Evelyne Boulanger: 5 posts

Comme des Garcons Blue Invasion : Perfume Reviews

Incense, sandalwood and citrus are to niche perfumery what ruffians, loners and chain-smoking philosophers are to French New Wave cinema. Incense, with its dark connotations, can be made either sultry or brooding. Sandalwood is the wood of choice to imply anything mysterious, while citrus is versatile enough to be twisted into anything you wish. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call Comme des Garçons the Jean-Luc Godard of the perfume world, and as its three fragrances, Blue Santal, Blue Cedrat and Blue Encens, in the Blue Invasion collection demonstrate, it’s possible to discover something new even in very familiar themes.


In traditional perfumery blue is the shorthand for masculine, and if you ever see blue juice in the bottle, 99% of the time, you’d be right to expect a men’s cologne. Unless you’re holding a bottle of Thierry Mugler Angel, of course. Comme des Garçons doesn’t quite do the kind of about-face that Angel performs, but all three fragrances are comfortably androgynous.

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Comme des Garcons Incense Series Jaisalmer : Perfume Review


Jaisalmer is part of a quintet of incense-based fragrances marketed as Comme des Garcons Series 3: Incense.  Each location-themed fragrance (Avignon, Jaisalmer, Kyoto, Ouarzazate, and Zagorsk) conjures incense as liturgical, historical, ritual or mystical.


In Jaisalmer, which is named for the driest desert city in India, it is the spice trade route upon which the fragrance is composed.  Jaisalmer ignites with cinnamon and then burns this sweet-hot spice slowly over gaiacwood and ebony. Much as the city of Jaisalmer is not on the usual tourist trail, so Jaisalmer the fragrance is the sleeper of the Series 3: Incense line.  It’s my favorite of the set and one that I reach for each fall when the weather turns cooler.

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Armani Prive Oud Royal : Perfume Review

Odalisque Matisse

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

If Ambre d’Orient explored amber in the opulent and gilded interpretation, Oud Royal wraps it in leather and dry woods. While the boldness of oud, a natural raw material of striking richness and complexity, is the axis, around which Oud Royal revolves, the strength and persistence of amber makes it more of an animalic amber-leather composition. The surprises do not end here. As the fragrance develops, instead of a brash and animalic, it becomes smooth and seductive.

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Comme des Garcons Zagorsk Incense Series : Perfume Review



Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Swirls of incense smoke float in the air, rising before the doleful images of Orthodox saints. The beeswax candles leave a trail on the pine wood floors, throwing ribbons of light across the darkness of the altar. Zagorsk takes its name from a Russian town built around a 14th century monastery, therefore the opening accords conjure quite an appropriate vision.

Created in 2002, Zagorsk is part of Comme des Garçons Incense Series, which include Avignon, Kyoto, Jailsamer, and Quarzazate. Zagorsk is the softest of these incenses, a veil of cold smoke over frozen flower petals. The incense is woven gently through the resinous sweetness of woods, which upon the first inhale recall a smell of fresh scrubbed wooden floors, bearing a layer of moisture.

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Comme des Garcons Carnation : Fragrance Review



Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

The fragrance attempts to capture the spicy bite of carnation and its sweetness by combining red pepper, cloves and rose, a fairly traditional ensemble. Unlike most carnation fragrances, Comme des Garçons Carnation lacks the characteristic powderiness, instead being heavy on a honeyed spicy chord, which takes the carnation warmth a notch too high. In fact, it is not too far from sweeping into the rose sweetness, without characteristic bite the carnation offers. Thus, if someone is looking for a true dianthus peppery warmth, Carnation is too sweet and too heavy on rose to be a decent representation.

Unlike many other floral notes, carnation lends strength and warmth to oriental and floral compositions without either compromising the delicacy of floral accords or rendering them too sentimental. Given the high cost of carnation absolute, I know of very few fragrances (JAR Golconda being among them) that employ the natural essence. Far more common are the carnation aromachemicals like eugenol, isoeugenol and eugenyl, among which eugenol and isoeugenol are considered to be allergenic.

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