On the outskirts of the Caribbean lies Barbados. The country is home to a soundscape that naturally fills the air. Animals run up and down the island, flowers grow native to the gorgeous terrain and the sound of colossal waves crashing against rocks is more than apparent.
Amidst the gorgeous landscape is a walking treasure. Tomilson Bynoe is the Creative Director of Blackcliff, a perfume house that focuses on Bynoe’s Barbadian inspiration. He discovered the world of perfume in his adolescence. Since then, the industry has had a lasting impression on him, subsequently teaching him the true meaning of perfume: To impact someone in a profound way.
Bottles from Blackcliff are available in 100ml sizes and retail for $245 USD. When you place an order from them, prepare to be met with beauty. The box is designed with Barbadian waves crashing around it and general fragrance-related information.
Once you slide the box open, you’re met by a perfume bottle that could double as a deadly weapon. Taking the bottle out of the protective casing was a battle in itself. The sheer weight gave my finger the workout of a lifetime.
Eventually, it popped out and I was able to fully experience the perfume. It’s shaped similar to the rocks that you would find out on the beach. Misformed, dented and rough on the edges. But what was found inside remained refined, potent and simply unique.
Blackcliff: Beautiful Monster by Kyle Mott-Kannenberg
Top: Bergamot, Black Pepper and Cinnamon
Heart: Geranium, Mineral Notes and Atlas Cedar
Base: Labdanum, Birch Tar, Guaiac Wood and Patchouli
“The beautiful ambivalence which coexists between love and terror. Whether you howl at the moon or dance with the stars, define the monster within and experience the Beauty among the Beast,” says Bynoe in the product description.
Beautiful monster opens with a very intriguing, menthol accord that reminds me of Vik’s. It has the same dense properties that fill the nose with mint and a bit of knockout freshness. Amidst these accords are a very inviting citrus accord and some spice.
As the fragrance progresses, the Geranium enters the conversation. It’s light and refreshing which is a nice contrast. The remaining notes seemingly file in, announcing themselves subtly and without much commotion. Birch Tar and Patchouli really lift the upper notes, adding a bit of longevity to the spice in particular.
Overall, Beautiful Monster is a unique fragrance that deserves some attention. For those who enjoy wearing spicy and slightly floral fragrances, this one is for you!
Blackcliff: Mr.Pink by Kyle Mott-Kannenberg
Top: Bergamot and Yuzu
Heart: Cotton Candy, Butter and Saffron
Base: Toasted Vanilla, Smoke, Labdanum and Oakmoss
Holy mother of indulgence! Mr.Pink utilizes a very contemporary note breakdown with tons of new and intriguing notes. Cotton Candy and Butter are the two accords that stood out to me on paper and translated very well onto the skin.
Cotton Candy adds a very Jean Paul Gaultier “Male” collection vibe. Picture the sweetness of Le Male, Ultra Male and Le Parfum and crank it up to 1000. Although the description is quite rigorous, the aroma is not headache-inducing. There is definitely a natural Cotton Candy sweetness that brings me back to when I would lick the excess goo off my fingers after attacking a stick at the fair.
The Butter accord brings me right back to the movies. Remember the station at the snack bar where you could hit a little button and watch as liquid butter oozes out of a machine and into your delectable kernels? That’s the exact aroma the fragrance gives off.
As a conglomerate, the fragrance really pushes the sweetness of the Cotton Candy to the forefront and is followed by Butter. Smoke and Oakmoss do a great job of supporting the notes on the back end and the Toasted Vanilla adds a nice little touch. This is definitely my favourite Blackcliff scent so far!
Blackcliff: Sexy Eyes by Kyle Mott-Kannenberg
Top: Pear and Black Currant
Heart: Juniper Berry, White Floral and Hinoki
Base: Oak and Tonka Bean
“How I met your mother: paused in traffic behind a sliver of opaque tinted window lurked her provocative glance, illuminated by a single errant shaft of sunlight. If eyes are the windows to the soul, she stole mine willingly and without hesitation at that very moment. A solitary glance bewitched me; the enchantment continues years later.”
Off the top, the freshness of the Pear note shines through. It’s hyper-rejuvenating and offers quite the energy boost upon first smell. Once the fragrance settles on your skin, the Hinoki and White Floral spread out, entering the nooks and crannies of your nose. The pair add a very vibrant accord that helps maintain invigoration and a sense of calm.
Oak is recognized very minimally in the scent, along with Tonka Bean. What stands out throughout is the thirst-quenching Pear and Black Currant off the top. If I could continuously experience the opening of this fragrance I would. The freshness lasts quite a while due to the terrific supporting notes in the heart.
Blackcliff: Limewood by Justin Frederico
Top: Lime, Lemongrass, Bergamot and Black Pepper
Heart: Clary Sage, Jasmine, Vetiver, Birch and Artemisia
Base: Oakwood, Nootka, Patchouli, Benzoin and Sandalwood
Limewood was named pretty aptly if you ask me. The opening is mainly Lime and Lemongrass driven, with Lemongrass taking the slight edge. However, both accords are hyper-realistic and smell as if I’ve just harvested both, subsequently throwing them into a basket and enjoying the aroma that comes out of it.
Later down the road, the rest of the notes begin to transform the background of the fragrance. The citrus begins to fade away and allows smoke and a myriad of woods to fill your nose. Along with these woods are crisp florals and a rather gentle Benzoin.
These notes come together to make a summertime stunner! The level change in this fragrance is quite impressive as well. It begins as refreshing, bright and cheery, then moves towards a bit more of a dense and masculine undertone. I would highly recommend it to those who are looking for an exceptional, easy reach summer scent.
Blackcliff: Blinding Light by Kyle Mott-Kannenberg
Top: Cardamom and Coriander
Heart: Tuberose, Darjeeling and Coconut
Base: Leather, Amber and Vanilla
“A profound sense of comfort and ease is to be discovered in the midst of blinding light, where inhibitions cease to exist. Vibrantly modern, Blinding Light is a dynamic amalgam of the exotic and soothingly cozy, an aromatic contradiction which verges on the fringes of the erotic.”
Blinding light is the fifth and final fragrance that is currently available at Blackcliff. Cardamom and Coriander hit you away right off the get go. They both share warm and spicy characteristics, but the spice leans towards the side of Cinnamon as opposed to Black Pepper. It gives me a little bit of a chai tea latte vibe due to Darjeeling.
Next, the Coconut accord blows the doors right off this scent. It adds a super unique texture to the fragrance, reminding me of the little hairs that encapsulate the Coconut’s exterior.
The classic combination of Leather, Amber and Vanilla truly round off this scent very well. They add a necessary density in order to let us experience the nuances of the Coconut accord. I quite enjoyed the milky tea note that carried on throughout its life, thanks to the Darjeeling and array of nuts at the top.
Thank you to Tomilson Bynoe and the rest of the Blackcliff team! These five fragrances were extremely unique and evoked a flurry of emotions. The most prominent being this unrealistic dream that all of the snow outside my window would melt and I could experience these scents in the intended way.
Nonetheless, I must crown a single fragrance as worthy of finding a spot in my collection as a full bottle. If I had to choose one, it would have to be Mr.Pink based on the sheer shock value of the notes. The fragrance was full of twists and turns which made me reconsider fragrances.
Not all fragrances have to be attractive, sexy or crowd-pleasing. If the person smelling it has a positive reaction, then the perfumer has done their job. Mr.Bynoe, your work at Blackcliff has been done extremely well.