Queen is the debut perfume from the multi-talented Queen Latifah, who joins the rest of the celebrity stable at Parlux (Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson and Andy Roddick, with Rihanna and Kayne West soon to follow). Latifah reportedly smelled about 50 different fragrances, many of them "a little too mature or a little too sweet", before settling on the final product.1
The resulting fragrance is a woody gourmand oriental. The opening is a bit loud (I like it better dabbed than sprayed, and better on skin than on paper), and features ever-trendy booze notes (in this case, golden tequila and cognac, other notes are bergamot, mandarin, baie rose, jasmine noir, coriander, patchouli, sandalwood, vanilla, tonka bean, incense and musk) over a sweet, amber-y patchouli, quite clean, with fruity undertones and the usual dollop of pink pepper. The longer it's on skin, the more the emphasis turns to the gourmand part of the proceedings; eventually, it reminds me of buttery caramel + sweetened condensed milk + vanilla, all over a warm and darkish patchouli woods. The incense is subtle, but there's a slightly burnt quality to the woods in the far dry down which helps to temper all the vanilla candy, and the dry down is much softer and drier than the opening.
Queen is nicely done. Some people will find it too sweet, and some people will object to the patchouli — and no doubt some people will join me in objecting to the bottle, which is considerably more blinged than the juice — but it's a very wearable fragrance, and better than average for the celebrity category. It's a wee bit much for late August, but should do better in colder weather. Despite all the candy, it doesn't smell like it's geared towards the 'tween set, nor does it fall into the dreaded "mature" category: it's just a middle of the road modern candied patchouli, with none of the disturbing elements that make the grande dame of the category, Thierry Mugler Angel, difficult to take. If you're after such a thing, it's worth a shot.
Queen by Queen Latifah was developed by perfumer Steve DeMercado, and is available in 50 ($49) and 100 ($59) ml Eau de Parfum and in matching body products.
1. via Women's Wear Daily, 6/19/2009.