There’s an embracing-yet-sour malevolence about this perfume that you need to take notice of. It’s one for those who like strong, old-school type formulas, and archetypal signature scents.
Myrtle, bay, cassia, nutmeg, frankincense, jasmine, tagetes, cedarwood, sandalwood, patchouli, myrrh
Anna Zworykina Perfumes are a Russian brand who focus on making all natural formulas. Their products are handmade in small batches using high quality materials and they claim to use no synthetic fragrances, compounds or fixatives.
First thing to note is that this perfume is really well named. The moniker, Dark Side of the Goddess, confers feminine but with a powerful, destructive side, perhaps. And that contrast between light and shade is exactly what you get here. You might expect it to be all sweetness and light, but this is a goddess that will destroy you in a heartbeat should the whim take her.
The scent opens with a lovely, warm jasmine floral. It smells very much like sun-warmed blossoms. It’s warm, heady, sticky, even a little syrupy. The height of summer. At times the florals even smell a bit like that buzzy hotness you get inside greenhouses, the sort of feeling that makes your sinuses fizz a bit.
But then things start to change.
Relatively quickly, the floral notes become heavier. It’s a strange and interesting effect in that the florals almost seem to sink in the way they are perceived. Your nose almost wants to follow them as they descend. A more dense, resinous and spicy tone creeps into the scent as it transitions into the heart.
The heart of Dark Side of the Goddess is meaty, resinous and even thicker feeling than the already-not-insubstantial top. The indolic notes accompanying the jasmine really start to roll around the scent and they walk a very fine line – at times almost tipping into something which is reminiscent of the hum of an unwashed body – but managing to stay just the right side of pleasant.
The dry spiciness of frankincense makes itself known here, as does the gentle warmth of nutmeg. It’s novel – and indeed nice – to see nutmeg used in a perfume in high enough quantities that you can actually smell that it’s nutmeg rather than it just providing a background hum. The effect is this chorus of desiccated piquancy that takes a moment or two to understand and begin to figure out.
Finally, the sharp elegance of cedar begins to creep through to round out the heart. Cedar is one of our favourite woods, because it’s most definitely woody without being overbearing. It has a softness that some other woods can lack, and here it makes an excellent addition which draws the scent down deeper again…
Unsurprisingly given the name, the base of Dark Side of the Goddess is dark, gloomy, moody. It shows off it’s intense resinous woods proudly. At the same time there is a sharpness which contrasts against the woody and incense notes. It’s almost a sourness, a tang. It smells a bit like fear, or adrenaline, or cooling sweat, and is rather fascinating when contrasted against the woody, almost comforting notes.
There are a couple of other things in the mix here as well: a suggestion of damp soil which is strangely both unsettling and reassuring, a sort of barely-there smoky note which you only notice from time to time, and then, right at the end, the hum of patchouli that lingers. The soil isn’t as strong or as bold as Bat by Zoologist, so you don’t have to worry that you will smell like you’ve been dug up, but at the same time if you like that vibe you may well enjoy this too.
This is a perfume that will really keep you on your toes, just when you feel like you’ve become accustomed to what it has to offer, it changes gear and you find yourself spiralling into a deeper level of darkness and shadow. It’s not one to wear on a bright spring day, but life wouldn’t be half as interesting if there wasn’t a bit of shade now and again.
The other stuff
The projection of the scent is moderate. We did catch whiffs of it throughout the day, but it didn’t seem as punchy and noticeable to other people as one might expect it to be. It feels (and we are sure sounds from the review) very much like the sort of scent that everyone will notice, but in fact it doesn’t seem to be quite as out there as all that. It’s certainly not a lightweight, but it did seem to stay fairly close to the body.
The longevity of the scent is also moderate. It lasted until early afternoon before it dulled into a patchouli-scented buzz.
Both the projection and longevity should be taken with a slight pinch of salt though in that we had been warned to be careful with how much we applied when we tested it, so we weren’t over generous with our sprays. Try it and let us know how long it lasts on your skin.
We felt that this scent would be best suited to those shopping on the more feminine-but-ballsy end of the spectrum. It’s most definitely a perfume with attitude and won’t suit those who only like light and sparkly, but if you’re a fan of the heavier, slightly more opulent styles of perfumery then this could definitely fit your bag.
Dark Side of the Goddess is available from Bloom Perfumery London who kindly supplied us with a sample of this fragrance. At Bloom it is priced at £59 for 8ml EdP. Anna Zworykina Perfumes are also available via Etsy (linked to from their website). On Etsy it is priced at £48.25 for 4.5ml.