darling clandestine, full of grace, the oud is with thee

Darling Clandestine's Grace
(It came fuller than this, I decanted two samples for friends.)

Grace is a tiny perfume with a grand personality.

I was excited mostly for the oud, which Working With Monolids has a good in-depth post about here. She was the one who had procured some oud for Evonne (the perfumer, shark-lover and chicken wrangler behind Darling Clandestine). I was only weakly considering Grace until she told us about the rarity and delicious spiciness of the oud. After that, I was sold. I really wanted to try this, since I was certain I would enjoy it, and I find half the fun of perfume is smelling the rare curios of the perfumery world.

Grace is "...sharp, bright spikenard, the oil used by Mary Magdalene to anoint the feet of Jesus Christ, as well as lively gingergrass, moody Haitian Sandalwood, piquant blue lotus, sweet Melissa, mellow myrrh, and a precious oud from Sumbawa that I scored from a friend. The result is a stimulating, fascinating anointment that unfolds and softens on the skin."

It opens and upon cold sniff it's very bright and hot and spicy with a musty/musky undertone. I'd seen it  mentioned as the ginger. I was curious to compare it and behold my luck! We had a leftover chunk of ginger root from when my girlfriend made curry last week, so I  snapped it open and took a deep inhale. Compared to Grace I found the sharpness of the raw ginger to be more lemon-y and without the musty undercurrent. Grace's is a bit more subdued, though still pungent.

I also smell something that was familiar and I couldn't place, but then I realized it reminded me a bit of the salty sharkskin note in Love and Sharks, and perhaps a bit of when one tries a handcream on and the scent of it turns a bit musky once it's rubbed into the skin. I think this is the spikenard listed in it, because when I searched "spikenard scent" a lot of places mentioned it smells a bit musky and musty and "like feet" sometimes. I am very fortunate I find it does not smell like feet the way Evonne has blended it.
Grace came to me in a tiny cotton DC bag and with a gorgeous wax DC emblem and hand-dyed sari ribbon.

As is dries it mellows down and turns softer and melds with the skin. It becomes warm, I can smell the sandalwood note (it's the same as the one in Spurn, which is how I am able to discern it, though clearly the blends are very different) and what I assume must be the oud with the way it has been described, warm and spicy. I admit I have no way to discern some of the other notes, such as myrrh and melissa, as the last time I smelled myrrh I was probably in grade school (Catholic school was kinda cool sometimes, at least...). Either way this does indeed remind me of church oil in the sense of the deep richness and pungent warmth of it. It certainly smells like something one would anoint themselves with, or burn at midnight mass.

It also reminds me of...and this is probably weird, but have you ever been in an Aveda salon? My mum used to get their Control Wax for her hair, and this vaguely reminds me of the scent--a bit herbal and "plant-y" and earthy. To me I always liked the scent of Aveda products, especially that one, so I enjoy it.

It fades gently into the skin as worn. While Grace comes in with strength, it goes out with a soft whisper. It mellows and then the brightness fades and it becomes earthy and slightly bitter. It disappears in about 3 hours or so, after applying some and running errands by the time we came home I could only smell it very faintly.

My full bottle of Grace as it arrived.
The bottles of Grace are quite tiny, though it's understandable, given that a few drops go a long way and given that oud is quite expensive. This bottle was $16 USD for 5ml. It might look larger than it is in these pictures, so here is a scale comparison:

2 EUR coin, sample of Grace I decanted for a friend (about 1ml), Grace (5ml), DC bitsy of Small Saga (1 dram, about 3.7ml)
It's so teeny! It's really cute actually, and there's something I find elegant and charming about how tiny it is. The lid also screws on nice and tightly, so you could store this in a purse pouch as a secret weapon. Secret alluring, spicy, sensual strength. There's something I really like about that. Though my only grumble is this, like the Falloween vials, is clear glass, so it has to be stored away from sunlight and windows so it doesn't degrade.

Is this how Hagrid feels all the time?
When I was decanting the samples for my friends I was sitting across from my girlfriend and I shoved this into her hands and said, "Smell it! Do it!" so she did. She said, "Ugh I don't like it, it's too strong!" but just now when she hugged me she said, "Ah, you smell nice." and I assume it was partially due to Grace. She couldn't really pinpoint what, she just said it was "like perfume, and you".

I'm very pleased with this perfume, as I have been with everything I've tried from DC (even if lately I've realized Spurn and Squander just do not work for me like I want). Evonne has a wonderful attention to detail in everything she does, from the wax seals and ribbons and the actual perfume to my lovely lovely envelope:

I love you too Christmas rooster.
I am glad my package finally made it to me after the weird journey it endured.

my perfume left new jersey, went to LONDON,
and then came BACK TO PHILLY
before it went to germany and then sweden and then finland.

Unfortunately Grace was limited edition, and Evonne's special Christmas/"Shark Friday" perfumes tend to vary yearly, so I won't say if you'll be able to pick this up in the future, because who knows! She does have many other wonderful offerings though, so when her shop re-opens (probably some time in January, after the holiday rush).

Where to buy: Purchase many wonderful balms and blends from Evonne here on Etsy.


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peachy noon

Meet The Author

Noon. 25. American born, Finland residing. I really love dogs.