This year, we spent our summer holidays in Copenhagen. And apart from serious wardrobe envy that had me fighting the urge to tackle every Danish woman to the ground and steal her clothes (and bicycle), I also discovered the Danish art of hygge.
Pronounced “heuuurgah”, as if trying to dislodge a hairball from one's throat, hygge translates loosely to “coziness,” a concept that the Danes take very seriously indeed. This involves snuggling under cashmere blankets, lighting candles, drinking hot chocolate around a blazing fire, lounging around on sheepskin rugs, and, well, resting your face against the furry belly of a sleeping kitten. Basically, anything that gives you comfort and ease. The best explanation I found was in an article that defined it as “the absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things.”
Well, hell, sign me up! I'm in serious need of a hygge.
As it turns out, hygge (for me) turns out to be walking with my family in a nearby pine forest called The Raven, a nature reserve that backs onto Curracloe beach. Used for the D-Day landing scenes at the start of Saving Private Ryan and more recently, Brooklyn, this beach and its adjoining forest is the kind of place you go when you need to filter out all the "annoying or emotionally overwhelming" things in your life. So, last Sunday when I went there, I decided to "up the hygge" and go with a fragrance that is all about cozy, lived-in comfort.
I chose Cadjmere. Cadjmere is a perfect embodiment of hygge. Two words: creamy pine! Actually, it calls to mind that brilliant phrase coined by the ladies over at Now Smell This, namely “wood pudding”, which is basically any scent that captures the same feeling of comfort you get when you slip into your pajamas at the end of a long day.
While Cadjmere definitely qualifies as sweet and creamy, what comes through for me in the first half is mainly green, aromatic woods with only a faint undertone of milkiness. The cypress and rosewood notes are incredibly natural and bright-smelling, and I’m reminded once again that Pierre Guillaume is the master of all things woods-related.
It opens with a combination of aromatic cypress wood, rosewood, and mandarin orange that smells briefly like orange-scented milk chocolate before smoothing out into a milky pine-like smell. It evokes the feeling of being in deep forest, the aroma of raw wood bleeding milky sap into the air, and crushed pine needles underfoot.
After a while, Cadjmere loses its bright, spiky greenness and becomes fuzzier, as if someone reached into a picture and smudged out all the hard lines with their thumb. Finally, in the base, a sweet, musky sandalwood expands to fill the air pockets left by the sharp, aromatic woods, becoming ever sweeter and creamier with the addition of vanilla.
There is something very evocative, very eighties about the sandalwood accord here, reminding me of the trail of heavy, coconutty sandalwood perfumes on the sweaters of friends as we prepared to go out to a disco. I don’t know whether it’s a memory of a specific perfume or simply a collection of different smell memories - hairspray, cheap perfume, lipstick, teenage girl musk, lava lamps, and so on. But I kind of like it, although I can see why some might find it too sweet and perfumey.
Cadjmere might not be as arresting or as dramatic as Coze, as sensual as L’Ombre Fauve, or as tasty as Aomassai, but it lands right in the hygge-seeking part of my soul and sticks. I might not love it forever, but it’s just what I need right now, as I pull on my hiking boots to take the kids out blackberry-picking in The Raven. It's a cashmere sweater between washes, a light female musk and three-day old sandalwood perfume clinging to its fibers, wafting up to greet you like an old friend. Totally hygge, I'm telling you.
Genre: Woody Oriental
Notes (from Luckyscent): myrtle branch, sap, red tangerine, rosewood, Kenyan cypress resin, coconut milk, sandalwood bark, ambrette seed, vanilla.
Let me confess from the beginning that Cadjmere is not the kind of fragrance that I normally enjoy. It starts out as a kind of woody gourmand scent, with notes of dry toasted coconut and powder over vanilla and a sweet floral note that may be the listed rosewood. The name is just right. This scent is warm, velvety smooth, and somehow almost "stuffy," as if my nose were buried in a sweater.
The coconut, vanilla, and rosewood play out in a linear manner through Cadjmere's heart. They are accented by a dash of something camphoraceous that causes an occasional metallic glint amidst all of the velour. Unfortunately, I don't think that it's quite enough to keep Cadjmere from feeling somewhat ponderous. I also find the toasted coconut note to be significantly out of balance, and it becomes tiresome to me after an hour or so.
I'm surprised to find the camphoraceous note holding on until late in the development, when it lends some much-needed lift to what strikes me otherwise as a relatively flat and conventional sandalwood and vanilla drydown. Cadjmere will no doubt appeal to lovers of sweet gourmand fragrances, but it leaves me smelling too much like a macaroon.
I keep reading "coconut" in the reviews above, but the first scent I thought when I first put Cadjmere on was chocolate. Sweet, lush, creamy--though not cloying--not at all my usual floral choices. As it wore on, a woodsy muskiness emerged--sandalwood and rosewood with a soft vanilla/amber undertone. A lovely, sultry and warm perfume that seems like it will wear especially well in the winter.
First sample wearing from this house, don't know what to think. Gourmands not my thing but applied with an open mind. I got a circular swirl of creamy, coconutty sweet stuff with a dissonant, bitter-bright tangerine note poking a distinct hole through the middle. Found myself excessively wrist sniffing to catch the tangerine as it faded into sweet, vanillic mush. Got bored of the mush & reapplied twice in as many hours to rejoice in the weirdly satisfyingly resinous tangerine vs vanilla cream contrast. 3 hours in and left with the sweet, slightly cloying vanillic mush and the unshakable sense that I know this smell.......and then it came. My skank blonde party-girl sister's bedroom in the late nineties, totally littered with knickers and clubbing garments all clung to by the endless, sweet decaying dry down of DUNE!
I learned to love many of the Guillame's creations but I still have some "troubles" with Cadjmere. I'm not among the biggest fans of gourmands but Parfumerie Generale's interpretation of this theme is, usually, very unique and original. In Cadjmere it seems that Guillame was focused on the most "evident" aspect of this kind of fragrances: sweetness.
Creamy coconut, woods and sweet flowers on a ambery/vanilla base. Cadjmere has a few interesting aspects (a resinous vibe and some myrtle contrasting the general sweetness) but overall it's too conventionally gourmandic for my likes...
As usually in PG's compositions the quality is here so, if you're into gourmands, you might want to check this out.