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Thread: Red vs. Red

  1. #1
    odysseusm's Avatar
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    Default Red vs. Red

    In light of Comme des Garçon’s new release, Wonderwood, I thought it would be worthwhile to revisit two of their previous woody scents. These are both from the 2001 series "Red", which is a tribute to various red-themed notes. In addition to the ones below, there are Carnation, Rose and Harissa (spice).

    Palisander
    Palisander wood, red cedar, red chili peppers, saffron, myrrh
    This is a really lovely wood scent -- deep, rich, very slightly sweet. At times there is an almost leathery quality at work, suggesting old burnished leather and wood chairs in a club. At other times, there is a moist, earthy forest floor character to be found. The spices add an intriguing accent, suggesting something almost like cinnamon. The myrrh adds a languid, heady note. This is not a dry scent, but it is so elegant and adept that it does not suggest anything heavy or cloying. As you can see, I like this very much.

    Sequoia
    Red rum, kara-karounde, agarwood, mahogany, redwood, (and perhaps opoponax).
    It took me a while to figure this scent out. Learning about oud (agarwood) was the key to understanding this scent. Originally, I just thought it had a somewhat brash boozy note. Now I understand that oud is contributing its usual bright, medicinal, tangy-sour yet oddly appealing presence. My slight reservation with this scent is that the oud (predictably) dominates. It is very difficult for me to detect the other woody notes. Only after a few hours does the oud settle enough so that I can find the other notes. The oud never disappears, but it works with the wood notes to create a truly excellent wood dry-down.

    I think CdG does wood well. Not even counting the woody Incense line, or the Hinoki and now the Wonderwood releases, there is much to appreciate here.

    Any other comments? Does anyone else find that oud dominates in Sequoia?
    Cheers, ody
    odysseusm

    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas

  2. #2

    Default Re: Red vs. Red

    OdyM, how does the agarwood play out in the Sequoia? Does it make the scent more "oriental" in some way?
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  3. #3
    odysseusm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Red vs. Red

    Quote Originally Posted by Primrose View Post
    OdyM, how does the agarwood play out in the Sequoia? Does it make the scent more "oriental" in some way?
    "Oriental" to my mind suggests patchouli, spices, some sweetness, often vanilla... an exotic character.
    Here, I find that the agarwood brightens what might otherwise be dark wood tones. To me, agarwood functions something like violet leaves -- providing a piercing, bright, silvery sort of note. At least the agarwood/oud I've smelled... I know that there are many kinds, some of which have a darker, earthier quality.
    So no, I don't find Sequoia to be oriental in style at all. The spices are more prominent in Palisander, and even there they are restrained but interesting accent rather than a main feature.
    Hope this answers your question.
    odysseusm

    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas

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    Default Re: Red vs. Red

    I owned both of these (it was a Valentine's Day gift to myself some years back...the whole Red Series, in fact).

    I traded Palisander. Not because I didn't like it, in fact I found it to be the most vivid and enjoyable interpretation of rosewood (this side of Egoiste) I've ever smelled. But, I never wore it. The image I saw, in my mind, when I sprayed Palisander on was wood furniture (same thing happens when I spray on Tam Dao by Diptyque). I think it was bluesoul that mentioned it smelled like the inside of a handmade guitar and that clicked with me. But I think it bored me, in how it wore throughout the day on me...and that's why I never reached for it in my regular rotation.

    I still own Sequoia. I have a love/hate relationship with it. Bought it - loved it. Wore it for about a week and by the end of the week, the medicinal element in it really got on my nerves. I think I remember saying it smelled like Vicks Vapo-Rub and it reminded me of another fruity, woody oriental that smelled mentholated too (Pomegranate Noir by Jo Malone). But...when Ray my husband wears it, it smells FANTASTIC! Really nice. He is always getting complimented when he wears it too. He'll say, 'Hey Mike! What the heck is the name of this cologne I'm wearing?' because somehow he can't seem to remember the name Sequoia. Now that I am reading your experience with the scent Ody, I honestly never really looked at it as an oud prominent scent...but then again, now I think I see what you're describing. Maybe I'll wear it this week and post my comments.

    Have you tried Harissa yet Ody? It sure is an odd one. The tomato/orange/hot pepper combo requires a very seasoned palette.
    Last edited by mikeperez23; 25th May 2010 at 03:09 AM.

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    odysseusm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Red vs. Red

    Interesting comments, mike. Very interesting!
    * Palisander. I was intrigued by you finding rosewood there. I didn't get a pronounced note of that. Have you tried Elixir by Penhaligon's? Now THERE is a scent which shouted "rosewood" to me! And I found that to be too much, there. Curiously, I have a scent by Lothantique called Bois de Rose which is nice and woody, without that furniture polish, heady-sweet character.
    * Sequoia. Do check it out for the oud. And I will check out Pomegrante Noir for its oud. I've enjoyed the samples I've tried, but can't remember oud there... but I think I have a vague memory which agrees with what you say. The oud could brighten and even mentholate the Pomegranate, and that would be alright with me.
    * Harissa. I haven't tried it. I think it was your review which called it a kinder, gentler Piper Nigrum. I should like PN but can't quite accommodate it. The tomato leaf in Harissa should appeal to me. I wonder if it is anything like the note in Sisley's Eau de Campagne. "Seasoned palate"... hmmm, well-seasoned!
    Cheers!
    odysseusm

    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas

  6. #6

    Default Re: Red vs. Red

    @Primrose

    I second good points odysseusm made. To me oud gives additional edge to Sequoia, a lively twist which makes it so fun for me to smell and wear, a sort of booster for wood notes and opoponax. But i wouldn't find it prominent. The lack of such twist was also the reason why i was a bit disappointed in Palisander and Tam Dao, otherwise wonderful woody scents. Oud is also the reason why I am looking much forward to smelling Wonderwood. I hope it'll be in somewhat simillar vein as Sequoia because I have never found similarly executed oud in another fragrance. I think ouds tend to be used more often in darker frags instead of those bright, lively and, yes, fun ones.

    I'll have to check Pomegranate Noir now thanks to your mentioning it. So thank you mike.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Red vs. Red

    Yes, Ody I have smelled Elixir but it's overdose on aldehydes mostly ruined it for me. I thought it was a cinnamon/rose scent on my skin, not much of a rosewood. Funny how skin chemistry is different for all of us...

    And for clarification: I didn't mean to imply that Pomegranate Noir has oud (I'm pretty sure it does not), but that it smelled the same as Sequoia. A woody scent with a distinct medicinal vibe running through it.

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