10 Corso Como fragrance review

10 Corso Como perfume10 Corso Como is the fashionable Milan boutique of "style guru" Carla Sozzani. Since opening in 1991, the business has expanded to include a design gallery, bookstore, restaurant, and even a small B & B called 3Rooms. The eponymous fragrance was created by perfumer Olivier Gillotin and launched in 1999, and features notes of rose, geranium, vetiver, musk, sandalwood and Malay oud-wood oil.

The 10 Corso Como fragrance opens on a sour-sweet medicinal haze that has been compared to gasoline; the rose and geranium slowly emerge as recognizeable elements as the oudh calms. They are joined in short order by smoky incense and sandalwood, both of which stay front & center for the duration. The very early stages are rather rich and heavy, with warm spice notes lending a bit of an exotic touch, but the dry down leaves a much lighter and more restrained scent, more dry than sweet, and only vaguely spicy.

It does not, for me at least, evoke the same kind of spiritual reaction as Diptyque Tam Dao or the Comme des Garçons Incense series. All the same, it is beautifully done, and has a velvety-soft, squishy comfort scent kind of feeling that makes it more wearable than many woodsy incense fragrances. Lest that sound too much like something to spray on as you pad around the house in your slippers and old flannel bathrobe, I must add that there is something very sexy about it too, and despite its muted nature, it has good lasting power.

10 Corso Como has developed quite a cult following, and as I said above, it is beautifully done, but I still haven't decided if it is something I need to own. That is not unusual — there are quite a few fragrances in my collection that I came around to very slowly. I'd love to hear other reactions, so do comment if you've tried it.

10 Corso Como is an Eau de Parfum. It runs $60 for 50 ml, and $90 for 100 ml, and matching bath products are also available. It can be found at beautyhabit, hqhair (UK) and luckyscent.

Update, May 2008: 10 Corso Como has reportedly been reformulated, as have many other sandalwood-heavy fragrances ("real" sandalwood is now scarce and expensive). I have not had the chance to smell the new version, but you can read a detailed comparison of new vs. old in the comments to the review for the Jo Malone Kohdo Wood Collection (scroll down or search for comments by reader ahtx).

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43 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I really, really wanted to love 10 Corso Como – it has all the notes I adore. But there's a strange noisome quality to it that I can only describe as…fart (is it the same word in the US?). I don't get gasoline/petrol; I get something seriously organic. Behind that, there's a lovely aromatic scent in which geranium is prominent for me. Perhaps one day I will 'get' it!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I had erased both this one and Frapin 1270 from the “gotta gotta have it” list. Now I'm back with Frapin and have been thinking about 10CC a lot. I think it's the kind of scent that might seem meh when you're overloaded with samples, but then holds up well in retrospect.

    I adore the bottle.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Fart? Oh my, I'm glad I don't get THAT note! 10CC is a wonderful woodsy scent on me, I don't reach for it often, but when I do, I wonder why I don't do it more often. It's a very sexy scent.

  4. Anonymous says:

    oohhhhh, too funny! I have yet to try this frag. “Fart” doesn't really encourage me, but I am intrigued by the geranium. Ha.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think 10CC is bautiful and easy to wear…but it leaves me cold for some reason. It just doesn't do it for me (whatever the “it” is, I don't know :-))

  6. Anonymous says:

    What Columbina said. I find it an interesting, wearable fragrance that …. for some reason I never find myself wanting to wear. I have the same issue with the (few) Lorenzo Villoresis I've tried, and the Laura Tonattos… do I have an Italian Problem?;-) Robin, do you love any of the LVs or the LTs?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I bought a small bottle (don't know if it's still offered) in December, have used half of it. I think it's my favorite daytime scent. Gasoline? Fart? It has a hard edge initially that I like very much. Something metallic. And then on me it dries down to the smell of old wood left to the elements.

  8. Anonymous says:

    LOL — yes, it is the same word in the US!

  9. Anonymous says:

    And I need to revisit Frapin…

    Yes, it is great packaging!

  10. Anonymous says:

    LOL, I don't get that note either, but I have a feeling it might be related to the oudh note — although I find it very mild once the fragrance dries down.

  11. Anonymous says:

    M, don't know where the 10 CC cult following is today, but obviously, not here commenting, LOL…

  12. Anonymous says:

    M, I don't love any of the LTs so far, with the exception of the scents she did for Carthusia. I adore Mediterraneo, and the others are nice if not my thing.

    The LVs are much more interesting to me. Dilmun is my favorite. Donna & Garafano are both beautiful but not really me. In some ways, I think the best 3 are Sandalo, Piper Nigrum & Yerba Mate but I don't actually love any of those. And meaning to try the Vetiver but haven't yet.

  13. Anonymous says:

    …”smell of old wood left to the elements” is a great description.

    I get something very harsh in the top notes, but that is true of most anything with oudh, so didn't mean it as a complaint. I call it medicinal but I think we are all using different words to describe the same thing.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Robin,

    Being a sandalwood lover, I have both 10CC and Tam Dao. After wearing both a lot this winter, I was surprised to find myself reaching over and over for the 10cc over TD. I don't get the gasoline opening as some do, however the sublime incense note along with aoud and sandalwood, seems to really do it for me. I also get a lot of compliments on this frag; and like, you it lasts for quite a while on me. However, the gasoline note you mentioned would explain why DH asked me yesterday AM if I had been near cleaning solvents…

  15. Anonymous says:

    Great review dear R! I have worn this in the early 2003 with the lotion. Won't be repurchasing it I think.

    Hope you are well. :)

  16. Anonymous says:

    C, LOL at the cleaning solvents comment, that is funny! I think I will always prefer the Tam Dao over the 10CC, but they are both great sandalwood fragrances.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Thanks N!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Trying to add to the 10 CC cult following here. . . I adore this fragrance! I particularly like the sharp oud opening, and have been known (when alone) to respray it more than is necessary to reexperience that (Do it again! do it again!). As a whole, the scent is much more interesting to me than Tam Dao (which I also like). Not as calming–but much sexier!! I should add that the lotion is also wonderful (and less sharp, for those who mind that); it also, of course. increases the (not inconsiderable) staying power of the fragrance.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I need to revisit the Piper Nigrum and Dilmun upstairs in the candy box. I forgot about Mediterraneo — had it on this week to counteract the gloom! What a ray of sunshine that scent is.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Would agree it is more interesting than Tam Dao, and sexier. Still like Tam Dao better — maybe I prefer dull, LOL? But glad to see more of the fan club checking in, and I am going to have to look for a sample of that lotion.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I'm still on the fence with 10CC – I must wear some this afternoon! It certainly does have an edgy opening (oudh is almost always welcome on me), but it is undeniably sexy. I prefer it very much over Tam Dao, which was too masculine for me, and it did not have any of the complexity which 10CC has going for it. Thanks for the review, and for reminding me to revisit this one!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like we're both on the fence…except that it will never surpass Tam Dao for me :-)

  23. Anonymous says:

    This is one of those fragrances that I really wanted to like, but my skin eats it. It's gone within an hour or so after application. I hate that! Stupid fragrance-eating skin!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Supposedly Carla Sozzani said she wanted something light, but I don't have a problem with the staying power. If you love it, maybe try the lotion?

  25. Anonymous says:

    I bought this yesterday and sprayed it this morning at 6:30. At first I thought 'oh no, I goofed again' in my choice but it's turned out very nice. Light incense/church-y quality, soft. Good lasting quality on me (it's after 11 now). I'm glad I got it. The bottle is adorable.

  26. Anonymous says:

    So glad your purchase worked out! I wish 10CC would release another scent, they did such a nice job with this one.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I think I'm going to get a small bottle, too. I love the incense, sandalwood smell. I think it's sexy.

  28. Anonymous says:

    It is sexy! I keep hearing that the body lotion is wonderful too.

  29. Anonymous says:

    hello Robin. Well I love my new smell. How difficult it is to wear anything else when I find something I love. I have all these gorgeous samples from Lucky and a bottle of Verte Violet (which fades in one hour. but I'll talk on that link about it.) But all I want is this. rose

  30. Anonymous says:

    How nice to find something you love enough to want to wear nothing else! I am still wavering over the body lotion, but will buy it one of these days.

    Have you tried Eau d'Italie's Paestum Rose? It might be perfect in the summer if you find the 10CC too heavy then.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I want to look for Paestum Rose, too. I have to find a place that has samples.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Try aedes.com, they sell sample packs and they carry the line.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I love 10 Corso Como, and am buying a bottle next payday. Georg Wuchsa has samples of Eau d'Italie Paestum Rose.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Thanks!

  35. Anonymous says:

    I love this fragrance. I bought this about a year or two ago from LuckyScent and there is nothing quite like it! I love the bottle; so simple yet so chic. The scent is spiritual and there is a certain comfort I feel from wearing it. It smells expensive and very European. The price is not bad for the scent; it is quite exquisite. It is definitely for the Europhile like myself.

  36. Anonymous says:

    I don't know that it smells “European” to me, but do agree that it is both spiritual & comforting.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets this “farty” note! On me, this scent smells like something decomposing….and like if I have tried to cover this up by spraying some rose perfume on it.

  38. I like the depth of your reviews. Great work.

  39. tsetse says:

    I’m sorry to say I bought a new bottle of Corso Como recently and it hasn’t been so much reformulated as denatured. There’s nothing rich, heavy or spicy left about it, zero staying power and no sillage. It’s heartbreaking. And since the purchase was still wallet busting, it makes me really mad as well. I didn’t expect it to smell like the “old” 10CC, but this is less than a ghost of its former self.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, what a shame! So sorry :-(

  40. mikitina says:

    I tried this perfume and I find that 5 years ago, and I found it very innovative, with a very nice blend of rose, frankincence and oud. I tried it again yesterday, taking a bottle in London at Liberty, and although many scents came its way now, I still find it to be the best. There is also a men’s version now, still on the oud notes, but very plesaint agian.

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