Perfume Review: Comme des Garcons Guerilla #1 and Guerilla #2
Guerilla #1 and Guerilla #2 were inspired by Comme des Garçons “guerilla” stores, which are “pop-up” stores that appear temporarily, for one year only, in off-the-beaten-path locations in cities around the globe; for example, one outpost was in the pillar of a Warsaw bridge. (From JCreport) The packaging of the new scents is as original as one would expect from this avant-garde brand, the black rectangular bottles are boxed with a set of mock papier-mâchè canteens. The juice inside …sadly, I think this is the case, where the concept and the packaging are “bigger” and more interesting then the scents themselves.
Guerrilla #1, named after Comme des Garçons' first boutique in Berlin, a former butcher shop, was created by Marie-Aude Couture Bluche (S de Scherrer, Jacomo For Her). In the perfumer’s own words, “If you think of a butcher’s shop, you think of meat, blood and then the very clean, bleached aprons... It’s carnivorous, but we have added the Indonesian flower champaca, it sensual, and then orange, so it’s fruity, with jasmine and gardenia too." (From FemaleFirst.co.uk) Hard as I try, I do not get either carnivorous or sensual from Guerilla #1. It is a rather fresh, cool, grassy-woody-floral fragrance with a vaguely medicinal top accord of saffron (mainly) and clove (just a hint), an airy, watery floral heart of champaca and what I perceive to be jasmine and perhaps some orange blossom, and a bracing, dry and earthy drydown of vetiver and cedarwood. It is the more interesting of the two Guerillas; it has that "slimy", faintly nauseating, borderline repulsive, fascinating quality of some of the stranger Comme des Garçons scents, for example Odeur 53. And yet it feels to me that the fragrance tries too hard, that it is very conscious of the fact that it is a Comme des Garçons scent and strives to live up to the wearer's expectations of weirdness and oddness. Its strangeness is uninspired, too predictable somehow. It goes to show that it is not enough for a fragrance to be almost-unpleasant to be judged avant-garde and original. There should be depth and the audacity of going too far instead of almost too far, which in the end feels as not far enough.
Guerrilla 2, created by Nathalie Feisthauer (Versace Blond, Hermes Eau des Merveilles), on the other hand, seems not to aspire to be strange and striking. Said to be inspired by the color red, this is a succulent and simultaneously dry raspberry scent with appealing piquant nuances of ginger and pepper and a woody undertone, which goes a long way to stop the berries and, at the middle stage, the tuberose, from becoming too sweet. The scent makes me think not of freshly picked raspberries, but of the raspberry preserve my grandmother used to make, which basically consisted of raspberries very lightly cooked with sugar. Although it does not taste “straight from the raspberry bush”, it is much more natural than a jam. To return to Guerilla #2, I would go as far as too say that this is a berry-fruity scent for berry-fruity scent haters like me. Is it interesting, is it on a par with some of the breathtakingly weird Comme des Garçons perfumes? Not really. But it is certainly comparable to their less strange but still very appealing creations like Rhubarb or Rose.
To conclude, Guerilla #1 is sort of interesting but rather unwearable, Guerilla #2 is very wearable, in fact, rather enjoyable, but not really exciting. If it ever goes on sale, I might buy Guerilla #2. For its full price, however, it is not full bottle worthy for me.
Both Guerillas are available at Luckyscent, $98 for 85ml.
The image is from JCReport.