Harissa falls squarely into my "pleasant surprise" category. Coming from a house like Comme des Garcons, and with a name alluding to a mouth-searing North African condiment, I was expecting a harsh and unwearable capsicum concoction along the lines of L'Arisan Parfumeur's Piment Brûlant. Sometimes it's wonderful to be proven wrong!
The bitter, abrasive scent of green pepper is indeed present at the start, but it's folded into a cool and semi-sweet mélange of clove and citrus. Harissa warms up very quickly as the crisp top notes are joined by a mellow spice and incense accord, made edgy by the presence of black (not chili) pepper. All of this rests atop a cushion of sweet, rounded vanillic notes and nutmeg that makes Harissa's heart distinctly oriental in style.
Harissa's spicy-sweet, peppered heart vaguely recalls Lorenzo Villoresi's controversial Piper Nigrum - enough that I feel safe recommending Harissa to anyone who enjoys the Villoresi but wants a lighter, more refreshing fragrance. Given its composition Harissa is a surprisingly bright and transparent scent, perhaps because of a lingering crisp tomato leaf note that punctuates the main spicy accord.
As Harissa ages on the skin it grows progressively more mellow and diaphanous, while exposing a firm woody base that's warmed by just a hint of very clean musk. While it's not a weak scent, Harissa hangs close to the skin and does not trail clouds of sillage in its wake. Longevity is more than acceptable though, as the drydown progresses over the course of six hours or more. My lasting impression of Harissa is of a crisp, clear, yet exotic fragrance that would be great summer alternative to the traditional citrus and aquatic scents. My thanks to the kind Basenoter who sent me the sample - I would not have made this lovely find on my own!
A spicy peppery, but fresh fragrance that I have grown to favour the most of all out of CDG's Red range. Highly recommended.
Light peppers and woods. I'm not a fan of this because it lacks depth, longevity and everything else that makes me like a fragrance.
Because the company list of notes contains both chilli pepper and tomato, I expected this to smell like a Bloody Mary spiked with Tobasco. To my surprise and delight, it turned out to smell like chilli pepper soda. The scent is bright and effervescent, even fizzy, with a slight sweetness. The tomato appears only in the dry-down, where it is light and not Bloody Mary-like at all. Weird and wonderful
This perfume embraced me in a slightly sweaty and humid way. Surprising and spicy at first; not bad. When applied in smaller amounts I found it to be sweeter. The problem is that it always dried down to a menthol smell. Puzzling. I don't want it.