“Comme des Garcons is a Parisian fashion brand run by Rei Kawakubo, its owner. Rei Kawakubo is avant-garde Japanese fashion designer whose collections demonstrate ‘anti-fashion’ elements. Black is many things. One of those things is a positive number on a balance sheet, the opposite of red…2 MAN’s simmering and incensey opening unfolds into an unusual combination of nutmeg, vetiver and subtle saffron flowers, each one appearing like chapters in a book.”
HOUSE: Comme Des Garçons
FRAGRANCE: Black, Man #2
RELEASED: 2013, 2004
SIZE/COST: 50-100ml / $90-120
Black (78%, Guillaume Flavigny): A sweet and smoky hickory-like vibe fills the air. A promising start. Woody shavings and perky spice blend so well in varying dark shades. This has a licorice note which is not at all prevalent, though it does offer its breathy herbal qualities. The mid is smudgy, blurred, like an ashy aftermath. Though I am attracted to most of the note breakdown here, and a fan of the brand in general, this would not be my go to. Even so, the opening and the closing are worth the price of admission, even if the mid gets lost in translation.That soft sootiness undulates into the dry down where an aromatic yet unidentifiable incense, something of East Asian origins, begins to rise with a bittersweet, meditative character.
Notes: cedarwood, vetiver, leather, liquorice, birch tar, pepperwood, black pepper, incense
Man #2 (89%, Mark Buxton): With some of the previous fragrance notes in Black, this fragrance is quite a departure, almost the polar opposite that drew this unsuspecting duo together (with almost ten years between them). My senses can easily relate to this lighter take on swirling smoky incense (likely olibanum or myrrh). This is just absolutely translucent, glowing from within. The delicate use of Indian spice is stunning. The deep woods are streaky, and tease with ambiguity. The thin greens, like skinny capillaries, taking their own course, from side to side. If you had a granny who had an old wooden crate of keepsakes from her travels, this is like a bursting travelogue of treasures of the past, renewed for modern eyes. I now know why they churned this one into a candle. Burn on!
Notes: incense, white smoke, saffron flowers, nutmeg, vetiver roots, mahogany, leather
Cerrone – Cerrone 3/Supernature (1977, Malligator)