Unforgivable Black & Unforgivable Woman Black (2008) {Perfume Reviews} {New Fragrances}


Unforgivable Black and Unforgivable Woman Black by Sean John are the two latest additions to the Sean John perfume portfolio. His debut scent was Unforgivable for Men in 2006 which was a commercial success earning the brand $150 million globally.

Last year Sean Diddy Combs also designed a women's version of Unforgivable, which he noted had nothing to do with the original men's version except for a subtle "synergy note" of bergamot as he wanted the feminine scent to stand on its own. He told Women's Wear Daily,

"I didn't want to take the easy way out as far as just making a feminine version of the men's. Women and men are totally different. I like a woman to smell like a woman, and a man to smell like a man."

After everyone has had time to take in this statement and digest it, we can point out that this time the Black duo takes the synergy route that was rejected the first time around. The two perfumes are very much two birds of the same feather but this time they seem to belong to one of those species of birds where the male's plumage is more colorful than the female's one due to male active sexual competition over female mates......

 Image of Frigate bird courtship from Cook Islands Bishop Museum

It is a well-established fact that generally speaking men's prime motivation for wearing scent is to seduce women while women wear perfume more to please their own selves.

Unforgivable Black

Unforgivable Black was apparently designed to be a summery, beach-y marine fougere with some gourmand accents for comfort. Its formula is very commercial, leaving no room for unpredictability, which is not to say that it does not smell good.

The cologne opens on a marine fougere impression followed by a slightly exotic creamy spicy curry one. The composition is quite sweet. It lightens up with a seemingly newer type of gourmand-Ozonic sensation that mingles fresh marine air with nuances of freshly churned butter and salty caramel, as found in the new Bronze Goddess by Estée Lauder. Next, it releases an impression of Kahlua coffee liquor followed by a coconut accord (in fact, it is offered as a coconut-rum accord).

The intention is now clear. It is a scent meant to make you feel good, enjoy a sunny spot on the shore, and not ask yourself too many complicated questions; none actually. The composition is absolutely non-intellectual.  

As the coconut impression deepens it turns into more of a toddy, dried-strips-of-candied coconut impression with some savory curry overtones and green lime rind, then green orange sparkle (actually a green mandarin accord). This is your far niente vacation program rolled into one scent.

The perfume after the initial more detailed impressions becomes more blended, softens down becoming more of a skin scent. It is fairly linear. It is very much wearable by a woman.

A vision of Mediterranean machos wearing 22 Karat gold chains on their hairy chests while sun-bathing in their Florida shirts and greasing their fingers with fresh buttery lobster floats about. Tony Soprano could wear a scent like this one while vacationing in the old country in Sicily although it might be a tad hip for him.

The dry-down has calone, pepper, amber, warm woods. It smells rather good and has good diffusive power. Added: it smells really good overtime and is very tenacious but rather close to the body.


Unforgivable Woman Black


Unforgivable Woman Black is a very sweet creamy coconut and floral composition with citrus-y undertones. It drops the fougere reference and becomes a fruity-floral embedded in coconut. The dry-down is more balsamic than amber-y. Other than these changes, it smells very close to the masculine version.

Like its masculine counterpart, it is a bit of a linear monolith. In fact one would have to say even more so in this case. You immediately enter into a blended impression with little relief, mixing all the elements found in the men’s version but with more floral accents. The fruity-floral notes rest on both a creamy and aqueous coconut with a waxy vanillic nuance (Tonka) and faint peppery accents.

Unforgivable Woman Black smells even less intellectual than the men’s version, if that were possible, and apparently it is. The thought of a low-IQ perfume comes to mind. It feels at one point in the development as if you had asked a question to someone and the person you asked for something returned a blank stare instead not even starting to understand your question.


Its very discreet personality puts it in danger of stepping into the bland zone. The dry-down offers a predominant note of creamy, almost motherly milky Tonka and very understated earthy notes of patchouli. The citrus notes and some tartness, again very unassuming, come in handy to give it some lift and diffusive power but less so than for the men's version. The dry-down offers also a nice cosmetic, lipstick note. The farther dry-down finally reveals a sexy vixen personality with a sensual musky accord. The monolith becomes more lively in the dry-down.

The perfume smells good and is unusually subtle and toned down for a mainstream perfume.

The Black duo appears to be a very macho duo where the woman knows her place but in a the-hand-that-rocks-the-craddle-rules-the-world way.

This spring and summer 2008, your alternative choices for this type of feminine beach-y coconut-y scents are Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess and Jennifer Lopez Deseo.

For a complete description of the official notes, please go here.

This is an advance review. The duo will be introduced in April of 2008.


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3 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. Hi there Marie-Helene,

    Is this similar to anything out there? He's good for making scents that smell "good," but nothing ever ground-breaking. i guess the audience he's geared towards is mostly looking for contemporay fragrances and nothing that breaks ground anyhow. but i'd probably wear it on a typical summery day if it is a nice fragrance.

  2. These scents are not groundbreaking at all. The men's version is a sort of a cross between coco creme and a fresh marine fougere. For a more refined rendering of this type of scent you could try Creed Virgin Island Water.

    Good point about his trademark "smell-good" signature.

  3. This perfume has caused me nothing but trouble I bought it 4 my girl n she hates it to top the Blip off I can't return it because I lost my reciept !!!! I'm super Blip off I will never but a sean john fragrance again. He couldn't rap n he can't make perfume either what is going on puffy?p-diddy-sean john who ever the Blip u r give me back my money please it is stinky any1 else dnt buy unforgivable black 4 woman its a relation ship killer 4 real


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