Perfumes for the Dark | Haute Macabre

Perfumes for the Dark

Please welcome guest blogger Mlle Ghoul from These Unquiet Things! S. Elizabeth is a fancier of fine old things, nostalgic whimsies and magics both macabre and melancholy. She is a shadow seamstress, star stitcher, word witch, and weaver of the weird. Find her on her blog, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

8 Goth AF Darkling Perfumes on Haute Macabre
La Mort, j’adore by Becky Munich

Hello darklings, my goth friends.

I’m peeping through your stuff today because I am nosy as hell, and I suspect I’ll have a few recommendations for you. I hope you don’t mind–it’s all in the name of fun, and I am totally not judging you or those UGGs I see poking out from underneath your bed. I get it, they’re comfortable.

The landscape of your wardrobe: an inky sea of black–velvets, linens, woolens and poplin–stretching as far as the eye can see, hangers perilously burdened with clothing the shade of darkest midnights. Gazing into your closet is the equivalent of staring down a black hole which has sucked up all light in the vicinity. Good, good. As it should be.

Accessories? You’re on it. Mystical baubles and esoteric symbols adorn your fingers, bones and talons and o-ring chokers rest lightly at the hollow of your throat. Leather harnesses, hooded knit scarves, and moto jackets with carefully chosen cloisonné lapel pins hang at the ready for an evening out and about with your goth coven cronies. (Or by yourself, staying in, eating pizza and watching Kimmy Schmidt. Hey, darkling–you do you.)

Eyeliner, black as your soul and sharp enough to cut a bitch. Nails have been filed and shaped into stabby stiletto tips, lacquered in shadows. Lips? You no doubt spent ten minutes prepping and priming and painting your pout the perfect color of unicorn blood.

Ah, here we go, the perfume cabinet. Is that a bottle of Clinique Happy I spy? You have a badass sense of irony, my friend. But I think…and please don’t be angry with me for suggesting this…I think we can do better. You’ve carefully cultivated your strange, unearthly beauty and gothic mystique, and it seems a shame not pair it with a fragrance more befitting the vision of dark decadence you’ve conjured forth.

Indulge me, won’t you? I’ve a few scented recommendations for dark muses and femme fatales alike that I think will complement your All Black Everything perfectly.

8 Goth AF Darkling Perfumes on Haute Macabre
Image by S. Elizabeth

Absinth by Nassomatto, is bitter mosses, green woodsmoke, and sinister woods. It’s a bit of a nose-jarring scent at first sniff, as if the punk-poet green fairy quit bohemian Paris to live amongst the ancient dryads and they didn’t get on well but eventually formed an uneasy friendship. It’s a softly surreal, slightly subversive scent, and worth seeking out.

Cathedral by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, described as “ancient aroma of sacred incense…” smells of darkest midnight myrrh and the chill of the crypt and calls to mind the ghoulishly glamorous Barbara Steele in Black Sunday.

Serge Lutens De Profundis is the scent of a pensive cemetery stroll in late autumn. Slightly spicy, musty chrysanthemums, dewy violets and damp loamy earth along with a cool metallic chill that calls to mind a brief wind rising from nowhere, a shadow that suddenly falls across your path.

Zoologist’s Bat created by Dr. Ellen Covey boasts notes of soft fruits, minerals, and furry musks and immediately conjures visions of inky caverns and pitch-black, damp limestone caves before morphing into sweet night air and velvet darkness. An enigmatic scent that lightly encircles the wearer, like small, dark winged creatures flitting and wheeling in the midnight sky.

Ambre Noir from Sonoma Scent Studio is dense and intense and the darkest amber you could ever hope to meet. Both somber and smoldering, with notes of labdanum, rose, incense, moss, leather, and woods, it is a blackened forest fireside frolic when the veil between worlds is thinnnest. See also: the final moments in the film The VVitch.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Thanatopsis, is a meditation upon death inspired by William Cullen Bryant’s poem, and a deep, solemn earthen scent containing pine, juniper and musk. A green-ness so lush and concentrated that it is nearly a syrup, growing in mysterious realms alongside venerable woods and breathless darkness.

Holy Terror by Arcana, a blend of frankincense, deep myrrh, and beeswax candles, smells of gentle resins, lofty sandalwood, and less of fearsome spirits which are known to haunt certain long-deserted abbeys, than it is more like curling up and reading about them in a horrid novel by the warm glow of candlelight.

Etro’s Messe de Minuit , despite the darkened church and heavy incense the scent’s name might conjure forth, is actually a very light fragrance. It opens with tart citrus and a haze of swirling, aromatic smoke, and, once settled in, it becomes the subtly sour, musty scent of a shadowed corner in a used bookstore; towering piles of moldering books stacked on sagging, wooden shelves that hasn’t seen sunlight in years. There are some folks who might read that and think “WTF is wrong with you?” but I know that it’s not going to be any of you people.

You’ll no doubt notice that there is not much in the way of gourmand (foody) scents, or floral scents on this list–those just aren’t my bag, but your mileage may vary! And you’ll note there are only 8 scents on this list; perhaps we could round it up to a nice even 10? What are your favorite goth AF darkling scents?

10 Comment

  1. The Black by The Sum. Their description says Ceremonial Oud, Black Stone, and Sterling Silver, but to me it smells like September, staying up until the sun is rising, putting on your favourite black t-shirt still warm & fresh from the dryer and then falling asleep in crisp fresh sheets with incense smoldering on the bedside table. Crisp, clean, warm, and faded black.

  2. Very lovely collection. Will be looking into these.
    LUSH also has a lovely perfume i smelled over the weekend called “Death and Decay” It smells like flowers you’d find at a funeral….at least that’s what i was told. There is also a scent there that’s very musky and smokey called Smugglers Soul. It’s got a very intense but rich scent that is sweet but woodsy and fresh. Look into them. They are very nice.

    1. Death and Decay is my favourite scent. I am devastated to find they’ve recently discontinued it, and am scrambling to find a replacement. Heady lilies and subtle scent of indole, lightly covered by jasmine.
      Decaying funeral flowers is what it reminds me of, that bouquet you can’t bare to part with after a loved one dies.

  3. I have to say “Basilica” and “Gehenna”, both from Solstice Scents. I keep a bottle in my bedroom and a sample of each on my desk. Sometimes, I wear a little bit of heaven and hell together.