July 14, 2018

Fragrantica's Miguel Matos gives an in-depth look at Blackbird's Y06-S, and names it his top pick at Esxence 2018. It's a wonderful example of a critical piece centered around perfumes as art - read the full story here.
"This year the coolest booth in Esxence was, undoubtedly, the American indie brand Blackbird.

After so many people told me “oh, you should visit Blackbird, you will love it,” and after two days of trying and not getting even close because of so many people visiting the booth, on the third day of the show I went there first thing in the morning as my personal mission. Everyone was right. I loved meeting Nicole Miller and Henry Aesoph, as well as their wacky wonderful fragrances. One of them completely fascinated me: Y06-S.
Blackbird didn't start with perfumes. Nicole, CEO, perfumer and designer of the brand, originally had opened a high end men's fashion store that had a niche perfumery corner. She eventually split that into several stores and one of them was a niche perfume store in Seattle. That's how Nicole got exposed to niche perfumery. She started making perfumes for her store and at some point Nicole and Henry realized that there wasn't anything truly new coming to the market in this area.

“Things were starting to look the same,” says Henry, who is also a designer, “so, we started making our own perfumes to fill this void.”
Nicole and Henry see these perfumes as art. Even thought they still have to sell, the conception of each fragrance is not limited to a product. “We don't do anything just to please you and we don't use the language that is usually associated with perfume, like references, memories, storytelling... we have no interest in doing that,” says Henry. “In a sense, we like to provoke but not in a negative way. We don't want you to feel bad, we are playful people. You can interpret what we do the way you want and that's fantastic. We are making this so you can experience something.” And in fact, Blackbird is all about having fun while challenging your senses.
Mindblowing is a euphemism. Y06-S is a genius, fun, unpretentious and still gorgeous perfume experience. It's crazy, innovative, provocative and unique. One of those rare perfumery objects that leaves me in a mental rush. The last time I felt this way was with Xyrena's offerings or Zoologist's Bat, and while they have nothing in common in terms of smell, they both have this experimental character and a bold personality. Oh, and banana!
Who would think of electronics smoke, that smell when you open an overheating television or computer, as a perfume accord? And who in the world would think of adding banana to that? And again, who would even consider that as a pleasant fragrance? The fact is that it works if you are like me and you like challenging, surprising perfumes.
All of these elements come together with jasmine as a main connector for these notes. At first, the synthetic plastic notes play very well with an artificial scent of jasmine brought by benzyl acetate, with shades of ylang and all the white flowers. Banana, a note that comes naturally in ylang ylang makes sense here and the juxtaposition of all these unexpected ideas create Y06-S signature. Oh, by the way, the name Y06-S is the reference code of the marker that has a banana-yellow color. Here there are no evocative journeys to exotic places or memories from childhood eating bananas while playing with Pac Man.
What is also entertaining my mind is the fact that after the explosive fruity-smokiness and floralcy of the opening, the scent develops in a way that reminds me of Lanvin Arpège sprayed over ashes of burnt plastic. And that is good. Y06-S is proof of art in perfumery, for it seems to puzzle all references from vintage to futuristic smells of the past, reshuffling them in a floral burst that smells entirely new. Every year, I can't chose just one best fragrance from Esxence. This year it's a no-brainer: If I had to pick just one, I wouldn't hesitate: Blackbird's Y06-S.

P.S. This may be the embodiment of the color yellow in olfactory terms. In fact, I was wearing yellow shorts and a yellow cap after writing this review. Afterwards, I went to a vintage shop and had the urge to buy a yellow shirt, which I decided to wear with the yellow shorts and cap...
Miguel Matos joined Fragrantica in 2013 and edits the Portuguese Fragrantica.com.br. Miguel also writes for Beautyalmanac.com.