Every now and then there comes a fragrance that has instant classic written all over it. Marc Jacobs Decadence is one of those – a masterful fusion of beautiful aesthetics and addictive fragrance with plenty of that canny Marc Jacobs charm.
Though Decadence retains that sense of Marc Jacobs quirkiness in its diversion from the norm, it feels like a very different fragrance to his previous offerings; the bottle takes its cues directly from Marc Jacobs’ fashion with its handbag shape and opulent detailing, while the composition has a luxurious sultriness to it, with notes of plum, saffron, iris and liquid amber.
It’s the statement fragrance to end all statement fragrances – and I’m more than a little bit in love.
Top Notes: Italian Plum, Iris, Saffron
Heart Notes: Bulgarian Rose, Jasmine Sambac, Orris
Base Notes: Liquid Amber, Vetiver, Papyrus Woods
Marc’s scents are well known by now for their sense of irreverent luxury. But where iconic fragrances Daisy (2007), Lola (2009) and Dot (2012) erred on the side of frivolity, Decadence feels decidedly more mature. According to Marc, Decadence is all about a good girl being bad – and boy does it look like he had some real fun with this vision!
Created by Master Perfumer Annie Buzantian in collaboration with Marc Jacobs and Ann Gottlieb (author of some of Marc’s biggest hits), Decadence has a wonderfully old school feel. To me, it’s the scent of a twenties showgirl, her dressing table full of powder, lipstick and faded feathers. There’s no softly-softly approach to its opening (citrus and light florals, be gone); Decadence starts as it means to go on with lashings of rich, jammy plum laced with precious saffron, which gives the fragrance a ‘golden’ feel. The addition of both iris and orris (the rootstock of the iris), redolent of make-up powder and lipstick, runs like a thread throughout the scent, bestowing a sophisticated powdery character that subtly offsets the richness.
The heart is pure velvet, dominated by saffron-tinged Bulgarian rose petals and sultry jasmine sambac. It is beautifully textured and tactile, and does a brilliant job of prolonging the glamour of the top notes. In the base, liquid amber introduces resonant warmth, whilst vetiver complements the rich floral tones with a touch of mossy greenery.
The wear time of Decadence is very impressive indeed. Though the luscious jammy, fruity vibes of the opening disappear around an hour or two into wear, the velvet florals and warm amber linger for hours after that. When layered with the shower gel and body lotion, I get around 10-12 hours of fragrance.
Though it’s undoubtedly lavish, Decadence isn’t just a fragrance for extroverts – it’s a fragrance for anyone who enjoys rich, warm woody florals with a touch of the unexpected. And bottle magpies, of course!