One of the concepts I go back and forth on the most is that of a ‘signature scent.’ It’s lovely to forge a strong connection to a perfume to such an extent that it feels like a part of you. I’ve certaintly gone through phases where I’ve worn a fragrance almost exclusively – Zoologist Nightingale and Amouage Fate Woman come to mind – and absolutely loved every minute.
However, there’s something about variety that’s especially suited to perfume. Perfume suitability changes wildly with weather and occasion. It’s the nature of the nose to slowly erase scents when we’re around them a lot. And perhaps most importantly, we get the most out of a piece of art when its positive qualities pop out amidst contrasting works. Perhaps this is why something like Hinoki, first released in 2008 by Comme des Garcons in conjunction with the fashion magazine Monocle, is so startlingly beautiful in 2021.
Cypress, turpentine, camphor, cedar, thyme, pine, Georgian wood, frankincense, moss and vetiver
Comme des Garcons has always been famous for its focused, nearly minimalist fragrances; it has a whole host of perfumes named simply after their central accords. Hinoki follows in this tradition. Amid the slew of skanky, resinous, spicy, and lush woods scents that seem to dominate hype trains these days, Hinoki steps back to do one thing and do it right.
Named after a slow-growing Japanese cypress tree, Hinoki zones in on its central wood accord so effectively that it’s hard to pick out individual notes. On hikes, I love to crush cypress needles between my fingers and smell them as I walk, and Hinoki takes that scent and builds it out into a complete perfume. The sharpness of cut wood, the slight earthiness of moss, and the rich scent of sap – presented here in a polite, non-sticky fashion by a light frankincense note – create a full impression of being not so much inside a forest as in a wooden pavilion after the rain has drawn the scent out of the beams.
Hinoki is a beautiful perfume that may well be signature-worthy for lovers of wood fragrances. Its rendition of woods is full-bodied without wandering from its central idea, and its polite naturalism would suit most social situations. Even so, there’s something about Hinoki that feels like a retreat. Wear this perfume and you’ll find yourself in a place of calm and simplicity. If that’s the sort of vibe you’d love to give out, you may find yourself wearing it everywhere. Or, you can do what I do and keep it for occasions when you need a moment to breathe. Serenity will always be a spritz away.
You can find a sample or a bottle of Hinoki over at Luckyscent.
The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.
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