“ Brand: Illamasqua / Type: Fragrance / Concentration: Eau de Toilette „
I bought Illamasqua Freak last month.
I had had my eye on it for a while after reading good reviews and watching youtube reviews of it.
~ Price and availability ~
I was expecting to pay around £60.00 for a 75ml bottle, but I found it on sale on the Illamasqua website for just £25.00. I snapped it up immediately when I found it so cheaply.
~ Presentation ~
The bottle comes in a black box with a dark purple design on it and a window in the front showing the bottle and a large picture of the moon behind it.
'Illamasqua Freak', is written in silver lettering above and below the window.
The lid of the box is removed to reveal the black rectangular bottle.
The bottle is rectangular, but with a corner missing so it sits at an angle. There is a silver metal snail on the side of the bottle as if it has slithered up the side.
The bottom of the bottle has, 'Freak Illamasqua' in silver lettering and there are two black curved stripes across the front of the bottle. You can hardly see them as the bottle is also black.
The neck of the bottle has a silver ring around it with, 'Illamasqua' written on it then there is a black square lid that fits over the spray dispenser.
I think the bottle is really cool. It is a very unique design and I like the added touch of the snail.
~ Scent ~
Freak is a unisex fragrance.
Illamasqua says, "Freak is a concoction of dangerously exotic unconventional flowers which Illamasqua has unashamedly blended together to celebrate the night."
I absolutely love the scent.
The top notes are black davana, opium flower and belladonna.
The heart notes are poison hemlock, datura and queen of the night blossom.
The base notes are frankincense, oud and myrrh.
The fragrance definitely one I can imagine men wearing and it reminds me of something I have smelled on one of my male friends.
The scent is deep and quite warming. It smells like dark, exotic flowers, but it is not a feminine scent.
I can't pick out any of the notes individually, but I wouldn't know what any of them smell like individually anyway as they are quite unique.
The scent is very unique and it is quite a dark scent. It has a slightly spicy scent, but it is more floral than it is spicy. I don't usually like spicy scents, but I don't find this offensive at all. I don't think anyone would find this scent offensive. The notes in this fragrance are not harsh. At the same time I don't imagine that everyone will love it.
This is one of the few unisex fragrances that I will happily wear regularly. I don't mind unisex scents, but the ones I have I tend only to wear very occasionally for something different. This one is not feminine, but it is not too masculine either.
I am really pleased with how long lasting this scent is. It lasts on my skin for about 12 hours, which is impressive and I regularly smell this on myself throughout the day.
I tend to wear this during the day, but I would definitely consider it for nights out as well. I don't feel as though anyone would think or say, "Are you wearing a man's fragrance?"
I would recommend this fragrance. It is a great scent and it lasts all day.
What's that I smell?
Black davana, opium flower (or poppy to us laymen!), belladonna, poison hemlock, dartura (the moonflower), Queen of the Night (exquisitely rare night-blooming cereus), frankincense, oud and myrhh...allegedly!
Doesn't that list conjure up the most mystical, bewitching image? From the get go, before I even got my hands on it, I was salivating over this fragrance. My expectations were through the roof- I honestly expected it to smell like nothing I'd ever smelled before. The anticipation was high as I got my grubby hands on the sample and eagerly sprayed, to smell... Imperial Leather.
Honestly. The first thing I noticed, before the enchanting top notes, the seductive base notes, before anything else, was Imperial Leather. Cue instant flashback to my childhood- but strangely enough, it didn't put me off. Before I had time to make the decision that this was a perfume that would have me smelling like a bar of soap- albeit, a comforting bar of soap- the scent started to change on my skin, and that's when the attraction began.
As time goes by...
I admit it. After a few hours on my skin, I still wasn't feeling the Freak. It's a floral. Slightly musky, a little woody, and sometimes spicy- but on top of it all, a floral. Of course, I was expecting this, given the top and heart notes. But somehow, I just expected something more... diferent. Something edgy, something that walked right up to all the cheerful florals lining out shelves, and stuck out its tongue. I didn't get that with Freak. I got something which, surprisingly, reminded me of Narciso Rodriguez...although I much prefer Freak.
But it's not all doom and gloom! It sat nicely on my skin, and after around two hours settled nicely into mhyrr and frankincense territory, which I really enjoyed. It wears well on me, usually lasting about five hours, and getting spicier as it goes. It also has good sillage, depending on where you spray- if you're going for subtle, stick to the wrists, but for a full on frangrance extravaganza, spray away- Freak manages not to become overwhelming when over applied.
Looks aren't everything, but...
In this case, they really are something. This perfume is presented extraordinarily, with everything from the box to the bottle being truly exquisite. It's here, not in the fragrance, that I see Illamasqua, lauded for their always innovative approach. The box itself is something to be seen- it's not just a container, it really is a display piece. The plastic window shows the gorgeous bottle against a moonlit, eerie background, and on opening the dark glass is nestled comfotably in the bottom section. This set up makes it very easy- and very tempting!- to keep the bottle in it's box, as you simply pop off the top portion instead of having to fiddle around with little flaps of cardboard.
However beautiful the box, I just couldn't resist having the bottle out on display, and here's why. It's made of a beautiful dark glass, feeling heavy and expensive and just a bit deco, emblazoned with fantastical swirls and the Freak name. It sits at an angle, which is charming if a little inconvenient when you try to put it down the wrong way (doh!), but it's more than worth it to see the brilliant little decoration creeping up the side. A little silvertone snail, sliding his way up the plain to the cap. Absolutely awesome.
The 30ml bottle, whilst a little less enchanting, is still a nice decoration, with the same swirled lettering, this time in white, and a little snail printed above the name. Not as cool, perhaps, but much handier for throwing in your bag!
How much is that doggie in the window...
I find this fragrance, given how long it lasts on the skin and the level of detail in the packaging, to be well worth the money. You can get your mitts on the 75ml for around £59, and the 30ml for around about £30 depending where you go. Well worth it, in my opinion!
You and I Sexy?
I'm not the best to judge this, as I wear perfume and aftershave indiscriminately, picking the fragrance I think suits me best rather than going by the gender it's supposed to be for. With Freak, though, I can see their point. Yes, it's floral, but when the myrrh takes over, it does become a tougher, more 'masculine' scent. The Boy loves this, and has pinched my bottle on a number of occasions, so we're going with yes on this one!
How do I love thee...
I wanted this to be something so totally different, something strange and a little twisted- I mean, the clue is in the name! Illamasqua have built their reputation on daring to be different, and I find it surprising that this fragrance comes off so, well, normal. What is freaky, however, is how much I love it. In spite of totally contradicting my expectations, I love this fragrance. I find it incredibly comforting, and I've gathered more compliments on it than I can count. At the end of the day, expectations aside, I adore this perfume, so it's a win for me!
Mysterious midnight blooms
Unfurling only for Luna's light
Datura, Black Davana, Poison Hemlock,
and Queen of the Night
A covert gathering of forbidden flowers
Brought together in loves darkest hour
I am magical, timeless
I am bottled midnight
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FREAK applies with a crisp tang [maybe there is a hint of mint?] that has a slightly salty, almost coppery, undertone to it. I suspect that the perfumers are trying to mimic blood and I have to say the result, though it sounds iffy, is actually enjoyable. This effect lasts for about ten minutes at most, after which it sweetens up with something that I can't place, but reminds me slightly of coke.
The 'coke' leads to the floral heart of FREAK, where it fully develops into something jammy and rum-like, with a splash of burnt orange. I think this is the davana; I've never smelt davana before, but people describe it as fruity and alcoholic. Davana's main use is in higher end perfumes as it enhances the wearer's natural perfume, so the overall impression of FREAK appears to be slightly different each time that I've tried to sit down and write out a review. I'm also not overly familiar with any of the other floral notes so I'm not sure which is which, but everything gradually becomes warm, peppery and reminds me overall of white floral blends like those found in Michael Kors Very Hollywood. After the dramatic opening notes I was surprised by the sweeter warmness in the heart scent notes and was initially disappointed, but quickly came to appreciate that the softer heart does make FREAK more wearable.
After a hour or so a faint wisp of smoked woods and musky spices develop, and hides the sweeter jammy notes. The star note in the base of FREAK is rich and earthy, which I believe is the hemlock. The hemlock seems similar to patchouli, but I find patchouli too heavy and cloying, whereas I don't have this problem when wearing FREAK. The hemlock gradually overtakes the floral notes one one, so after a few hours the base notes are all I can detect.
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It's in the details
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Black davana, opium flower (poppy), belladonna, poison hemlock, datura (moonflower), queen of the night blossom (night-blooming cereus), frankincense, oud and myrrh.
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When, where and for how long?
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You're getting what you pay for here; even FREAK isn't as heavy as I had been expecting, it does wear well. I apply it in the morning and can still smell it at the end of the day. I sprayed some on a scarf, which I then used to line a drawer and I get a nice draft of fragrance whenever I open it a month later.
FREAK was made for evening wear, but I did happily wear it during the day over the colder months, as although it is a noticeable fragrance I don't find it cloying or irritating. But admittedly now that it is lighter and starting to warm up, I stick to using it for special occasions because I find it a 'statement' fragrance and a bit too much for day to day wear.
FREAK is smoky and earthy, so it is best worn during the colder months of the year, as it is strong and rich. It isn't as appealing now that the weather has begun to warm slightly, but I have worn it for a couple of nights out. When it gets to the summer months, I think it may become cloying though.
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Worth a spritz?
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So, a sales assistant nabs me in Selfridges as I try to sneak past the cosmetics counter [I was going for the lift, to get to a cheaper store I swear], and she brandishes a perfume bottle at me, capturing my interest with the words "This perfume is made from a flower which only blooms once a year". That was me successfully reeled in and just a few hours later I was getting out my wallet...
My inner goth was excited to try this, but I was rather cautious too; I have suffered blinding migraines for as long as I can remember and wearing floral heavy perfumes is a sure-fire way to trigger one off, so I did regret buying it so impulsively. Plus I have never smelled the actual flowers used in FREAK and I had no real idea of what to expect beforehand, so it has been a wonderful surprise. Every time I wear it I notice something different.
Hmm, memo to self; I must get a bottle of Lady Gaga's upcoming release, as that has a blood accord in it...
Freak can be considered a unisex fragrance: the dark spices, wood and 'dirty' musk element is more masculine, and its fruit and florals are more traditionally feminine. My Dad read about FREAK in one of his paper's weekly supplements and asked me if I had it, when I said I did he then asked me to fill a travel atomiser for him so that he could try it. I've since smelled FREAK on him, so yeah, I can tick the unisex box off my list.
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[FREAK is currently only sold in a 75ml bottle]