I want to lick your... perfume? Kerosene's Unknown Pleasures (perfume review)

I love the name of this perfume by The House of Kerosene. "Unknown Pleasures". What does it mean? Anything you want it to mean! That's the beauty of it. OK, technically it's the title of a Joy Division album. But really, isn't everything what you make of it? ;)

You're walking down a cold street in Manchester, listening to Joy Division, sipping on a warm cup of London Fog. This fragrance opens up with the smooth sweetness of honey with Earl Grey tea, with a zing of lemon. It dries down to a cozy vanilla, soft tonka bean and waffle cone base, sure to make any gourmand lover smile.
Notes: Earl Grey tea, lemon, bergamot, honeycomb, tonka bean, caramel, vanilla and waffle cone.
Unknown Pleasures is Kerosene's first gourmand, and it's a stunner. And that's coming from someone who rarely enjoys gourmands unless their nutty and bready! This one is not. It's a delightfully straight-forward tasty treat that springs up brightly with lemon and a splash of tea and honey, then rides that lemon-honey wave for a bit before folding into a vanilla-waffle cone base.

Straight-forward does not mean boring, and this scent is certainly not dull. The lemon is bracing and invigorating but never falls in to furniture polish territory. It's fresh-squeezed and sparkling. The tea is subtle, at least on my skin, adding a slightly herbal counterpoint to the acidic cheeriness of the lemon. The honey is also soft, never urinous or "iffy". And then there's that delicious base! I was discussing recently with some friends whether we enjoyed the top notes, the heart notes, or the base notes of scent best. I am a base notes kinda gal. This scent is almost all top notes and base notes. It's lemon-tea gelato scooped high on top of a waffle cone, a combination of two distinct experiences that are meant to be together. The base lasts for hours and gets more cuddly as it goes.

I love this on me. I love it on my kids. And it's 100% "unisex" - if my husband would let me spray things on him, he'd get doused with this. I will grab it frequently year-round, but I think a hot summer day will be extra-perfect for Unknown Pleasures. And rainy days. And snowy days. And sunny days... OK: all of them! Now, if you excuse me, I'm off to sniff my arm for awhile...

Disclaimer: I'm friends with the perfumer, John Pegg.
I'd like the perfume anyway, even if someone else made it. ;)
Sample via the perfumer

I recommend buying Unknown Pleasures via MiN New York. $140


  1. I so want to try this, basically because I'm a big old Joy Division fan. I haven't tried any of his scents, yet. One of these days soon, I hope!

    1. Carol, if I can hunt up some empty sample vials, I'll send you some. It's so scrummy! I also like Santalum Slivers, Fields of Rubus, Wood Haven, R'oud Elements, and Copper Skies. So... almost all of them. ;) I haven't tried Whips and Roses yet, to my dismay, and I am pretty sure Creature isn't going to be my thing, though, as I hate mint.

    2. Jen, that would be awesome and so thoughtful of you. I also hate mint (in perfumes - in a julip, that's a whole 'nother story! ;) Thanks!!

    3. Oh, I can't do mint ANYTIME. Ugh. Makes me choke-y.

    4. yikes and ughhh. No mint for you!

  2. Only complaint I have with this review is that I'd consider Fields of Rubus his first gourmand. On my skin that one comes off as jellylike.


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