Renowned perfumer Stephane Humbert Lucas has created a line of fragrances that each pays homage to Middle Eastern culture. From a spiritual journey inspired by powdery Amber, Isra & Miraj to the homage to a modern city in the Gulf, Une Nuit a Doha. With Black Gemstone, He took a look at the holy stone in mecca. The olfactive experience is truly one of a kind so let me take you on a journey through the olfactive world of this ambiguous “dark matter”.
Let me paint you a picture of a planet where dark matter embodies darkness without absorbing the light. Totally against the physics laws in our world. Black Gemstone is that embodiment that transfers you to an inky black surfaced planet. It reflects and pulls the light at the same time, with the same force creating a glowing halo around the planet. Because of the light-absorbing factor, the matter feels warm but at the same time, the atmosphere is cold due to cold wind blowing through the land.
Black Gemstone got the inspiration from Pierre Soulages and his artwork where he uses black paint to reflect “the light”. As his quote said “My instrument is not black but the light reflected from the black …both a colour and a non-colour. When light is reflected on black, it transforms and transmutes it. It opens up a mental field all of its own.”
The inspiration also came from The Black Stone (ٱلْحَجَرُ ٱلْأَسْوَد) which is set in the eastern corner of Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. According to popular Islamic legend, the stone was given to Adam on his fall from paradise and was originally white. But, it became black by absorbing the sins of the thousands of pilgrims who have kissed and touched it.
Black Gemstone starts off very gothic. It’s inky, smokey and sharp-bitter from a combination of three types of Cedar and Lemon from Sicily. It lasts a few minutes and transitions into a huge amount of Myrrh, revealing itself and making the composition very dark and balsamic. It’s not like a typical sweet and crystallised Myrrh, it’s rather gluey – a Myrrh tar if you will, which is quite smoky, deep and dry. The scent darkens very quickly after that with Incense, Teak wood and Cedar from the opening.
For the first 2 hours, the composition feels very gothic, cold and bitter. After hitting the warm skin, it sweetens and warms up revealing tobacco-ish, bitter-sweet Tonka Bean. Also, Myrrh softens and turns a bit sweeter, not in the point to say it’s sweet Myrrh, though. The combination forms a gothic, inky and gluey but also diffusing ambery scent – “A Light Reflecting Black Amber”.
Even though I haven’t smelled any perfume like this, the scent itself is quite familiar. It makes me think of the time when I was a Buddhist monk and was visiting the cave temple in Northern Thailand. The cold wind of the mountain blows into the cave mixing with the warmth from the ground. There’s an altar right next to the cave’s entrance or “gate”. The whole cave echoes our prayer, as candles and incense burn to produce a stunning scent and light source before the Buddha statue. Somehow the whole environment feels haunting but also spiritual and holy at the same time.
I feel like the inspiration sources are quite clearly translated into the scent. It makes me feel at ease and calm from daily hustle and bustle around me. There’s a spiritual olfactive room to visit and relax, if you will, Black Gemstone certainly does that. To quote Monsieur Soulages’ words, such a black and gothic scent like this truly has its own mental field.