Homme is the first and only fragrance by Costume National that I've tried, and it seems to be the house's most popular men's fragrance, celebrated as an agreeable spicy/sweet mix, and that it certainly is. It's unoffensive, neither overwhelmingly sweet nor spicy, though certainly sweeter than spicier overall.
The clove/cinnamon mix somehow gives this a fig-like sweetness to me. I'm amazed that fig is not in the note breakdown since that's the main experience I'm having with this, the main element that's making it sweeter than spicier.
Performance is moderate at best, and even the retail price ($80 for 50ml on Luckyscent) is manageable if you like the stuff enough, though it certainly seems to be floating around the secondary market as well.
I'm certainly pleased by it but not blown away. Nonetheless I could see how it could be a cold weather mainstay of many men's fragrance rotations.
7 out of 10
Bergamot, citrus, cloves, a heavy cashmeran/Iso E accord with their signature synthetic, cozy and chic "woodiness", velvety and contemporary. On the base, something similar to tobacco, humid, juicy and strong but restrained and clean, well interplayed with fruity notes (something like apricot or peach). Ginger, violet, cedar and sandalwood back again like in some other Costume National scents. Compact and contemporary, with a "pencil sharpener" feel together with a Lutensian fruity-floral-syrupiness, a medicinal-spicy breeze and a smoky-earthy base. It progressively focuses on an accord of sandalwood, clean and pleasant as well as a bit generic and dull, and cloves, which after a while get a bit cloying, but luckily they'll eventually vanish leaving the stage to the sandalwood accord. To be honest it "smells" Costume National in terms of simplicity and "modernity", but it's incomparably more... common, and a bit more uninspired than the other scents composed by Bruyère, which were true avantgarde greatness. This one is more just "ok", more dull but still decent.
Ggenre: Woody Oriental
“Familiar” and “conventional“ are not words that leap to mind when someone mentions Costume National, but here they are. Costume National Homme opens on a spicy-woody accord that been a masculine convention ever since Déclaration hit the shelves in 1998. In this case, the usually brilliant, but distracted (or perhaps underfunded,) Dominique Ropion slaps it on top of an enormous clean musk accord familiar from his recent Geranium pour Monsieur for Frédéric Malle.
The abominable white musk snowman was clever fun in the astringent minty-herbaceous context of Geranium pour Monsieur, but in these surroundings it smells like someone sneezed while pouring in the base notes. It also smells a lot like laundry detergent spiked with cardamom – which is to say, cheap. Costume National Homme may have looked like a good idea on paper, but the result is neither stimulating nor attractive, and I rate it as a weak entry by a noteworthy perfumer.
Xmas in a bottle
Lovely spicy oriental goodness and vanilla/tobqcco/clove accords on dry down. Smells like Xmas in Milan. Which for me is a good thing.
Pros: Lovely, spicy, warm and heaps of longevity
Cons: Very strong, plenty of sillage, tad ostentatious for some perhaps"
The forerunner of Jubilation XXV
OVERALL RATING: * * * *
Jubilation XXV is my favorite niche fragrance. Until I tried CoSTUME NATIONAL, I was under the illusion that it was totally unique--as if it had sprung fully formed from the nose of Bertrand Duchaufour. I see now that Jubilation XXV had a forerunner in CoSTUME NATIONAL by Dominique Ropion, released in 2009.
CN opens with a nearly identical combination of supersaturated jam and wood. I almost did a double take when it first went on. CN may be slightly louder, perhaps a bit less "refined" than Jubilation, but the differences are so subtle as to be insignificant. I also detect similarities with another Ropion fragrance, Portrait of a Lady--Ropion appears to have a signature "base" in the same manner as Annick Menardo.
Over time, differences do begin to appear. Jubilation remains a sweet incense and jam scent on my skin. CoSTUME NATIONAL,, on the other hand, evolves into one of the most natural smelling wood scents I've yet experienced. It is a thing of beauty. My friend EricRico has described it as a perfect facsimile of his father's woodworking shop. Having spent some time in woodshops myself, I agree!
This is a remarkable, underrated fragrance, imo. At 1/5 the price of Jubilation, you get much of the same quality. Highly recommended.