I have always made what could be considered interesting fragrance choices with two of my earliest fumes being the fantastically over-the-top florals and musks of Paloma Picasso for Women (I’m a man) and Chanel’s forever green Number 19. I’m not sure that I could wear the 90s power bomb that was Paloma with much conviction these days, but Number 19 is still endlessly androgynous and soft like a luxurious suede.
The fragrance that really made its mark on me though and turned me from someone who wanted a smell that matched my younger, flamboyant self into a hardcore rabid perfumista was Comme des Garçon’s self-titled debut Eau de Parfum, created by Mark Buxton and launched in 1991.
If you’re unprepared to open your mind to a smell that, although incredibly and even traditionally beautiful, is not within the usual realms of what many perceive as ‘perfume’, then Comme des Garçons may prove to be a difficult olfactory ride.
Notes listed are labdanum, cedar wood, cardamom, honey, rose, cloves and cinnamon, a definite Oriental scent in respect to category and completely without gender. What makes this potion avant-garde, and certainly at a time when niche scents were few and far between, is that it is almost linear in its enveloping composition.
There is no discernible change in the top to bottom note journey. The prominent notes of cinnamon (so much glorious, insistent cinnamon) and cardamom – and I can smell little else other than a soft, liquid honey, a flicker of some other spices maybe – give it a pungent, medicinal warmth that is perplexing, addictive and utterly shocking on first sniff.
With an extravert and extravagant sillage, people will ask you what you’re wearing and many may wrinkle-up their noses, this is a cold winter scent where only a few drops are required to protect you from the elements and connect you to the magic of scent.
Comme des Garçons Eau de Parfum, 50ml, £63