Clandestine Laboratories (2022)

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Novochoc by Clandestine Laboratories

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About Novochoc by Clandestine Laboratories

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Clandestine Laboratories
Fragrance House
Mark Sage

Novochoc is a shared scent launched in 2022 by Clandestine Laboratories

Reviews of Novochoc by Clandestine Laboratories

There are 2 reviews of Novochoc by Clandestine Laboratories.

Novochoc by Clandestine Laboratories (2022) is thoroughly unlike any fragrance carrying a cocoa note I've ever smelled; and that can either be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on how you feel about strong gourmand notes in your fragrances. The elephant in the room on this scent is definitely the name, which corresponds to the Soviet-developed Novichok nerve agent still being used in some forms out in the world today, predominantly in post-CSS countries. I take it with a grain of salt because perfumery is not unfamiliar with the use of scandalous or controversial names for fragrances; but I can also understand how someone can easily equate the name of Novochoc for this perfume to the condoning of activities involving the actual Novichok nerve agent, although I note that such connections prove tenuous at best and that such political inferences by use of such a word play on the perfumer's behalf can only be speculated at, but not proven. I probably wouldn't have chosen this name, but I'm not taking anyone to task over it either, as shows like South Park have done far worse.

Now on to the actual smell, which I guess should be the point right? This is chocolate, undiluted, mostly unsweetened, in full force. There is little adornment to Novochoc's primary cocoa note, and one could almost call this the perfumer's homage to Baker's unsweetened chocolate that every grandma used for her homemade devil's food layer cake back in the 1950's. The chocolate comes out surrounded by a little almond, flanked with a little spiced rose jam and jasmine, given some cinnamon facets redolent of Mexican chocolate a la Abuelita, then laid on an oriental-type base that carries it all well. Peru and tolu balsam alongside some incense courtesy opoponax fit with coumarin and a tonkin-type musk profile. I get wisps of some woody materials late stage in the wear, and Novochoc never feels thick or cloying like many other cocoa-dominant gourmands out there. Wear time is stellar, and you will smell this in a room with little application, so beware of potency here. Best use for me would likely be fall and winter as a personal enjoyment scent.

For me, this breaks down to be about 90% chocolate, and 10% everything else, with the rose jam and cinnamon coming to the fore the most among the remaining notes, and because I'm not the biggest fan of singular gourmand notes, I wouldn't wear this. However, I do like the idea and execution here with Novochoc, with the name being left alone; I'm not going there, as they say. If you're a fan of big singular food notes a la many of the niche coffee scents pervading the market nowadays, this is the chocolate equivalent to them. Furthermore, if you want a mostly unsweet take on chocolate in gourmand perfume form, Novochoc might be your best best bet; because literally nobody else is doing chocolate notes quite this directly that I've ever smelled, hence my opening statement. Style, quality, and performance are all here, with only perhaps a bit of linearity being my only real complaint aside from it just not being my vibe, so I'd fully recommend Novochoc by Clandestine Laboratories to the chocolate lovers out there looking for a serious indulgence in perfume form. Thumbs up

An unconventional take on cacao, Novochoc brings its mineral and dusty facets to the forefront. The result is a dry, slate-like scent that has more in common with many artisanal leather scents than it does with any gourmand.

The opening does suggest a kind of chocolate, but it's the chalky, bitter sort that you get in high-concentration dark chocolate bars. It then moves into a space that reminds me heavily of opening a bag of unsweetened, high-grade cacao powder. It stays in this space and gets progressively more mineral-feeling as it wears on skin.

Novochoc offers very unique take on a note that usually is sweetened or mingled with patchouli to create a dense, dark effect. This is a "shades of gray" cacao, in line with some of the other fragrances from this house that play with similar tones. Those who have struggled with chocolate notes in more gourmand expressions may enjoy this shift in emphasis (I know that I do).

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