Cumming: the fragrance

Alan Cumming for Cumming: The Fragrance

Cumming: the fragrance is the brainchild of actor Alan Cumming, nose Christopher Brosius and creative director Jason Schell. It features notes of bergamot, black pepper, scotch pine, whiskey, cigar, heather, douglas fir, rubber, leather, Highland mud, peat fire, and white truffle.

According to the Cumming: the fragrance website, this is "a scent that is all about Sex, Scotch, Cigars and Scotland". The top notes have all of the above, plus a heavy dose of pine and some burning rubber. It does not strike me as a perfume that is likely to sell based on the first whiff from a testing strip, and I wonder how it is doing in Sephora, where it will be competing with fragrances that are designed to smell better on paper than they do on skin.

All of that lasts only a few minutes though, and then the rubber and pine calm. There is a bit of smoke, a bit of whiskey, a bit of leather, and lots of dirt and moss. If all of that sounds very heavy and overtly masculine, it isn't. It is a calm, earthy scent, very low-key and relaxed.

Over the next hour or so, it loses much of the whiskey and leather, and the rubber disappears entirely. It stays very earthy, and evolves into a subtle, sexy, your-skin-but-better fragrance. Eventually it is very smooth and soft, and there is something that smells wonderful but that I don't recognize. The white truffle?

Christopher Brosius pointed out yesterday that "fragrance takes itself far too seriously too much of the time", and while I agree entirely, especially when it comes to celebrity perfumes, I admit to having had some trepidation about Cumming. Too much humor in a personal fragrance might not necessarily be a good thing. All such fears have been laid to rest. Try it, but don't try it on a test strip.

Cumming is an Eau de Toilette, and the lasting power is good. Available at abeautifullife, beautyhabit, and sephora.

Bonus surfing: Alan Cumming's website, the commercial for Cumming.

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35 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for another terrific review! I am very intrigued, especially since I love peaty notes. Sounds almost like a whisky description! This goes on the to try list.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thnaks, R. This is the first serious review of Cumming that I've seen! Sounds rather nice. N

  3. Anonymous says:

    I've just had a look at Alan Cumming's website, and the ad for the fragrance. LOL! Someone had to rip off that Sophie Dahl ad for Opium! http://www.alancumming.com/frame.htm

  4. Anonymous says:

    Well, THERE'S a fragrance that tells a story! Or was that you, NST ;D. Seriously, I, who wouldn't have given it a second thought before, will now try it, because of your fascinating exposé–thanks for not going into any lurid details, btw. Heh.

  5. Anonymous says:

    N, I think several of the photos (see the Cumming the Fragrance website too) are mock ups of other fragrance ads…read something somewhere about it, but now can't remember all the references. They are FUNNY!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    V, will be curious to hear what you think of it!

  7. Anonymous says:

    L, it is not at all what I expected. You should try it, although I can't decide if I think it is something you would like.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Let me know what you think! I need the scarlet S, as I have already admitted to being a perfume snob.

    Agree on Poupee. But tell me why you find Aimez Moi humorous? It doesn't strike me that way. The name is silly, although it is easier for me to take in French than English. But the fragrance…?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Yummy! Like Laureanne, I really was not paying too much attention to Cumming (but I love the humor and double entendre in the name!).

    Next time I am at Sephora, I will test it on the paper strip and on my skin for a comparison.

    Hugs!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Well, when I smelled it in 1997, I found it very fruity, sweet and not dark at all. It smelled confused and overly complicated unlike the other Caron women's fragrances. Plus the name, which is the ultimate in romantic desperation compared to the earlier “N'Aimez Que Moi” which almost implies that the object of one's affections may already have an attraction or at least a passing acquaintance to the wearer. Names may be too influential. For example, there's a red wine called “Le Mas au Schiste,” but I think it refers to the winemaker's lot in life, not the wine itself, which is a pleasure to drink, but I always smile when I see the bottle. Now that you've got me thinking about humor in fragrances until I fall asleep tonight, Royal Bain de Champagne and Angel are two great fragrances that are humorous. RBC should be the fragrance for romantic characters in most Lubitsch films especially the ones with M. Chevalier.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hi R! Let me know what you think! Of course, I haven't even tried it on a paper strip, so just guessing based on the top notes, which are rather startling.

    Per CB, it is selling very well at Sephora, so what do I know anyway, LOL!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I love Aimez Moi (that sounds even sillier!!), but like Miss Rocaille, it has no relationship to the classic Carons. I think the reason that the name doesn't bother me is that my French is so poor — I don't automatically translate unless I am trying to, so the words just sound pretty and have no meaning, even if I know the meaning — does that make any sense, LOL?

    I haven't tried Royal Bain de Champagne, but now I will have to!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I think I know what you mean : ) That's like with me and German, a language I fantasize about learning, but all the German I know are snippets of songs, and phrases from guidebooks, like “hot-jo-ho” and “Wo ist Unter den Linden.”

  14. Anonymous says:

    LOL!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Well, I didn't do the paper test strip (none were to be found) and didn't immediately put this on my skin…I did something much worse: sprayed it in the air and inhaled deeply. Yao-za! I felt like I had breathed in a poisonous substance…death would surely come … SLOWLY but surely. It took about an hour before I could put the sample on my arm. Like most people noted, the initial (fleeting) notes are ugly, caustic, inflammatory. Then comes a more ordinary “blended” smell — a warm, woody scent that dissipated within a few hours. I didn't find it particularly original. Certainly if I had sampled this without any advertising crap swirling in my brain I would NOT have thought of booze-fuelled sex in the mud…pines looming on all sides, a peat fire smoldering, rubber undies tossed all about, a riding crop smacking my thighs as I did unspeakable things with a cigar! (I would have thought of Grandpa, sitting in front of the fireplace…cooking up some truffles and perhaps starting a small fire with the overheated rubber spatula he's using to stir the pot.) K

  16. Anonymous says:

    K, I don't get the booze-fuelled sex either, this is too calm a scent for that. But Grandpa stirring the truffles with a rubber spatula — LOL!!! Too funny.

    I am too much of a chicken to spray in the air and then smell. Did that once with Diorella, and I swear I smelled it for days. I like Diorella, but not in the back of my throat ;-)

  17. Anonymous says:

    Hi R! Glad you finally test-drove the Cumming. It is truly a unique scent, and I enjoyed your review.

    I don't get much of the rubber, but something sharply chemical, at first. It does dry down calmly, though the lasting power is not great on me.

    I'd love to know what wise words AC inscribed on those bottles at Sephora last week!

  18. Anonymous says:

    K, thank you for sharing this one with me! It lasted at least 4-5 hours on me, but it was very soft & close to the skin at the end.

  19. Anonymous says:

    The initial blast was so offputting I didn't give it a chance on the skin. Shame, it sounds interesting. Maybe I'll try it again. I do find Alan Cumming pretty amusing, fragrance or no fragrance.

  20. Anonymous says:

    “desperate and Australian” — ha!

  21. Anonymous says:

    The parodies of Higher and the 1970s Sieff photo of a nude YSL are great. Makes me wish there was an “Onion” for the fashion world.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Yes!!! Every industry needs its own Onion.

  23. Anonymous says:

    T, he is amusing, fragrance or no fragrance. But the fragrance is amusing too :-)

  24. Anonymous says:

    I'm having computer troubles today, so haven't got to this post 'til now1 I thought I'd play along and wear Cumming since you were doing the review today. I think I like it quite a bit, though it's not a suitable choice for me every day. I get this note from it that *smells* like the way a very warm woody scotch *feels* as it travels down my throat. Very nice. And I like the peaty/wet dirt, it gives Cumming a very melancholy air on me. The fragrance as a whole makes me think of hiding away an afternoon in a pub because it's too chilly and rainy out to do anything else. And that's kind of a nice thing to do every so often. It's like an Oregon winter, really.

    I do agree that it's nice when fragrances don't take themselves too seriously, but I don't think this one is a one word joke, either. Glad you didn't find it to be awful or terribly done! :)

  25. Anonymous says:

    K, Wow, what a great description! I am tempted to remove my own review and put yours in its place. I didn't think of Cumming as melancholy or “Oregon winter”, but now I can completely see what you mean, in fact, if I wasn't already wearing 5 different fragrances up and down my arms, I'd put it on again to think it through.

    Hope you've got your computer worked out.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Eh, sort of worked out, but if I “disappear” for a few days, it's because I'm thinking I might replace the motherboard and install some new memory. Or it's because I have given in and have taken the computer out Elvis style.

    This is the first day in a while that I've worn Cumming and haven't tried layering it with something else. (That Atreau, she goes and introduces CumCao, and now I'm inspired like a loony-woman.) I just got my freebie Falling in Love perfume, so I may try that layer out “just because.”

  27. Anonymous says:

    I thought the concept of this fragrance was hilarious but I liked the fact that it really smelled good. I think the name is either going to appeal to people or turn them off and they aren't going to focus on the juice. But it's the juice that turns me on the most! Great review R – as always! :)

  28. Anonymous says:

    K, Good luck! I have installed memory, but never a motherboard. Hope it goes smoothly.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Thank you S!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Is this unisex or is it too masculine for a woman to actually wear? I don't tend towards overtly girly fragrances but I wouldn't want to smell manly either. The notes sound wonderful — especially the mossy dirtiness — and I'm a new but ardent CB fan! New to this blog too — it's great!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm…to my nose it is unisex, but there isn't anything at all overtly feminine about it. Wonder if you would prefer Black March, which also has dirt & moss but also a touch of floral?

    And thanks :-)

  32. Weegee says:

    Cumming is, indeed, quite the masculine stunner. I’m very loose with my definition of male/female/uni fragrances and HAVE to admit that this falls on the Yatagan/Dirty English side of “for men” fragrances. That said, I LOVE wearing it and seeing the looks (prompted by the grand sillage) of confusion as people look for the man following me. Now, I’m part Scot and I do love a couple of fingers of scotch in a heavy tumbler AND I’ve been known to enjoy a good cigar, so I’m by no means unbiased here. That said, this is a stunner! Makes me think of kilts and how real Scotsman wear them :)

  33. marymorrissey says:

    happily I was given a 10 ml decant of this and needed not to rely upon my own limited wits with a spray or two only. cause the first couple of times I tried it I felt “amazing but who would wear this?” eventually I discovered that it was very wearable, very sexy, with some associations I couldn’t quite place, something to do with the men’s locker room, though. finally, one day in my capacity as a professional masseur I recognized the smell coming from someone’s feet, dead on, the drydown. asking him what it was I learned he was wearing “an old school athlete’s foot powder”, which I’d be willing to bet was the model for the finished (drydown) product. the top and heart notage added for a bit of sincational goodness/badness thorough madness by way of introduction…

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