Comme des Garcons Blackpepper ~ fragrance review

black peppercorns

Coming off a heat wave, it’s hard to believe that Labor Day is this weekend. To me, Labor Day signals autumn, and autumn means sweaters, falling leaves and warmer fragrance. Comme des Garçons Blackpepper should come with “autumn” stamped on its label.

Perfumer Antoine Maisondieu developed Blackpepper. Its notes include Madagascan pepper, cedar wood, akigalawood (a spicy-woody material by Givaudan derived from patchouli), tonka bean and “musky accord.”

Say “black pepper” to me, and I think “biting, bracing, sneezy.” Fortunately, after its initial hit, Blackpepper is none of that…

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L’Homme Prada ~ fragrance review, plus a quick poll

Ansel Elgort and Dane DeHaan for L'Homme Prada

L’Homme Prada is a fragrance of pairs, of doubles, of juxtapositions and layers. The classic codes of the male Fougère are all present in Neroli, Geranium and Patchouli. Yet the interchangeable male/female Prada signatures are present, too, in the shape of Iris and Amber, the principal elements. It is a mix that is both airy and yet purposefully, highly sensual.1

So, I didn’t hate La Femme Prada, but I didn’t exactly adore it either. I get another chance with L’Homme Prada, also from perfumer Daniela Andrier, and hey, take a look at the brand’s description above. Doesn’t that sound an awful lot like Prada Amber Pour Homme, maybe with a smidgen of Prada Infusion d’Iris (or Infusion d’Homme) thrown in for good measure? Such a thing would suit me fine: I liked Amber Pour Homme,2 and so did an awful lot of other women…

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Charenton Macerations Eye, Hatshepsut ~ fragrance review

Charenton Macerations Eye, Hatshepsut brand image

I’ve always loved ancient Egyptian art and history, the complex religious practices of Egyptians and the depictions of their gods (including such “gods” as the female pharaoh Hatshepsut). Call me macabre, but I enjoy reading about ancient Egyptian mummification practices and the fragrant oils used to preserve and scent important corpses big (rulers) and small (cats); I’ve written here at Now Smell This (10 years ago!) about kyphi incense. Like everyone else, I’m sometimes susceptible to advertising, so any time a perfume house releases a scent that references Egypt, I sample it in hopes it will be glorious. (Why didn’t Serge Lutens ever “go there”…with a rich, “profound” Egypt-inspired fragrance?)

Charenton Macerations Eye, Hatshepsut (which was, according to ad copy, researched at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo) goes on smelling medicinal, or “medicinal” as interpreted by a contemporary perfumer…

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La Femme Prada ~ perfume review

Mia Wasikowska and Mia Goth for La Femme Prada

It’s seemed a long slog through sweet and pink and fruity lately, so I was happy to turn to La Femme Prada even before I actually smelled it. A not-pink fragrance, for grown-ups, from the (mostly) reliable team of Prada and perfumer Daniela Andrier? Even if it didn’t turn out to be a “grand floral that restlessly shakes off the clichés of femininity”, much less “innocence undercut with carnality”, that’s got to beat an awful lot of what we’ve seen on perfume counters this year.

The notes – frangipani, tuberose, ylang ylang, spices, beeswax, vanilla, vetiver — likewise sounded right up my alley, and the advertising, featuring four models generally conducting themselves with dignity, is very Prada and near perfect…

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