A most appealing simple scent – Calamus smells of the pith of something pale green and succulent, like cut aloe vera or a marsh reed. It’s soft as a whisper, it’s gorgeous and comforting, and has baby milk on its breath as well as the lightest of green herbals. The angelica in the notes list has the starring role but in such a fuzzy, airy manner, it merges into the languid chord this creation strikes and holds for its duration. Calamus seems to be the scent of a world at peace with itself, a version of green nature that is entirely without thorns, calm and reassuring.
Just the thing for a hot day, just the thing to wear at home and be untroubled. Its big problem is just how sheer it is; many will complain that it is too soft. But conversely, a more forceful presentation would likely have robbed it of its gentle character.
Calamus is a really peculiar scent indeed, which I would have never defined "green" if it wasn't for the composition I read. What I smell is an odd, archaic but at the same time futuristic sort of dystopian odor of stones, abstract woods, cellulose, grass but not in a usual "rich/wet/freshly-cut" meaning, rather close to a sort of blurry souvenir of grass, the kind of smell that takes you back to a walk in the park or a nap on a lawn, simultaneously terrifically realistic but with a shade of "glow", like an old photograph. There is a grey and austere dryness all over, almost "zen" in a way, dry as the surface of a centuries-old polished stone. Poetic and gloomy. Not much else except a really subtle floral breeze which give a delicate sense of silky cleanliness, and a general, almost alienating feel halfway milky, mineral, abstract, grassy and lacustrine. However don't be afraid of smelling "weird"; Calamus is in fact really delicate and close to skin, a sort of grey-green version of other CdG's like Odeur 53, just less artificial. So even if it's a bit peculiar, basically only you will smell it. A really interesting work, but as a perfume "to be worn" I don't find it particularly great: it's much linear with basically no evolution, really delicate, not exactly (conventionally, perhaps) pleasant – as you basically smell of stones, grass and woods, in no "aromatic" meaning. In other words, after a while it gets increasingly boring and with not much to "tell", but nonetheless it is worth a try.
Bertrand Duchaufour rarely composes a green fragrance, so Calamus is an item of particular interest to me. It comes on as a very bright green scent indeed with tart citric notes and just a hint of camphor. This opening is extremely refreshing - maybe even a bit sharp. The citric note, which I take for the rose hips listed in the pyramid, soon sorts itself out, and the central accord emerges as a brisk, unsweetened green that's simple, clean, and unpretentious. It's also blessedly free of the now commonplace ozone-aquatic notes. Calamus is olfactory minimalism of a high order and offers a pleasant alternative to all the vapid "fresh" scents crowding today's designer fragrance market. Delightful!
As a fan of green scents, I've long wanted to try this. I was deeply disappointed in it.
It starts with a very leafy and grassy note -- quite intense and more of an experience than an attractive scent per se. Then, and very quickly, it got intensely sweet, cloying, fusty, odd and unpleasant. I don't know what on earth it smelled like but whatever it was, I did not like it at all and had to wash it off.
I love both green and naturalistic fragrances, and this covers both bases nicely.
It's one of those frags I wear to 1) get in touch with the natural in me, especially in the dead of winter 2) smell pleasant but discreet in daytime situatiions, and 3) just for the smile it puts on my face, meaning it has kind of an uplifting, refreshing energy, somewhat clearing to one's aura, sort of an aromatherapeutic quality, which is a nice double-duty, considering many centuries ago, that was the origin and reason for people wearing fragrances - a far cry from the purpose of the perfume industry today.