Incense, sandalwood and citrus are to niche perfumery what ruffians, loners and chain-smoking philosophers are to French New Wave cinema. Incense, with its dark connotations, can be made either sultry or brooding. Sandalwood is the wood of choice to imply anything mysterious, while citrus is versatile enough to be twisted into anything you wish. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call Comme des Garçons the Jean-Luc Godard of the perfume world, and as its three fragrances, Blue Santal, Blue Cedrat and Blue Encens, in the Blue Invasion collection demonstrate, it’s possible to discover something new even in very familiar themes.
The citrus in Blue Cedrat is citron, Citrus medica, that smells more like flowers than any other citrus variety. I brought back five large fruits from my trip to Sicily, and when I opened the suitcase, everything smelled of honeyed petals and sweet lemons. To create her blue citrus interpretation, perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer blends rose and green citrus peel into a lavish dose of cedarwood. The opening is sparkling, and the transition to the sheer petals and then to wood shavings is elegant. Blue Cedrat is abstract and polished–you won’t smell like a carpentry shop, and it’s versatile enough to be a perfume to wear when you don’t feel like wearing fragrance. But for the price ($125 for 100 ml), it may not be interesting enough.