Pharrel Williams’ Girl (2014)

© Victor Wong
© Victor Wong

Hey look, I bought a very cute bottle! Wait… it has perfume in it?

I admit I bought Pharrel Williams’ Girl really because of the bottle design. I didn’t know who Pharrell Williams was, but later found out he’s the singer of the really popular “Happy” song. (Sorry, I live under a rock.)

The scent is designed by Antonie Lie and the project is led by Comme des Garcons. I am not a huge fan of Comme des Garcons but I have all 5 perfumes from their Incense series (I can’t stress how much I love incense), which I find them to be very chilly, minimalistic and novel. I expected something similar for Girl, and I was half right. The expected part is the opening of Girl, which is a swinging log trap – one spray and I’ve got smacked in the head by two huge logs coming from opposite sides, one sandalwood and the other cedar, followed by a bucket filled with of ISO-E Super that drops down from the sky landing on my belly. I lay on the ground covered with patchouli and vetiver grass, cringing… could this be the perfect moment for Pharrel Williams to come out from the forest singing and dancing to his song “Happy”, but no, here comes the unexpected part: I’ve got served with some incomprehensible middle notes – almond cake? peppers? flowers? milk? Something sweet and lightly floral (and marginally nauseating) to soften the impact of the woody smackdown.

The scent actually matches the graphic design of the bottle – it’s modern, pop, unisex, and even a bit cartoony, but definitely not for kids.

Comme De Garcons’ Incense Ouarzazate (2002)

Comme des Garcons Series 3 - Incense (1)

White Pepper Woody

Comme De Garcons’ Ouarzazate (an Islamic city in Morocco) is a spicy and warm incense perfume. The pepper is so strong that I don’t even detect the green tea and vanilla notes as listed in Fragrantica.

But to me, the most interesting aspect of this perfume is that it smells like Le Labo’s Rose 31. In fact, it should be the other way round. Le Labo kept everything in Ouarzazate except incense and wood and added rose and oud, and gave it a much easier to pronounce name and hit it out of the park.

Comme des Garcons’ Incense Kyoto (2002)

Comme des Garcons Incense Kyoto, 50ml, EDT
© Victor Wong

Coffee in a Teak Temple

Continuing my exploration of the Comme des Garcons’ Incense line. Today I’m wearing Kyoto. Longevity and sillage is much better than Zagorsk. The subtle coffee note definitely makes it more interesting and not as straight forward incensy.

I would like to add a note on the similarities between Kyoto and Le Labo Gaiac 10. Kyoto fans are accusing Le Labo for copying Kyoto (6 years apart), and I think they were more “inspired” than directly copying them. (Well, I don’t work for Le Labo, I honestly don’t know) But if you say they did, I would not argue. However, I find Gaiac 10 more peaceful and “pure” than Kyoto and I get more enjoyment wearing Gaiac 10, for a rare “less is more” experience.

Comme des Garcons’ Zagorsk (2002)

Comme des Garcons Series 3 - Incense
© Victor Wong

Ghostly Melancholic

Wearing Comme des Garcons’ Zagorsk is like walking in a chilly empty church with broken windows, and you can see and faintly smell the tall birch and cypress surrounding this old building. The incense is all ash, sitting still and releasing some leftover aroma.

This perfume has poor projection and longevity, but the opaque aluminum bottle hides the water level and gives me the licence to spray without holding back. (Honestly I feel a bit sad seeing my bottle getting used up, despite they are supposed to be used. That’s why I never buy fancy moulded candles.)