Launched in October 2012 by Andrea Maack Parfums, Coal is the sixth fragrance in the line.
Andrea Maack is a young visual artist from Reykjavik, Iceland who believes that perfume is wearable art and as such is an extension of the art installations and works she has exhibited in different museums and galleries since 2008. She launched her first fragrance in 2010.
The press release for Coal says: “COAL is based on one of Maacks original drawings made with black coal. It captures the feeling of creating this piece, the smudge on the fingertips, the coal falling down the white paper as the hand moves creating a pattern and the broken pieces at the bottom of the page. It is the smell and atmosphere of an artists' studio when the artist is using black coal. With dark and warm raw materials (like everlasting, leather, patchouli, papyrus) and fresh and vibrating ones (like black pepper, pink pepper, shiso) in order to show the warm / cold contrast that the black coal can have.”
It opens bright and with spicy Sichuan pepper tempered with floral pink pepper and minty shiso. As it blooms, camphourous juniper berry comes forward before it gets woody from and cedar wood and papyrus. Then it gets dark, warm and dirty at the base from immortelle, leather and patchouli smoothed by sandalwood. The drydown is camphourous, woody, dry and warm.
I’m not familiar with “the warm/cold contrast that black coal can have”, so to me Coal evokes the smell of charcoal on paper – the warm/cold contrast of black charcoal lines on light coloured paper to be exact. It is this contrast, however you experience it that makes Coal so additive and so FBW. And, for all the talk of the smells of the artists’ studio, coal and paper, well, it’s all there in the bottle but Coal also has an elegance to it that makes it a beautiful, wearable fragrance.
I’m so glad I hunted it down. And if you can’t get to Mjölk, don’t worry, they say they ship worldwide, but it’s an especially good deal for Canadians as there will be no duty or customs to pay.
Notes: Sichuan pepper, pink pepper, shiso, juniper berry, cedar wood, papyrus, coal accord, sandalwood, patchouli and leather.
Parfumeur: Richard Ibanez