Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
The scent pervading the pomegranate red interior of Hôtel Costes, located at 239 rue St-Honoré in Paris, is what made me want to enter its lobby, despite the intimidatingly posh interior. The mysterious and alluring scent possessed richness of Mysore sandalwood ornamented with sheer shimmering spices. The fragrance created by Olivia Giacobetti in collaboration with Rami Mekdachi in 2004 is an attempt to capture the dark elegance of Hôtel Costes inside a garnet bottle. …
The Eau de Toilette unveils itself with a cool lemony accent of coriander seeds, which pair wonderfully with dry breath of white pepper and sweet clove redolent warmth of bay leaf. The spices are executed as sheer silk, decorated with carefully situated silver thread embroidery—subtle and shimmering. Costes is marked by a languorous smoothness, with the notes forming gentle undulating patterns. Swirls of velvety incense smoke rise above the polished planks of sandalwood and cedarwood.
The drydown has a very sensual feel of warm skin, water soaked wooden panels and crushed rose petals, conjuring an impression of a scent clinging to the skin of someone who just stepped out of a long hot bath. The soft, barely soapy musk is present as a gentle reminder of the pleasures just experienced.
The room spray amplifies the vivid hues of sandalwood and rose and embellishes seduction of the base notes with a more pronounced smoky veil of Japanese incense. Although much more linear than the EDT, the room spray has an excellent tenacity and diffusion. In fact, it functions so wonderfully as a fragrance, I cannot even bring myself to use it as a room spray.
Painting (click to enlarge): Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Le Grande Odalisque. 1814.Louvre, Paris. Abcgallery.com