Staring out the window at Stately Somerville Manor waiting for the snow to arrive.
I thought I'd spice myself up.
Comme des Garcons X Monocle Scent Two: Laurel
Comme des Garcons and their first co-promotion with the lifestyle magazine Monocle was 2008’s Scent One: Hinoki. Hinoki was created by Antoine Maisondieu and was my favorite new fragrance of 2008. There was an over-the top quality to many of the notes in Hinoki and they all came together near-perfectly for me.
Late in 2009 the same team have come together for Scent Two: Laurel and we are whisked from the fresh cedar milieu of Japan to the Bekaa Valley of Lebanaon as inspiration. In the press materials for Laurel, M. Maisondieu states he was trying to re-create a scent that would evoke the traditional Lebanese soap Alep, which is an olive-oil based soap containing crushed laurel in it. I doubt many of us are familiar with that soap. Laurel will have a familiarity to many because Laurel is another name for bay leaf. Bay leaf is that spice added to many stew pots or soups to add a little extra zing. It also was the whole leaf, when you found it on your soup spoon, that your mother told you not to eat because it would make you sick.
The choice of bay leaf to create the central core of a fragrance is a good one as it is a strong note capable of standing up to the strongest of notes and that’s what M. Maisondieu chooses to pair with the bay leaf. The top of Laurel can come off very harsh as the bay leaf mixed with pepper is what dominates the opening minutes of Laurel on my skin. Hinoki also had the same almost too-much beginning but where Hinoki was the cool of camphor to start, Laurel works the heat of spice and pepper. As a colognoisseur who likes spices; I love this as this feels like the smell of opening a jar of bay leaf and pepper before tossing them in my soup and smelling the aromatic mix of the spices as they are added to my recipe. This is a strong challenging note and for those of you who test on paper first it comes off really strong there. On my skin it mellowed enough to make it easily wearable for me. As the pepper pulls back a raw green cedar note paired with a slightly camphor-like patchouli appear. This is almost a nod back to Hinoki but really the cedar and patchouli are present in Laurel to present a contrasting cool to the spiciness of the bay leaf. The base works with notes that complement the bay leaf, as a smoky incense and an edgy medicinal amber appear and accentuate the aromatic quality of bay leaf to bring this to a rousing conclusion.
Laurel has average longevity and slightly above average sillage on me.
Laurel is a strong challenging fragrance in the tradition of Diptyque’s L’Autre or Le Labo’s Patchouli 24. It doesn’t necessarily smell like either of those fragrances but where it is similar is in it’s no-nonsense approach to exploring the fragrant possibilities of a difficult and challenging note and converting that into a fragrance that transforms and explores the possibilities of that note. M. Maisondieu has taken bayleaf/laurel and worked that kind of magic by taking bay leaf from my soup pot to something I can’t wait to wear over and over. Bring on Scent Three, please.
Have a Wicked Wednesday everyone.