Cedarwood: 31 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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Serge Lutens Santal Blanc : Perfume Review


It rained the other day. Again. The drops covered the windows, turning the red roofs of the nearby buildings and the delicate church spires into an impressionistic blur. I’ve learned to enjoy the melancholy serenity of a rainy day, but there are times when the grey mist makes me feel listless and depressed. On such days, I throw open my perfume cabinet and reach for scents that remind me of someplace warm and sunny.


One such perfume is sandalwood. Its creamy sweetness and heavy richness takes me to India, which may be a stereotypical association, except that India, my India, is thoroughly permeated with sandalwood. As a bride, I was rubbed with rosewater and sandalwood paste to make my skin glow. I was fed sandalwood scented milkshakes and fudge. Wherever I went, I smelled sandalwood incense.  No wonder that Serge Lutens Santal Blanc whispers Indian stories to me.

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Tocca Colette : Perfume Review


I’ve been wearing Tocca Colette for the past year without realizing that it is now one of my staples. Whenever I have one of those “I don’t know what to pick” moments, which everyone with more than one item of anything–perfume, outfits, shoes, books, etc.–has, Colette is one of the fragrances that invariably feels just right. It’s elegant and polished, with a tender and warm demeanor.

Despite my mixed opinions on Tocca perfumes, Colette was love at first inhale. It’s a transparent amber fragrance, with bright, shimmery mosaics of lemon, pepper, and juniper berries. It opens on a fizzy note–as if you’ve taken a sip of gin and tonic much too greedily–before mellowing down to a comfortable softness. Colette is easy to like, but it’s far from predictable.

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Hermes L’Ambre des Merveilles : Perfume Review


One autumn afternoon as I was walking home through a park and wading slowly through the piles of golden leaves, I wondered if there is a perfume in my collection that could match this serene and yet exhilarating atmosphere. Of course, I have my beloved Guerlain Mitsouko and Chanel Bois des Iles, which are some of the most quintessentially autumnal scents, but Mitsouko is too damp and plush, while Bois des Iles is too austere and cool. I wanted a perfume that smelled sunlit and bright, warm and bracing, with a hint of nutty sweetness from burnished leaves.

When I smelled Hermès L’Ambre des Merveilles after one such walk, I discovered with a surprise that it captured part of my golden autumnal fantasy. It’s a fragrance of woods, amber and vanilla, but L’Ambre des Merveilles avoids heavy sweetness and instead has plenty of luminosity. You can almost see the sun glittering on the crimson maple leaves as you smell it.

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Comme des Garcons Play Red, Green and Black : Fragrance Review


I love when a perfume makes me smile. Sure, I love fragrances that challenge me and make me want to dress up for them, but on most days I want something that’s playful and easy to love. For this reason, sparkling orange blossoms are my perfume staples. The Comme des Garçons fragrance collection has plenty of playful perfumes, even if  some like Comme des Garçons Original and Odeur 71 straddle the line of unwearable for me. But the new trio of Red Play, Black Play and Green Play launched under Comme des Garçons’s casual Play label is squarely in the fun “t-shirt and jeans” perfume category.

Red Play

Does the combination of cherries and leather sound intriguing to you? It certainly caught my attention, and Red Play became my favorite out of the trio. The sweet orange and pepper is piquant and zesty, but the initial sparkle belies the complexity of Red Play. It’s like biting into a luscious red cherry and discovering that it’s actually made of red hots, the spicy cinnamon candies. The tartness–think rhubarb, red currants or green raspberries!–contrasted with the spice makes for an exciting fragrance. Playful is the best description for it. It makes me feel chic, like someone who knows instinctively how to accessorize a dress from H&M with a vintage belt or how to wear a fedora and not look ridiculous.

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