St. Clair Scents Review: Casablanca

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Casablanca

For those of a certain age, the name ‘Casablanca’ will instantly evoke romance, passion, longing. I mean, come on. Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart? How could it not?

I feel a bit sorry for a younger generation thats less likely to discover this movie.

Article: St. Clair Scents Review Casablanca. Image shows Moroccan street with Orange trees

So – does Casablanca, the fragrance from St. Clair Scents, do the job of evoking the same feelings of hot and steamy, sultry love?

Well maybe, actually.

How Does St. Clair Scents Casablanca Smell?

OK, so this perfume wasn’t really inspired by the movie, but more the sultry location of Morocco.

Warm evenings, the heady scent of exotic flowers, bursts of fruit, and underlying it all a deep, earthy animalic scent with hints of forbidden passions.

Sorry, got a bit carried away there.

Casablanca opens with a zesty burst of orange blossoms that are bright and flourishing. The bitter oils of the rinds provide a much needed balance. The notes of orange blossom are almost identical to the smell of an orange orchard, delivering waves of sweet, sensualized aromas. 

This fragrance contains a large amount of concentration (50% – seriously!) This is a number which is often unheard of in most perfumes of today, giving the impression that thousands of flowers have been captured within a single bottle. 

The overall impact of this infusion results in a bouquet feel to this product that is fresh, powerful, sweet, and naturalistic. However, the floral and fruit elements are only the beginning of this fragrance.

There is also a thicker darker element that envelops the floral notes that includes smoky elements fused through spiced patchouli. Orange-infused cognac is also included, adding an amalgamation of lighter and darker elements. 

Article: St. Clair Scents Review of Casablanca. Image shows spices and flowers in a shop in Morocco

You can either be transfixed by the smell of smooth cognac fused with bitter orange or you can be transported to a woodland through the spiced patchouli element.

Or both. Its easy to dance between different sense impressions here.

This product also uses leathery labdanum that provides a more rugged touch to the overall sweetness. The labdanum used by Ms. St. Clair here is intentionally chosen to provide facets of leather, tobacco and gunpowder smoke. 

In this sense, you may be shocked by just how woody the undertones of this product are. These notes are definitely drier than the caramel toffee notes that are sometimes used to merge with orange notes.

For some, this may be overbearing, however I believe that it blends brilliantly to counterbalance the overall fruitless of this fragrance. The spice elements are carefully balanced and calibrated to make sure that they remain as side notes that support the orange blossom notes as opposed to taking away from them. 

The amalgamation of oakmoss, vetiver, and dark patchouli elements provides flushes of orange and pulp amidst the spicy, tuberose-heavy base. But its the muskiness – the Civet, the Benzoin – that will make or break this for you.

This is a hugely rich and complex scent. You’ll either love the earthy, animalic undercurrent, or it will overpower you and go full “skanky”. It’s really a combination (isn’t it always?) of your personal tastes, associations, and your own body chemistry.

It also means that it can be sold more as a unisex fragrance and is far more sophisticated than your traditionally fruity perfumes. 

Now, this is a pricey perfume, to be sure, but complexity and elegant construction like this doesn’t happen everyday.

This astonishingly elegant (dare I say “clever?”) amalgamation of floral and musky notes is a testament to the high quality of St. Clair’s fragrances, and the design skills of Ms. St. Clair.

The components are intertwined with the utmost technicality that creates a heady, old-school, atmospheric fragrance. Fortune favors the bold – and this is a bold fragrance indeed.

The Official Notes

From St. Clair Scents:

  • Top Notes: Pink Grapefruit, Mandarin Orange, Black Currant
  • Middle Notes: Orange Blossom, Tuberose, Ylang-Ylang, Jasmine
  • Base Notes: Oakmoss, Labdanum, Vetiver, Civet, Hyraceum, Musk, Benzoin

Longevity: Ridiculous. Feels like weeks. (Not suprising really, given the concentration.)