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Kingdom – of the dancer

Bellydancing put me in touch with my body for the first time in my life. I love everything about it: the sparkle, the rhythm, the unabashed femininity, but most especially the sweat.

Many years ago my first dance teacher was asking everyone in the class to say what they most loved about dancing. I was surprised that no one took my answer before the question got to me, and burst out immediately when my turn came: “The sweat!” One of my classmates grinned at me, and said “You’re hardcore.”

I meant it. I love exerting myself, I love to feel the push in my muscles, I love the endorphin high when it’s all over. I don’t like sweat in my eyes, and I know that after a good workout, I look like a rainsoaked walrus, and nothing like the beautiful dancer in this photo. But I feel like a beautiful dancer, and after all that’s more important.

I’ve been dancing for more than ten years and collecting perfume for five. It’s surprising to me that the first perfume that made me think of dancing is Alexander McQueen’s Kingdom. But then, not so surprising.

You see, I knew Kingdom was Out There. I knew it was supposed to have a whopping dose of cumin/sweat in it, and I knew I’d work my way around to getting my hands on it someday.

Because I really do like to sweat.

Reminded of this potential holy grail by the mention in Alyssa Harad’s Coming to my Senses, I earned myself a Perfumista Gold Star by doing the smart thing: ordering a sample before I shelled out for a whole bottle.

Because Kingdom was discontinued long ago, and then Alexander McQueen’s death drove McQueen collectors to great frenzies, and the bottles that change hands tend to be expensive. The sample was the right thing to do. Because if I loved it, price would be no object. But if I didn’t love it, even an inexpensive price – which was unlikely – would be too much, right?

Perfumista Gold Star - ur doin' it right!RIGHT!

Yes, I was a good girl; I bought a sample and I sniffed it.

And I flat-out, no-thinking-necessary, immediately, unreservedly, loved it.

I then came across quite a windfall of Kingdom at a reasonable price. I suspect I now have enough for the rest of my life, though I’d still like to perhaps get the parfum, though I see the Candy Perfume Boy reports that the bottle doesn’t actually work. Which is a drawback.

Now don’t think this is a case where I loved the sweat, I smelled the sweat, I bought the sweat. In fact, I don’t smell sweat. Or cumin. Or coumarin, the ingredient so often fingered (if you’ll forgive me saying so) as the culprit in producing said sweat smell.

But maybe it’s lurking in the back of my nose; or maybe just the suggestion planted in my mind is enough. Because Kingdom doesn’t really remind me of sweat; but it does remind me of bellydancing.

It’s not the wood-heavy, incense-heavy scent a lot of dancers favor. It’s not heavy at all, to me, or that enveloping. It’s rich, but it’s not overwhelming like an Amouage (there’s a reason it’s named that; amwaj means wave in Arabic). There are flowers, but it’s not a flower bouquet-fest like Coco or White Diamonds or Miller Harris Coeur d’Ete or Jardin Blanc by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier (to name a few lovely bouquets). It’s not an old-fashioned bouquet like Quelques Fleurs, either. I smell more flowers than just the jasmine, is what I’m saying, but they are soft, complementary flowers.

The jasmine is lovely in center stage, and in this composition truly the jasmine is the definition of perfume. Underlying it is enough wood and spice to make it multidimensional, sensory pleasure, like a bellydancer in motion. It’s not overload; it’s perfect.

Am I going to wear it to work? Um, yeah! (In small dabs. Which will be fine. And plenty. Fine & Plenty.)

To be exact, on me it smells like a Guerlain and an Amouage had a love child. A cuddly, cuddly love child that loves me. There’s the faintest touch of a lemony vanilla; there’s some ginger and a faint scraping of citrus peel to give the flowers body and roundness; there’s what smells to me like sandalwood and myrrh, and maybe wearing this, I smell as if I were a jeweled bellydancer destined to be a gift for a sultan.*

This may be one case where my dry skin is saving me from much of the darker, danker aspects. I’m fine with that. I do get more myrrh in the drydown, and myrrh always reminds me of spice candy without really being sugary. I can’t imagine how any man could wear this. Well, a very sexy mysterious man maybe. Okay, now I’m quite enjoying imagining the man that could wear this. ANYway, it reads quite feminine to me, while others have often rated it too unisex or too masculine. Based on that alone, plus the absence of cumin, I don’t think this smells on me quite like it smells on others.

That’s okay with me. If you decide to get rid of yours, send it my way.


Top image is Sanctuary solstice celebration 07 373, by Runs with scissors, via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons licensing; some rights reserved. “Perfumista Gold Star” created by the Unseen Censer; feel free to use, with creator credit, to recognize perfumistas who earn gold stars!

* Not that I am endorsing giving away bellydancers as gifts. That gets expensive.

Also, my own sultan doesn’t want his bellydancer perfumed. That’s too bad. So, this is purely a thought exercise. I’m going back to imagining the man who could wear this. Like the Old Spice Man. In a bellydancing outfit. Yeah, that’s the stuff.

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3 comments to Kingdom – of the dancer

  • It’s a very inspiring review.

    I have a vague recollection of seeing that bottle but that’s it. I do not remember if I’ve ever sniffed the perfume while it was still in production. If I come across it somehow I will definitely give it a try but, as a rule, I’m trying to save myself from heart aches and not actively pursue discontinued/vintage perfumes unless I’ve tried them before and loved.

    • Judith

      I have a perverse fascination with discontinueds; my acquiring magpie instinct is satisfied when I get my hands on something “impossible to get”. It does make me somewhat crazy in those instances that all I have is all I’ll ever have; but I’ve emptied so few perfume bottles in my life that it doesn’t cause me that much grief.

      Plus I read the Non-Blonde and while she’s clearly trying to be better lately, she does tend to send one off after vintagey discontinued things. (I don’t regret any of the Diors I’ve collected because of her.)

  • […] smell all the civet and castoreum that others note, but will look forward to locating them. (Kingdom isn’t the least bit skanky as far as I’m concerned either, so this may be another gift […]

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