In my book, French jeweller/perfumer Olivier Durbano can do no wrong. Of his three stone poems released to date, I have been entirely enchanted by them all. I perhaps might have baulked at the idea that I would one day come to admire and appreciate every fragrance offering launched by any single 'niche' house; but, here I am with Black Tourmaline in hand, and I have been won over. Again.
In nature, black tourmalines grow in wand-like columns, and are characterised by their raven-black colour and parallel ridges that span the length of the stone. As far as semi-precious stones are concerned, the black tourmaline is dark, raw and mysterious... all qualities of which have been appended and cleverly applied to the perfume.
This scent immediately unfurls with a swelling cloud of sharp black pepper and thick smoked wood... the sensation is intense and palpable; somewhat akin to inhaling the hot, heavy air inside a sauna. All the while, a rich bouquet garni of fragrant spices - cardamom, coriander and cumin - simmer beneath the surface and imbue the air with their dry, aromatic piquancy. A hiss of oudh lends an opulent richness to the composition, and it snakes its way across the glorious frankincense that I have come to recognise as the starring accord in all of Durbano's perfume creations. It is this wonderful incense/resin that is also common to Amethyste and Rock Crystal, and here, it contributes a profound 'otherworldly' appeal. As the fragrance evolves, these accords shift and interweave with dark patchouli, amber and dry woods.
Black Tourmaline is a hauntingly beautiful eau de parfum. It has phenomenal sillage and remarkable persistence, and can be enjoyed by both men and women.
Much in the same way black tourmalines were once worn by the ancients for their protection against evil; one might also wear this scent as somewhat of a 'perfume talisman'... one that strikes a curious balance between the earthbound, and the ethereal.
Olivier Durbano is currently working on Jade: the fourth in his series of seven stone poems.