New Perfume Review Blackbird Broken Glass- The Beauty of Broken Things

We picked up a ding on our automobile windshield a few weeks ago. At first it was a focused circular bloom of tiny cracks. Over time two of those cracks broke free and began to elongate over the expanse of the entire windshield. I have been morbidly fascinated with this slow process of entropy. I have been so fascinated that Mrs. C had to very sternly remind me to schedule the repair. Looking at the world through a fracture allows me to see things as slightly disjointed. It means things I view through the cracks of the windshield are made into something flawed. Observing the shattered aspects perversely allows me to find an ephemeral beauty in the subject I am observing. For the past month I have been wearing a perfume which provides the same olfactory perspective of cracks within something previously unified. The perfume is Blackbird Broken Glass.

A year ago the Seattle, WA brand Blackbird made a significant shift in the way they make their perfumes. The in-house perfumer Aaron Way went from composing simple linear fragrances to making one of my favorite avant-garde perfumes of 2014 called Triton. I was hoping that Triton was not going to be a singularity. The two new fragrances I received a month ago, of which Broken Glass is one, indicate that this is going to be the Blackbird aesthetic going forward.

Aaron Way

Aaron Way

Very often when I wear a perfume for the first time it tends to be easily categorized in my mental catalog. What I enjoyed so much about Triton last year and now Broken Glass is Mr. Way is working on keeping the wearer off-balance. Just as I think I know where the perfume is going the development heads off in a different direction. Just like those ever elongating cracks on my windshield.

Mr. Way opens Broken Glass with the silvery shine of violet leaves matched with the green rose quality of geranium. At this point I was expecting a path forward into deeper green notes. Instead Mr. Way sends a crack infused with caraway and opoponax as instead of green we get black. Then it takes a ninety degree turn as a fulsome jasmine veritably explodes from within the gathering of the darker notes. The jasmine feels perfectly placed and at the same time out of place. It is the starburst crack at the heart of Broken Glass. Amyris and davana set up a slightly woody accord in the base where Mr. Way layers in cardamom and baie rose. This provides some warmth in contrast to the cooler darker notes in the top as Broken Glass forms its final fractal.

Broken Glass has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

When I call Broken Glass avant-garde this should indicate that this is a perfume that desires the attention of the wearer. Mr. Way has composed a perfume which is always changing as the wearer’s perspective changes. He has made a perfumed version of a world viewed askew. If looking at the world through a cracked lens sounds appealing you should pick this perfume up. Even though my windshield will be repaired in the next couple of days Broken Glass will allow me to continue to find beauty in broken things.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Blackbird.

Mark Behnke