Perfumed Letters

Reading the scent trail of fragrance and words

Post-modern reconstruction: Kingdom by Alexander McQueen

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A page from the Metropolitan Museum’s 2011 exhibition book.
Photo©CherylQuimby



A bright and  complex spectrum of top notes briefly overlaps with, then shifts to, a strange and wonderful celery and carrot stage (mostly celery–lots of celery) which, in turn, briefly overlaps with, then shifts to, an all-cumin drydown.

I love the part when all the notes hum together at once with the cool vegetables at top volume–but the cumin stage takes over too quickly for me. People who describe Kingdom as smelling like sweat–male sweat to be exact– might be reacting to the cumin. I’ve often noticed this “note” in body odor of some men. Alas, I find the cumin here more vegetable than animal.

Kingdom cleverly uses all components of a classic oriental notes–I even detect tonka or vanilla in the base (not listed in the notes)–and yet it resembles no classic oriental I’ve ever smelled.

A strange, post-modern, animated, multi-phased fragrance which I absolutely cannot wear, but which I find absolutely brilliant.

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