It's a warm touch on the shoulder, as you are entangled in green vines of black licorice. The spices and gentle sweetness will warm your surroundings. This is climate change for your skin.
How much do you like licorice? If you hate it (the smell, that is), you can safely skip Black Vines, the latest from indie line Kerosene. If you love the smell, so much so that perfumes like Lolita Lempicka Le Premier Parfum (or the Au Masculin version) or Diesel Loverdose are just not enough, then Black Vines is for you.
The opening is green and bright for nanoseconds before it turns spicy and dark and, well, licorice-y. It's strong, and it's enough of a ringer for black licorice (the really dark and chewy kind they sell overseas, not the sweeter, blander, Twizzler sort) that it's hard to concentrate on it as a perfume. If you do pay attention, you'll notice other notes: the cinnamon is quite pronounced early on, and yes, it's possible to make out some fig if you go looking for it (others on the list include ivy, star anise, Canadian fir, Peru balsam, tonka bean, incense and vanilla), but it's also possible, in the early stages at least, to just close your eyes and think: licorice.
As it calms, it gets a bit less anisic, but only a bit. The ivy leaves gradually give way to pine-y fir notes, and a smidgen of incense joins in; these give the scent some lift and temper the intensity of the licorice, but on my skin, the licorice keeps center stage for hours before finally settling down. Then, Black Vines is a softer, milder experience, not so dark as the early stages, just a bit of pale woods and resins with the vaguest hint of spice.
Verdict: Great fun. It does for licorice what Byredo Pulp does for fruit — tests the edges of endurance and wearability. If you're looking for something for the office, or to attract a potential mate, or whatever other "standard" reason people have for buying fragrance, don't bother. If you're looking to please yourself and you adore licorice, highly recommended.
Please comment to add to the list, or if you have a favorite Kerosene scent. I've still only tried a few.
Kerosene Black Vines is available in 100 ml Eau de Parfum, $140. For buying information, see the listing for Kerosene under Perfume Houses.