Phaedon – Coton Egyptien



I spent days trying to write
the perfect letter for you.

I wrote and scratched out
words. I crumpled paper
until my floor started to think
it was a cotton field,
and I thought of inviting you
to come pick through it,

to see if you could find
the softness I was trying
to tell you about

but I was too afraid
your fingers would wear raw
on the bolls, that you would grow
tired of stooping
to pick up the things I’d grown
in my head

so I put an empty envelope
in your mailbox, and wrote

Love me, please,

on the outside,

– Gabriel Gadfly

“I wrote and scratched out words”

I’ve been wondering for some time what to write about Coton Egyptien by Phaedon. Did I love Coton Egyptien? Well, yes and no.

Coton Egyptien opens with the sheerest, most delicate galbanum and freshly cut grass. It is to perfumer Pierre Guillaume‘s credit that he has managed to achieve such a soft, gentle opening using a note that usually comes across as sharp and spiky. Does it smell like cotton sheets? Perhaps not exactly, but Coton Egyptien conjures images of clean white sheets hung to dry in an open field.

“I thought of inviting you to come pick through it”

Coton Egyptien‘s beautiful opening doesn’t last for long, unfortunately. As it progresses into its heart, clean florals take over. The orange blossom, lily of the valley and jasmine blend together in a mildly sweet blend that is difficult to describe in any way other than “pleasant”. It’s not particularly interesting, but then again, neither are cotton sheets.

“you would grow tired”

As we reach the drydown, Coton Egyptien becomes a sheer (I seem to be describing the whole development of Coton Egyptien as sheer! Well it’s true!) white musk that’s rather non-descript. Although this makes it remain true to its theme of sheets, it comes across less as luxurious egyptian cotton than it does the cheap sheets one can get from IKEA.

“Love me, please, on the outside, instead.”

Ultimately, Coton Egyptien works best for me in its opening movement. Even then, the rest of the fragrance makes sense in that they are all related to the idea of ‘cotton’. Do I love it? Perhaps not entirely, but I’ll wear it on a warm spring day when anything else would be too heavy.

[Review based on my own bottle, purchased from Bloom Perfumery, London. Coton Egyptien has unfortunately been discontinued. It is being replaced by Lentisque, a reformulation of Coton Egyptien that smells more floral but does away with the lovely galbanum opening.]

~ The Smelly Vagabond

6 thoughts on “Phaedon – Coton Egyptien

  1. That sounds like a comfort fragrance for special occasions (like those that involve hangovers). While it may not be reached for often, it’s a good thing to have in one’s collection. I’d like to try it but I’m scared because the commercial cotton fragrances (BBW et al) have all been nauseating to me.

    • Hi Nancy,

      I don’t think you have anything to fear from Coton Egyptien. It doesn’t smell like anything vaguely resembling laundry detergent, nor is it nauseating or stifling in any way. The best way to describe this would be ‘comfortable’.

  2. I haven’t tried a thing from Phaedon but I know they just changed the look of their bottles and introduced some new scents. I got interested in the two called Hesperys and Antigua, shot them a message if they have any samples available for reviewing, still waiting for a reply.

    • Hi Lukasz,

      I hope you get those samples! I usually find it too much of a hassle to email companies requesting for samples (unless they are far too expensive!), so I just buy them or hunt them down slowly. You are right in saying that they’ve changed the look of their bottles. The new bottle design arguably looks more streamlined and sleek than the old one. You might want to check out Dzhari as well, it’s a fig-based gourmand.

      • I try to reach to companies that I cannot find in my country. It doesn’t cost me anything and if they agree to send I don’t have to spend money to buy these samples.
        Anything with fig is usually a “no” for me 😉

  3. Reblogged this on The Smelly Vagabond and commented:

    It’s been averaging a scorching 28 degrees celsius here in Paris – my face and arms are red from sunburn (forgot the sunscreen, and I can’t tan; I just burn and peel) and I’m constantly craving cold water. At times like this I wish I had a fragrance with me that has a ‘cooling effect’ – this reminded me of Coton Egyptien even as I sit in my Parisian hotel room typing out other things for the blog while my travel buddy snores loudly as he sleeps soundly in bed. I’m also craving good poems, so share them with me if you’ve recently come across any!

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