This is probably not the most striking release by Comme Des Garcons but it's still a pretty honest composition. Nice, no more no less. Sits somewhere between Gucci Rush and Let Me Play The Lion but it is much less sharper than the former and more avant-garde/edgy than the latter. Not revolutionary as other fragrances in the house' huge range yet unquestionably a CDG. If you want, this is the quintessential CDG. Synthetic cedarwood galore and frankincense, maybe copal or epoxy paint (I guess is what someone calls it metallic)...All this is exactly to CDG what the "guerlinade" is to Guerlain. In this context H&M is part of the base of MANY Commes. From Avignon to Artek via Sequoia and even Wonderwood. A dry as a bone fragrance.
One thing is for sure, when it comes to synthetic cedarwood, there's nothing like Comme Des Garcons.
Comme des Garcons H&M
Comme des Garcons have come to be known for some of the better examples of incense scents out there. Avignon, Kyoto, and Hinoki are all examples of some of the better regarded of the line. In this 2008 limited release for the clothing store H&M Shyamala Maisondieu has added another star to the incense crown of Comme de Garcons. H&M would be a perfect gateway incense for someone who is a little nervous about smelling like a church at high mass. At the top there is cedar but it is a restrained cedar the kind of airy cedar you would get as if you were sawing a cedar board. The real core of this scent then comes in as the incense makes itself known in short order. The smell of this incense brings to mind the smell of the box of incense cones I had as a teenager. It is incense but in a concentrated form which also had a slight metallic smell to it. Don't get me wrong this is full throttle incense, the metallic note is light and not nearly as prominent as in Bond No. 9 Silver Factory. The scent transitions to full resinous pine base to go with the incense and this brings this home beautifully. Comme des Garcons H&M, if it had a wider distribution, has all the qualities to make it a big success. It has a niche feel without getting too out there. It keeps an admirable restraint on all of its development and it is a fairly linear scent without offering up any jolting surprises. H&M shows off its Comme des Garcons pedigree extremely well.
A healthy dose of fizzy cedar is the first note you'll detect when applying H&M.LOTS of cedar! Not as brutal as the ‘axed wood plank’ (or pencil shavings) of Gucci Pour Homme, but softened and diffusive (as if electrically charged by those crazy odd numbered aldehydes Turin speaks about - that smell like a snuffed out candle, mixed with cedar). It’s quite an unmistakable accord and without sounding too vague, it smells very Comme des Garcons-ish. Whatever that means! No living tree actually smells like this - in the ground or chopped up. It’s a synthetic replication of wood. Virtual wood, if you will.
It’s after a short while, that I noticed the incense – sharp, spicy, and oddly metallic. Have you ever sniffed real stainless steel cutlery, perhaps locked away in a cedar chest – right before you polish it with stainless steel cleaner? That smell. The non-smoky metallic incense gives the cedar notes a slight ‘gothic’ lift, but maybe this is just my olfactory association run free?
Comme des Garcons does incense accords extremely well (Scent One: Hinoki by CdG x Monocle is one of my favorite scents of 2008 and Avignon and Kyoto (Series 3: Incense) are just classics). The incense in H&M is the best part of the fragrance. I tend to avoid metallic incense scents (Nu by YSL actually hurts my nose when I smell it) – but this incense is not sharp and has a slight tanginess that blossoms into a sweet/spicy combination atop a weird synthetic accord (thinning agent?) that CdG have utilized before in Soda and Skai (Series 6: Synthetic) . As the fragrance fades away (4-5 hours later) I smelled a tiny bit of dirt covered vetiver.
I can’t help comparing H&M to a scent that features cedar / incense and synthetics (a little more effectively): the discontinued Rush for Men by Gucci. The similarity is unmistakable.
No new ground was broken with H&M. The scent is simple and I’m very surprised it’s not more edgy. The H&M department store customers (and CdG fans) will most likely attribute just enough ‘irony’ and ‘weirdness’ to H&M to give it an instant cool factor – but me personally I find it’s off-the-cuff strangeness rather accessible. The plain, clear glass bottle (the same exact bottle used in the Energy Series [Lime, Grapefruit and Lemon] by CdG) is much less stylish than the adorable, white die-cut ‘swiss cheese’ box it comes in. For the $35 price tag, it’s also remarkably affordable for a limited edition CdG scent.
First off I would like to say, I could never locate individual notes in any fragrance. I have a good nose, as in, I can smell cigarette smoke / a person who smoked recently from a mile away, etc., but I can never "break down" the notes in a perfume.
To me this smells like Bvlgari Omnia. You know, like in the 80s (I am dating myself, I know), you had "If you like Giorgio, you will love ***" type of body sprays? It's a "If you love Bvlgari Omnia, you will find H&M pleasant" type of smell. Not as high quality, but good nonetheless.
I am glad I bought it, but after sniffing it (yes, I bought it unsniffed -- the whole Comme des Garcons merchandise in Hong Kong was gone in 10 minutes after the store opening), I no longer have regrets about not buying two.
Just what you'd expect from Comme des Garcons, really, but without the overt complexity.
The lively, musty top notes are gone in an instant and you're left with a pretty straightforward sour, dry, synthetic wood. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. There's a warmth and a vague spiciness but I just can't locate any particular notes.
A stale slice of mahogany Christmas cake, anyone?