The Black Narcissus


Ivy has magical connotations for me. Walks in the woods, the songs of Kate Bush; walled, secret gardens. There is something primordially English about the sight of harsh, winter rain drops smacking this resilient evergreen’s heart-shaped leaves, as it clings, steadfast, to an old rectory wall; glassy beads of water hanging on the cold edge of a leaf. Also my grandmother, Ivy – bless her – prone to jealousy and vitriole, was sometimes called ( by members of the family ) Poisoned Ivy. I therefore loved the idea of a bitter-green fragrance in honour of her.

I was to be disappointed. I love the first stage of this scent – icy, rain-drenched ivy leaves ripped from trees : vivid dark-green and fresh. But this accord unfortunately then fades to a rather typical, contemporary-metallic, non-descript ending that doesn’t quite rise to the verdant challenge of the opening. What begins with a…

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