Darkly Audacious by Sarah Barton-King:

A Decadent Night In Montmartre

The Roaring 20’s, the short era bracketed by World War I and The Great Depression, has proven to be a fertile field for artists and has been a source of inspiration from Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby to the resurgence of Art Deco in architecture and fashion. Perfume is no different and Sarah Barton-King has used this era as the touchstone for her third fragrance under her The Pink Room label, Darkly Audacious.

As her inspiration Ms. Barton-King wrote a story for her perfumer Cyrille Carles to work from:
“Panther-like she stands, clad in a column of molten gray panne velvet, across her eyes a sliver of black lace. Through the smoky haze of the bar her dark eyes search, who is she going to meet? Dali and Schiaparelli loll at the bar sharing a ‘naughty’ cigarette and glasses of absinthe. Chic and demimonde draped across the bar… A louche figure glides lazily towards her, elegant, androgynous, dressed in a smoking jacket over velvet trousers Electricity sizzles through the air, intake of breath.. ”I want this to be…?” Slipping an elegant bejeweled hand under her elbow, the mysterious one guides her to a banquette. On her wrist the Panther carries a minaudiere of ‘Darkly Audacious’ their faces come together sexy, feline…audacious! Intrigued. ”Imagine!” they whisper one to another!”

Many times when I read purple prose like this my reaction is to roll my eyes and wonder if there was any way the perfume could live up to the copy. I am delighted to say that while Darkly Audacious might not attain all of the mystery and intrigue promised in the inspirational paragraph it comes pretty darn close to it and that is a small victory in and of itself.
Darkly Audacious doesn’t begin dark or audacious as bergamot, lemon, and rosewood open the fragrant story. The rosewood is such a light wood that it keeps the opening few moments of Darkly Audacious surprisingly light. This brightness disappears as the promised “Panther” arrives in the person of a deep indolic jasmine. Somewhere a rose adorns our “Panther” as she strides up to the bar. The androgyne approaches with patchouli in the slicked back hair mixing with the floral power of their target. As they approach the banquette, incense swirls with a resinous pungency. Amber and tonka mix with the rest to create warmth under the intensity.
Darkly Audacious has average longevity and average sillage.

I do have to say the opening notes are almost too light in nature to be part of something called Darkly Audacious but once the jasmine arrives the sensuality and intensity completely live up to the name. For those who have tried either of the previous two The Pink Room Fragrances, Parfum No. 1or Pour Toi, Darkly Audacious is a departure from those very floral compositions. Those earlier fragrances were much more feminine in character. Darkly Audacious carries a bit of the androgyne within it as I think it could easily be worn by either gender. I am very glad to have Ms. Barton-King back in the fragrance game and can’t wait to try her next fragrance; I just hope we don’t have to wait as long.  

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by MiN New York.
-Mark Behnke, Managing Editor