Launched in 2014 by Italian luxury bath and beauty brand Acca Kappa, Black Pepper & Sandalwood was the winner of the Independent Category of 2015 Art and Olfaction Awards. The A+O awards celebrate creativity, innovation and excellence in global independent, artisan and experimental perfumery. There are only five awards each year.
I can tell you that this gorgeous fragrance is a winner with me.
It opens with bright, citrusy, bergamot backed by elemi, smelling all piney and lemony. Davana adds a gentle sweet fruitiness. Saffron adds a bittersweet, leathery aspect to the opening, while clove and nutmeg add spicy warmth, with Balsam fir smelling softly balsamic, clean, and sweet. Here’s the thing about the opening; there is no blast of citrus, no muscling of ingredients, no one star. The opening is soft, deep and beautifully compelling and creates the perfect path to a heart of lush, deep Damask rose, and sweet, warm sensuous cinnamon. Black pepper adds a little bite to the heart, while agarwood is here in a supporting role, adding a soft fruity/floral aspect that balances the spices. And then we come to the base. Patchouli, sweet, earthy and woody along with vetiver, musty, woody and resinous, along with Virginia cedarwood bolster the star: creamy, rich sandalwood. Nagarmotha, with its woody, earthy, resinous aspects links all the woods together. Black musk, which is woodier than it is animalic, is perfectly placed here.
The drydown is creamy, rich and woody with spices and resins threaded throughout it and so deftly crafted that it can be worn by a man or a woman.
Notes: bergamot, elemi, davana, saffron, cloves, nutmeg, Balsam fir, Damask rose, cinnamon, black pepper, patchouli, Haitian Vetiver, sandalwood, Virginia cedarwood, nagarmotha and black musk.
Parfumeur: Luca Maffei