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Monday, November 12, 2007

Perfume Review: Alexander McQueen Kingdom

Review by Kelley

Every time I wear Kingdom, I have this image in my head that I just can’t shake. Have you ever had someone say something to you that almost ruined your enjoyment of a fragrance? I remember reading on Basenotes about a guy that was wearing a spicy, clove based scent to the dentist and now he can’t wear it without feeling sick to his stomach. This problem I have is also because of fellow Basenoters and their reviews (sorry, but this is one instance I definitely don’t agree with the many reviewers of Kingdom). You see the problem is “love-purse”. Let me explain by quoting one of my favorite scenes from the Steve Martin film, “The Lonely Guy”.

Picture Steve sitting at his typewriter clack-clack-clacking away with a serious look on his face. He has just been fired from a greeting card company for writing depressing cards. Let’s listen in as he reads from his very first attempt at a romance novel…

“Soon the primal fire began to burn in Lady Hookstratton’s body. Her hips twitched and trembled as each fireball from Oliver’s powerful cannon erupted like molten lava into the quivering mouth of her ever fluttering love-purse.”

Maybe this review should have come with an “R” rating? Okay, so the problem is that there are a million reviews of Kingdom that describe it as reminding straight men of a certain area of the female body, now known as the “love-purse”. WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THAT? You know the closest I have ever come to a, you know, was the instant I was born. Given that fact, I have to heartily disagree with my fellow Basenoters on this. I may not have first hand proof, however… Oh, and I know where all the horny guys on BN got their ideas, from the ad Mr. McQueen released!

“[Kingdom] is a fragrance created to evoke sensuality and sexuality. It aims to describe women’s private world, when no men are present.” From website

I would like to stress that the ad said it describes “women’s private WORLD” and not “private parts”.

Kingdom is a spicy/oriental, created in 2003.

Notes include: Calabrian Bergamot, Sicilian Mandarin, Orange , Tunisian Neroli, Rose, Indian Jasmine, Cumin, Ginger, French Vanilla, and Indonesian Myrrh

I just wish that I could do this scent justice in my review but it is almost beyond description. The first spray is always a shock with loads of indolic jasmine, juicy ginger root, and cumin. This is the garden of desire. My heart starts beating faster with the excitement of the initial notes. On my skin, the opening notes remind me of dark Dutch paintings in which overripe fruit lie sliced and arranged under huge sprays of tulips and roses and orchids, many of which are beginning to wilt and drop petals. The top notes start falling away after about an hour. When the florals have gone, it’s all about cumin and vanilla and myrrh. McQueen’s ads say that this scent is all about sandalwood but I never get much sandalwood in this. The next stage is still sexy and sweaty but it stays closer to the skin. The myrrh eventually takes center stage and has a moldy, mushroomy quality that reminds me of dirt and decay. Do you see the beauty of this scent and its design? It starts off with lust and passion…with crushed jasmine and sensuous fruit and then leaves you surrounded by heavenly myrrh. We have crawled out of bed with a lover only to run to church. I feel so naughty when I wear this.

Kingdom is artistic. It’s extremely strange. It's polarizing. It’s shocking in its blatant sexuality. It was doomed to failure from the instant it was born.

The body lotion has more of a sandalwood smell and is more masculine in character.

Will I let the other reviewers ruin this fragrance for me? Nope. Do I still love and wear Kindgom? All the time. Do I still have that silly image in my head? Yep, and it makes me laugh. I would like to make a request that if you love scents of all kinds, that you at least try this.

Kingdom is/was available in an eau de toilette, and a limited edition eau de toilette as well as a special summer edition, but my favorite is the original eau de parfum. It is still available online at Ebay and other discount perfume sellers until it’s gone for good.

Photo of Bosch's "Garden of Earthly Delights" is from


Blogger tmp00 said...

I really want to try this..

Some people swear that Ambre Sultan smells like a woman as well. Well, then I guess women smell especially nice.

I was a caesarian, so.....

10:35 PM EST  
Blogger Dusan said...

you are not alone. I adore Kingdom and let me just tell you that whoever started the whole "Kingdom smells like a pu$$y" thang has probably never been near one. That said, the cumin has been known as the BO culprit, but the association is with sweat and armpits not private um, world. :-)
Am I alone in registering Kingdom as an ever fresh and mouth-watering sandalwood-cum-myrrh-cum-ginger-cum-neroli-cum-vanilla ice-cream sprinkled with cumin? Nah, didn't think so. :-)
Great review!

11:05 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Tom, I will have to send you a sample. Please don't blame me if you fall for this and then find it's not available anymore...(it is for the time being). I just love it!

11:19 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

dusan, you are right, it is mouth-watering! I don't mind the sweaty cumin which to me is a nice sweet sweat as opposed to a sour smelling BO smell. I think I better get a back-up bottle soon!

11:23 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kelley, your review comes the closest of any I have read about this fragrance to explain its appeal. Love it or hate it, it can't be ignored! I find it stange, yes, but fascinating too.

1:50 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoy this one too, but don't find it at all shocking. Just a beautiful scent with a lovely heap of cumin (a note of joy for me). But then, even though my smell memories tell me there is no link (unlike you and Tom, I have been to the other side...), I don't find vaginas all that shocking either. Not that I'm saying you do, by the way!

Love the Steve Martin quote...

3:33 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

How is it I've not seen that Steve Martin movie? LMAO! I know that Kingdom gets more than its fair share of bad press, but, hopeless cumin sl*t that I am, I love it. Only have the edt, but am seriously considering getting the edp and would love the parfum version if I could find it.

5:41 AM EST  
Blogger Anne said...

You know almost 2 years ago, before I fell with abandon into this world of niche fragrances, I brought a sample of Kingdom home and after 1 spray, ran to the shower. Must have been the jasmine.
I will try it again with more patience this time. The notes sound wonderful once the jasmine goes away.

7:10 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a girl who owns her own bits I can't fathom the cumin-sweaty smells like bits bit. And let's hope it's the cumin-sweaty that gives that association to these boys, not the mushroom decay! That said, were it not for the bergamot I'd be compelled to sniff.
Oh, & Ambre Sultan doesn't smell like girl bits to me either. It smells a lot like Kalyustan's spice market, something I'm not quite sure I want to walk around with pasted to my pulse points, tho I've retained my samp & will try again.

8:09 AM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

I love love love love love Kingdom. Absolutely brilliant. And I can think of several love-purse fragrances, and Kingdom is frankly not one of them. I don't care what the Basenoters say -- they're wrong. I own the equipment and I know what I'm talking about :-P

Ah, look, right there's a straight guy who agrees with me! (waves to Dusan) If anything, Kingdom is BO'ish like Cartier Declaration, and I don't hear anyone describing that as love-purse. Although I'm now thinking today's post needs to come with a Parental Advisory attached to it.

8:31 AM EST  
Blogger donanicola said...

Love purse! Thank you Kelley for such a fun and informative review of one of my favourite fragrances. I was fascinated by Kingdom from the first sniff - it was (is) so strange but in a totally compelling way. I was only a stage 1 perfumista then and had no idea what it was which made it smell so sexy to me. Now I know I have a thing for cumin (amongst other notes) and it joins Declaration and Eau d'Hermes in my list of loves. One of the best bottles on the market too.

9:03 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny and fascinating review, Kelley! I have to try this...

12:29 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i've always had the thought that Kingdom smelled a bit like what would come from Oliver's bits? I gave a friend a bottle of the lotion once and she ended up in the emergency room with a bad rash and trouble breathing--the culprit? according to the attending physician, synthetic notes meant to evoke semen. apparently there is a list of fragrances that contain this ingredient that they can look up somewhere. my friend said her doctor mentioned that it was not rare, and was used in the old Charlie fragrance from the 80's.

maybe kingdom just smells like sweaty bodies which most people associate in some way with sex.

2:20 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the consultant was spinning you a yarn there...

March is right - more like Declaration. Bal a Versailles is MUCH nearer the mark, esp. in parfum. Oh crikey!

2:37 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Thank you very much flora, for the kind words. When I love a perfume like Kingdom, I just feel so incompetent when it comes to describing it! It is an emotional experience and shouldn't be thought about too much....just inhaled!

2:52 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

leopoldo, I did grow up with a mother and sister and have had many women friends and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have never smelled Kingdom naturally emanating from any of them!

Which reminds me...did you see the website about the guy that is really marketing the essence of vagina? I kid you not! I will have to see if I can find the link...

Marina, sorry about your blog heading quickly into the gutter!

2:59 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

elle, the movie isn't that great but it has its moments. I think "Bowfinger" is much funnier. But then again, I have a sick sense of humor.

I think I am going to start making a list of cumin heavy fragrances. Anyone can chime in and help out...

3:02 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, I think this is a case of synesthetic confusion.

It's not the cumin folks, it's the bottle.

Great review, Kelley. I have trouble with both cumin and heavily indolic jasmine and you still made me want to go buy a mini just to sniff it.

3:35 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Anne, the jasmine is vital to Kingdom's composition. It adds the sweetness that makes it so sexy and overripe. Please give it another try. It's funny how time can change things.

4:25 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

divalano, it would be a natural inference to then say that a woman's "bits" smell like a spice market? I also love Ambre Sultan. To me it is the most wonderful amber around. Mr. Lutens and Mr. Sheldrake worked so well together and I have been wondering if the success (or lack thereof) of SL scents recently is due to the fact that Christopher Sheldrake has left the company?

4:30 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Marchlion...are you the March from Perfume Posse? If so, I read your blog regularly! Glad to know that I am right about Kingdom and the love-purse issue. Not having one myself, it's always comforting to hear from one who does.

4:33 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

donanicola, yes, the bottle is wonderful but mine broke not long after getting it. I had to remove the silver plastic covering in order to fix the spray mechanism. I was able to do it but now the bottle isn't so pretty but at least it works! I didn't mention the beautiful bottle or the strange lotion container that looks like a transfusion bag of blood...yikes!

4:37 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

denise, you won't regret it!

4:37 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

anonymous...that's it! It does smell like sweet sexy sweaty bodies. As far as "man juice", I would have to disagree. Ain't none of that in Kingdom. Good story though!

4:42 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Leopoldo, I now have to try Bal a Versailles now to see what all the fuss is about!

4:43 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

sweetlife, the bottle is suggestive isn't it? Please try it, for educational purposes if for nothing else!

4:44 PM EST  
Blogger rosarita said...

What a funny review, thanks so much! I love cumin in fragrances and this sounds like a must-try. The re-orchestrated Rochas Femme has a strong cumin note, so there's one for your list.

Bal a Versailles, for real? I love BaV & never noticed; it's the same w/Paco Rabonne La Nuit. I just smell yummy spiciness. Maybe you have to be really looking for the *love purse* note :)

5:04 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Anita, maybe you are right. I have never found it because I wasn't looking for it! I am definitely going to try BaV! Everyone keeps mentioning it.

5:31 PM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

Kelley, yes, that's me! And I give yet another vote for Bal a Versailles. Not cumin, just a sexy, naughty thing. You can buy teeny bottles online for not much, I recommend at least the EDP for the, uh, proper dosage. ;-P

7:40 PM EST  
Blogger Ducks said...

Wonderful! Oh, I want some!

The notes don't sound "love-purse" at all. Heh.

11:40 AM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

ducks, you are right. I don't get it at all! This is simply a wonderful, spicy oriental. That's all.

5:07 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a wonderful scent. i have tried it 3 days ago, by accident, actually. i was looking for the new YSL elle (lovely btw!) and on the shelf just below elle, there was kingdom, so it was inevitable to reach for it as well. the only thing i remember from reviews read was, that there's cummin and the smell is rather masculine. and so it was. wonderful. i'm not so sure about the cummin but yes, it was masculine, the drydown more than anything else, still, very feminine as well. and btw, i may be weird, but haven't thought of the bottle as 'love purse' omg, until i've read your review :D it reminded me more of a ripe pomegranate torn in two, or a heart torn out, blah. never a p***y lol

4:43 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The seceond I smelled kingdom I knew it smells like pussy. I am a woman and surely know how it smells... this fragrance is brilliant.

8:39 PM EST  
Anonymous Trace said...

I have a bottle of this in the cupboard - a Christmas present from at least five years ago.
I wish I could've sent it back - it totally reminds me of kebabs! There are a few initial seconds where there is a small hint of Palma violet sweets (like the main blend of McQueen's My Queen, the perfume I had asked for) but this soon gives way to the kebab smell - not for me at all

6:05 PM EDT  

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