eyeliner on a cat

eyeliner on a cat
beauty, scent & style scrutinized for pleasure

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Nostalgia for the Future: Boadicea The Victorious Divine

Michael Boadi, creator of UK-based Boadicea the Victorious has been getting a lot of attention lately: first for attracting Michelle Obama's attention, who bought a couple BdV perfumes while on a trip to London, and then there was a little perfume called Illuminum (Boadi's other perfume line) White Gardenia Petals, worn by Kate Middleton on her wedding day. I must admit, I'm sort of happy to know that my country's First Lady has pretty adventurous taste in perfume. Divine was one of the fragrances that she took home with her.

notes: jasmine, mandarin, violet, aldehydes, styrax, sandalwood

Divine's aldehydic opening is reminiscent of one of the very best synthetic perfumes I've come across, and that's Comme des Garcons Synthetic Series 6: Tar. While Tar veers off quickly into burnt rubber territory, Divine gives us wisps of softly powdered jasmine and violet on the backs of champagne bubbles. Like an old photograph ravaged by time, Divine has an antiqued quality about it, inspiring in me a strange sentimental longing for something unknown.

Divine is lighter than air, and I find myself surrounded by clouds of urban evidence when wearing it: skyscrapers, cold metal, leather boots with lug soles, exhaust from a city bus-- Divine reminds me of the reasons why I love big, bustling cities. The modernity they offer comes with its pitfalls, but also exalted things like fabulous museums of art, a menu of endless musical possibilities, and a fascinating mix of people. When I find myself completely submerged in city life, after awhile, I become nostalgic for what the city was like a long time ago. To me, nothing represents decades (even centuries) past better than violets and jasmine. The way these florals are used in Divine is impressive to me for one reason: the restraint that was applied in its creation. By not allowing the floral notes to dominate in this blend, it becomes ultra-modern, even launching it well into futuristic territory. That is why this is the ultimate Steampunk perfume. Divine is the convergence of the past and the future, eschewing the emotions and problems of present-day for a more rewarding journey- time travel.

"Steampunk Dalek" (coolest-gadgets.com)

The sensual, dusty, time-worn quality of the jasmine and violet fade slightly after about 20 minutes of wear, and here, you really begin to appreciate the subtleties of the fantastic animalic styrax note that is married to the sandalwood. The progression is linear; the base notes do not merge to form a thick bottom rung to catch the fall of the other notes, instead, the perfume stays light from beginning to end. The synthetic smoky, tarry styrax gives Divine a very dreamy quality that I love. Each note supports itself entirely, and still manages to complement the others. The effect when I wear Divine is one of blissful introversion and quiet speculation. It is clearly not born of nature, it is manufactured, crafted from molecules in a wildly interesting way. In my mind, Divine is a modern perfume-lover's dream, and it has become an objet d'art that I must now own.

Boadicea The Victorious Divine EDP is available directly through  www.boadiceathevictorious.com (in the UK) as well as here in The States at Luckyscent, the cost is $175 for a 50ml bottle of EDP. BdV also offers a full range of candles and a really neat home fragrance device called an Aromarizor that you purchase scented cartridges for.

[my sample was provided by the company for review]

[Boadicea the Victorious logo]


  1. "the base notes do not merge to form a thick bottom rung to catch the fall of the other notes"

    Love this line! Enjoyed the review! will try to sniff the next time I'm at the Scent Bar

  2. Thank you Lavanya! There are so many BtV perfumes I still need to try, the range is pretty extensive. They've also got candles, which is my achilles heel. :)

  3. Color me intrigued! Apart from the fact that those gorgeous BTV bottles induce the worst sort of lemming lust (must be my Irish genes!), I've wondered about the contents, and since your review, I'm wondering more! Steampunk perfume??? For real???? How rad! Big cities and big city excitement and...

    As I said, color me intrigued! :)