- 23rd January
- 14th April
Kyoto - Comme des Garçons (Series 3 Collection: Incense)
During my studies in France, I had a love affair with incense, I used it in many of my creations, including my final perfume for the year. Maybe because I was in an environment where this particular material wasn’t used often. Or the fact that the scent of incense has been so powerful in my life, while most people instantly remember a church, I remember the Middle East. So I was deliriously happy to see an entire collection inspired by a love for incense.
If you’re not familiar with Comme des Garçons, they are a Japanese fashion label, who have boldly and successfully immersed themselves in the perfume world. They are so niche, that people who buy their perfumes have particular taste. That’s why I love them, because they create things you want to create in your head but are too worried about what everyone else will think. Their creations are avant garde and completely intriguing.
So here comes Kyoto. I myself do not have enough of an understanding of the Japanese culture. I am always interested but should learn more, especially after their recent turmoil. Kyoto is a whirlwind, it is my gateway into the culture I do not know. It twirls and changes just like smoke does. Imagine incense burning, the shapes formed in the air by the smoke, some parts are thin, some parts are thick. The lines created, the curves that move as a gust of wind goes by. That’s Kyoto. It’s changes but in such a way, that some parts go and come back.
At first I smell the cypress; so damn crisp. I smell a hint of sour which I always associate with vetiver. Then it moves, it gets slightly sweeter, almost more humid. The coffee and the teakwood work so well together, as if this is a moment where you have to wait and see what comes next. Standing still and appreciating the warmth. Then comes the freaking incense. Wow. Sharp, dull, moving, still, it’s everything you would want incense to be. There is an almost medicinal quality, probably because of the cypress coming back that gives you a healing feeling. The contrast between the damp patchouli which works very well below the other ingredients, and the incense which somehow layers above it all (almost like a veil of smoke) is perfect.
It comes as no surprise that the perfumer behind this is the great Bertrand Duchaufour. A mastermind. He created Avignon for the same incense collection and many perfumes for L’Artisan Parfumeur, where he is a resident perfumer. He is also behind creations such as Amaranthine for Penhaligon’s among many many others. (More about him later!)
Here are a few more Comme des Garçons perfumes that are worth mentioning:
The first perfume launched by them in 1994, Original Comme des Garçons.
Wonderwood (yes, this is all about wood and it is to die for)
Odeur 53: completely modern, out of the box, and damn cool. This is everything I have always wanted to create, just to see if I could.
2: INK! Entirely inspired by Sumi Ink. I’m in love.
You can find parts of their collection at Holt Renfrew in Montreal. You can also buy all their creations on LuckyScent. I actually have the bottle because a friend (with impeccable taste in perfume) was kind enough to lend it to me.