Commes de Garcons, as a fragrance house, is always unique. They can be a little bit weird, at most times nutty, but never ever boring. I guess that could also be a perfect description for Rei Kawakubo’s fashion for the line, so the fragrance aesthetic is on-brand for the house. I don’t always love the scents, but I always want to have them, because as a collector, they always speak *something* to me.
Concrete is based on, guess what, concrete. When the perfume opens, it doesn’t smell like concrete though. What I initially get is the sandalwood, as promised from their description of the perfume. But this sandalwood smells dense, and creamy, and even milky. For me, who doesn’t like the ‘smell’ of milk, it is off-putting. It kind of makes me wanna throw up (Estee Lauder’s Sensuous has a similar effect on me, as it has a similar ‘milky’ note)
I never recover from that. I know there is something called ‘rose oxide’ that that is supposed to tie everything together, but that, mixed with this milky note, does nothing but makes my stomach churn. And while once in a while that whiff of sandalwood is indeed quite pleasant, in the end, I just have to concede that this perfume is not for me.
I don’t know when it happened, but I got bored with the Amouage house. Sure, they made nice and beautiful perfumes, but they had price points that were high, and for what I would pay, I wanted something more interesting – they had perfumes that were classy, and had ‘good taste’ all over them, but I could get that from any other house, and even via designer brands. If i were to pay more, I wanted different, I wanted quirky, I wanted unique.
Well. Figament Man certainly checks all those boxes, and I am in love. My first thing I thought of when I smelled Figament? Wow, this perfume smelled like moldy bread. This morning, I heated this old-ish bread and after taking it out of the microwave, it had a yeasty, moldy smell. Well, combine that with just a bit of citrus and geranium leaf, and you get the first burst of this perfume. And I do mean that in the best possible sense. Weirded out yet? The perfume then transforms into an ‘animal’-like direction. I read soil and musk, but really it’s just a more raw sandalwood we get here. It’s not pretty, for sure, but it is unforgettable. The perfume never gets out of vegetal mode – I sometimes get the vision of mushroomy smell – with just a bit of waxy undertones. I know that some people say it turns medicine-y (camphor?) but to me it just gets more earthy.
And I think it’s gorgeous – in an exaggerated animal musky way/ It is never indolic on me, and the ‘soil’ accord is framed by something flowery (chrysanthemom) It smells like nothing I have ever smlled before, and that, already, is plus points for me. I still am on the fence if I could wear this (there’s something about that feels like something I am allergic to) but for sure it made me feel alive.
There’s a love song in ‘Guys and Dolls’ that goes ‘I’ll know when my love comes along, I’ll know even then.” and I thought of that while I was sampling Gallivant’s Tel Aviv. You see, I just wrote about another Gallivant scent, Brooklyn, and even though I liked it, and it was very nice, I felt like I didn’t have an emotional connection to the scent. Talk about a night and day difference with Tel Aviv. Mere seconds after sniffing it, I knew that Tel Aviv would be a fragrance that would be part of my wardrobe. I knew, right there and then, that I had already fallen in love with this scent.and even though this bottle is not in my collection yet, I know at some point I will hold it in my hand and it will fit in squarely with all my other perfumes.
It was love at first sniff – the jasmine and ylang ylang together, with the blackberry buds and clementine to put a nice rounding citrus circle around it. and there’s musk in the dry down. It’s very 70s, as aptly described by the brand, evoking gold jewelry on tanned skin. It feels weathered, like you have been wearing it since yesterday, and still settling nicely on your skin. The base where musks join in just frames the whole perfume nicely, and the smell does feel like a painting fully formed. It feels like a summer day, and it would probably be gorgeous on a cold winter day as well. This will be mine.
When I first sniffed ‘Brooklyn’ by Gallivant months ago, it was in the middle of me testing different scents while I was at Scent Bar, so it got kind of lost in the shuffle. But as I read more about the brand, I found a lot of things to like about the whole concept, so I made a mental note to retry the scents when given a chance. I learned that the brand was founded by Nick Steward, who was a Creative Director for L’Artisan Parfemeurs, and I certainly like the idea of scent and travel together – whenever I go on vacation, I buy a perfume to remember the trip by. I decided I really should have Gallivant represented in my wardrobe. And I do look the fact that the line comes in price-point friendly 1 oz bottles.
Right now I am wearing ‘Brooklyn’ from the line, and this was highly recommended by the folks over at Lucky Scent. This is a citrus based scent, with a little more to it. It opens with a lemnoy-limey-accord and is very light and pleasant. I like the fact that it is light but it is not fleeting – it certainly stays with you. I hints of florals here – a rooty iris, a watery magnolia – and they add weight to the citrus ‘base’ going on here. And then the scent stays there. The drydown I get is that mix, and it is …. nice. It stays pretty close to the skin and doesn’t scream. It’s subtle but you can tell there’s intelligence behind how it was made. But I ask myself – is nice enough? At its price point, it certainly isn’t the biggest risk in the world, but I think I am getting to the point now that nice may not be enough to be included in my wardrobe. I think I have to have an emotional connection to the scent, and right now, I don’t really have that with Brooklyn.
Interestingly enough, I also got a sample for a friend who is a big fan of citrusy scents, and when he put it on he said, “I hate it,” and he says there is that note in there that he absolutely despises – I think it’s the iris.
So I don’t think this is going to be the Galivant for me yet.
I was watching a video interview with Anna Wintour recently where she was asked her favorite flower, and without skipping a beat, she said tuberose. Well, that’s one thing I have in common with Ms. Wintour, I told myself, although I don;t know if I could classify it as my favorite, it is certainly up there. I always say that in recent years, I have developed a real fondness in white florals – both in the rel sense, and in perfumes.
So, in theory I should like Atelier Cologne’s Cafe Tuberosa. First, I love most of this brand’s releases in varying degrees, from like (any of the Cedrats) to love (Pomelo Paradis) And the notes description certainly intrigued me: Coffee and tuberose. Sadly, though, I think this is the first time that an Atelier release totally did not work for me.
And I gave it two chances. The first time I tried this I was at Luckyscent, and it was a ho-ish day, and the perfume felt heavy and cloying. All I could smell was heavy coffee with something so sweet – vanilla extract. At that time, I blamed it on the temperature, thinking this is probably a scent suited for colder days.
So today, a 6o degree day, I tried it again, and I still felt the same way. The coffee was a bit on the heavy dark side, but something made it feel too heavy -the coffee I did not mind, but there comes a sweet concoction of vanilla, and cocoa that just sits there, and this is scent that felt like it weighed a ton. It sits there, and assaults you, and I made a ‘mistake’ of spraying generously that it stayed with me for hours and hours. It felt like torture. I have never really been a fan of overly sweet scents, and this is as sweet (and heavy) as it gets. This is really a big thumbs down for me, my first ever for Atelier Cologne.
When I first tried Byredo’s latest release, Velvet Haze, I fell in love with it. I knew that it was a 60s based patchouli scent, and I somehow internalized that, and from what I remembered, it gave a smooth classy patchouli vibe. I even mentally put it on my Christmas Wish List, and I even said well let me wait for Barney’s Christmas bag and I will buy it when that offer comes, which does around November.
But tonight, I spritzed the generous sample that I got after my nightly shower. I usually wear new perfume then, as it is when I have a clear palette, and I can look at perfume more objectively. Tonight I get that ‘coconut water’ note clearer, and I kind of like it – it’s summery, and just a little nutty. And I did notice the patchouli note coming in, and it is nice and smooth, and I thought to myself: why bother?
This time around, I wasn’t too impressed by Velvet Haze – it came across as a skin scent, kind of weak, and much too ‘nothing.’ It did not scream perfume to me, and I like to wear my perfume – I like to smell it when I move, I like a little bit of sillage to leave behind. I have read reviews that liken Velvet Haze to Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely, and I see the comparison, but Lovely performs better, and the trail that Lovely leaves is quite lovely. Velvet Haze just whimpers, till it fades to that generic musky blah of nothing.
Maybe I need to give myself a two-wearing rule when I sample new scents, as I think I would have been disappointed had I gotten it. And the good news I guess – this gets scratched from my Christmas list in favor of more of what I really want.
Addendum: Okay, so perhaps I was wrong about the drydown. i realize that it has a neon-like patchouli drydown and it is actually quite nice. Hmmm…
Still checking out my Derek Lam 10 Crosby Street samples. This time, I am testing 2 AM Kiss. In my mind, i am wondering if this is somewhat related to Sean John’s 3 AM cologne, with the tagline that says everything that’s good happens at 3 am. But for old folks like me, 2 am seems to indicate more the time we need to pee. Joking aside, of all the Derek Lam bottles, this is the one that’s colored ‘lipstick red,’ so of course it is one of the few ones that appealed to me – could a Monday scent be forthcoming here?
2 AM Kiss opens with caramel – not too sweet, there’s a bit of salt to keep on from not being too cloying. I smell a fruit note, too – a berry something, perhaps raspberry? Or am I just projecting the red juice with a red fruit? It’s not too bad, though a bit off putting, as a wave of amber sweeps in and sits on top of the salted caramel. And then it just sits there, and this does nothing else. It’s certainly not a cookie-cutter scent, but it is also weird. Does it want a sweet vibe (this is not the same caramel of Prada Candy) or is it an amber based perfume (the amber here is pretty generic)
I don’t get to contemplate on it much more, as it slowly disappears on my skin, and I am left with a generic amber base. I wish it projected some kind of personality for me, but it is not saying something specific – a loud sweet noise that is overwhelmed by the amber.