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  1. #1

    Default Comme des Garcons Luxe: Champaca - wow!

    The Comme des Garcons Luxe series is one of those things I was hoping to be indifferent to. Insanely overpriced, especially when added up dollar to milliliter, not terribly original concepts for CdG, and pretentious marketing ( Luxe? Oh, so your theme this time is expensive? ) But, it's all about the scent, and both of these are divine.

    Patchouli has been coming up not infrequently over on the mens board, and for good reason - it captured my attention immediately with a peppery-smoky opening, and kept it going through a delicious patchouli and immortelle drydown. It's everything I like about Sables but more polished and less linear, and delivers the patchouli without the skank.

    Yes, it's wonderful, but what really caught my attention was Champaca. Sorry folks, my heart belongs to florals, and I just have a magnetic attraction to whatever it is that makes Champaca what it is.

    I have never smelled the champaca flower in person ( the closest being champaca absolute, a delicious smell in itself, quite unlike this ), so I can't comment on its accuracy. The revelation Champaca has brought to the table is this: finally, someone has captured a true narcissus note! I have never before smelled such a vividly natural rendition of a flower ( and that includes some all-time greats in the soliflore category ).

    I'm taken back to a warm, sunny spell in a March years ago in western Scotland, when I was a child. It seemed every form of narcissus had thought to bloom, and in the woods and gardens there was a golden explosion of daffodils, jonquils, and every other kind of narcissus, many with a beautiful, limpid scent. I loved it then, I love it now, and I love that Champaca has given me a way to wear it!

    The other champaca soliflores I've smelled have been nothing like this. The narcissus soliflores I've smelled haven't either. I'm afraid I'm no help with notes, as all I smell are lush wafts of narcissus, but it doesn't smell simple, either. It may be worth noting that it is very heady, however, so those uncomfortable with big florals may flee.

    I am so close to pulling the trigger on this one, despite the painful price.

    Posted over here to avoid the "Yes, but can a guy wear it?" debate. In short - if you like to smell like narcissus, you'll love wearing it.
    Last edited by Sugandaraja; 26th March 2010 at 01:59 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Comme des Garcons Luxe: Champaca - wow!

    I'm glad you like it Galamb! I've always seen Champaca as a meaty tuberose and jasmine floral. This thing is huge though! It has the same indolic qualities of Carnal Flower, however Chamapaca is way more indolic and can actually at times smell like a meat locker. Champaca also smells quite similiar to its own Guerilla 1. I used to love Guerilla 1 until I read that it smells like raw meat due to the fleshiness of the indoles. I rarely wear it now, but still like it a lot. Please sample Guerilla 1, you might like it enough to purchase it instead of Champaca because it's waaaay cheaper.
    Your description of Chamapaca is making me want to sample it again, even though I've tried about a dozen lol!
    EDIT: Also try to sample Guerilla 2 if you can. Guerilla 1 is more metallic and fleshy, and Guerilla 2 tones down the metalic aspect of Guerilla 1 yet is more floral.
    Last edited by scent; 25th March 2010 at 11:27 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Comme des Garcons Luxe: Champaca - wow!

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    ...I'm taken back to a warm, sunny spell in a March years ago western Scotland, when I was a child. It seemed every form of narcissus had thought to bloom, and in the woods and gardens there was a golden explosion of daffodils, jonquils, and every other kind of narcissus, many with a beautiful, limpid scent. I loved it then, I love it now, and I love that Champaca has given me a way to wear it!

    The other champaca soliflores I've smelled have been nothing like this. The narcissus soliflores I've smelled haven't either. I'm afraid I'm no help with notes, as all I smell are lush wafts of narcissus, but it doesn't smell simple, either. It may be worth noting that it is very heady, however, so those uncomfortable with big florals may flee.

    I am so close to pulling the trigger on this one, despite the painful price.

    Posted over here to avoid the "Yes, but can a guy wear it?" debate. In short - if you like to smell like narcissus, you'll love wearing it.
    Well, GB, you've certainly convinced me to try it! Thanks! :-)

    EDIT: Just looked at it in the directory. How can such a beautiful-sounding fragrance come in such a ghastly-looking bottle?!
    Last edited by Haunani; 26th March 2010 at 01:28 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Comme des Garcons Luxe: Champaca - wow!

    Scent - interestingly, I don't smell any dirt here. It strikes me as on the cleaner end of the white floral spectrum, but I'll definitely have to give it a side-by-side wearing with Guerrilla ( which sounds my style too, given the reviews ).

    Huanani - I think you might like this one. It's definitely a more limpid, natural type of floral along the lines of Carnal Flower, Amoureuse, and En Passant, though unlike in those three, I don't smell a green note in it.

    The bottle is terrible, isn't it? It looks like it was designed with stability during earthquakes in mind. Fortunately one can get a somewhat more traditional - if not necessarily prettier - bottle for the same price.
    Last edited by Sugandaraja; 26th March 2010 at 02:14 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Comme des Garcons Luxe: Champaca - wow!

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    Huanani - I think you might like this one. It's definitely a more limpid, natural type of floral along the lines of Carnal Flower, Amoureuse, and En Passant, though unlike in those three, I don't smell a green note in it.
    Sounds like my kind of floral, then!

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    The bottle is terrible, isn't it? It looks like it was designed with stability during earthquakes in mind...
    You are so funny! :-)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Comme des Garcons Luxe: Champaca - wow!

    I agree with Scent - try Guerilla 1, it's got that 'meaty' champaca note in it also.

    I personally do NOT like the smell of narcissus. It kind of turns my stomach. Blech.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Comme des Garcons Luxe: Champaca - wow!

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeperez23 View Post
    I personally do NOT like the smell of narcissus. It kind of turns my stomach. Blech.
    I remember reading in a book on essential oils that narcissus can cause headaches and induce vomiting at close range, so it may not just be a matter of taste, but something physiological they're actually doing to you.
    Last edited by Sugandaraja; 26th March 2010 at 03:21 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Comme des Garcons Luxe: Champaca - wow!

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    I remember reading in a book on essential oils that narcissus can cause headaches and induce vomiting at close range, so it may not just be a matter of taste, but something physiological they're actually doing to you.
    My boss once bought these immense, very modern looking, essential oil diffuser rods for our office. He stuck one in his office and one at the front desk and in a few hours the smell filled up the entire office. I remember the smell really annoying me and I couldn't concentrate...it was so pervasive. When I researched the scent of the oil in the diffuser, I found the bottle marked, 'Paper Whites'. Which, is the common name for narcissus flowers.

    This was all the confirmation that I needed, to realize I don't like that particular note.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Comme des Garcons Luxe: Champaca - wow!

    Tried Guerrilla 1 and Champaca side by side today, and while I do smell a similar floral note, there are some very large differences.

    Guerrilla 1 is much more experimental in tone than Luxe Champaca. Yes, there's that lush floral champaca/narcissus note, but it's marred by a sharp, uncomfortably plastic-like note. I like dirty florals, but I like my dirt "natural", and rather than animal or vegetable decay, Guerrilla 1 smells like an alleyway full of trash, more broken appliances than banana peels.

    There is something to be said for the beautiful and the ugly in close proximity, but after a few hours the "beauty" part disappears, the florals being displaced by a woody, vetiver-type aromachemical ( it's very unnatural smelling, whatever it is ), with the trash note remaining alert and "present" too.

    It's certainly very Comme des Garcons, but it's not me.

    Champaca's second try round confirmed that this one will be a must-have in some form ( whether decant or full bottle ). Again, that lush, heavenly narcissus note for a few hours, but this time, I notice a subtle transition in the drydown. A slight turn away from floral freshness towards the plush, creamy side, though well clear of anything skanky. Many have said tuberose, but my overall impression of this nuance was the piquancy of gardenia with the sweetness of jasmine, all three being closely related notes. I'm hardly a human spectrometer, so I'm more trying describe what I smell than what's necessarily in the fragrance, which is tricky given how seamless it is.

    Using a different analogy, it's as though Champaca starts off as a cool, dewy, living flower and slowly transforms into something warm, plush, and velvety.

    If any champaca fans are reading this thread, if I love Luxe: Champaca, but find Tom Ford's Champaca Absolute a disappointing fruity-floral, what will I likely think of Ormonde Jayne's Champaca?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Comme des Garcons Luxe: Champaca - wow!

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    Tried Guerrilla 1 and Champaca side by side today, and while I do smell a similar floral note, there are some very large differences.

    Guerrilla 1 is much more experimental in tone than Luxe Champaca. Yes, there's that lush floral champaca/narcissus note, but it's marred by a sharp, uncomfortably plastic-like note. I like dirty florals, but I like my dirt "natural", and rather than animal or vegetable decay, Guerrilla 1 smells like an alleyway full of trash, more broken appliances than banana peels.

    There is something to be said for the beautiful and the ugly in close proximity, but after a few hours the "beauty" part disappears, the florals being displaced by a woody, vetiver-type aromachemical ( it's very unnatural smelling, whatever it is ), with the trash note remaining alert and "present" too.

    It's certainly very Comme des Garcons, but it's not me.

    Champaca's second try round confirmed that this one will be a must-have in some form ( whether decant or full bottle ). Again, that lush, heavenly narcissus note for a few hours, but this time, I notice a subtle transition in the drydown. A slight turn away from floral freshness towards the plush, creamy side, though well clear of anything skanky. Many have said tuberose, but my overall impression of this nuance was the piquancy of gardenia with the sweetness of jasmine, all three being closely related notes. I'm hardly a human spectrometer, so I'm more trying describe what I smell than what's necessarily in the fragrance, which is tricky given how seamless it is.

    Using a different analogy, it's as though Champaca starts off as a cool, dewy, living flower and slowly transforms into something warm, plush, and velvety.

    If any champaca fans are reading this thread, if I love Luxe: Champaca, but find Tom Ford's Champaca Absolute a disappointing fruity-floral, what will I likely think of Ormonde Jayne's Champaca?
    So glad you tried them both Galamb. I agree with you that Guerilla 1 is much more of a disturbing floral full of decay and troubling objections. I too, see the beauty in all its ugliness. When the moment is right to wear it, it couldn't be more right. But when it's wrong, it haunts you with its ugliness.

    I wore Velvet Gardenia as my SOTD yesterday and I was reminded of your thread about Champaca. It had a very beautiful, raw, meaty "huge" floral accord that Champaca has. From what I remember, Champaca never crossed the line into "creamy"; it always seemed, as you described, plush and dewy. Oddly enough, Velvet Gardenia has too much gardenia for me, where maybe Champaca will have the perfect balance of the holy trinity: tuberose, jasmine and gardenia lol!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Comme des Garcons Luxe: Champaca - wow!

    Velvet Gardenia is something I respect but find way too cheesy. There's a certain cheesy-mushroomy note that makes gardenia gardenia, but as much as I miss it when it's not there, when it's really loud, it's kind of scary.

    This is one of the few cases in florals where I take the gentler version, and stick with Lauder's Politically Correct Tuberose Gardenia.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Comme des Garcons Luxe: Champaca - wow!

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    Champaca's second try round confirmed that this one will be a must-have in some form ( whether decant or full bottle ). Again, that lush, heavenly narcissus note for a few hours, but this time, I notice a subtle transition in the drydown. A slight turn away from floral freshness towards the plush, creamy side, though well clear of anything skanky. Many have said tuberose, but my overall impression of this nuance was the piquancy of gardenia with the sweetness of jasmine, all three being closely related notes. I'm hardly a human spectrometer, so I'm more trying describe what I smell than what's necessarily in the fragrance, which is tricky given how seamless it is.

    Using a different analogy, it's as though Champaca starts off as a cool, dewy, living flower and slowly transforms into something warm, plush, and velvety.

    If any champaca fans are reading this thread, if I love Luxe: Champaca, but find Tom Ford's Champaca Absolute a disappointing fruity-floral, what will I likely think of Ormonde Jayne's Champaca?
    Galamb- on your review and wonderful words - I sort out CdG Champaca and sampled three times.

    Firstly, I've got to say ,the pyramid bottle is not so hideous in real life- it's quite arty actually.

    The scent is an enigma of a flower to me. The first time i sprayed it to my wrist, I got sweaty narcissus . The sweaty part went away quickly . Maybe it's better to say ......" it opened up spicy" ! It's didn't exactly wow me but I could tell the ingredients were quality. Then something happened as the fragrance progressed and I could not forget Champaca. I tried another two times and it's definitely a beautiful narcissus ( as you said Galamb ) /champaca almost soliflore. It's long lasting too.
    C D G Champaca is like that one jonquil note in Vol de Nuit ,to me - amplified . It's not very 'heady' on me but it pulses along nicely even with one or two sprays.

    I also acquired a sample of it as I am trying to make up my mind whether I should buy the bottle. It's the fact that it's only 45 mls of EDP . Saying that, I find it much longer lasting that my new Vol de Nuit extrait !

    Also re tried Velvet Gardenia which is still available in Neiman Marcus in LA- still dislike it. The SA there said it's the one most people say they 'thought' they would like , but find out they don't.
    Last edited by Mimi Gardenia; 8th April 2010 at 05:35 AM.
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/370...o-Profumo-Onda
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Comme des Garcons Luxe: Champaca - wow!

    Glad you had the opportunity to try this one!

    I'm still on the fence between getting a bottle and not, too. It's so little, for so much. There are far cheaper fragrances I like as much, but none that smell QUITE like Champaca, either. I know there is a decanter selling Champaca for fairly good price per ml versus what TPC is, PM me if you'd like me to send a link ( I've been told not to link directly on the forums ).

    Honestly, San Francisco itself is not helping this decision with its abundance of jasmine vines, which are in turn making me lust for a full bottle of Gandhara, in itself not cheap per ml, albeit far, far more reasonable than Champaca.

    So much fragrance to love out there!

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    Default Re: Comme des Garcons Luxe: Champaca - wow!

    Quote Originally Posted by scent View Post
    So glad you tried them both Galamb. I agree with you that Guerilla 1 is much more of a disturbing floral full of decay and troubling objections. I too, see the beauty in all its ugliness. When the moment is right to wear it, it couldn't be more right. But when it's wrong, it haunts you with its ugliness.
    Very well said, scent. I wear G1 only a few times a year. Always manages to make me feel like I've walked out of the house, sporting a mohawk and a freshly inked tattoo on my arms. I like that feeling, but there are some times where it's entirely inappropriate.

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    Default Re: Comme des Garcons Luxe: Champaca - wow!

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    Glad you had the opportunity to try this one!

    I'm still on the fence between getting a bottle and not, too. It's so little, for so much. There are far cheaper fragrances I like as much, but none that smell QUITE like Champaca, either. I know there is a decanter selling Champaca for fairly good price per ml versus what TPC is, PM me if you'd like me to send a link ( I've been told not to link directly on the forums ).

    Honestly, San Francisco itself is not helping this decision with its abundance of jasmine vines, which are in turn making me lust for a full bottle of Gandhara, in itself not cheap per ml, albeit far, far more reasonable than Champaca.

    So much fragrance to love out there!
    Sounds like you and I are on the fence re. Champaca, Galamb. It is good stuff though. I think now I should have got a bottle of Champaca in stead of two Vol de Nuits . It's that good. The SAs at Barney's said they didn't think Champaca was sexy or worth the price ...but each to their own ,you know .

    You're right - SO much to love !

    ( NB . Galamb -off topic- I tried Jasmal by Creed - that's a good jasmine too )
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/370...o-Profumo-Onda
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Comme des Garcons Luxe: Champaca - wow!

    I suppose I partially agree with the SA in that I don't find Champaca "sexy" either. I find it a springlike, virginal thing. Of course, I find the same thing with Carnal Flower, whose very name is trying to tell me otherwise!

    When I think of "sexy" tuberose, I'm more likely to reach for Fracas, Poison, Tubereuse Criminelle, or even Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia.

    I'll have to stop by the Creed counter before I leave town and give Jasmal a sniff!
    Last edited by Sugandaraja; 9th April 2010 at 06:16 AM.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Comme des Garcons Luxe: Champaca - wow!

    Quite true Galamb- sexy is Fracas etc . Champaca is more personal to me , more introverted ,' to the inner being' and all that jazz. Not sexy but so compelling.
    To buy or not to buy,that is the question ............
    Last edited by Mimi Gardenia; 10th April 2010 at 12:38 AM.
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