Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Comme des Garçons Series 2: Red - Palisander

Palisander is one of the Red series in the Comme des Garçons fragrance line. Palisander, the wood, is otherwise known as rosewood. Brazilian rosewood is known to smell like roses when freshly cut. This type of rosewood is an endangered tree which grows in the Amazon region (although rosewood is also currently harvested in India). Brazilian rosewood's hard and heavy, colorful wood (red, violet or brown, with black streaks) is used to build the finest pieces of furniture and other goods (solid forms are used in limited quantity) while its essence is used in aromatherapy and perfumery. Rosewood essential oil is said to have been used in Chanel No.5 for its natural linalool, until synthetic linalool was able to replace some or all of the natural rosewood oil it once incorporated.

I had written about Avignon, another fragrance in the Comme des Garçons line last year, and so to compare the two, I'd say Avignon is the smokier, drier, true "church" incense type (I get mostly frankincense and myrrh) whereas Palisander smells true to the nature of the Brazilian rosewood: resinous, sweet and floral. At first, I thought Palisander was a tuberose blend because it smelled so sweet and thick, rich, warm and almost buttery. It smells more floral than woodsy unless you are familiar with the natural scent of the essential oils (natural sandalwood can also smell more resinous than "woody" and dry). In Palisander, the rosewood is blended with cedar to give it a heavier, bolder, drier (and perhaps "woodier") base, plus subtle touches of spices and a smoky, mildly astringent myrrh note. All together, it smells to me like a rosewood soliflore that's beautifully composed with round-edged, refined nuances and a smooth, lacquered finish like an antique pair of chopsticks.

Comme des Garçons Palisander (2001): Brazilian palisander wood, Virginian red cedar, Japanese red chili peppers, saffron from Iran, myrrh from south Yemen

(Image: Comme des Garçons Red 2 series, meccacosmetica.com)