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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Smell of the Garden

Review by Kelley

Comme Des Garcon’s Peppermint (Sherbet Collection)

This is my new spring favorite. I remember working in the garden with my grandmother when I was little. We belonged to several garden clubs and were always working in her greenhouse or in her backyard getting ready for an exhibition. I remember training chrysanthemums to trail over pots by wiring them to chicken wire and even training them to be bonsais. One of my chores was to water all of the plants a couple of times a week. She had the pots scattered around the house in several places to see where they grew the best. Every year, like clockwork, we had to pull the mint because it was truly a weed at her house and filled all of the flower beds (along with another of my favorite plants, the deadly poisonous night-blooming Datura). The smell of the dirt and the mint would get all over my arms and I would throw away bags full of mint plants. Actually, I love the smell.

Comme Des Garcons has mysteriously bottled the smell I remember. When I spray this on I can smell the crushed mint leaves and the tough stems. I smell the dirt and the cool green sap! If you have ever grown mint, you will be transported back in time. This is a magical scent.

The listed ingredients are: curly mint, peppermint, bay rose, white pepper, cardamom, amber, white musk. I only smell mint. If I close my eyes I can sort of smell the amber and white musk but that’s about it. This starts off very fresh and minty but then dies down to a very green galbanum and light musk scent. I wish the silage was a little more potent but it lasts fairly well although it stays close to the skin. If you know of any other mint fragrances that last longer, please let me know…

Peppermint is available at for $40 for the 30ml spray which is perfect for a purse or backpack.

Comme Des Garcon’s Harrisa

Harissa is from the CDG Red Series which includes Rose, Carnation, Palisander, and Sequoia. Harissa is a spicy red paste that originated in Tunisia . It is made from chilies that are sometimes smoked (makes me think of chipotle chilies which I can no longer eat but dearly love and have grown in my garden) mixed with garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway and olive oil and sometimes tomatoes.

Fresh out of the bottle, this one smells like tomatoes. I smell the harsh dirt-like smell that tomato leaves often exude and also the ripe red fruit. This is the smell of a vegetable garden in the blazing summer heat. It opens with a spicy tomato smell which probably smells like a Bloody Mary but there is also a funky tomato leaf accord which I find very unusual and fascinating. The vegetables soon are overtaken by the luscious smell of blood oranges. This stays a spicy, citrus scent for hours. This is very, very spicy with tons of nutmeg and chili and cardamom and even some saffron. Here, the citrus sticks it out to the very end…which I love.

The scent easily lasts 6 to 8 hours on my skin and is a wonderful addition to the spring/summer scent wardrobe. It’s very unusual and highly recommended. The ingredients are listed as: harissa, blood orange from North Africa , red chili pepper, angelica, saffron, nutmeg from Grenada , cardamom, and finally tomato.

Here is a link to a wonderful recipe using harissa paste, called “Harissa Chicken & Butternut Squash”

Comme des Garcon’s Harissa is available at and comes in a 100 ml bottle for $84. The photos of both bottles are courtesy of Luckyscent.


Blogger Gail S said...

The Peppermint is one of my favorites when I'm working in the yard in spring. Not too dirty, but just earthy enough, and of course, the mint is so refreshing.

Now I'll have to search for a sample of Harissa. I have the Carnation, which I don't love but can't bear to part with either!

5:40 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Good morning, fair one !
So nice to see you here again.

Do you think I'd like these?
You've got me a-hankering to sample...

Hope all is well with you-
Kiss Corazon for me !

7:19 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great reviews. I'm intrigued by Harissa even though I am not a fan of citrus.

7:41 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I definitely need to retry the Peppermint. Right now am growing at least a half dozen types of mint (in pots, since they would take over the world if they could) and adore the scent. Have you tried CdG's Mint from the Leaves series? It's one of my favorite scents for mid-summer.
Harissa is another favorite. It's such a brilliant red-orange of a scent and layers well w/ Piment Brulant.

7:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

gail s,

Warning, the Harissa is very odd. I really like it but there are days when I definitely can't wear it. The Peppermint, on the other hand, it fantastic and could be worn any day. I do, however, prefer it in the spring and summer.

10:45 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...


The Peppermint is the most true to life peppermint I have ever smelled. It's a "solo-herb" in it's approach. Harissa, on the other hand, is a very complex scent and more like you. It's so spicy that it's almost hot.

Did I ever thank you for all of the samples you sent? I am still testing them but my favorite so far is Irisia. What a beautiful fragrance.

10:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Newproducts, like I said before, this is an odd one. It's so spicy and the citrus lasts a very long time. And the smell of the leaves is so hypnotic. Yep, this one is a keeper.

10:50 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Elle, the only one of the Leaves series that I have owned was Calamus. Now that was a brilliant scent. I will look for the mint in that series because I absolutely love mint. I did try the Heeley Mint but wasn't crazy about it's longevity. Also, thanks for the layering tip...

10:53 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Oddly of the two, the one that I most want to try is the Harissa, even though the mint reads as right up my alley.

Thanks for the reviews!

11:22 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How absolutely amazing to meet someone else who considers the Night Blooming Datura a friend!Many years ago, when my husband,son and I still lived on a small century farm, I walked into our back pasture to notice a gorgeous white flower that I swear hadn't been there the night before.
Within a month, it was everywhere, and as my horses never touched it, I didn't pull it out. I used to love to wander into that pasture late at night simply to be with them. It has been many years, but I still dream of them at times. They were sheer magic.

12:30 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was so transported by the thought of the Datura, that I didn't even respond to the original posting about the Comme Des Garcon. It sounds just wonderful! We always had alot of mint in our gardens as well,and even though we pulled it by the bucket loads it seemed that more would spring up overnight! I just love it, and make fragrant pitchers of mint suntea on a pretty regular basis!
Thank you so much for all of the good memories this morning!

1:24 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where I grew up it was spearmint that grew like weeds. We always positioned a small patch of it right under the garden tap, which leaked just enough to keep the spearmint bed moist. And moist spearmint is fragrant spearmint. We'd snip off a few leaves every day to float in our iced tea.

Farmers in our area grew spearmint commercially and one of my elicit summer pleasures as a child was to ride my bike just outside town on a morning after it rained and sniff the rain-washed mint fields to my heart's content.

Although what you've described is a peppermint scent, I think it might help resurrect those memories for me. :) I"m definitely going to give it a try.

1:57 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Beth, if you get a chance, Carlos Castaneda wrote about the datura in one of his many books and I think it was called "The Eagle's Gift" in which he talked about drinking a tea made from the Datura. Each part of the plant would take you to a different realm. If I remember correctly, he had to drink a tea made from the roots. It is highly narcotic and dangerous but at the same time...magical. In Mexico, I grow the large double yellow datura (as opposed to brugmansias where the flowers point down) but the ones I love the most are the large white flowered ones. The smell is wonderful on a hot summer evening.

3:44 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

teri, it is a true to life peppermint plant smell. It's not like peppermint oil but sap, stems, leaves, and roots. MMMM. I bet you will love it.

3:45 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kelley, what a nice evocation of gardening with your grandmother. My husband's grandmother ran a plant nursery, and he has enduring impressions from that as well. I keep wondering what plant clubs you belonged to, besides chrysanthemum (I assume). We just moved out of a town that was full of plant clubs. We belonged to two geranium ones, and still belong to the international version of it.

4:38 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

maria b...we belonged to the Chrisanthemum club (which is no longer around) and the Orchid Society. I had to quit the Tulsa Orchid Society when I moved out of the country. At one point, I had over 500 orchids in my house! Granted, a lot of them were baby orchids but still...that's excessive. I took a few of them with me but it would take years to get my collection back up to those numbers. I have to admit that I was my grandmother's favorite, probably because we both love plants. I am lucky in that she is still alive and I am having lunch with her on Thursday!

6:32 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Tom, how is it that I didn't see your response until after midnight? Yes, Harissa is a must try. I don't own it because my sample is large and enough for me to test whenever I feel the need. I mentioned before that this isn't an everyday scent for me because it's odd, however, it might be for someone else.

1:17 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmmmm.... Harisssa. Mmmmmmm.... mint.

That's all.

2:20 AM EDT  
Blogger StyleSpy said...

Harissa is one of my very favorite perfumes and I've always felt that it didn't get enough love. It cools me in the summer and warms me in the winter, it's fresh and exuberant and absolutely nothing else smells anything like it. Lovelovelovelovelove.

3:11 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh man...I love the Harissa. I'm torn between wanting to wear it every day and dreading the inevitable empty bottle.

If Gail S. is still following this post, she can buy a sample on - that's where I got mine.

10:02 AM EDT  

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