the plastic stems of old spray bottles for years, that you have to shoot out with the first application to get into the bottle proper. It's an unfortunate mental connection that likely only I will make, but it one that keeps me from enjoying what's here beyond artistic appreciation of concept. However, that likely isn't going to be your experience; and once again, if you split this between fabric and skin, you effectively get two scents in one, which is pretty dang neat. Thumbs up
26th June 2022
A wonderfully evocative fragrance - straight to the beach and summers when I was young boy. It's citrusy and aromatic in the opening with an interesting spicy note from the pepper mingling with the unmistakable salty and herbaceous fragrance of dried lemongrass stems.

Through the drydown, you get some very smooth vanilla that mixes with a dry, woody note that rounds out the experience - I am telling you this smells like the beach did when I was a kid years and years ago.

This isn't a "coconut" beach fragrance, it's driftwood and salt and fresh breezes.

Good stuff (and more importantly, highly wearable) stuff from a really interesting house.
3rd June 2022