Think about your favourite perfume. It probably smells like something beautiful: jasmine petals, juicy grapefruit or even a well-worn, vintage leather jacket. Our senses are so delicately intertwined that it makes sense for us to love the scent of things that are pleasing to look at (and touch). But what about something ugly? Something stark and grey and hard and cold? That doesn't sound so appealing, does it? I thought so too—until I smelt Comme des Garçons' Concrete (£115).
I know that the best niche perfumes are inspired by the unusual. But I wasn't really expecting to delve into the Byrdie beauty cupboard and find a fragrance inspired by the very thing we pound as we rush to work, or the same thing that domineers the skyline of any city. To the untrained nose, beyond the bitter smell of the pavement in the rain, it's something that doesn't really seem to have a scent at all. But according to Comme des Garçons, it does, and it's a rather incredible scent at that. Keep scrolling to read my verdict.
So what exactly does it smell like? Let me paint a picture for you: First comes a creamy, nutty sandalwood note not too dissimilar to the filling of a Kinder Bueno (in other words, it's delicious). That lingers, but add to it a sprinkling of crushed black peppercorns to give it a little bit of bitterness, which will cut through the sandalwood. Sounding good, right? Well, finish it off with fresh rose oxide. Not the powdery, old-fashioned rose that basically radiated from your grandmother's dressing table. No, it's much fresher, much more understated than that, like a single petal rather than an entire flower.
Have I got your attention yet? The overall effect isn't half as aggressive as you might expect from the name and the concrete-coated bottle (#dressingtablegoals). Yes, it has a dirty edge, but in essence, it's just as fresh and as unisex as the other scents that have earned their place in my collection, and in fact, I've never had so many compliments on my fragrance as since I started wearing this one. You'll love it.
Next up: our guide to finding your fragrance soul mate.