Comme des Garçons Concrete (2017) {Perfume Review & Musings}


A close-up of the flacon of Concrete by Comme des Garçons. The texture is super soft to the touch.

Concrete by Comme des Garçons opens on a deliciously iconoclastic fragrance accord meshing woods with florals - and something else, which is welcome. This "something else" smells like a cross between milk and almond, without smelling like straight-up almond milk. It feels like an almond milk, deconstructed. The answer we found, which dispels the mystery of an initial perception, we will give in due time, below. But first, let's listen to what CDG has to say,...

"...artificial Rose oxide distorts an opulent woody overdose."

The perfume lets out shades of cedarwood pencil shavings - an apt scent for a back-to-school day in France today. These nuances are delicate, almost transparent as if you were looking at freshly shaved, golden coils of cedarwood still hanging onto a pencil held against a window backdrop, letting through the light of the day.

Continuing to disconcert, Concrete edp then harnesses the spiciness of what smells like a carnation accord, while the woods liquify further into milk and milkiness; it's almost now an opalescent sensation. There is a touch of almond-y massepain.

When you first held the fragrance bottle hiding in its "shell of concrete and glass,"attempting to smell the concrete itself, the composition came through the porous, pale gray material - and all you could smell was sandalwood. So, it was unexpected to Not smell sandalwood in the beginning of the development. If, usually, discovering sandalwood in a perfume comes in the order of wood + a milky ending, in Concrete, you become aware of its presence as milk first + wood + spice. When the material becomes full blown sandal, it carries with it the sillage of exotic spices which make up an Indian curry stew; you are reminded of Serge Lutens Santal de Mysore for that part, although Concrete does not get stuck in a copy-cat issue.

You then better understand what the brand wrote about,

"DESTRUCTION,CONSTRUCTION, CREATION Destruction: The richness of Sandalwood is shattered to reveal its very essence, a radically new scent emerging from its fractured form.


It does feel as if someone had gotten hold of a hammer and shattered the traditional sandalwood accord. That person is actually perfumer Nicolas Beaulieu of IFF. This is where intuitively, you also get better why-on-earth that perfume had to be contained in a concrete flacon and represented by the prosaic, even if now fashionable decorative material. It is because it is easy to grasp how you can put hammer to concrete and break it - even demolish it to smithereens. Concrete, the material, is used as a symbol of construction, but also destruction here - think TV visions of rows of buildings made of concrete getting the wrecking-ball treatment, exploding into dust vapor when they are judged obsolete.

"An exploration of destruction, construction and creation, CONCRETE is a fragrance where material preconceptions are deftly demolished, paving the way for something new."

Concrete, the fragrance, is structurally very sophisticated. This is a compositon which is capable of evoking deconstruction, destruction and creation, in that order, all at the same time. It is no meager feat.

You will need to smell this one as one of the most art-fair-worthy fragrances to come out this year. At the same time, we think we can say that we've identified the "something else" that we detected in the beginning - and it's a subtly comforting gourmand accord, an innovative one since it references perhaps for the first time the new food fad: Golden Milk. You smell milkiness, and then curcuma and then the spicy and peppery nuances, and then everything comes into focus giving you a vision of a mug of frothy golden latte dissolving its figurativeness into milky sandalwood. The sillage smells amazingly good, of floral sandalwood, reminding you of the natural rosy and creamy facets of curcuma.

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