Andy discovers another cheap and chic perfume.
Smell Bent is a small, independent perfume company with an interest in keeping fragrance enjoyable, affordable, and, above all, fun. The cheeky names and concepts behind their fragrances, including Monaco-Dependent and Violet Tendencies might sound wacky, but in a market where we’re up to our noses in increasingly expensive niche perfumes, I find a playful and inexpensive line refreshing. After recently testing some perfumes from the brand, one stood out to me above the rest, a fragrance called Commando.
At first I thought Commando would be bold and dynamic, as it sounded like a perfume one sprays on for combat. This was before I realized that the creator had another idea in mind—let it suffice to say that Commando is described “as close as it gets to wearing nothing at all.” Likewise, Commando is best described as a skin scent, though wearing it hardly feels like wearing nothing. Commando is both simple and strangely intriguing despite only two distinguishable notes, of musk and tonka. On the whole, this fragrance has little in the way of development, but the overall light and luminous effect is more than the sum of its parts.
From first spray to drydown, Commando makes it clear that its musk is dirty and animalic, no questions asked. I can’t help but draw some immediate comparisons to another, sometimes unfairly maligned dirty musk, Serge Lutens Muscs Koublaï Khan, though Commando lacks the baroque richness of the former. On the contrary, the overall effect of Commando is mild, but the musks smell so lived-in that I might go as far to say that it is difficult to feel alone while wearing this perfume. As I’m greeted by whiffs throughout the day, I truly feel as if I’m wearing the scent of someone else’s skin, rather than a bottled fragrance.
What also helps create this sensual effect is the fact that Commando lingers all day at a perceptible low hum. The fragrance seems as if it melds into my skin, floating up to greet me in wafts that produce that “what’s that smell?” reaction throughout the day. Commando never seems heavy or distracting though. While the animalic musk might be expected to come across as dense and foreign, the dry sweetness of tonka (coumarin) nuances lend Commando a palpable sense of radiance.
The formulation of Commando I tested was the Eau de Toilette, though it also comes in a more concentrated perfume oil form. While I’m interested in trying this fragrance in the other format, I think the Eau de Toilette achieves an intriguing balance of tenacity and lightness, which I wonder if I would find in the oil. Ultimately, I think Commando is neutral enough to fit into most any fragrance wardrobe or work for any season or occasion, though my tolerance for animalic notes is perhaps higher than others’. Nonetheless, given what I’ve tried, I recommend Commando, and endorse the Smell Bent line as an approachable way to test some unique perfumes while staying within budget.
Smell Bent Commando is available directly at smellbent.com. 50ml Eau de Toilette/$45, 8ml perfume oil/$20.