Lately I’ve been on a cedar craving. Basically I know what I want: a more light-hearted and easy-going Feminité du Bois, which I guess is Bois de Violette. Or at least a substitute for the lamented Gucci Rush for men. Trying to avoid buying a bottle of the Lutens and with Rush extinct, I went out blind buying all these scents and spent close to the equivalent of a bell jar. That’s perfume mania I guess! They are not bad at all, ranging from mediocre to delightful but still I guess I won’t avoid getting a bottle of Bois de Violette.
Chopard Noble Cedar is the most underwhelming of the bunch. Noble Synthetic should be its name. A faint cedar-y note smothered in wood polish and vetiver, manages however to be quite passable. It never gets annoying and it has a nice, tactile bottle. No cedar trees were harmed for the creation of this one, definitely! For the price and if one is looking for an understated, classical woody vetiver, it is quite okay. The official notes actually parade through its development but it lacks the characteristic pungency of cedar and yes, this is what I am looking for. Well thought out but probably the production company let the perfumers down.
Notes from Parfumo: Silver birch, Spicy notes, Clary sage, Cedarwood, Labdanum, Vetiver, Frankincense
Notes from my nose: Mahogany, Vetiver, Wood polish
Zara For Him Cedarwood was a very pleasant surprise. I have sprayed several Zara perfumes on me, as many as I managed to before I decided it was hopeless and that I needed an insulin injection, and just as I had come to the conclusion that I don’t do Zara, baby… this lovely little number came along. Granted, it has as much to do with cedar as Zara with Saville Row, but it delivers in other domains. It hits me with a soft chrysanthemum note (after it knocks me down with alcohol) which is green and lemony and slightly soapy. It slowly becomes creamier and a happy lemon wafer note makes me smile. Trying to match the Parfumo notes with my impressions, I guess ginger accounts for the soapiness, sandalwood and lemon create the lemon wafer accord and the rest of the notes are missing in action. I still don’t get where the chryssanthemums come from. Sweetness is unbelievably low for a Zara release and it sits comfortably below my gourmand tolerance levels. Longevity is shorter than the time it takes to read these lines. Overall it makes one wonder if Zara perfumes are finally hitting puberty.
Notes from Parfumo: Ginger, Pink pepper, Lemon, Cardamom, Cedarwood, Frankincense,Sandalwood, Musk
Notes from my nose: Chryssanthemum, Lemon wafers, Soap
Nobile 1942 Cedro Atlas trio hardly classifies as cheap thrill, but getting three 30ml bottles for 90 euro is very close to a bargain and Nobile 1942 is always a safe bet for me. The concept is quite good too: the idea was initially to attract teenagers to niche perfumery. This may sound a bit overambitious but mind you, this is an Italian brand and niche perfumeries in even medium sized Italian cities are almost as abundant as coffee shops. If you’ve ever been to an obscure Italian city you know what I mean. It is perfume afficionado heaven or hell, depending on how fat your wallet is. Italy itself is the home of a myriad of small niche brands, more artisanal than artistic, which makes them all the more lovable. Nobile 1942 is one of those brands. They claim to hand-mix and mature their mixes in the traditional way and they actually hand-write your name on the bottle if you buy directly from them (or at least they did). They came up with the idea of the Corte del Re trios in 2009. Rosa Incantevole for the girls, a rose trio, and Cedro Atlas for the boys. In 2012 they caught up with the gourmand fad with the Le Petit Chocolatier trio. The packaging consists of the three bottles in a lovely Petit Prince-style box which comes with a little book initiating teenagers to perfume appreciation and encouraging them to layer those three scents. The pretentiousness factor is kept low, as per usual for the brand. Since my first encounter with Corte del Re, I have noticed that teenager targeting has been toned down, which is a good thing as these scents have nothing in common with the usual AXE/LYNX-tuned teenager scents. Cedro Atlas I Superhero is bright, citrusy cologne with just enough woodiness to make the cedar in the name relevant. The lemon note is nice and lively however, not the embalmed lemon of Zara, a floral note lurks underneath and the scent is cheerful and inviting. Later however things take an unexpected turn as lemon fades and hidden exotic creaminess pervades. Without actually smelling coconut – that would have been a deal breaker for me – Superhero becomes thicker and creamier and starts smelling of beaches and suntan lotion in the best possible way. In this phase it reminds me of Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Bahiana, an overlooked gem that was the mother of Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess. A hint of coffee keeps everything gender-appropriate for Italian metrosexual teenagers. The moderate sweetness and turn towards gourmand this one takes, probably make it the most easily accessible entry-level niche of the three. It is also the most developing of the three.
Notes from Parfumo: Freesia, Citric notes, Peach, Cinnamon, Atlas cedar, Tonka bean, Vanilla, White musk
Notes from my nose: Green lemons, Jasmine, Suntan lotion, Coffee
Cedro Atlas II Cola actually smells like Coca Cola, or rather one of those Coca Cola wannabees which is not a bad thing because those ones usually have a twist. The twist here is a twist of lemon and a transparency that I would not easily associate with Coca Cola. In fact Cola is the one that features the most prominent cedar note of this bunch. Very close to the kind of cedar I am looking for, sharp and nose-tingling, complimented by the greenish cola note. It has a nice texture and is probably the one easiest to like.
Notes from Parfumo: Orange, Lemon, Cola accord, Lime, Ambergris, White musk
Notes from my nose: Lemon, Coca Cola, Cedar, Green leaves
Cedro Atlas III Robinson is the most baffling of the three because it is a bit sombre and quite mature. Of course Nobile 1942 suggests that this is the one for romantic occasions. Yes, the Italians are so liberal that they encourage their teenagers to be romantic! In order to scent for success, Robinson opens with deep, dark cedar which livens with bergamot and then swiftly mixes with the herbal pungency of rosemary. Dark woods hit harder and a delicate orange blossom explains why this is recommended for romantic occasions. The butchest of the three, this one definitely has a magnetism and references classic masculine scents of the 80’s.
Notes from Parfumo: Bergamot, Mandarin, Lemon, Rosemary, Atlas cedar, Gaiac wood, Musk, Patchouli, Vetiver
Notes from my nose: Cedar, Candied bergamot, Rosemary
I still haven’t found my cedar dream perfume so if you have any suggestions feel free to post them.
I thought Yardley’s Citrus Wood Eau de Toilette to be a nice, cheap cedar.