Comme des Garcons + Monocle Scent Three: Sugi ~ fragrance review

Comme des Garçons + Monocle Scent Three: Sugi

I’ve complained already about the recent output from Comme des Garçons — they’ve become a kind of go-to house for variations, sometimes minor variations, on wood and/or incense.1 Mind you, they know how to do wood and/or incense, and in all truth, when they do break out of that rut, I don’t always like the result.2 So I have mixed feelings about their most recent launch, Scent Three: Sugi. It’s their third fragrance in collaboration with Monocle magazine (see Scent One: Hinoki and Scent Two: Laurel), and like the others, was developed by perfumer Antoine Maisondieu. And I do love it. It’s beautifully done, and I’d very much like to have a bottle — please, Santa, send the other two Monocle fragrances while you’re at it! — but unless you have the sort of never-ending interest in woody fragrances (and Comme des Garçons) that I do, you might not find it an absolute must-try.

I’ll start by repeating the press stuff, because it’s spot on…

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Marc Jacobs Bang ~ fragrance review

Marc Jacobs gets lots of media coverage, but interviewers seem most interested in Jacobs’ weight. Though I’m impressed by Jacobs’ candor, isn’t he bored with talking about his appearance: his workout routine; his colon-saving diet*; his hair transplants; his tattoos and grooming rituals? Jacobs needs a PR maven who’ll demand a moratorium on all weight-loss talk…after all, Jacobs lost his “excess” pounds years ago.

The launch of Jacobs new men’s fragrance, Bang, has (at last!) given him something new to talk about — even as he uses Bang’s debut to show his half-naked body in perfume ads and magazine spreads (see this month’s Calvin Klein interview with Jacobs in Harper’s Bazaar for a “plumber shot” of Jacobs’ rear end…or don’t).

Let’s begin with the name of Jacobs’ new fragrance — Bang. There are certainly the “Wham!” “Bam!” “Pow!” connotations (the “banged up” Bang bottle), but there’s also the X-rated “bang” (sexual intercourse). Guess which direction the Bang PR materials go? Sex! There’s a rather juvenile Facebook game hosted on the Bang website called “Bang You’re It!” Quoting the press release: “‘Bang You’re It!’ is free for interpretation and allows users to bang friends’ profile pictures and get banged in return in order to rack up points. By banging someone, you are essentially banging their profile picture with the same impacted look as the Bang fragrance bottle…Get banged by people from other countries. Get banged after midnight.” Do ADULTS “bang each other” on this Facebook page? Off I went to find out…

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Comme des Garcons Wonderwood ~ fragrance review

Comme des Garçons Wonderwood fragrance advert

The short film that the Brothers Quay made to promote the new Comme des Garçons fragrance, Wonderwood, opens with the words “Someone who loved wood more than words can say…”, and Comme des Garçons describes the fragrance as a “positive overdose of woods, woody notes and synthetic wood construction (wood gone mad)”. They’re not kidding. Have they not yet made the fragrance that screamed WOOD loud enough to suit you? Then do try Wonderwood.

Wonderwood was developed by perfumer Antoine Lie, and it includes all the wood notes a wood freak could ask for, plus some spices to liven things up: Madagascan pepper, bergamot, incense, nutmeg, cristalon (a floral fruity note with rosy, plum and apple nuances), cashmeran, gaiacwood, cedar, caraway, javanol (sandalwood), sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli and oudh. What is smells like, mostly, is — you guessed it — wood…

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Serge Lutens Santal de Mysore ~ fragrance review

How unlucky for perfume lovers to live in an era when Mysore sandalwood has disappeared from fragrances. Let’s hope the over-harvested and endangered sandalwood trees of India are truly being protected and propagated for future generations. According to Serge Lutens P.R., the company bought its stash of Mysore sandalwood before stringent trade regulations went into effect, and it’s this “legal” Mysore sandalwood that supposedly enriches the Lutens perfume of the same name.

Santal de Mysore was developed by perfumer Christopher Sheldrake and released in 2001. I never smelled “original” Santal de Mysore so I don’t know how it compares to the new, surely reformulated, fragrance. Today’s Santal de Mysore contains, apart from Mysore sandalwood, “spices,” cumin, styrax balsam and “caramelized” Siamese benzoin.

Santal de Mysore starts off smelling edible, with a nougat-y and coconut-cream sweetness emanating from a faint “wood” note…

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Bath & Body Works Twilight Woods ~ perfume review

Caspar David Friedrich Man and Woman Contemplating the Moon

When I heard that Bath & Body Works would be releasing a fragrance called “Twilight Woods,” and that this fragrance would evoke “a romantic walk in enchanted woods,” I imagined a blend of pine and cedar, a few drops of resin, and an ozonic note hinting at an oncoming snowstorm. When I later saw the list of notes, I realized that it would actually be a woodsy-fruity gourmand, with “top notes of Juicy Berry, Sparkling Mandarin, and hint of Coconut, heart notes of Creamy Frangipani, Soft Mimosa, Wet Honeysuckle, Wild Freesia, and Apricot Nectar, and basenotes of Oud Wood, Skin Musk Captive, Vanilla Milk, and Warm Woods.”

Twilight Woods is the newest addition to Bath & Body Works’ Signature Collection line, in keeping with the recent string of more complex, “abstract” fragrances (such as P.S. I Love You, as opposed to yet another Cucumber Melon type). It was developed by perfumers Harry Fremont, Jane Konnyu, and Honorine Blanc. This fragrance could just as easily have been named “Twilight Orchard,” because a ripe apricot note runs throughout its development…

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