FRAGRANTICA "Universal Supreme, the Indisputable Anthem of Summer 2019 "

FRAGRANTICA "Universal Supreme, the Indisputable Anthem of Summer 2019 "

July 09, 2019

Fragrantica snuck up on us and wrote about the new release of Universal Supreme. Enjoy!


"Readers may have encountered the changeling company Blackbird in one of several incarnations. It began in 2004, and gained traction as a men’s clothing store in Seattle, Washington, before the boutique expanded its vision and products, gradually shifting attention toward scent-based retail markets. Blackbird’s founder Nicole Miller develops the fragrances; their efforts are stocked at trendy boutiques across the United States, internationally, and from numerous online purveyors.

Along with an ever-shifting collection of personal fragrances, Blackbird is well reputed for its extensive selection of potent cone incenses. In all their concoctions, Blackbird strike upon unexpected combinations of ingredients and staccato compositions that forego balance in favor of well-timed weirdness and intrigue. Several years back, the brand announced the motto for their creative pursuits is “Do it wrong.”

Pipebomb—a vaporous ocean mist and metallic number that seems to pause time at the start of some extravagant chemical chain reaction—and its flankers really define the experimental territory Blackbird seeks to explore. Y06-S is ripe banana and overheated circuit boards: it’s like wearing a glitching smoothie in The Matrix. The 2012 Hallow, regretfully discontinued with calls for its rerelease aplenty, may be among my favorite perfumes of all time. It’s distinguished by the brand’s practiced instincts for refined incense notes paired with marzipan and agarwood. For those who can still find it, Hallow is an extraterrestrial gourmand that manages to be both quirky and splendorous in its play of olibanum, smoke, and almonds.

Blackbird’s latest release is Universal Supreme, an instantly likable, polyphonic paean to swirling fruit, wood, and summer parties on beaches, in backyards, or along the music festival circuit. Universal Supreme is the unabashed anthem of summer 2019. Its first run has already sold out, with new stock available for pre-order and anticipated availability in mid-July.

Universal Supreme is a nocturnal dip in a swimming pool filled with icy cherry cola. Jammy roses float across the summery surface of the scent, evoking in high definition every kind of soda pop bubble and fluttering petal. The multifaceted strawberry at play in the composition flirtatiously shifts across top and heart note phases, starting fizzy before swooning into languorous, lovesick berry compote in which plump fruits bob in a boozy, brightly balsamic-tinged brew. Warming, coumarin hay bales stack along the volatile edges of this reverie.

Ambrosial puffs of incense wind through these well-appointed fruit notes, while reminding wearers of Blackbird’s particular Pacific Northwest aesthetics in the brand’s burnt incense accords. Amidst the growing trend of cola references among new perfume releases (and you’ll get no complaints from me for this cultural turn), Universal Supreme is possessed of a strange, fragrant smoke veering on religious fervor, included in place of the clove-and-cinnamon flourishes typically used with citrus in other cola scents to effect those nose-tickling, soft drink sensibilities.

Performance in Blackbird scents is decent. Not ghostly in the hasty departures of other niche conceptual lines, without conversely lingering the way some flacons out in the world have been perversely engineered for post-nuclear persistence. Blackbird scents have purposeful longevity. They will accompany you through your day, occasionally reappearing after you’d thought all was lost.

The brand excels at rich, holographic woody bases; their Ophir, for example, is a masterpiece of ornate carpentry. In Universal Supreme, complex, opulent, layers of dry and oily precious wood stretch like an old-fashioned roller rink into the backdrop for a pop synth music video delirium.

Universal Supreme is for the thinking reveler, as much artful analytics as spirited abandonment. Hybrid in its genre referencing and multivalent in its appeal, it plants a flag at the point of intersection of Blackbird’s many exploits, adventures, and ambitions."



Matt Morris

Matt Morris is an artist who works in painting, perfume, and conceptual projects. He has presented artwork nationally and internationally. He writes for, Art Papers, ARTnews, Flash Art, Pelican Bomb, Sculpture, and Fragrantica; his writing appears in numerous exhibition catalogues and artist monographs. He is a transplant from southern Louisiana who holds a BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and earned an MFA in Art Theory + Practice from Northwestern University, as well as a Certificate in Gender + Sexuality Studies. In Summer 2017 he earned a Certification in Fairyology from Doreen Virtue, PhD. Morris is a lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.