One Thousand Scents

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Seeing Red: Comme des Garçons Harissa


Isn't it odd what gets stuck in your head? I remember from years and years and years ago a "Family Circle" cartoon (uck) with the boy (Jeffy?) slurping on a lollipop just out of view of the girl (Dolly?), and her saying, "I smell something PURPLE!"

And really, doesn't a grape lollipop smell purple? Sometimes things smell like a colour--there's an entire family of fragrance called "green"--which is the rationale behind the Comme des Garçons series Red. Each of the scents is not only composed of something red (the line consists of Carnation, Harissa, Palisander, Rose, and Sequoia), but is meant to smell red. I mean, if that makes any sense; it does to me. (The Comptoir Sud Pacifique scent Fruits Sauvages, now known as Mora Bella, contains pomegranates, raspberries, and blackberries, and it smells brilliantly red.)

But red isn't always a good thing, unfortunately. CdG's Harissa ought to be a sure-fire winner; it's named after a fiery pepper sauce used in Moroccan cuisine, and is composed of chili pepper, tomato, blood orange, and some spices--red all around.

But it smells like bad Moroccan food. The tomato and chili-pepper notes drown out everything else. (Luckyscent calls it s citrus scent: not on me it isn't!) There's a strange, vinegary note in the top, and then just tomatoes and harissa, and it does not smell like something that should be on my skin; it smells like something that should be in a bowl.

I don't know why I dislike it so much, because the smell of spicy food is always enticing and there are many spicy scents I love. Something about this, though: it's as if they'd made a scent called "Delicatessen" or "Kimchi". Some people love it, but on me it's what they call a scrubber: after smelling it on my skin, I just want to scrub it off.

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