A note from Sarah McCartney:
White Queen and Red Queen were both inspired by Alice in Wonderland, the all-powerful queens of the chess board in a mathematical land of logic and apparent nonsense. It’s a place where I’m really happy to work; an eccentric imaginary space, one with which I have a physical connection. I found out a few years ago that the house I lived in from age 11 to 18 was built in the actual Wonderland, the former rectory garden where Alice’s grandfather lived and was so happy I cried. So far no surprises.
For Dark Queen Michelyn wanted to take me far from this particular fantasy land into another territory, animalic but not white rabbits, dormice and mock turtles: more spirit animals, vampires, inner beasts, wolves and wildcats.
Michelyn asked me to read the book she had in mind, so I ordered it straight away, Dark Queen by Faith Hunter. Well then, this was so many miles away from my literary safe place that I almost fainted.
Dark Queen is very different from my normal perfumed playground, but I do love a challenge so I sought out and revisited materials that took me to the place we talked about in our transatlantic call; styrax and a particularly fruity oudh creation from Firmenich called out to me from the shadows. It had to belong in our Queen series, but instead of a Victorian English garden, it had to drop into the hot dark mysteries of modern New Orleans. I’ve been there, not for decades, but you never forget its feeling, so I aimed for that.
I wanted to make it smell of instinct, wild cat, courage, puma, loyalty, and wolf. I don’t enjoy creating notes lists, but I know I must. It’s an animalic amber. Michelyn did not want an oudh, but you can use it without it taking over. It's like putting rose in a woody fragrance; you use it to create richness not to take over.
Some notes then:
Woods, tonka, forest fruits, wild animals, styrax, labdanum and musks.
I almost wanted to dislike it. I was telling myself, “but this isn’t me!” but it is; it’s just a part of me that I usually keep locked up in the basement. It’s a fragrance that made me dig down into areas that I didn’t want to explore. I developed it reluctantly, but I’m so glad I did.
Read more about Dark Queen and enter for a 50ml giveaway on CaFleureBon.