One Thousand Scents

Friday, June 16, 2006

All of Them: Comme des Garçons Carnation

You have to listen to him: he's the principal.

Principal Cinnamon J. Scudworth, in the short-lived animated series "Clone High", said, "If life hands you lemons, clone them and make super-lemons."

William Poundstone, in his book "Big Secrets", said that Patou's Joy "smell[s] more like a rose ought to smell than a rose does."

I, in the last week, said that I don't really get most Comme des Garçons scents, and I don't. The lone exception is Carnation from their Red series, which smells as if they'd cloned the carnation and made super-carnations: it smells more like a carnation ought to smell than the carnation itself. It smells like every carnation in the world, all at once.

The carnation has a divided personality: it's a bold, swoony floral scent and at the same time a biting spice scent. (This spiciness, which is mostly eugenol, the same aromatic that makes cloves smell as they do, is why carnations were once called "clove-pinks".) CdG has amplified both of these elements, the first with the judicious addition of those mainstays of perfumery, rose and jasmine, and the second with cinnamon, red pepper, and even more clove.

There isn't really any development in this scent. What you get out of the bottle is that heady jolt of hyper-carnation, and that's what it remains: it simply fades away over a few hours. It's not the most long-lasting of scents, but since it stays so true, that's just another excuse for a re-application.

I've always felt that the carnation, with its strikingly spicy character, was a particularly masculine floral, and CdG Carnation is the perfect illustration of that: it isn't softened or prettified, isn't rounded off with balsams or sunk in a dainty white bouquet. It's a whack in the face with a big bunch of flowers, and sometimes that's just what you need.

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