Blackbird Zola Jesus Taiga EDP Perfume Review

Blackbird TaigaLast year I started taking weaving classes. During studio time, one of the students started a conversation with me. After the usual small talk, I reveled that I had moved here from Seattle. And with that confession, I saw a spark was lit in her eyes. She went on and on about what a great place it is. She went on to talk about what creative culture it has. I’d keep nodding because it appeared she really, really needed to tell someone about Seattle, as if it was some hidden gem that only she and I knew about.

“Do you know of this brand, Blackbird? It’s like really, really unknown but so amazing. My signature scent is the one they did with Zola Jesus. Do you know who that is? She’s amazing. You should check her out“.

I didn’t know what to say. Should I say I didn’t know either so that she would feel like she was the only one in on such wonderfulness? Or should I tell her all about my alternate olfactory life, the blog and how I know exactly what her signature perfume smells like? Before I could really decide, she paused.

I told her that I was familiar with Blackbird and their fragrances. I was going to tell her about EauMG, but she stopped me.

It’s like, the best fragrance ever. It smells like someone is tried to put out a campfire with lapsang souchong“.

And my new acquaintance is absolutely correct.

Blackbird Taiga is a really weird fragrance, like really weird. It’s almost confrontational in the opening because it’s sharp, cold and mentholated. It’s like the fragrance equivalent of stepping out of a heated space and seeing your breath on a frigid morning. It has that same bracing feel. The weirdness isn’t that it’s cold. It’s that this coldness is paired with smoky woods which should add warmth. But, they don’t. For a brief instance, these smoky woods come across almost chemical/clean. Something in it reminds me of a car wash – chrome, cleaner, suds, tires, pavement. But, this industrialness fades rather quickly and what’s there is feral. It’s a sharp blend of leathery notes, smoke and band-aid like oud (and nagarmotha). As it wears, it gets smoother and slightly sweeter from balsamic incense resins and sandalwood. It smells like distance smoke of a crackling fire and a warm cup of a spiced lapsang souchong.

From what I can tell from what Zola Jesus wanted from this fragrance, Blackbird delivered. “Ancient smoke delivered from the first fire“. It’s an untamed smoky, woodsy, leathery fragrance that brings to mind a loan cabin or even a camp in an isolated forest. I imagine like so many smoky scents, this one is equally as polarizing. For personal fragrances, I’m not a big fan of smelling like a bonfire, but I don’t mind wearing something like Taiga when I’m in the mood for “rugged”.

Sheila Hicks

Notes listed include guaiacwood, teak, oud, copaiba balsam, Indian frankincense, cedar, black pepper, nutmeg, choya loban, nagarmotha, Omani frankincense, sandalwood, green peppercorn, smoke, oak, cistus, ambrette, myrrh, davana, immortelle, geranium, vetiver, caraway and opoponax. Launched in 2015. PERFUMER – Aaron Way

Give Taiga a try if you like smoky scents or leather scents. Or if you like perfumes like Sonoma Scent Studio Winter Woods, Opus Oils Spank, Tauer Lonestar Memories, CDG Incense Series Zagorsk and/or CB I Hate Perfume 2nd Cumming. I haven’t layered this with anything, but I imagine it would do well with roses, carnations and geraniums.

Projection is average. Longevity is above average.

As far as my textile acquaintance whose signature scent smells like charred woods and smoke, I haven’t seen her again. I really hope she moved to Seattle because I think that is where her heart is at.

The 1 oz spray retails for $88 at Blackbird. Other sizes and samples are available for purchase.

Victoria’s Final EauPINIONSmoke, tar and campfires. My acquaintance nailed it. It does smells like someone tried to put out a bonfire with lapsang souchong. Personally, I’m not into wearing fragrances like this, but I appreciate it. It’s a great execution of its concept and it fits both the Blackbird brand and the artist.

Want more reviews? Try…


Fragrantica – Jodi’s review


W Magazine

The Scented Salamander 

*Sample provided by the brand. I am not financially compensated for my reviews. My opinions are my own. Product pic from the brand. The Sheila Hicks photo may seem unrelated but Taiga is forever going to remind me of weaving now. That image if from the


9 thoughts on “Blackbird Zola Jesus Taiga EDP Perfume Review

  1. As a fragrance, this doesn’t sound like anything I’d enjoy at all. But your acquaintance sounds like she was quite passionate about the fragrance and Seattle! I’m actually here in Washington visiting my parents again. It’s wonderful and I miss it, as always. I hope you are making yourself a good home in NY, I’m sure Seattle misses you!

    1. Yay! Hope you’re having fun. It really is such a gorgeous state. I do miss walking out and see mountains on the horizon.

      NY is different but it’s fun. It’s starting to feel like home!

  2. I was initially intrigued by Taiga because I do really enjoy Zola Jesus’ music and that list of notes sounds magnificent)…but I couldn’t make it past that weird, mentholated coldness that you mentioned. Now I am kind of wishing that I hadn’t given it away, but that’s just the obsessive department of my brains speaking. Smoky scents, especially those reminiscent of lapsong souchang, are utterly lost on me. I mean, I think the tea itself tastes like bandaids, so it’s better the scent goes to my friend that loves the stuff.

    1. I’m really the same way. Like, these sort of smoky scents are too much for me as a personal fragrance. And after a few years, I went through this lapsong souchang phase briefly. For the most part that tea reminds me of bacon (which I hate) and yep, bandaids.

      But, yeah, it’s not for people like us but I think it’s for other people – people that like weird and smelling like bonfires.

  3. Are you a mind reader?! I seriously first learned of this scent like three days ago and since I love Zola Jesus, it’s definitely on my “to try” list. I don’t know if I’ll like it but I at least want to sniff it, ya know? Sample set, here I come.
    BTW, how is the weaving coming along?

    1. I really like Zola Jesus and was very happy to see her pair up with Blackbird because I do see them working well together. And they do.

      For me, this scent is too “aggressive” and smoky BUT it does fit with its inspiration. I see it being one of those scents that is very polarizing, but if it works for you, it’ll really work.

      I’m learning. I’m in this place where I’ve made a few things but not really proud of any of them enough to show them to anybody. They still feel a bit like practice pieces (and I’m sure they are since I’m nowhere as skilled as people doing this for many years). As a hobby, I really enjoy it. It’s no screen time. It keeps me busy, plus I just love colors and textiles.

  4. This scent seems to have disappeared! Any knowledge about where I can still purchase Zola Jesus Taiga scent?!

    1. No clue other than where you’ve already checked 🙁 You may want to contact Blackbird and ask.
      I’m wondering if it was limited edition?

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