The description for indie house Kerosene's new fragrance, Unforsaken, tempted me right away, from the "decadent dessert sprinkled with warm coconut shavings and topped with cool clementine slices" to the vanilla cream, ginger and benzoin. I imagined something over-the-top, similar to what their Black Vines did for licorice and spice.
This is not that at all. Still, the first spray captured my heart: shimmering citrus over a pale, creamy backdrop, not quite strong or distinct enough to register as warm coconut shavings or vanilla cream. As it settles on skin, add a lovely floral blend (orange blossom and jasmine, both done clean and dewy), lent a slight tingle from deepening citrus peel notes (yuzu, tangerine) and the vaguest hint of ginger. The dry down stays relatively pale, but the finish has just enough of the benzoin and vanilla cream to keep things warm and delicious, not so much as to make it overly sweet or heavy — even the final stages have a buoyant, translucent feel.
Verdict: Love. You could call it a gourmand, I suppose, but it's a gourmand with restraint, and I would categorize it as a springtime citrus floral with gourmand accents. I found it incredibly cheering on a dismal winter day, and while it isn't an all-day powerhouse, it has just enough heft to wear in cold weather. It's exactly the sort of thing Prada should have, but didn't, do with their flankers to Prada Candy. It went right on the buy list, where it will languish — in good company, mind you — forever, since it does not come in small sizes. I've mentioned, I think, that I'm going to do my best to never again buy more than 30 ml of anything.
Anyway, do try Unforsaken. For a mainstream take on a similar theme, you might try the beachier Lolita Lempicka Elle L'Aime. Lush's Furze is weirder (and stronger) but is another cheerful citrus gourmand. Both of those are heavier on the coconut than Unforsaken.
The quick poll: name an indie fragrance that you think everyone should try.
Kerosene Unforsaken is available in 100 ml Eau de Parfum, $140. For buying information, see the listing for Kerosene under Perfume Houses.