Costes Eau de Toilette : Fragrance Review



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.



  • parislondres: Hello dear V – i do like this very much. I like the candle too btw. However, I have not yet bought the edt. Someday! 😉
    I love the painting you have posted too.

    Mwah! August 12, 2005 at 5:09am Reply

  • Laura: Victoria, I seem to be on an Olivia Giacobetti kick lately! I’ve always had an intellectual appreciation of her scents, but with the exception of Hiris, I wasn’t in love with any of them. l’Extrait de Songe changed all of that and now I really like Cinq Mondes Eau Egyptien, too. I wonder if this newfound love has anything to do with the fact that I’ve been working in watercolors a lot lately. Her scents remind me of that medium, with their overlays of transparent notes and their careful spontaneity. And isn’t it funny how, once you start to like one piece by an artist or nose, you then are predisposed to like her other things, too–things you’d looked at before and not been drawn to? I’ll have to sample Hotel Costes again. August 12, 2005 at 6:24am Reply

  • Robin: Tried the room spray briefly at Tak, and did like it better than the EdT, but did not try on skin. Will have to do so 🙂 August 12, 2005 at 10:41am Reply

  • Tania: Oh, that room spray! I’d always been sort of bored with the personal fragrance, but now I eagerly await the restocking at Aedes of the home version. The whiff of sandalwood that I got was so rich and tranquil that I nearly felt to a nap (and a dream) on the spot. August 12, 2005 at 9:34am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dear N, I am waiting for Aedes to restock the room spray. To me, it is much more unique than the EDT, which I also like. The candle is absolutely wonderful! I am waiting for the temperatures to cool off before I start burning my candles again during the day. Somehow, in this heat, it is just not appealing at all.

    Dear L, I think that you captured it perfectly! Giacobetti’s work is like series of watercolours layered over each other, but it is more like watercolours you produce, which have a complex vibrancy. I love her creations, and this one certainly did not disappoint.

    Dear T, I dabbed some on as I was putting finishing touches on my review, and I nearly dozed off. Of course, it was helped by the fact that I woke up at 5am that morning, but still, it is a very smooth and serene fragrance.

    Dear R, I am all for wearing room sprays (not Glade though). 🙂 They tend to be more straightforward, but very tenacious. August 12, 2005 at 10:56am Reply

  • audrey: does anyone know where I can get this is Paris? November 11, 2005 at 9:08pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Audrey, I believe that Colette might carry it, and another way to check is by contacting Hôtel Costes,

    I hope that it helps! November 13, 2005 at 11:43am Reply

  • ChristinaH.: See, your reviews are so memorable that I can recollect you mentioning this back all the way in August. Now, that’s when you know you are a good writer!!:-) December 1, 2005 at 1:55pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Thank you, dear Christina! It is very kind of you to say. I am very glad to hear this. 🙂 Hope that the comparison was helpful. December 1, 2005 at 1:57pm Reply

  • QuinnCreative: I love the top of Costas. Your writing is so lovely and lyrical on the scent. My weird chemistry brings out a very strong musk very early and it stays. Like a full-grown musk-ox in my living room. In oils on scratchboard. On to the body cream! It may be different. November 7, 2006 at 10:22pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Quinn, thank you! Yes, there is a musk component here, but I do not notice it as much in the room spray. November 11, 2006 at 3:34pm Reply

  • Etan: Beautiful scent indeed;) January 23, 2007 at 6:49pm Reply

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