One Thousand Scents

Monday, April 30, 2012

Overload: Chopard Cašmir

I'm visiting my mom again, and so I'm once again pawing through her fragrance collection, most of which I gave her over the years, an armload of full-sized bottles plus countless miniatures and samples. She has dozens of tiny bottles stored away in a box, a time machine from the late eighties and early nineties, and sitting on her vanity is the squat little Middle Eastern object you see above: Chopard's dramatic fruity oriental, Cašmir. It probably bears repeating that scents get reformulated after a while on the market: since the scent was launched in 1991 and my mom's bottle is at least fifteen years old if not twenty, Cašmir has certainly been reformulated in the interim and might smell quite literally nothing like what I'm smelling as I write this.

Cašmir (pronounced, as far as I know, "cashmere") opens strong and stays that way: it's a statement scent, and the statement is, "I am going to suffocate you, honey." Cašmir is a hot sweet mango-peach jam with a slosh of coconut milk and plenty of thick creamy vanilla: a bit of amber appears later on, but the main base note is more vanilla. It sounds like a Serge Lutens fruit-fest, but Cašmir has a quality that Lutens never does: vulgarity. It's a huge, brassy thing, no subtlety or nuance, just a sledgehammer wallop of scent. It doesn't smell cheap, exactly, but it does smell excessive: nouveau riche. It's likeable, but it wears out its welcome very quickly, and woe be to the wearer who applies more than a single spritz.

The company lists the following notes:

Mango, coconut, bergamot, peach; Jasmine, geranium, lily of the valley; Amber, musk, vanilla, sandalwood, patchouli

but you shouldn't put too much stock in that. Whatever florals are supposedly in there are nominal, and whatever base notes might be present are mostly occluded by the vanilla amber. Cašmir is one of those fragrances with a large number of elements, twelve or twenty or fifty, arranged to smell like a single uniform thing with very little development, complexity masquerading as simplicity.

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  • I was probably influenced by Luca's review when I sampled this, but I have to agree with him that there's something almost.... unsettling about it. I found it enjoyable, but it's in the "3" category: not enough interest for a decant or bottle.

    By Blogger Dionne, at 11:23 AM  

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