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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Perfume Review: Commes des Garcons Play

Review by Tom

Comme des Garcons is one of the more interesting houses out there, to say the least: they feature scents that run from entertainingly odd to just plain bizarre. I love them for that, just not necessarily enough to go for a full bottle. Play could be the one to change that: it's perhaps the most accessible of anything they have yet put out, but still with that CdeG odd edge to it. Opening with the tang of something that it took me about an hour to identify: Tang. Yes, Tang, that slightly metallic orange powder that you haven't had since the 70's when people were still innocent to the idea that the food the astronauts had to eat might not be as good as the real thing. Here however that tangy tang of Tang (I'll stop now) is as delightful as the first lick of an orange slushee on a hot summer day.

As the scent progresses the orange becomes a bit more marmaladey (but never as complex or rich as say, Mandarine Mandarin) with a distinct note of saffron and black pepper. "Sea notes" are listed, but happily for me did not appear, what did was a slight incense. Aftera few hours I was left with a very nice skin scent (maybe that's the sea notes?) with a bare hint of orange peel. Today in Los Angeles it was in the 80's with humidity to match: I don't know that I would necessarily want to be wearing anything much more than bare hints, if only in the interest of not killing those in smelling range. I don't want to damn Play with the faint praise of calling it "pleasant" (although it is very much so; I was happily sniffing my wrists the whole afternoon); the trademark CdeG bizarreness is there, just filtered through a much lighter composition. If you are interested in a new summer citrus, or have been previously frightened by a Comme des Garcons, you would do well to climb into this sandbox and Play.

Play is available for $90 at retailers that carry Comme des Garcons scents, such as Luckyscent.

Image source, Luckyscent.


Anonymous MarkDavid said...

Tom -

I was quick to dismiss this one, but now that I read review of it, Im actually very interested in trying it. It sounds like it is at least worth a sniff. Tangy orange powder - that peaked my interest and that you even mentioned Mandarine Mandarin makes it definitely one to seek out...

I just wish the bottle was a bit more interesting. Its kind of garish but not in a futuristic way like they are sometimes apt to do.

how long does the metallic feeling last?

Great review!!!

10:59 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


The metallic bit is fairly fleeting, but that's no bad thing: then it gets a bit Rich Hippie around the edges for a while before becoming CdeG weird, but in a totally delightful and accessible way: it's the "Hairspray" of the CdeG line. Not too off-putting but you can certainly see where the creators of Tar (the "Female Trouble" of the line?) had a hand in it.

11:58 PM EDT  
Anonymous Maria said...

This is the most positive review I've read of Play. For the most part, people aren't getting a bizarre edge. I'm glad you did. It's nice to know that CdG has not done something ordinary and therefore the earth will continue to spin on its axis. :-)

I like Mandarine Mandarin a lot. I wonder why so many think it's meh.

2:34 AM EDT  
Anonymous Leopoldo said...

I'll give this one a frolic in Liberty next week. Ta, Tom.

3:38 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

CdG scares me when they go the boring route, never when they go for the more bizarre or unusual, which I think they do quite well. A significant number of their scents have been FBW for me. The incense in this one gives me hope. Praying those sea notes do not appear on my skin either.

6:56 AM EDT  
Blogger lilyofbp (Judith) said...

I tried this one briefly at Barneys over the w/e and wasn't very impressed. It didn't seem bizarre on me--just meh. But I am not a citrus girl. I asked the SA what was in it, and he just kept saying, "Everything--everything they had left over!"

7:05 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

LOL, Judith. An excellent riposte from your SA...

Ah, Tomska.
JUST what I ALWAYS desired in my secret heart- to olfactorally resemble an astronaut's GULLET.
To s*it or go blind...
THAT is the question.

Maybe, I'll pass.
But you gave me a LOT of pleasure this am, you saxxxy thang.

8:24 AM EDT  
Blogger Christine said...

Sounds like it's worth a sniff, but I can't imagine wearing Tang.

Perhaps because in a fit of nostalgia we bought the powder the other day. I'm afraid that Tang is just not good. The memory of it, though, is much much better.

9:29 AM EDT  
Blogger Patty said...

I didn't really get what you got, but I'm glad it proved to be interesting for you! I keep thinking maybe I had my expectations on weirdness set too high, and that's why I was so let down a skosh.

10:12 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I think that people are expecting full frontal CdeG, and they aren't going get it. If one approaches it without expecting that, they'll be pleased.

11:37 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


We all want to read about it!

11:37 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I hope for your sake there are no sea notes for you either..

11:38 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I like citrus, so that's going a long way towards me liking it. It's a neat twist on it.

11:39 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Give it a try- you never know!

11:40 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I don't need to refresh that particular memory :-)

11:41 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


It's definitely not your everyday CdeG, but that's fine..

11:42 AM EDT  
Anonymous Lavanya said...


I like orange scents in the summer and this sounds more interesting than many others..(i havent tried Mandarine Mandarin)
oh..and by the way..I completely agree with you- love Fumerie Turque in the summer..(I'm wearing a dab of FT on my wrist and one of Un Lys on my upper arm and am totally enjoying the 'tango' of the notes)

1:39 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


that sounds like a gorgeous combination!

2:13 PM EDT  
Blogger Ina said...

Your review is intriguing but I'm not sure I want to play. ;) After the Guerrillas, I shy away from CdG. Hmm. OK, I need to at least test this.

7:24 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Let us know what you think..

9:11 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Tom, meaning to review this one soon, but looks like you liked it a lot more than I did!

11:03 AM EDT  
Blogger Heart As Arena said...

I was bummed when I read a not-so-enthusiastic review of this on Now Smell This, but your review turned my crank. As soon as you said "Tang" I knew where this was going, on the page and in the nasal passages of my mind. Investigation to follow for sure. Thanks!

The wrist! Yes. cgd's strength is most evident in the fainting on the wrist.

On a vaguely related note . . . I don't know why people shop for cgd at the Barney's. I've always experienced snootiness with nothing to back it up (ie, knowledge of product). I go to the cgd store where the sales people are nice AND knowledgeable.

2:41 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say, after having a dab of my nephew's CdG Play, I was bowled over and have been sniffing the wrists of my cardigan and jacket eversince. Althought, I must say that this citrus tang is not so rare, quirky or exclusive to CdG. It's been a common fraagance in Spain for ever, just walk passed a child or baby and you'll smell it: it's called Colonia, and many brands are available. The most popular DeNenes and Nunuco, liberally splashed on clothes and in hair.

For a fraction of the price and usually available in in 1 litre bottles, found in nearly every Spanish household, the smells increase with bodyheat.
Try it!

4:29 PM EDT  

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