Ink Eau de Parfum by Akro Review

Collage of Ink Eau de parfum by Akro and its notes, including birch tar, ink, vetiver, sandalwood, rubber, and jasmine.

This is ink with kink. Ink that winks. Ink that makes you think. Rich metallic ink with zinc.

But is it ink that stinks?

(Alright, I’m not going to pull a Matcha Meditation with this one. Too much work, not enough rhymes.)

This is ink with warmth. Ink with soul. Not as clean as the magazine printing press glossy ink of Paper Passion, Akro’s Ink feels warmer, dirtier, earthier, more distinctly metallic — not metallic like blood, but cool and flecked with minerals.

It feels like wood for sure at the bottom, under the façade. Cold, black dripping vetiver, not unlike in Lalique’s Encre Noire, but less atmospheric and airy, more rich and grounded and dense.

A green and white origami paper box containing many small bundles of dried vetiver grass tied with strips of cloth and twine.

Yes, there’s still a certain French inky airiness about it all, but this is no misty dark forest. It’s just ink.

Reminiscent of pen ink — yes, a bit. Very deep in it, a warm woody note that feels like sandalwood, lending just a little sweetness and creaminess.

Prominent plastic and rubber, and metal, singed, like wires, the work of an electrician. With this and the jasmine, I can certainly understand the comparisons to ELDO’s Fat Electrician.

It’s just a bit like acrylic paint, in the opening.

I don’t get a clear jasmine note, just a hit of indoles lending a touch of lightness and airiness to the composition. It never feels more than a little floral around the edges.

Still, it’s a delicate touch, classy and airy and unquestionably French. That indolic hint of jasmine keeps things from getting too heavy and dark, too one-and-done.

That’s what keeps you coming back for more, sniffing deeper and deeper. It’s what makes your heart skip a little. It’s the part that makes you feel in love — with the tattoo artist, with the parlor, with the art, with yourself, with anything.

A cluster of soft white jasmine flowers with golden centers.

This is a heart-skips-a-beat floral note, perfectly dosed to keep you coming back searching for it. It’s like the way your heart leaps and pounds whenever you see someone who looks like your crush and instantaneously realize it isn’t them.

Why is it that that’s always a more intense rush than actually seeing them? I’ve always wondered. It’s a cold rush, a moment of frantic excitement doused in a bucket of ice. It’s a high, a feeling I’d love to chase. Somehow I think that feeling, and not actually seeing him, had been the more addictive thing in junior high.

That’s how the indolic jasmine note is dosed here. Not high enough for most people to call Ink at all floral. Just enough to keep you chasing that high without ever quite knowing why, a secret, a drug snuck into your food, into your drink, into your ink.

I hadn’t expected anything so charming out of Ink, but here we are.

A pile of santal sandalwood chips, also known as santalum album.

There’s a creamy warm slightly sweet sandalwood at the base of Ink, no question about it. It comes out more in the heat, but stays out of the way in the cold, leaving things inky and cool and crisp. The inky dryness of the other woods blends with the dry qualities of sandalwood, melting into a secret hint of something creamy and smooth and warm.

It’s not nearly as loud or jarring as the late-drydown sandalwood in the otherwise cool Saltus. This one is subtler, much better-blended, a gentle almost-cinnamon warm spiciness hidden deep beneath the layers of vetiver and ink.

Ink is niche and not for everyone. Be patient with it. The most pungent impression of plastic and acrid ink is in the opening. Vinyl and plastic and latex and chemical ink on woods.

But within fifteen minutes, things soften a little, get a little woodier, more indolic, more complex. The plastic and ink illusion decays to some extent to reveal and cool and airy landscape that’s quite a bit like Encre Noire with a hint of creamy sweetness from what I’m sure is a sandalwood note and the heart-hammering high of a hint of jasmine.

A round green leaf from the birch tree.

Now, what about birch? Eh, I dunno. It’s quite possible something like birch tar was used to help create the dark, smoky, moody, burning plastic impression of the opening. Throughout the woody accord there is a consistent thread of something like birch, white and paper-clean yet curled up, burning, choked with ashes and smog.

This is birch, but it’s not the traditional Russian leather accord sort of birch. It’s not a clean, rich birch like that of Aventus by Creed or its million knock-offs. This is birch tar, heavy on the tar, and it lends much of the dark smogginess that keeps this vetiver note polluted and inky and dark.

I’m afraid I’m not familiar with the smell of tattoo ink. The opening of Ink does have a general chemical-inky impression, a bit like pen ink, but not quite.

From thirty minutes in onwards, this is a progressively sweeter, softer, creamier Encre Noire. Funny, Ink is far dirtier and smoggier in the opening, then lands in cool and clean atmospheric Encre Noire territory, and keeps getting creamier and a little sweeter through the drydown.

The warmth and sweet creaminess of sandalwood is quite significant on my skin in warm weather, balancing out perfectly with the cool, inky, smoky vetiver. In winter it’s quieter, letting the cold, cutting edge of Ink shine longer and sharper.

A cross-section of a cut-open tree.

Although sandalwood isn’t in any published note pyramid for Ink, I’m not the only one smelling it. Many reviewers have compared Ink to Le Labo’s Santal 33, a sandalwood and leather fragrance. Indeed, it does have that same mix of sandalwood, cool woods, and smoky birch tar to it, though Santal 33 is heavier on the sandalwood, while the cool inky vetiver still comes out on top in Ink.

There’s a nice coolness to the aura of Ink. Sharp. Almost cypress, making me think of the cypress in Encre Noire. Almost minty? Like a gloriously fresh cedar note. From an hour in, it’s more appreciable. It’s a perfect melding of cool fresh woods and creamy sandalwood that makes me think of the massoia wood and cedar in my beloved Stash by Sarah Jessica Parker.

Though I’ve compared Ink often to Encre Noire in this review, I think I’d actually be more likely to wear this one again. I mean, I think Encre Noire is great, but its heavy over-reliance on Iso E Super leaves me unable to smell more than a tiny whiff of it.

For this reason, it feels like Ink projects much louder and lasts much longer on my skin. Though for all I know, Encre Noire might be that powerful too, I just can’t smell Iso E Super very well. Maybe I’m drowning everyone around me in cool inky woody notes and just can’t tell.

A tall cedar tree. It is coniferous, with a rounded shape.

In any case, Ink lasts for around eight hours on me with decent performance. Which is quite impressive, to me, for this kind of cold woody perfume, seeing as Encre Noire is so fleeting to my nose and even the lovely yet fleeting Hinoki by Comme des Garçons is gone after a few hours.

It seems like perfumers have trouble making many cool woody perfumes last (or perhaps they rely on Iso E Super so much I just can’t smell them). Nose Olivier Cresp does not have this problem with Ink. The lasting power on this is solid. By niche standards, it’s glorious. Especially for the price, which — again, judging solely by niche standards — is impressively accessible.

Cold inky vetiver, smoggy birch tar, creamy sandalwood, and a microdose of heady jasmine. Plus some fast-evaporating plastic-y, rubbery aromachemicals on top. An incredibly clever illusion of ink, with enough depth to make a signature scent or daily wear cologne, once you get past the incredibly niche opening, which may not be to everyone’s tastes.

By an hour in, what you have here is a relatively safe cool woody fragrance quite similar to Encre Noire, which would be appropriate to wear in subtle quantities anywhere you like, even a fancy dinner or an office. (As long as the plastic-y chemical smoggy opening of ink doesn’t linger much longer on your skin than it does on mine. Your mileage may vary.)

A small black glass filled with black ink.

A quirky, unique niche opening followed by a relatively safe, cool woody traditionally masculine scent. I can see why Ink is a hit. It’s incredibly unique in the opening, so much as to be quite striking, and if you’re a tattoo lover or an artist or a printer or someone else who loves the smell of ink, it can speak to something deep within you.

It doesn’t stay super pungent for too long, leaving it a relatively acceptable fragrance for daily wear. You can smell like ink without the stink. Mostly.

A tall clear glass bottle filled with pale gray liquid with a black cap and label reading Akro in a messy punk scrawl.

Where to Find Ink Eau de Parfum by Akro

You can find samples, decants, and full bottles of Ink EdP at Scent Split.

This is an affiliate link. If you click on it and buy something, the seller pays me a commission, at no extra cost to you. You can learn more about them here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Scentaur