One of my most anticipated new launches of 2016 is McQueen Parfum. This is the third perfume under the Alexander McQueen brand following up on the discontinued Kingdom and My Queen from 2003 and 2005 respectively. It is those two fragrances which had my interest level as high as it was. There are only a few designer fragrance brands which reflect their designer’s style adequately. The Alexander McQueen fragrances are among the best at doing that. McQueen Parfum had some big shoes to fill.
This follow-up was taking place after the death of Mr. McQueen in 2010 and without his collaborator in the perfume creative designer Chantal Roos. Sarah Burton who took over the brand is responsible for the creative direction on McQueen Parfum. Over the last six years Ms. Burton has done an amazing job keeping the fashion side of the business moving forward. McQueen Parfum will begin to answer whether she can do the same with the fragrance side of the business.
As much as I tried to find out the answer there is no information on the perfumer Ms. Burton worked with on McQueen Parfum. All of the online information comes from her. Ms. Burton’s vision was to form the perfume around a core of three night-blooming flowers; jasmine, tuberose, and ylang ylang. The ad campaign featuring model Maartje Verhoef wearing a dress from the Fall 2016 collection is a great visual to go along with this concept.
Model Maartje Verhoef
McQueen Parfum opens with a piquant combination of clove and black pepper. This hearkens back to the strong spicy core of Kingdom except it is moved up to the beginning. I felt these early moments were a way of saying this new fragrance was not going to shy away from being aggressive. I like this opening a lot but I really fell for the florals in the heart. The perfumer behind this did a fantastic job of balancing these three very extroverted florals into one noir-ish accord. The jasmine adds its animalic floral, the tuberose its slightly mentholated version, and the ylang ylang its viscous oiliness. These are used in decent concentration which makes the balancing act a little more impressive. It ends with an earthy patchouli, vetiver, and benzoin base accord. This is not as unique as the previous phases but maybe having it be a little quieter at the end is by design.
McQueen Parfum has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
I tip my hat to Ms. Burton for continuing to keep the Alexander McQueen brand and aesthetic relevant. This first fragrance under her guidance is a great return for the brand.
Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle I purchased.