Sunday, 18 July 2010

Alexander McQueen Kingdom

Following on from my previous post, I thought I would do a review of Kingdom today. Kingdom is one of those perfumes that has a reputation for being somewhat, shall we say, skanky. Like a lot of second hand knowledge that proliferates on the internet, I think this reputation is somewhat exaggerated. A common theme that emerges, particularly on Basenotes, I find, is that Kingdom smells a bit like a woman's unwashed genitals. Gasp. The note that is most talked about in this perfume is cumin, one of those ingredients that tends to polarise opinions. You get those that adore cumin and those that are cuminphobes. I personally fall into the former category. Getting back to genitals, I am not by any means a leading expert on lady bits and their odour, but in my limited experience, cumin smells far more like sweat than sex, the sort of sweat that comes from armpits or slightly stale clothes. But, I should stress, to my nose not dirty bodies or clothes, but merely used. In any event, in most cases cumin smells spicy to me rather than sweaty and I like it. 

I'll get back to the boudoir in a minute, but the notes per include neroli, ginger, rose, jasmine, lily, cumin, sandalwood and myrrh. I purchased Kingdom as a blind buy about two years ago on sale at a local department store, for the princely sum of £15 - for 75ml of eau de toilette juice. My bottle is the one pictured top left, but the usual bottle seems to be more of a three-dimensional heart shape, which I suspect is the eau de parfum. I wonder how much a bottle costs now that McQueen has sadly passed away? I had heard even before his death that Kingdom was out of production and becoming harder to find anyway. On my skin Kingdom opens very bright and citrusy, with quite a punch of florals too. It is the most feminine phase in my opinion, in what I think is far more of a unisex perfume than is given credit. The citrus dies away very quickly, leaving an emerging rose note that mingles wonderfully with a little jasmine and a well done zing of ginger. As the cumin starts to seep though the character of Kingdom changes from fresh and dewy to something slightly more avaricious. The heart of this perfume is all about the interplay of the rose and cumin and it is wonderful in my opinion. The rose, which starts as quite fresh and innocent, becomes not darker, but almost jammy. If one could take hundreds of rose petals, steep them in sugar syrup infused with lightly roasted cumin, and boil until a jam is formed, I think one would arrive at something approximating what Kingdom is at this stage. I think if anything, it is this jam-like, slightly sweet, yet seductively spicy, even marginally sweaty accord that some think smells a bit like female parts. I think. I may be wrong. For a very short while I can make this association if I think very hard, but ultimately, I just find Kingdom downright sexy, without having to analyse it to death.

The sandalwood makes its presence felt not long after this and I think the myrrh blends in quite well, lending a slightly sour, dusty note that goes very well with the wood and spice, and tempers the jammy rose at the same time. Into the dry down and Kingdom becomes for me a classic spicy rose combo, fairly linear hereon in, but still compelling. I don't know if it is just me, but I don't find Kingdom that feminine. I think if the spicy cumin was missing, the rose might become a bit too sweet and cloying, but it is well balanced. I think Kingdom wears better in warmer weather; I've been wearing it quite a lot this summer and it is working wonderfully on my skin. It is not a heavy fragrance, and if anything, the rose and spices make it seem almost refreshing. In fact, I would say if you are looking to wear something this summer that does not involve the usual citrus cologne, give Kingdom a go, if you can still find it, and before it gets expensive.


  1. Michael, I have not tried Kingdom, but I thank you for the comprehensive review. It sounds like something I would love. A sample is forthcoming.

  2. Thanks Josephine. I think it is an interesting rose fragrance, with a twist.

  3. I must say Kingdom left me completely un-enthusiastic. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't me. I'm not a cuminophobe and yes, I agree, it smells more like sweat than anything else, and I don't remember thinking Kingdom was very cumin-like.

  4. Ines, I don't know, perhaps it's a skin chenistry thing? I very definitely get quite a lot of cumin in Kingdom, but it's very well balanced and not overpowering. Do you find it rosy? I seem to recall you saying that you are getting into rose frags recently.



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