Crime & Punishment is pepper-spicy right from the start, tampered by the sweetness of raspberry fused with frankincense and ylang-ylang that boasts the added umami of blue lotus’ buttery warmth, all riding a chariot of oud, musk, and ambergris.
Like with that split-second whiff of alcohol you smell straight after you spray a perfume, Crime & Punishment cuts straight to raw musk…… because practically the entire carrier is raw musk tincture.
Rising through the musk, a raspberry sweetness emerges, already admixed with the musk-morphed orange blossom that creates this strange post-modern chypre.
Mimosa and coffee mingled with rose and jasmine all vape through a prism of oud and musk to form a steady tone that lasts for hours.
It’s this ‘tone’ I aim for in a perfume—hence the insane amount of fixatives. EO perfumes aren’t meant to zig-zag between notes or jump from top to heart to base. (Many perfumes finish this cycle within 30 minutes…)
You might have also noticed the composition’s conservative use of top notes.
Crime & Punishment isn’t about showing off ‘notes’. It’s not a fireworks display, and it’s not about letting you smell citrus then rose then a patchouli base. It’s meant to mold notes into a beautiful chorus that sways like waves throughout your wear.
Coriander and ginger work great with pepper to create a spicy chord that’s massively amplified by musk’s inherent earthy-spiciness. So, I don’t count these as top notes only meant to make a quick guest appearance. They’re a means to an end, and the end is Crime & Punishment’s steady musky oopmh.
GRUNGE vs. JAZZ vs. REGGAE
Musc, as in white muscs, muscone, nitro muscs, polycyclic muscs, etc. that are staples in modern perfumery are isolates and single notes in themselves. They’re not proper ‘exalting’ fixatives—synthetics now do this job.
They don’t have the transformative, exalting fusing effect genuine deer musk has. Same with ambergris and civet, the synthetic substitutes for which are simple notes, not proper fixatives or enhancers.
The same goes for oud and sandalwood, which both filter simple notes through an olfactory effects pedal. That’s why you don’t immediately pick up the orange blossom or ginger in the top notes. Not that they aren’t there, but they’ve been morphed by the copious amounts of musk, ambergris, and oud—they don’t float on top, separately from the Muscone, Ambroxide, and Black Agarwood Artificial…… preachers who dominate every pulpit.
In addition to oud, certain notes run like a thread through different EO perfumes. One of them is pepper, which I love to use, and which you’ll pick up in a few other perfumes just like you’ll hear strings in both rock and classical music—ditto for fine jasmine and rose. Of course, that’s as far as the familiarity goes. These notes are merely phantom memories, familiar notes in totally different songs.
I’LL NEED TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH THIS ONE
This is something you hear a lot, especially among oud connoisseurs.
It might begrudge people new to complex aromatics, but it’s a simple reality when digging your nose into a single fragrance that packs 100+ aromatic compounds.
The pop-frag industry trains you to look for something immediately recognizable. Something familiar. Repeatable. But like artisanal oud, niche natural perfumes like Crime & Punishment aren’t simple.
Fragheads zoom into every chord like a cinephile appreciates every transition between shots, the lighting, the choice of lens, and can watch a movie 10 times over and enjoy it more each time. Likewise, this fragrance doesn’t reveal itself in one go, as you journey with it and discover its flow and what the chords share in each new wear.
That’s why I’ve never emphasized scent pyramids. It’s a bit like telling you the band you’ll hear tonight includes a guitar, bass, and drums… and therefore you know the song. But I get how a scent breakdown can be useful, so here goes:
Aged Mysore Sandalwood
Vintage Sumatran Oud (retail value: $790/3gr)
Cambodian Oud (retail value: $550/3gr)
Sri Lankan Oud (retail value: $1,500/3gr)
Trio of Hindi Ouds: Garo Hills, North Cachar and Manipur (retail value: $550/3gr)
Fixatives and carriers:
Siberian Musk (~$30-45,000 a kilo)
Tanzanian Osyris (~$3,000 a kilo)
Beach-Combed Jamaican Ambergris (~$30,000 a kilo)
There are 15+ ingredients not listed here, nor are the ones listed ones I specifically want to highlight. There are extracts in here that are rarer and as expensive as the most precious of them, which for proprietary reasons are not listed—but are certainly smelled.
Most of the ouds, sandalwood oils, musks, and tinctures in here are our own painstaking productions, while many of the ingredients were sourced in person to check for quality.
I mention this, and highlight the prices above to show that it’s unreasonable to demand that perfume with such precious components should be sold for ‘cheap’. You’ll earn more selling these oils neat, so this is not about profiteering through my perfumes.
Once you’ve spent your days and nights and years deep diving the depths of an aromatic ocean, when you’ve passed the point of nosebleeds and olfactory coma, do you relish the extravagance of such a perfume. Some, probably most, who merely keep track of scent fashion won’t understand perfume like this. They’d be let down like Bieber fans are when they first hear the 9th Symphony’s overture, or Miles’ Blue.
Noir. Intense. Not because the labels say so, but because there’s more musk in your bottle than in all the niche and luxury perfume shelves of the world combined. More oud and amber and coffee and cedar drenched in black tea than any noir celebrity poster will ever let your nose feast on, or any bootlegger can fake.
So, enjoy a pheromonal spritz that lets raw castoreum bathed in the finest jasmines on Earth wake up a long-dormant naked attraction—not just carnal, but silage that also commands power and prestige… because fragrance once possessed such force—before musc got stripped of its K, and amber lost its gris.