Comme des Garçons Daphne Guinness, 2009

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Perfumer Antoine Lie

Daphne Guinness is probably one ingredient away from being a total soup, but as it stands, it’s about as full a perfume as you can make. When I wear it I have images of insects preserved whole in amber.

It starts as a syrupy tuberose with an enormous bitter, resinous orange note and saffron and I’d swear some bay or some other green culinary herb. From there it kaleidoscopes through densly floral combinations as well as classic amber, vanilla, patchouli accords. This is not so much a perfume with a classic three-tiered progression as one built of mostly basenotes. In this sense, it’s probably categorically closest to an oriental. Although they have different tones, the elements all seem to share roughly the same density. From the topnotes through the heartnotes they bounce off each other and you’re constantly smelling some new accord take flight.

By the drydown, Daphne Guinness feels like an incense chypre, with a three-part patchouli/oud/labdanum combo in lieu of a classic moss/labdanum base. Oud is the overused, overstated perfume element of the last few years and due to its potent nature, it is usually at the heart of an accord. But using a moderate dose of oud along with patchouli and labdanum to resemble a chypre base seems like one of the more inventive uses of the material.


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