“How do I make the next perfume masterpiece?”
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