Weekly Fumes: Floriental by Comme des Garçons

John Preston

I haven’t fallen in love with a Comme des Garçons scent since the soapy Tar from the brand’s 2004 Synthetic series. Prior to this, the Japan-based fashion house’s scent collection was a decade long love-in for me with each new creation, from 1998’s White to Sequoia from the 2001 Red series, outdoing its predecessor.

The last 10 years have seen the brand settle into a somewhat predictable rut, though, offering constant variations of what has become its signature scent of a close-to-the skin wood and incense blends. Despite its name, Floriental is not a radical shift from this but it is the first pillar scent (or pebble in Comme’s case, such is the smooth bottle shape the main fragrance line is housed in) that I would happily own.

Floriental’s official notes are plum, pink pepper, labdanum, incense (hello!), sandalwood (of course) and vetiver – flowers are nowhere to be been or sniffed. My favourite part of Floriental takes place within the first 15 minutes, where a distinct cumin note pokes its slightly sweaty head up above the rich and familiar middle and base notes.

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I love this part but it is so short lived that I’m beginning to think that I’ve willed it into being, there is no reference to anything that would contour up this spicy little monster. But I swear it’s there and suddenly, just as I’m starting to pull out my relatively hard-earned cash, it’s gone.

After the briefest of top notes has evaporated, one is left with what could be referred to as the handsome, woody smell of pencil shavings. It’s a common enough scent reference but Floriental’s entry is one of the most alluring I’ve smelt in a while. This may be down to that plum note which I cannot make out as an isolated fruit, but there is a richness to the words and incense mix which helps set this apart from its contemporaries and could be attributed to this fruity addition.

Like a few in the CdG range, Floriental’s scent structure diverts from the traditional triangle of top, middle and base notes, and the scent you have after the first 30 minutes is the scent you’ll have, albeit more faintly, until it wears off several hours later.

In comparison to the Comme des Garçons golden years as the go-to niche house of masterful weirdness, there is nothing unusual or particularly compelling about Floriental’s addition. It does have a warm and reassuring elegance, however, and is still more interesting and better executed than the majority of mainstream releases.

The scent has considerable projection during its first 90 minutes or so, and if you spray directly onto your shirt collar then your body warmth will ensure that both you and others near you will smell it throughout the day.

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It’s not intrusive and is probably more traditionally masculine but I would love to smell this kind of scent on a woman, it is marketed as unisex. All in all a nice everyday scent, while not exactly a return to form for Comme des Garçons is certainly a sideways move back in the right direction.

Floriental Eau de Parfum by Comme des Garçons 50ml £62 100ml £83

About John Preston

South London based music obsessive with strong opinions about most things. Doubts Madonna has another good record in her but would love more than anything to be proved wrong.