Share it

It is with some trepidation that I’ve embraced the term gothic, for my interests run more towards the Romantic, and there are so many subsets of goth culture, that identifying oneself as gothic feels a bit hollow. Anyhow, I have always wanted a few fragrances that would be appropriate when the world is buried in black and sorrow storms from the weeping eyes of Heaven. You know those scents — the gloomy, oppressive, funeral creatures. Yes. The morbid attraction compels me.

But I forget myself. We were discussing scents that evoke such feelings, not the feelings themselves. I must keep the madness at bay a while longer.

What have I discovered? First, not all that seems goth is goth. I have been less than impressed by quite a few scents, thus the journey has not yet reached its terminus.

Memoir Man (Amouage). You’d think this would smack the silly out of the fragrance ball, but expectations are murderesses. It has some appealing phases to it, but it comes off as unblended, and the opening pepper virtually attacked me. For the price, I expected Creed-level quality. However, I am going to test this again.


Dark Aoud (Montale). What it promises is roses plus aoud, incense, and the feel of somewhere distinctively Arabic. What it delivers is simply a quality rose. Thy name deceiveth me! Gothic points accumulated: zero.



No. 88 (Czech & Speake). This is supposed to be a crushingly gothic scent, at least according to this guy. It supposedly makes women ask “Why are you wearing THAT?” But I can’t see Hetfield & Co. wearing a light soapy rose. Only if you bathe in this concoction do you get anything approaching the territory of uncertain earth, blasted by grief and unease, and even that is rose + vetiver. At least my wallet is not feeling deflated by a full purchase.


What else have the whispering winds taught me? Second, that quality and price are only loosely related. While one can dream restless dreams of bathing in the scents of Serge Lutens (more on that when his formulations reach my lair), my standoffish acquaintances at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (cue the drama!) can supply one just fine.

The Antikytheria Mechanism. This steampunk concoction is an excellent tobacco/vanilla scent with hints of oils and electricity. The last of these may be projection, my scent-therapist tells me, but the effect upon me and occasionally fair femmes, is not. It also works well for layering.


Dance of Death. This appeals to the Egyptologist in me (do not we all have an inner Egyptologist?); balmy, resiny, olde, and faintly sorrowful, but always refined. In short, it is the stuff of mummy-kings and warriors from beyond death’s gate.

At this juncture, do I have all the gothic scents I desire? Did you need to ask? The journey down the gothic highway continues.