Well, technically I’ve been back for a couple weeks. However, things have been hectic lately so I haven’t had a chance to post until now. I’ve got a pile of great photos of the Xerjoff Casamorati line that I’ll post in the next couple days – just finishing up going through them and touching them up. Here’s a teaser of Bouquet Ideal, a gorgeous, creamy rose scent. More photos soon!
Comme des Garcons has some really quirky packaging. From the plastic dummy bottles in the Guerrilla series to the unfolding metallic box in the LUXE series, their packaging (though not the most luxurious, is definitely some of the most original. Comme des Garcons EDP, released in 1994, is no exception. It comes in a simple white card stock box with plain black printing on it. Open the box and the bottle is presented in something you might expect to save meat in the freezer with. The “as-seen-on-TV” style pouch seems to cover all the bottles of the same shape from CdG that I’ve tried. I’m still not completely sold on the bottle shape – though it serves its purpose quite well, it has a hard time sitting next to others in a collection. It ends up just being plunked there in the front.
As for the scent, it can certainly hold its own. This 1994 EDP is a melange of spices, loaded with clove and hot cinnamon. It advertises itself to work like a medicine and behave like a drug – though I don’t find the opening quite as medicinal as some, it is undoubtedly intense and slightly medicinal, perhaps due to the camphorous notes that you’ll find in the top. I find a good bit of rose throughout, but it’s never overly floral – merely a supporting note. It settles nicely into a smoother cedar and sandalwood-rich scent with the black pepper present through most of the day. Longevity on me is superb, which is not a surprise with its nearly 20% concentration. Sillage is above average for me on this one – I wore it yesterday and felt at times that I was leaving a trail a bit more tenacious than I usually like to. 12 hours into it, the GF (wife in a month – woo!) had her interest piqued and pressed her face into my neck to exclaim how good it smelled.
From what I gather, this scent was reformulated and the new version is now made in Spain. Some reviews point to the reformulated version as being lighter and less intense, but I’ve only tried this version (French made version), so I can’t compare. There don’t seem to be many good pictures of it online, but the ones that I have seen of the newer one (on Luckyscent and Dover Street Market sites) look considerably lighter in color. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily always point to a noticeable shift in ingredients.
I recently placed an order with Zahras (horrible website, but fabulous service and products!) – a bottle of Amouage’s newest attar, Al Mas, some oud wood, some bakhoor, and a big gaudy burner. It arrived relatively quickly considering it literally went halfway around the world from Bahrain to here. It was packed well, and a nice collection of samples was included.
I bought the Al Mas unsmelled, but had high hopes for it. I was not disappointed! It’s definitely Amouage through and through, but it’s unlike their other offerings. I’ve heard reference to it smelling similar to Montale’s Red Aoud and though it’s by no means the same, I could say that if you love Red Aoud, you’d probably love this too. It has all the wonderful roses, frankincense, and oud you’d want to find, but it has a great, bright oud top note that has almost a tart, fruity characteristic to it. It’s quite unisex as well – I couldn’t see anyone having difficulty wearing it. There’s a nice dose of what seems like an earthy musk that carries through and ties everything together nicely.
The drydown is very good as well – its woody structure comes to the front and that oud opening dies back revealing a sandalwood, musk, and amber base. Being an oil though, the evolution of the scent can develop over many hours, making it that much more intriguing. There are some notes that come out in the development that remind me of something else, but I can’t put my finger on it right now. I’ll have to update when it finally comes to me.
The packaging is incredible too – surprisingly much nicer than I’d expected. It’s a gorgeously veneered box with a deep red wood, with purple (how’s that for royal!) felt lining, and a great weight in the hand. I stuck a picture of it next to a bottle of Homage at the bottom here to show how much larger the box is, along with the variation in color (it’s actually much deeper in color than it seems in the photo).
UPDATE notes: a little later, I’m getting what seems like water note – odd. Not aquatic in the usual sense, but a light air of water. A tiny hint of furniture polish too, but in a good way if that makes sense.
Amouage Lyric Woman
I recently picked up a 4ml decant of this stuff after reading on basenotes about how it works really well as a unisex/masculine and that the rose note really shined. I knew the GF would enjoy it even if it wasn’t right for me. I was pretty surprised with it after sampling. It’s not the big, spicy, innovative rose that I was hoping for. It is incredibly well made, of course, and blended very nicely with a great evolution, but I didn’t feel like it was anything spectacular or new. What I got was a fruity chypre with a very natural rose playing lead. It had all day longevity, but for my personal taste, it did lean a bit feminine with the use of the florals and sweet notes.
Parfum d’Empire Osmanthus Interdit
I have this on my hand right now – it strikes me as a very natural osmanthus with what seems almost like powdery bits of iris in the background and a crisp, natural feel to it. I have a wonderful osmanthus bush planted right by my back door, so when it’s in blossom, you’re greeted with the fabulous smell of osmanthus when you walk out the door. This is not unlike that – it’s slightly less sweet as the bush that I have, but it’s that dryer feel to it that makes it stand out from osmanthus soliflores.
Miller Harris L’Air de Rien
This is a fantastic, vanilla sweetened, ambery scent with just the right amount of “dirty” musk. It really evokes the 60s aura that it purports to do (the whole Jane Birkin thing). It’s completely addicting and hard to stop smelling when you put it on. The initial few minutes take a couple times to get to know, but once you do it’s hard not to love it and the dry down is a lovely dusty amber. There are ever so slight touches of potpourri and patchouli hiding in the background that just add to the complexity.
This is a perfect scent for evening moments spent close to someone you love. It evokes sensuality, comfort, and an inviting familiarity. It’s really quite nice once you get to know it. I owned a bottle for a while, but ended up parting ways with it. The first while is so jarringly animalic that I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it long enough to get past that.
Andy Tauer Incense Rosé
This started as a sharp scent with a considerable amount of complexity to it that I wasn’t sure if I was sold on. However, I wore it once and found something in it that I really liked. Then my girlfriend mentioned that she thought a rose and incense scent would be incredible… DING, I grabbed the rest of my sample and told her to try it. She fell in love with it, as did I. It’s now her favorite fragrance and I really do enjoy it. It’s intoxicating.
It shares the base of L’Air, but adds the jammy, sharp rose to the top with some more incense notes throughout. It’s really wonderfully crafted, has a perfect sillage that only informs but does not overwhelm, and is unlike anything else. It’s since become her “power fragrance” and will always bring me a smile and good memories.