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Minh Scent

Black Hellebore - Resurrected

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These long-dead scents are back for a limited time in a slightly tweaked form!

Also called Melampode. In witchcraft legend, this is one of the components of the notorious flying ointment, and is used in rituals that summon the Devil. In Greek mythology, Melampus of Pylos used hellebore to save the daughters of the king of Argos from a Dionysian Maenad-like madness. In Christian myth, hellebore was born from the tears a little girl shed onto the snow because she had no gift to give to the Christ child. In low magick, it has been used by farmers to protect their livestock from the evil eye. Court magicians have used it in martial invisibility spells, enabling spies and assassins to infiltrate enemy camps. Hellebore resembles the wild rose, but does not belong to their family. The scent is a pale green herbal, darkly rooty, with a faint rose and peony-like overtone.

Borage and hellebore fill two scenes,
Sovereign plants to purge the veins
Of melancholy, and cheer the heart
Of those black fumes which make it smart.

I did not smell the original.

This starts off with a dirt-note entrance, followed almost immediately by green notes. Very soon light pure magic florals make their entrace. The rose is more a suggestion than a full-on bloom. There is another floral I cannot identify which must be the peony. I detect nuances of spice (like the spiciness of a carnation) and extremely light incense.
I would have liked the earthy entrance to have stayed a while longer, but overall this is a beautiful fragrance.

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Imp fresh from the Lab.


In the imp: Hmm, did I get the right oil? Mine seems very different from the description and the other reviews. It does fit the theme of a little girl's tears in the snow, though. And is indeed very light and beautiful.


To me, it is intensely watery. Ozone. Sharp, but less sharp than ozone usually is. Which keeps it - just barely - from veering into men's-cologne territory. There's an impression of a floral, but a mystery one that I can't identity, which makes sense. It's like a classic cologne, a very pure and innocent-smelling one. So interesting.


On me, wet: Pretty much the same, but a bit deeper and darker for some reason I can't explain. It must be the earthiness that a previous reviewer mentioned, and that the description called darkly rooty.


After 5 minutes: Most of the strength, the sharpness, and all of the earthiness flew away almost instantly.


Af 10 minutes: Now all of the sharpness is gone as well, when I sniff right up to my wrist. But there's still some in the sillage.

Up close, it is a soft powdery floral with hints of aquatic and green things. And indescribably beautiful.


At 20 minutes, the sharpness has left the sillage too, and the impression of water has mostly disappeared from my wrist. Without those, it is less cologne-like. It's very soft, very light and powdery in the most heavenly way. Now it does resemble the other descriptions.


At 30 minutes: Same as above. This doesn't smell at all like rose to me, or any other flower I can identify. (I don't know what peony smells like.) But it is unquestionably floral. Simply stunning.


At 1 hour: No further change. I was surprised to notice that there is still a whisper of ozone in the arm's-length throw.


At 2 hours: Very faint now, basically gone.


At 4 hours: I was surprised to discover that a trace of scent still lingers on my wrist. Even more surprising, is that a bit of the sharp note has returned to give it a cologne-type character again.


Verdict: I might want to wear this in the scent locket to make it last longer. But since the early aquatic top notes and the soft powdery drydown scent are so different, I'll put it on my wrist as well. Because this is spectacularly beautiful at every stage.


My rating: Well, obviously. 6 out of 6. Not just a shortlist favorite, maybe even my top favorite perfume ever. I'm kicking myself for not getting a bottle. But I have so many floral scents already. How could I have known this one would be so stunning and unusual?


I looked up Black Hellebore on the internet. It actually has white, sometimes pink, flowers, and may be called black for the unusual color of its roots. It blooms in the depth of winter. The whole plant is gorgeous, with the black roots contrasting beautifully with the green leaves and pink and white flowers in a drawing on Wickipedia. So Beth's scent-interpretation is right-on as always!

Edited by Ghost of a Rose

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I'm guessing this is the resurrected version, b/c the imp's label is in really good shape.  


Initially, I get an almost green apple tartness with something kind of dark underneath.  It's a little bit bitter, a little bit soapy, and a little bit floral without being sweet.  The soapiness comes out after the green apple bit recedes.  It's not unpleasant to me though.  It's not like - bar of soap soapiness.  There is something darkly clean and green about this that I like.  :) It smells like someone's been rolling around in Grimm forest greenery.  I think it would work for a guy or a girl.

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