Comme des Garçons 2 Woman, 1999

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Perfumer Mark Buxton

CdG 2 has been called abstract. It’s been called a transparent rose, but what I see in Buxton’s Rorschak test is the ink itself. Combining what seems like aldehydes, and an orange-like citrus with something floral that I can’t get my nose around creates a shadowy, sweet, blunt smell that resembles ink and shoe polish.

The start is expansive, but the heart hangs quite a bit closer to the skin and feels richer as it settles. A muffled evergreen quality  makes the scent feel cool, a facet that distinguishes CdG 2. We talk about fragrances getting warmer or becoming ‘skin scents’ but CdG2 refuses to succumb to the warmth. It’s not that it wears you, but it feels like an exotic substance that you carry out to the world on your wrists.

CdG 2 reminds me in feel, but not in scent, of Andy Tauer’s l’Air du Désert Marocain. Both emphasize a smoky amber, that doesn’t go the classic ‘oriental’ route of warm, creaminess. CdG 2’s drydown has a clipped, slightly tarry incense quality and feels like smoke through cool air and iced black tea.

The Comme des Garçons 2 line demonstrates the ridiculousness of applying simple rules of gender to perfume. Ink could be marketed as masculine or feminine and CdG 2 Woman and CDG 2 Man, by conventional fragrance standards each read as fully unisex. Do you suppose they flipped a coin to decide gender?

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