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  1. #1
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    Default Zagorsk and Ourzazate by Comme des Garcons

    Sampling and getting to experience the differences in the five (5) scents from Comme des Garcons Incense Series has taken me some time. Partly due to the fact that my nose was very untrained when I joined Basenotes and learned about the Incense Series and how great everyone thought they were. Also, when I first smelled them all, they smelled too alike for me to make any clear decisions about them.

    I read a lot of reviews of all five (including Indieguys thread about Jaisalmer vs. Ouzarzate here: http://community.basenotes.net/showthread.php?t=173357) and ended up owning Kyoto, Jaisalmer and Avignon (in that order).

    l love all 3 for different reasons.

    Kyoto is just so sweet and cuddly root beer good, but it's a scent I really have to be in the mood for (right before bed, cold weather) and also it has a strange soapiness to it that lasts all the way into the drydown. Jaisalmer is just spice, spice spice - NOT a hot (jalapeno, chili) rather the more kitchen spices I sniff when I'm baking or cooking indian food (cardamom, cumin, allspice?). Then in the drydown perhaps a little ginger, or something that is bubbly to my nose, so much so that it tickles my nose when I sniff it close and I sneeze. Avignon (I have just owned it for a week now) is perhaps my favorite of the three as of yet: practically biblical in its use of incense, I like the fact that it doesn't veer far off this course. It is incense and there is no mistaking it for anything else. It also saddens me slightly (as a few of you mentioned) like when I play a Cocteau Twins album or watch the rain fall outside in a thunderstorm.

    Now that I have these three (3) thoroughly processed in my head (why I like them, what I like about them, etc) I've turned my focus towards the last two Ourzarzate and Zagorsk. I had the opportunity to test them side-by-side today during my lunch hour.

    Ouzarzate: Is this something hot (spicy) I smell at the top note? Like a dried poblano pepper? I got the image of curry (like Arabie, but no honey or fruit, just the spice part of Arabie). Then it, IMO, turned into a Jaisalmer Light...which was really disappointing. Perhaps it was the way the nutmeg emerged that was identical to Jaisalmer. But from the middle to the drydown there is nothing at all that differentiates it from the other Incense fragrances. Marc Buxton did this? Really?? CdgWhite puts Ouzarzate to shame.

    Zagorsk: First thing: The drydown of Zagorsk reminds me strongly of the drydown of Tom Ford for Men Extreme, the one I raved about last week on that thread. The animalic part of the drydown is JUST like Zagorsk. Perhaps TFFME is a little stronger and more dense (you almost feel like you can taste the musk in TFFME), whereas Zagorsk's is more evenly pitched. This incense note is (like Messe de Minuit by ETRO) woven together with a wax note, reminiscent of melted candles (in a church?), for a truer goth feel, but oddly Zagorsk has not much smoke to it. The melted wax note is a little 'plasticky' (hey, this is CdG remember) but it's subtle. Perhaps if you smelled it quick, you may not even smell the wax note. I instantly liked Zagorsk for the chunky drydown and felt myself drawn towards it over the Ourzarzate and can easily imagine adding this to my Incense Series this fall/winter.

    Your thoughts/comments?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Zagorsk and Ourzazate by Comme des Garcons

    Mike,

    I own 3 from that series. I like Jaisalmer the best, Kyoto second, And Zagorsk third. I look forward to wearing Zagorsk as the weather gets cooler.

    Jaisalmer stays with me all day and I love the wiffs I get from it during the day; just very sublime but rich.

    Kyoto leaves me cold, but I get alot of compliments on it.

    Zagorsk - I love the way it smells, but my biggest issue is finding a time to wear it.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Zagorsk and Ourzazate by Comme des Garcons

    Nice reviews Mike. I own Avignon and have samples of Kyoto and Zargorsk (which I'm wearing as I type this). Avignon is my favourite of the bunch although I have yet to try Ourzarzate. I find Zagorsk to be the most thought evoking with the ability to conjure up strong mental imagery. Every time I wear it I feel as though I should be walking down some snowy path in the heartland of Russia. I also find it to have a baked yam mixed with detergent note which I find a bit off putting.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Zagorsk and Ourzazate by Comme des Garcons

    Re: Zagorsk
    I really am mesmerized with how the warm waxy element constantly weaves itself through the cold, camphorous and austere woods. It's a subtle dynamism I've yet to encounter in any other frag. I think the cooler the environment it's worn in, the less the waxiness emanates. I've been wearing it for three days in a row and it definitely "bloomed" more today as the weather warmed (from 50s to upper 70s) and became more humid. I think the well put baked yam observation by IKL is akin to that of Halloween and jackolanterns with their burning wax and charred cellulose-turning-sweet qualities.
    I also find it to be mentally stimulating too. If there were ever a great scent for studying, this would be it. I find that focus strengthening quality in other birch-heavy scents as well.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Zagorsk and Ourzazate by Comme des Garcons

    Quote Originally Posted by IKL View Post
    I also find it to have a baked yam mixed with detergent note which I find a bit off putting.
    Agree. But the detergent part is very subtle to me...not quite as soapy as Kyoto is, and much easier to digest.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Zagorsk and Ourzazate by Comme des Garcons

    I found Zagorsk to be a truly nostalgic, thought provoking scent. I agree with the others; I'm not sure when I would ever wear it, except on a hike returning to base in Northern New Mexico, as the sun fades into the horizon and the nighttime sounds of the winter forest comes alive mixed with the crackling sound of wood in the campfire.

    TNMA
    "Why not seize the pleasure at once?"
    -- Jane Austen (Sun, and Mercury in Sagittarius)

  7. #7

    Default Re: Zagorsk and Ourzazate by Comme des Garcons

    I have the complete series minus Jaisalmer, my nose just can't stand it, it makes me feel queasy. Might be the cardamom, it seems to be a difficult spice for me.

    Kyoto is the easiest to wear, it's elegant, modern and urban.

    Avignon is the most powerful one, it smells exactly like St.Mary's in Kraków, Poland!

    Zagorsk is very dear to me because it smells exactly like an old wooden Russian Orthodox church in the middle of birches, pines and loads of snow.

    Ouarzazate reminds me of a Kabyl restaurant I visited in Paris: it's quite "foody" and its spices are rich, warm and gently burning.
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  8. #8

    Default Re: Zagorsk and Ourzazate by Comme des Garcons

    Zagorsk is so haunting and beautiful in its melancholic way. It does have a starchy vegetal note which can make it seemingly difficult to wear-- but it's just so evocative with its effect. My favorite of the series.

    Ouarzazate is good, but it just doesn't quite seem 100% "right" in my opinion. For me, it's a potentially great fragrance that somehow misses the mark. I swear, I think sometimes it almost smells like spaghetti sauce. It's like a rusted out Kyoto.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Zagorsk and Ourzazate by Comme des Garcons

    First of all, great reviews, Mike. I've tested the entire series and plan to buy Jaisalmer soon. I really like Avignon as well, but I think CdG got the Catholic church thing a bit too right. It smells EXACTLY like a church after mass, even to the dusty old pews. I find it an amazing achievement, but the effect is has on my lapsed Catholic friends is just too much - they look like they've been tasered. Kyoto is probably my third favorite, then Zagorsk, which is a bit too chilly for me,although I do like it. My least favorite is Ouzarzate. If I hadn't smelled the other four, I might like it better, but it just seems rather weak and neutral to me. I'd say you've already made the best choices in the series with your first three purchases.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Zagorsk and Ourzazate by Comme des Garcons

    Thanks!

    I finally did get around to scoring a bottle of Zagorsk last month (a used bottle here on Basenotes) and I initially thought it would be better to wait until cooler weather to wear it, but I pulled it out this morning after I applied my SOTD, Hinoki: Scent One - so I decided to wear just a couple of sprays of Zagorsk also.

    Incredible!!

    Any of you guys out there that have both, give this layering combo a try. The soft, dusty underpinnings of Zagorsk solidified the sharp, angular turpentine and camphor notes of SOH very well. Both scents really complimented each other.

    I think I fell in love with Zagorsk all over again today.
    Last edited by mikeperez23; 19th June 2008 at 10:15 PM.
    "One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple"

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  11. #11

    Default Re: Zagorsk and Ourzazate by Comme des Garcons

    Zagorsk is the one that I find to be the most mystical. Sort of like tantric sex. It's dirty and it's heavenly.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 20th June 2008 at 12:03 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Zagorsk and Ourzazate by Comme des Garcons

    Wow, that combo picked my curiosity. I don't do much layering, but just might give this one a try.

    And it always warms my heart when someone finds Zagorsk,
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  13. #13

    Default Re: Zagorsk and Ourzazate by Comme des Garcons

    Zagorsk is one of the best ever. I always wait for the first night of heavy snowfall in winter to wear it. I like the whole Russian theme behind it. Oddly enough I let two actual Russian girls smell it and they hated it.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Zagorsk and Ourzazate by Comme des Garcons

    Quote Originally Posted by Indie_Guy View Post
    Zagorsk is one of the best ever. I always wait for the first night of heavy snowfall in winter to wear it. I like the whole Russian theme behind it. Oddly enough I let two actual Russian girls smell it and they hated it.
    Perhaps the Russian Orthodox church smells better from a distance, if you know what I mean
    I must make a plea for Ourzazate here, I think it's easily overlooked or dismissed due to its comparative subtlety, but to me it is the most wearable and comfortable of the line (I get a synthetic vibe from Kyoto that destroys the illusion for me), while containing many beautiful details revealed only at second sight.
    My Wardrobe
    II est de forts parfums pour qui toute matière/Est poreuse. On dirait qu'ils pénètrent le verre.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Zagorsk and Ourzazate by Comme des Garcons

    Quote Originally Posted by the_good_life View Post
    I must make a plea for Ourzazate here, I think it's easily overlooked or dismissed due to its comparative subtlety, but to me it is the most wearable and comfortable of the line.
    I like Ouarzazate a lot, and find it very cosy and comfortable. It's like a warm spicy meal enjoyed in front of a fireplace or a campfire.
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Zagorsk and Ourzazate by Comme des Garcons

    Quote Originally Posted by the_good_life View Post
    I must make a plea for Ourzazate here, I think it's easily overlooked or dismissed due to its comparative subtlety, but to me it is the most wearable and comfortable of the line (I get a synthetic vibe from Kyoto that destroys the illusion for me), while containing many beautiful details revealed only at second sight.
    I'm willing to try it a second time, to see if I like it.

    I think Indie hit the nail on the head, when he referenced the 'spaghetti sauce' accord in it. If I can get past that smell I think I'd be able to enjoy it.
    "One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple"

    -- Jack Kerouac

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