We've had the usual wave of "dark" and "noir" flankers this fall, and here's another one: Burberry's My Burberry Black, a flanker to My Burberry (2014). Like the original My Burberry, My Burberry Black was developed by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian. It's described as "an intense and sensual reinterpretation...a London garden amidst a gathering storm; heavy rain contrasting with the warm and captivating flora," and its notes include jasmine, candied rose, peach nectar, amber and patchouli.
I tried My Burberry when it was released and it didn't make much of an impression on me. I just revisited it and it still seems to me like an inoffensive sweet pea perfume, easy to wear to work or brunch. My first impression of My Burberry Black, on the other hand, is that it's best reserved for evening wear: I applied two sprays at Sephora just before getting on the subway, and then I couldn't help noticing the stricken facial expression of the passenger seated next to me. It comes on strong, with a punch of honeyed, musky peach, almost like peach liqueur, and it has noticeable sillage. Be warned!
In repeated wearings (in the privacy of my home!), I was able to get safely past that fruit-bomb of an opening to assess the rest of the fragrance. I'm intrigued by something that happens in the heart of My Burberry Black: the jasmine note is more prickly and animalic than I would have expected. This must be My Burberry Black's naughty side. However, that white floral note ends up submerged in a fresh wave of peach juice and vanilla-spice amber and synthetic patchouli, and the dry down turns out to be a little bland. This scent does have good staying power, though — as we might expect from a "Parfum." (Is it really a pure perfume extrait? Unclear.)
My Burberry Black isn't my style, but I can see how it will appeal to the younger demographic that Burberry has been able to attract over the past fifteen years or so. (Remember when Burberry was known primarily for making raincoats and plaid scarves for middle-aged businessmen who commuted from Connecticut to New York? I do.) Overall, I prefer Kurkdjian's work for his namesake house, but My Burberry Black is probably just what Christopher Bailey requested for his own brand, and on those terms it's well-done.
Also, on a somewhat unrelated note: when I watched the commercial for Burberry Black, my gut reaction was, "Cousin Rose! Put your clothes back on!!" Just more proof that I'm not the target audience, I suppose.
Burberry My Burberry Black is $72 for 30 ml, $95 for 50 ml, and $125 for 90 ml Parfum. The 7.5 ml rollerball is $29.