Thursday, January 21, 2010

Scent Two: Laurel by Monocle x Comme des Garcons: fragrance review

~by Mike Perez

As a lover of spice prominent fragrances, I find it extremely easy to enjoy the newest Monocle x Comme des Garcons collaboration, Scent Two: Laurel. I remember focusing on the laurel (bay leaf) accord in two other fragrances and being slightly disappointed: Aqua Allegoria Laurier Reglisse by Guerlain and Acqua Della Macchia Mediterranea by Borsari – the former being almost all licorice and no spice; and the latter being a wonderful fougere in it’s own right (in the vein of the fantastic [but discontinued] Calvin by Calvin Klein) but a bit too simple.

With Scent Two: Laurel I have found what I always hoped for in a laurel prominent scent. Realism, pungency and complexity.

The laurel note smells sundried, almost roasted in texture - with a bit of that oregano and/or thyme tickle and then starts off immediately blending with a strong and persistent ground peppercorn accord – all swirling underneath a sharp cedar note. It is this definitive sharpness that lasts for the first hour – a trademark of the Monocle x CdG fragrances that that showed up in Scent One: Hinoki, as eucalyptus and fresh cut wood. But this new release is much more aromatic. Fans of Lorenzo Villoresi’s heavy-handed aromatic fragrances (Spezie, Uomo) know exactly what I mean, because many of the LV scents typically smell raw, almost shockingly intense, and it is a style of perfumery that polarizes colognoisseurs. You either enjoy it or you don’t.

Hidden among the intensity of the spices, is a fresh-turned-earth accord: dirt, moss, and branches of trees on the ground. Certain types of vetiver conjure up that feeling for me, and yet STL has no vetiver at all. It’s more a feeling of natural, rugged earth. The spices smell like they have a bit of dirt still left on them – they are not in the kitchen to be used for food…they’re still being harvested in their raw, dry state.

If I smell my skin up close during the final dry down, I can make out a quite wonderful patchouli note and a tiny hint of crisp, salty amber. Pulling my nose away, the scent shifts back to its spices. Later on, I’m able to smell the incense, hovering in the background. I think it’s what Antoine Maisondieu (the perfumer) added that gives it an aura of calmness & tranquility. Supposedly the scent is based upon the scent of a vacation to Lebanon and that regions handmade, laurel scented soaps. I have not smelled these soaps but I do know the feeling a hot, soapy bath give me…especially one that leaves traces of fragrance on skin: refreshment, relaxation and simplicity. The same feelings evoked by this wonderful scent.

Scent Two: Laurel comes in a 50 ml atomizer. It can be purchased online at Luckyscent, The Perfume Shoppe and at the magazine’s online shop ($135).


  1. this sounds totally fascinating- as exciting as I've read about for quite a while!

  2. Shows you how predictable most releases are!! ;O

  3. Sounds good but nope, I don't need an umpteenth perfume.

  4. L,

    there's certainly a wise point in what you say!! :D

  5. This is a nice review, E, and I'm interested in smelling this one.

    Regarding bay laurel... were you ever able to try the sample of Profumum Victrix that I believe I sent you (or did I?). That is still one of my great loves -- so fresh and herbaceous.

  6. Sorry, I realized only after I wrote the above that this is your review, Mike! But all the same, if you like this one, perhaps you might try some Victrix as well!


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