Desperado – Smell Bent

Smell Bent blind buy no.2…

I chose Desperado (which is part of the discontinued Wild West Trio including the previously reviewed Saddle Warmer), as I heard it was a great bitter leather, and I read the notes of saffron and cedar and that was all I needed really. I expected something quite smoky, maybe full of some un-listed birch tar, and a subtle warm spice.

Desperado opens up close with a strong, almost mushroom type note. From a slight distance, a very strange smell hovers around. I find it very hard to break this down and it really reminds me of something from my childhood.

There’s some hot, raw cedar wood almost like pencil shavings, but with a strange mentholated note that contrasts, keeping it cool.
After just a matter of minutes, the saffron comes forward which I absolutely love. It is heavenly fragrant, dusty, and beautiful combined with the dark woods and the other strange notes. I haven’t smelt saffron that much in perfume but have loved it whenever I have. To compare it with a recent saffron note I smelt, compared to Aoud Lime by Montale, this saffron is much darker and almost bitter. I find it has an almost animal like quality and a slightly furry texture – wonderful.

Whilst being full of deep, dark notes, the fragrance is actually light and dusty. It has the same feel as Dark Aoud by Montale in that it almost has (and smells like) an atmosphere, more than a personal fragrance, and I love that.

As a leather, I would compare it to the smell of extremely old leather-bound books. It has an almost papery quality to it also.
I’m sure this review sounds terrible and un-descriptive so I am sorry for that. There are some notes in this which I am completely unfamiliar with, and am having to resort to being visual.
It is very dry, almost like the cracked earth smell I got in Turtle Vetiver Front by Les Nez, and it has this smoky, metallic twang to it which is fantastic. I also think the metallic notes come from a “petrol” type accord, although it’s much more oily and sour than petrol, more like I imagine jet fuel. Once I’ve picked up this jet fuel note, it remains pretty prominant, and I only picked it up on my fourth or fifth wearing.
I am almost reminded of gunpowder with this scent, it is all blended into this one seamless, dry, spicy, smoky, bitter, papery leather, which I am sure I will soon only be able to describe as “Desperado”… similar to how many cannot break down the classic Guerlain’s.

If I was to compare Desperado to any other fragrance, the only thing I can think of is Yatagan. Now, I don’t have that much experience with Yatagan and have only sniffed it briefly, but there is that similar green vegetal note in them both (more celery in the Caron, and maybe a celery/fennel in this), as well as a kind of food condiment quality (some people have said Yatagan smells like ketchup). This comparison is only a faint memory so please don’t hold onto that.

On first sniff, I wasn’t too sure on this one. But I have, by writing this review, grown to understand it more, and I honestly think I will in time grow to absolutely love this, it is really wonderful.

Desperado Smell Bent 50ml EDT – discontinued smellbent.com

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2 thoughts on “Desperado – Smell Bent

  1. Me thinks I’ll have to check out Smell Bent… I love your quirky descriptions! I knew this would be one that you would like at the first sight of the word mushroom in your review :)

    • You must! Obviously don’t go in expected the most intense complexity (or longevity in certain fragrances – Desperado and Saddle Warmer are quite shortlived whereas my old Hansel and Dreidel and Commando go on FOREVER), but they are playful, wonderful quality, extremely unique. None of them are straightforward they are always wonderfully suprising, and for the price you really can’t go wrong. The gift packs are great value, I’d recommend them highly :)
      And yep! The mushroom note is so strange here though because it’s not in an earthy/soil context, instead it’s like the aroma of a mushroom, but it’s only up close. Desperado has been the hardest fragrance for me to attempt to break down so far.

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