There are common themes between these two; rose, incense, amber, but any fans of those could do no wrong by looking at both. As a fan of CB’s previous releases, but at the same time knowing some are a little ‘blah’, I was met with excitement, but no real urgent need to sniff these out. I’m happy I didn’t wait too long.
Carner Barcelona – Black Calamus
You’re hit with a barrage of notes upon the initial spray. At first, it’s hard to tell whether this is an incense based fragrance or amber, because there is heavy doses of both on my skin. While on paper, I get a pot of dark spices and a smoky rose (still incense). Throughout the opening I get the culinary classics, black pepper and coriander, their aroma weaves in and out of the layers of labdanum and incense. One could imagine, Carner Barcelona wanted to step away from their other creations as it’s apparent, Black Calamus is of higher quality than anythhing else they’ve released. There is a dry richness from the start, which only becomes denser while racing to the finish line, and that finish line doesn’t come for a while as I clocked Black Calamus in at 12+ hours on my skin. A few other scents come to mind, Puredistance Black with a hint of rose among many other smoky-ambers, but never have a found one with rose and spices to break up the monotony.
Carner Barcelona – Rose & Dragon
This is a FRUIT CAKE on a bed of roses. I get a pretty obvious strawberry note, that immediately reminded me of these Little Debbie “Strawberry Shortcake” rolls I used to eat (way too much of) as a child. Again, that vision was immediate. It’s pleasing and as unique as I’ve ever smelled. The step-up in quality is again apparent. The notes of Rose & Dragon are vivid and dense, I also get loads of saffron, cinnamon and honey. For me, there’s no skanky-ness as the note breakdown would suggest – I sense no cumin, castoreum or leather. However, it does turn quite amber-y in the dry down, which is just as long as Black Calamus, if not longer. They made this rose-headed fragrance interesting without claiming there was oud in here, thank goodness. I think the saffron is just as prominent as the rose here, so one must love saffron in hefty does!