Mercedes-Benz Club Black: A Surprisingly Good Gourmand Fragrance

A scent that bucks the trend of carmaker cash-ins.

Automotive manufacturer branded fragrances tend to carry a reputation for being just another way to cash in on the brand’s image. However, there are some hidden gems among this market; the fragrance community has already discovered Bentley’s Intense for Men to be quite the boozy wonder, and Bentley Absolute has also been subject to praise.

A friend alerted me recently that it isn’t just Bentley who have some solid scents, as he told me I ought to get my nose on MB Club Black. Trusting his recommendation, I did so and picked up a bottle.

And what a good idea it was. Club Black turns out to be a particularly potent gourmand fragrance with good character.

Initial Thoughts

From the very beginning, the gourmand character of the scent is unmistakeable. It presents a sweetness reminiscent of baked goods; though not of any particular food, as is often the way with gourmand fragrances. It just smells like something you could eat.

The mix of sweet and resinous ingredients that make up Club Black’s character are topped off by a punchy, smoky accord which adds a desirable touch of sharpness to the mix.

The perfumer behind this fragrance is Olivier Cresp, who has a vast portfolio under his belt including Versace’s Man eau Fraiche – a personal summer favourite – and other work for such names as Penhaligon’s, Parfums de Marly, Mugler and Dior.

The bottle MB Club Black presents in is quite a novel one, which fits well with the car manufacturer image. It’s composed of sleek curves and an atomiser which sits flush within the shape of the bottle.
While mostly black, a window of clear plastic shows the dark, whisky-like colour of the juice inside.

The Olfactory Notes

On first spritz, MB Club Black presents with great strength. It’s a fairly simple fragrance and most of the base notes are prominent right from the start, perhaps to the point of overpowering some of the rest of the ingredients.

A lovely smoke accord presents itself on application, which has a hint of bergamot to it. This accord quickly loses that top note, revealing its backbone of jasmine and frankincense heart notes. These heart notes give some character to what is otherwise a sweet and resinous combination of base notes.
These base notes are listed as ambrox, benzoin (resin), wood notes and vanilla.
I don’t detect much in the way of woods, but the mixture of ambrox, benzoin and vanilla are quite prominent in giving the scent its gourmand nature.

The simple, mostly sweet and resinous ingredients mean that this fragrance sticks around for quite a while on the skin.


Longevity: 1/1

This fragrance has fantastic longevity on my skin, lasting the best part of a day and noticeable in trace amounts the next day.

Projection: 1/1

MB Club Black is a projection monster, and leaves quite a trail of sillage behind you. Be careful on the sprayer with this one, as its potence can quickly overwhelm.
One spray is plenty enough, two at the maximum. Anything more will likely result in headaches for your peers.

Blend Quality: .7/1

Overall, the blend is quite good but I would have liked to be able to detect top and heart notes a tad better, instead of them being sometimes overwhelmed by the sweet, resinous base.

Presentation: 0.9/1

I think the presentation of this fragrance is quite stylish. The bottle design is great. My only concern is that the flush integrated atomiser button feels like it’s not particularly sturdy.

Personal Smell Score: .8/1

The smell is fantastic for the price point. However, my personal preference when it comes to gourmands leans slightly away from gourmands that don’t have the character of a particular edible good, as this fragrance does. I get a touch of sensory dissonance from this effect, which is the only thing stopping me from giving it a full mark for personal score.

Total score: 4.4/5

What Would I Wear This With?

I think MB Club Black is undisputably a cold weather scent, thanks to its potence and gourmand character. This would become a suffocator extremely fast in the heat, especially here in Australia.

As a result, winter clothes are the go. I think you could wear this fragrance with anything from sartorial casualwear (my usual go-to) to a suit, if you please. Just exercise moderation if you’re doing the latter; additionally, I think modern-influenced suiting would do better with this fragrance, as I think the scent character leans modern.

Just like the bottle, sleek and pronounced lines suit the character of this scent.

Concluding Thoughts

I don’t have a lot else to say about this scent. It’s simply a good value for money cold weather scent. It seems that finding a stockist for this scent is a little on the difficult side at the moment, but if you can get your hands on it – do it!

Thanks for tuning in,

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With content features ranging from appearances on popular menswear hubs (The Rake, StyleForum, Put This On) to French perfume newsletters and university course readings, Sam is a writer, designer and enthusiast in the fields of menswear and fragrance.

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