Thursday, 1 December 2016

BLACK OSMANTHUS by Marina Barcenilla

Renaming and rebranding is one thing, but taking your company outside of its original fragrance style is completely different. This is the situation that Marina Barcenilla finds herself in with the release of her first perfume under the Marina Barcenilla Parfums label. Four weeks ago, on 1st November 2016, The Perfume Garden changed its identity but took five of the most popular perfumes with it. With one of these being the FiFi Award winning India there were high expectations for the new company's debut fragrance, Black Osmanthus. Would a new name signal a new style or would it just be a case of "the emperors new clothes"?

It was a surprise to many, including Marina herself, when India won the 2016 FiFi Award for Best New Independent Fragrance. Aside from the boost it gave to her company it also spurred her on to finally rebrand the whole enterprise. As part of this relaunch there was the promise of a new fragrance that would be “outside the bounds of expectation”. Quite a claim, but it’s one that has come to fruition with the release of Black Osmanthus. It really is like nothing else that she has ever made, and the official description hints at what is to come. “I watched the white flower become as dark as the night sky, the sweet fragrance of nectar-covered petals turn wild and unpredictable, innocence shattered. With deep velvet and warm leather my seduction began with a dangerous touch of the Black Osmanthus.”

I met with Marina last week and asked her what had brought about this new style. She explained, "I wanted to be free of all of the conventions of the previous years, to create without a specific customer in mind. It is because of this that I decided to take the darker side of human nature as my inspiration. I wanted something that was dangerous, provocative, challenging and even a little bit frightening. It still sits alongside my other perfumes, but almost like a Jekyll and Hyde relationship.” Black Osmanthus is described as leathery and seductive, and that pretty much hits the nail on the head. It also has a fifties smokey jazz club feel about it which pushes you towards a vintage chypre aroma reminiscent of the Jacques Guerlain classics. Within the construction Marina continues her desire to play solely with natural ingredients, which makes the leather accord all the more impressive and a little dirtier.

Black Osmanthus doesn't behave like a normal fragrance, instead your nose is bombarded with what can only be described as a “smellscape”. There is a prominent pepper right at the beginning, which gives a spacious effect, but the whole fragrance quickly closes in on itself as if drawing you in. The osmanthus and jasmine are in amongst the woody notes but the velvety tuberose and smoky leather stop them becoming overtly feminine. You get a good dose of beeswaxed dance floor and bay rum, which was so fashionable at the time, but the final aroma of oakmoss really transports you to another decade.

Black Osmanthus is not for the fainthearted, and that is what is so great about it. Marina gives you the option to purchase a 2ml sample for £4.99 or the full size bottle for £150 from, and it's the perfect gift for someone who longs to be bad. So, let the seduction begin.


  1. Replies
    1. If you love the name then you really must try the fragrance. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Replies
    1. It really is and well worth hunting out. Stephan

  3. Can this perfume be put on by a man?

    1. Thank you for the message. Black Osmanthus is great on both men and women, and I would definitely recommend that you try it. Best, Stephan

  4. Thank you very much for answering
    unfortunately the samples of black osmanthus are sold out
    I will order several from India
    a warm greeting from Madrid

    1. Hello Shiryu, sorry for the delay in answering you. Did you manage to try Black Osmanthus? Best, Stephan

  5. Hello dear friend
    Unfortunately it has been impossible to prove it
    I made a purchase of several testers but after a month they had not sent it to me
    and they gave me back the money
    I guess I can not know what the fragrance is like unfortunately
    a cordial greeting