Black Sea opens with an immediately warm combination of cinnamon and sandalwood with traces of guaiac wood acting as early support. The cinnamon and sandalwood hang around well into the heart notes, near immediately joining a combination of saffron and clove spice with lily-of-the-valley providing a somewhat green watery floral undertone to the slightly sweetened spice. Key base notes of amber and incense bleed into the heart notes as well, with the incense in particular taking a starring role through the dry-down with cedar supporting the scent as the backbone of the composition. Projection is above average, as is longevity.
Black Sea is yet another successful release from the now discontinued "Seas" collection of Micallef. It is primarily a spicy incense scent at its heart, but really that descriptor only tells part of the story. There really is a lot going on here... In addition to the spice and incense I get florals with a slight watery undertone (although clear clean water, not calone laced faux salty seawater) and a sweet woody nature to boot. It would be all too easy to screw this composition up by a lesser nose, but Martine Micallef as usual is easily up to the challenge. Black Sea adeptly mixes the saffron and cinnamon spices, the incense, the watery floral lily-of-the-valley, and the sandalwood sweetened woody notes of cedar and guaiac just perfectly, creating a very unique concoction that is smooth, spicy and slightly sweet, but quite wearable and entirely unisex all at once. Black Sea is (was) a brilliant release and earns an excellent 4 stars out of 5.
This is basically Fahrenheit with a sparkly, salty top. There, I said it...
It's got that rubbery black tea note made famous by Fahrenheit and Bulgari Black, backed up with wood, juniper, and peppery notes, all done the same weirdly sweet way that makes Fahrenheit wearable and not just gross. To these weird-but-in-a-good-way notes, it adds a sparkly, salty, aldehydic top that has a mineral water smell to it, making the first hour or so smell like some sort of weird gin martini flavored with Fahrenheit. As the sparkle fades, some leathery saffron comes in, taking Black Sea deeper into Fahrenheit territory.
This actually works surprisingly well, using salty aquatic notes to make a "fresher" take on Fahrenheit. It get no points whatsoever for creativity, but at least it picked something that's rarely copied as its inspiration. So a thumbs up, but without inspiring me to delve deeper into Micallef...
My first foray through the house of Micallef has been a felicitous one! BLACK SEA is a real beauty to my nose. Although at the very opening I thought that this might be a run-of-the-mill sandalwood/cinnamon oriental, as the perfume developed, and the saffron emerged to play a central role, I became more and more smitten with this scent, which definitely seems unisex to me.
The blend is perfect, with none of the notes overwhelming the others but saffron always shining through. I do not find the clove at all loud, and I am hypersensitve to clove, so that means something... In the end, I have to say that this is one of the better saffron orientals I've sniffed, and I do recommend it to anyone who loves saffron as a note in woody oriental perfumes. I do not think that this is the most revolutionary or original composition, but the drydown is just great! Excellent longevity, too.
The best of the bunch of Micallef "Seas" on my skin, but underwhelming, all the same. I like it, but don't love it, though was relieved that it wasn't as sweet as most of the other Micallefs I've tried.
M Micallef Black SeaHusband and wife Martine Micallef and Geoffrey Newman established M Micallef in 1997 and Black Sea is one of their earlier efforts. This is a spicy scent which manages to not be overpowering on me. Right from the top the spices come out to play as clove and pepper show up first. They give way to the saffron; soft, smooth, and exotic. The saffron leads the way into the heart which is predominantly gaiac. The mix at the interface, between top and heart, of saffron and gaiac is breathtakingly beautiful and I wanted it to last longer. It seems like these two notes are olfactory soul mates to my nose. The gaiac is joined by an incense note as the saffron fades away. This part of the development suffers because of what came before, it is fine and it isn't jarringly out of place, I just wanted this to be something more. The base is vanilla with the gaiac and incense also sticking around in the background. I like Black Sea but there is a moment there where I thought this was going to be incredible.
Pink pepper, clove, saffronMuguet, carnationCypress, gaiac wood, sandalwood, cedarwoodIncense and ciste (labdanum)VanillaThis is luxury. The scent opens in a distinctive way. Most scents have a bright and crisp opening. Black Sea starts as very rich, dense, soft and cushiony. It is like encountering the base of the pyramid at the beginning. Then the clouds thin somewhat, and interesting notes emerge: clove from the spice and carnation; and resinous wood tones. The scent becomes a bit soapy and like a barbershop (the clove-y spice). And then it gets rich again, quite beautiful. The vanilla brings out a sweet note. Finally that burns off and some deep cedar notes remain. I'm not a fan of vanilla, but I can say that this is a lovely scent.