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Friday, August 04, 2006

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 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.

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Blogger lilyofbp said...

I'm always happy when you write about perfumes I DON'T feel I have to buy:)
On another non-lemming: the Mosbudthingy reminds me of Satellite Padparadscha (although I didn't compare them side-by-side). And I do like the Sat Pad (better than you do, if I remember correctly); but it is only $60 for 100 ml., and its name is merely difficult, not obnoxious.:)

6:42 AM EDT  
Blogger chaya ruchama said...

I smelled these at Barney's not long ago, and I fondly refer to them as "Skank One" and "Skank Two", per beloved Dr. Seuss...

These skanks are good skanks
They just want to play
They will bring you some fun
On this wet wet wet day...

Actually, they amuse far more than they tempt.

I heartily agree with your review.
I'll give them marks for trying-albeit trying too hard.

6:59 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Well, I'd rather you got some lemmings here, but I guess I could settle for saving you some money instead :-)
I can totally see why MolsBudd reminds you of Padparadscha, but I think that Pad is not just better priced but actually more interesting, spicier, warmer, etc.

8:39 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...


"These Things are good Things."
And he gave them a pat.
"They are tame. Oh, so tame!
They have come here to play.
They will give you some fun
On this wet, wet, wet day."


LOL at Skank 1 and Skank 2. Sadly they are not nearly skanky enough for me :-)

8:40 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I normally would be like Judith and be very glad to read about scents that aren't going to further damage my beleaguered budget, but I love the CdG line so much that I'm actually really disappointed that these aren't going to be FBW. I may have to get a decant, though, of the second one. Really hoping Rei isn't losing her sense of fun and playful experimentation.

9:11 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

The 2nd one is certainly at least decant-worthy. I did not get a fun-weird vibe from either, although that was not for the lack of trying on the part of Guerilla #1. It certainly wanted to be experimental and bizarre. :-)

9:16 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Smelled these yesterday, along with most of Incense, Sweet and Red. Both of these drew a strong No, Thanks from us.

9:38 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

But others you liked? I hear you got Palisander? Great choice!!

9:44 AM EDT  
Anonymous Ina said...

Not weird enough and raspberry preserves... hmm, wonder which one I'd like better. Probably, neither. ;D Thanks for your reviews!

9:58 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

You'd like the preserve one better but not well enough to want a FB. Just my humble prediction :-)

9:59 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I smelled these ar Scent Bar when I was trolling for a friends b-day gift (Oh who am I kidding...) #1 was just like "Oh yeah, we get it, you're avante-garde", much in the same way I've looked at C de G's clothing, with rather a roll of the eyes. #2 made me want to go have tea. My friend recieved Musc Samarkand.

12:03 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Yeah, I had the same reaction to G#1, an eye-roll. Great choice of a present though, lucky friend!

12:07 PM EDT  
Blogger katiedid said...

I like the goofiness of CdG concepts in general. But the guerilla stores thing seems so contrived.

Sadly, the concept of papier-mache canteens only makes me think of pinatas, which doesn't particularly conjur up avant-garde associations ;)

7:39 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

I had to google pinatas and now that I have seen what they are...Guerillas went from kinda, sorta cool to SO not cool :-)

7:41 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

That Palisander .... yuummmmmmm. Definitely don't own anything else like that. The Sequoia was just okay on me, the chile one smelled like the L'Artisan pepper ones, sort of... not something I wanted to spray all over me. But the Palisander??!?!?! Isn't it funny/interesting every time, when that one jumps out at you and you HAVE to have it?!? I love all the incense, and the only sweet I like is wood coffee (or whatever it's called.) They have all the weird ones (2, 53, etc.) and they are just not my thing at all, although I always enjoy smelling them ... BTW, you, strong-smell fan, have to get yourself a sample of SMN Nostalgia if you haven't already!!! Burnt rubber, gasoline, leather, asphalt -- it was really, really cool. The first, like, 2 minutes is just laugh-out-loud intense, but the drydown strikes me as potentially you. That and Citta di Kyoto are far and away the most interesting in the line.

7:50 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Want Nostalgia!

8:34 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Very late to this discussion, but sounds like our reactions to these were very similar. Will be very surprised if these 2 find much of a following; haven't seen anything positive about them anywhere online.

8:17 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

So nice to have you back! I think that maybe Guerilla 2, as the more wearable of the two, would have some fans. Guerilla 1 on the other hand might as well be discontinued :-)

8:55 PM EDT  

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