Notes: cannabis, herbal notes, resins, woods, coffee, tobacco, frankincense, oud
So today I finally got around to sampling the enigmatic and mythical Basenotes legend Black Afgano. With all the excessive hype and propaganda from the Nasomatto marketing machine, coupled with mixed reviews meant my expectations weren’t especially high (no pun intended). Then again smuggled ingredients, supposed extreme scarcity and the “evocation of temporary bliss” what’s not to be curious about.
First impressions? Mixed. I wasn’t overly impressed and it didn’t draw any “wow factor”, but my nose didn’t curl up and proclaim “bong water!” either. Worthy of the hype? No. Do I like it? Yes. Does it smell like Play-Doh? Kind of!
I’d describe the overall scent as dark, dry, resinous and austere with a very feint hint of sweetness attributed to a dry amber/vanilla/incense lurking underneath the beast notes. Straight out of the bong you’re greeted with a dense aroma chemical sucker punch made up of synthetic Givaudan oud, coupled with an underpinned cedar effect in the form of Kephalis (which is an Iso-E-Super substitute, only with a more woodier/smokier feel).
Finally I can make out some quite prominent vetiver/tobacco notes, adding to the “greenness” which the general nose picks up. I may be off, but I definitely feel like I’m picking up one of the main players here and that’s Norlimbanol™, which is described as an “extremely powerful woody/animal amber note. That has a dry woody note in the patchouli direction”.
As described by Chandler Burr, “Norlimbanol is one of the most amazing scents around, a genius molecule that should be worth its weight in gold; Norlimbanol gives you, quite simply, the smell of extreme dryness, absolute desiccation, and if when you smell it, you’ll understand that instantly—the molecule is, by itself, a multi-sensory Disney ride.”
It’s this same compound which I believe gives the scent its subtle leathery undertones along with the amber. Don’t be too impressed with my ability to pick out aroma chemicals though! I recently purchased a slew of them in a vain attempt to try my hand blending, so I’ve gotten to know them quiet well individually, but anyways, I digress.
Coming back to the scent and the million dollar question, does it warrant the name? In short no. If you inhale deeply and concentrate you can pick up some very feint superficial passing resemblances to hashish, but overall I personally don’t believe the name is warranted.
As for the final scent, it’s just as you’d expect it to be, it’s dense and the oud note is by far the dominant player making it very linear and overshadowing of everything else, but if you’re a fan of Dior Leather Oud, Bond No.9 Harrods Oud or Montale Aoud Cuir D’Arabie, then this one could be right up your street. (although BA is nowhere near the level of quality, originality and complexity of the latter listed scents, in my humble opinion of course.)*
Overall I’ll agree that it’s a well rounded aromatic fragrance, but I’ll also agree that it’s potentially “missing something” too. The longevity it boasts is extremely impressive and to be expected from an extrait de parfum, but the sillage is minimal unfortunately. With all that said, will I be buying a bottle? Probably!
Occasion: Casual-Semi formal