Some of you may recall that a few weeks ago I went on a bit of an incense binge, ordering a number of mainly incense-dominated samples from Luckyscent.
Among the many I ordered were two from the Comme des Garcons range, Ouarzazate and Kyoto. I'd sprayed these before a number of years ago, but only on paper, and neither was particularly impressive in that form.
Ouarzazate is inspired by the deserts and mountains of Morocco while Kyoto is a nod to incense practices in Japan. Ouarzazate opens with perhaps a quick burst of something citrus then very quickly becomes smoky. This is not a fragrant campfire smoke, but quite clean, smelling more like the vapours released from dying embers than burning wood. There is a smell of stones to me, gently warmed in the sun. I find Ouarzazate a very relaxed, rather slight perfume. It smells good, but in a very understated way. As the fragrance progresses, it becomes linear, smelling slightly more earthy than before and with a hint of sweetness in the dry down. The notes include incense, pepper, nutmeg, clary sage, wenge, musk, vanilla, labdanum and kashmir wood. If I'm not mistaken, wenge has also been used in Timbuktu, by Duchafour, although I think Ouarzazate was created by Mark Buxton.
Kyoto is not a million miles removed from Ouarzazate. It smells less of stone, earth and fire and perhaps more of incense, in a more 'traditional' sense, with perhaps a bit more woody undertone and resin. There is also a slight greenness to Kyoto, for want of a better expression, and it also strikes me as drier and less sweet than Ouarzazate, not that it was sweet itself. As the top notes fade, Kyoto becomes stronger and even becomes slightly bracing, with a pine note. There is something about Kyoto at this point that smells like being in an evergreen forest on a cold day. Like Ouarazate, it is quite linear and simple, encouraging quiet contemplation. Kyoto was created by Duchafour and includes notes of vetiver, patchouli, amber, incense, cypress, coffee, teak wood, cedar and everlasting flower. Despite the notes, it still strikes me as quite a simple (not inferior) perfume.
Overall, I think I like both of these fragrances, although neither moved me quite enough to produce that 'moment', which I'm sure most of you have encountered at some point or other during your perfume journeys. They are both very well executed perfumes and if, like me, you enjoy incense, then I don't think you will mind these very much.
Image credit - http://www.punmiris.com/