but_not_today by UNUM

An impolite fragrance, difficult to capture and understand, yet worth persevering with if you enjoy raunchy florals and intriguing composition. This is definitely different.

Listed notes

Animalic notes, carnation, castoreum, jasmine, leather, lichen, lily, metallic notes, moss, oak moss (List from Bloom’s website as UNUM haven’t published notes on their webpage).

The brand

UNUM is the perfume line of the Filippo Sorcinelli brand which also includes jewellery, photography and clothing. The UNUM scents are highly conceptual, often referencing elements of the Church and the trappings of religion. The brand’s whole vibe centres around the sort of modern-Byronic figure of Sorcinelli himself and in their world everything is monochrome and cool.

We’ve previously reviewed Plein Jeu III-V, Ennui_Noir, Opus_1144 and Nebbia Spessa by the brand. but_not_today is the latest release from this house.

If you enjoy this one, you may also like Quality of Flesh by Homo Elegans.

Top notes

but_not_today is an interesting fragrance. It’s not weird enough to be firmly placed in the “challenging” category, and yet it defies and surprises enough that it’s really difficult to “get” from one or two wears. A confounding fragrance, it may well leave you scratching your head and wondering quite where it is taking you. In case you were wondering, this is a really good thing though. Many perfumes come to market that it is possible to smell (and indeed like) immediately, but not all that many make you stop, think, sniff again, think again. When one does that for us, it’s a really good day. Good art is often provocative and strange and that is what Sorcinelli is going for here.

A spritz of but_not_today gives a plume of something ripe, fecund, burgeoning. It’s a bit like the scent of fruit the split second before it goes off, poised, hovering on the knife edge of succulence before descending into decay and rot. But instead of fruit it’s human bodies that are about to burst open and spoil.

There’s a lot of animalic notes in the top of but_not_today. At times it feels like a very impolite scent, it’s a bit sweaty, a bit raunchy, a bit of an affront to the senses with its ‘unwashed bodies in summer’ vibe. The carnation comes through strongly, sweet but with an edge, and there is a slightly waxy, slightly bitter greenery lurking in the background.

Heart notes

As the scent wears and the edges of it get worn smooth, lots of lily comes through. This sweet, high floral vibe feels like it could densely fill a room with scent – very much like lily flowers themselves do. To smell it is to experience the high pitched vibration of the flower which seems to stick to everything but especially human skin and hair.

There’s also something slightly macabre about the lily notes in but_not_today. It’s almost as if the lily is there as in a funeral home or mortuary, to cover up the scent of the ripe body, now spoiled and succumbing to decay. It’s a thick floral, laying over the body of the scent like a perfumed shroud.

Filippo Sorcinelli’s line of perfumes are all meditative and highly conceptual, but perhaps most powerfully in but_not_today has Sorcinelli managed to make that thoughtfulness provocative, speaking to a truth: that we shall all die and our flesh fall to ruin.

Base notes

A pepperiness creeps in in the base of but_not_today and a strong vein of metallic tones. To us, after testing it several times, these tones smelled a lot like celery or perhaps celery seeds. Not watery like celery can be but a dried variant thereof; denser, more bitter, herbal and with a slightly green-ish edge. If you don’t concentrate on it too closely it comes across like spilled blood, hot and fresh.

There are leather notes too to be found towards the end of the wear. They creep around the edges of the scent softly and are very deftly, beautifully handled. Whilst we wouldn’t necessarily suggest this to someone who wanted to ease themselves into leathery scents, it is a good example of such a scent where the leather plays a wonderful supporting role; there but never too obtrusive.

A honey-like sweetness flirts around in the base of the scent. It’s as light as a butterfly landing on rotten fruit or a fresh carcass, and indeed that was the image that it called to mind. The sweetness makes a nice cyclical reference to the candlewax vibe we noted in the top  of the scent too, like there is some insect sub-plot going on here with waxes and honeys and the suchlike.

Something in the base of but_not_today reminded us of raw meat. It’s perfectly possible, indeed likely, that this was the metallic notes seeping in. There’s an unsettling quality to the scent to be found here; puzzling, uncomfortable, perhaps even a signal of imminent danger, but_not_today isn’t somewhere you should venture if you are faint of heart.

In short, but_not_today is a really interesting fragrance, but it isn’t easy to wear and if you aren’t careful it will wear you rather than the other way around. The whole vibe of the scent rather reminded us of some sort of dark cult: the animalic notes, the ripeness, the funereal lily and carnation, the mineral notes that smell like blood or raw meat. Like a cult, it’s a fragrance we can see developing a devoted following.

The other stuff

We found the longevity of but_not_today to be moderate. It comfortably lasts until after lunch, but by mid-afternoon it has faded almost entirely. Similarly, the sillage of the scent is also moderate, projecting to handshake distance or just under.

In terms of which genders should wear this fragrance, it really is anyone’s game. We can see it working for male, female, and everyone else besides. The test isn’t going to be your gender for this one, its going to work for you if the metaphorical perfumed bloodstains on the carpet match the ones on your soul.

The presentation of but_not_today is beautiful. Whereas the rest of the scents in Sorcinelli’s line are presented in monochromatic bottles of varying shapes, but_not_today is presented in a gorgeous crimson red phial. Really beautiful, and such a great colour.

Buy it

but_not_today is available from Bloom Perfumery London where it is priced at £210 for 100ml of extrait de parfum. You can also buy but_not_today from the Filippo Sorcinelli web boutique for €210 for 100ml.

We were very kindly given a no-strings-attached sample of but_not_today by Bloom Perfumery, and we thank them for their generosity.

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