Victoria Jent over at EAUMG went a little bananas for our latest fragrance, Y06-S.
Blackbird Y06-S Perfume Review
By Victoria Jent | January 25, 2018
Blackbird is a Seattle-based indie perfume brand with a minimal aesthetic and fragrances with backstories delving into science fiction, art and oracles. Throughout the years, I’ve reviewed a few Blackbird perfumes. In all honesty, I have never wanted to try one as badly as I did the newest launch Y06-S. Why? BANANAS. I am one of those weird people that loves the scent/flavor of artificial bananas. It’s so sickly sweet, unnatural but if you really focus on a real banana isn’t it as well? Bananas (real and fake) are so distinctive. As a note, it’s not really used in perfumery. I think because it’s polarizing (many people hate the smell and flavor of bananas). But, then there are people like me. I have been wanting a banana perfume for years (weird, I know).
Y06-S opens like banana-flavored Runts (candies). It’s isoamyl acetate, one of the few things I remember from an undergrad chemistry class. It then becomes banana peels and a heady jasmine. And this is how it mostly wears – a banana white floral. The jasmine is heady, humid and very realistic. The banana, at this stage, loses that candy-ness and is like a banana peel. You can smell the phloem bundles, those (annoying) strings within a banana peel that act almost like the banana’s umbilical cord.¹ As far as electronics, I don’t pick that up at all. I get more of a synth oud and something green like vetiver with a very faint “unwashed scalp” of costus.² Most of the wear on me is a humid, tropical banana meets white floral. It’s really pretty and something I see myself wearing a lot of when it becomes warmer.
Blackbird says in their copy, “This is not a novelty scent. This is not a gourmand perfume“. I agree. It’s a fruity-floral that plays up the banana quality that a lot of creamy, custard-like white florals have by deliberately adding an extra dose of banana. I’m happy to see a modern brand not rely on the usual charred woods or leather that has been popular for years within indie/niche perfume brands. I’ve been saying this for years, but I’m so ready for indie/niche brands to give us their interpretations of florals and “femme”. In 2018 and beyond, I’ll be happy to try any new launch that doesn’t smell like smoked brisket.³
Notes listed include banana, electronics, agarwood, jasmine and milk.Launched in 2017. PERFUMER – Nicole Miller
Give Y06-S a try if you like banana, fruity white florals or the thought of a banana floral. I can’t really compare to many other perfumes since there aren’t many perfumes that highlight banana like this. Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Banane is much more sweet, gourmand and creamier. LUSH Ladyboy (discontinued), a “banana chypre” is much greener than Y06-S. Demeter Banana Flambee is like banana bread, so nothing like this perfume. Then there are tropical florals. Y06-S is more along the lines of M. Micallef Ylang in Gold or Serge Lutens Datura Noir but with a noticeable addition of banana candies/banana peels and a humid jasmine.
Projection and longevity are average.
Y06-S comes in a few sizes with the 1 oz retailing for $88 at Blackbird.Samples are also available for purchase.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Banana white floral. It’s really pretty but not the usual “pretty fruity-floral”. Remind me to pick up a bottle of this in the summer.
¹The entire pop-science article here for those that really want to know more about bananas.
²Note that neither of those notes are listed by the brand. I’m not saying they’re in there, just using those notes as references/descriptors.
³If you read EauMG or do a search, you’ll find that I’m not opposed to smoky perfumes. It’s just that I’m burnt out on smoky woods because everyone was launching a campfire fragrance. I’m not the only one, many people have chimed in saying they are also fatigued by smoke and sharp woods.
Editor Jodi Battershell discusses the unique appeal of our latest, Y06-S, and calls it "intriguing," for a start.
By Jodi Battershell | December 23, 2017
Blackbird is an edgy design house from Seattle. Probably known best for their world-class incense blends, the brand also offers scarves, a skin care line, tea and a series of artistic perfumes bearing unusual names and original compositions. I've tried and loved several creations from this brand—chilly iris-and-incense-y Triton; woody and smoky Targa; fractured floral Broken Glass. Considering one of their most popular fragrances is named Pipe Bomb (and it's so beloved it got an Intense formulation in 2015), new fragrance Y06-S, with its what-the-hell name and intriguing mix of banana, electronics, agarwood, jasmine and milk notes, was sure to be nothing if not interesting.
Y06-S (which Blackbird have informed us is pronounced "why zero six dash ess") doesn't disappoint. It's completely unique and yes, you can smell the "electronics" note, but I'm pleased to report the fragrance is also completely wearable. The only folks who might be warned away from this one are the jasmine-haters. If you're a jasmine-lover like me, especially natural jasmine with its complex, narcotic and indolic facets intact, you'll find Y06-S an absolute delight.
The "electronics" component (and I have no idea what the notes are that compose this element of the fragrance—not even a guess) appears just after spritzing the fragrance. They're akin to the smell of warm plastic. I once had a new stereo installed in my car and these notes remind me of the scent of that radio/cassette player (it was the 80s, kids) after a Saturday night spent cranking out the tunes while cruising up and down the main drag of my little town. It's a lingering, deliberately inorganic-smelling but not unpleasant aroma, with a slightly fuzzy edge.
Not to be outdone, the banana and jasmine are already competing for attention as soon as they're out of the bottle. The electronic components fade and the fruit and flower take center stage and hold it for a good four to five hours. Which is not to say this is a fruity-floral fragrance. It is far from it, with the banana leaning more green than sweet, and with no additional flowers surrounding the jasmine. (My nose finds the dry prickle of vetiver, too, though it's not listed as a note.) The banana peels away as the fragrance dries down, with pleasant floral soapy aspects emerging at the six hour mark. The last traces of jasmine persist to the very end as the fragrance fades to a soft woody-floral.
Having tried much of the Blackbird collection at this point, I find Y06-S fits comfortably with the brand's unisex aesthetic while simultaneouisly taking it in a new direction. Blackbird fragrances are distinctive among the sweet and fruity fragrances that continue to dominate the fragrance market. The brand seems to specialize in the woody, earthy and resinous notes that burn well in incense and many of their perfume compositions use these notes as a jumping-off point, but with recent releases like Y06-S and 2016's Anemone (a striking aquatic oriental fragrance in a category all its own), they show us there is still something new to be done with those ancient woods and resins. Y06-S is a great fragrance for jasmine fans and banana fans, but also has something to offer the woody/oud fans, too. (Y06-S is available as a 1 ml sample for $5, and in 10 ml, 30 ml and 60 ml eau de parfum atomizers, from $58.00 to $138.00.
LIMITED EDITION GIFT SETS FOR THE HOLIDAY
Blackbird are also offering a cool thing on their website: limited edition gift sets featuring 10 ml pairings of their fragrances in rollerball format. The quirky names suggest something about possible recipients and predilections (such as "Weird Wife" which features Y06-S with Anemone and "Smokey the Bear" which pairs smoky/incense-laden fragrances Pipe Bomb and Targa). My recommendation: "Lemonade," featuring Y06-S and Broken Glass, a wearable abstract floral that I chose as one of my Top Three releases for 2015. The gift sets retail for $76. Quantities are limited and available only through December 2017.
Thank you to Blackbird for the opportunity to try Y06-S. Please visit the official website of Blackbird to learn more and purchase. Samples of incense, perfume and skin care products are available, with options for international shipping. Blackbird fragrances and incense are also carried at a large number of stockists across the United States as well as China, Canada, Australia and select European countries.