Since 1994, the perfume division of the revolutionary fashion house, Comme des Garçon has established a long running history of pitting items found both in nature and technology against each other to develop some of the most challenging and unique niche fragrances. With their Clash – Series 10 collection released in 2019, the tradition successfully continues with three intriguing options: Chlorophyll Gardenia, Celluloid Galbanum, and my favorite, the punchy yet warming Radish Vetiver.
The clash of these two very different components seems more obvious when you think of each as separate entities, but in collaboration, I would hardly call them opposing forces. They offer very different personalities that probably wouldn’t hang out socially under normal circumstances, but have now found themselves stuck at the same table during a mutual friend’s wedding. After a few awkward silences and a toast or two, they begin to speak, and it becomes clear as to why they were placed together in the first place.
Initially, upon the first few applications, I wasn’t sure if I was placed at the wrong table as well. I’m fond of both on their own but they each offer such unique and strong characteristics I wasn’t convinced they were a suitable match. However, it all started to change once the scent settled throughout the day. Instead of focusing on their individual charms, I started to appreciate their combination. It was a true bond.
I was aware of the sharp, vegetal notes from the radish right from the beginning. It’s very forward and punchy. Even the petroleum-like notes were evident and it reminded me a bit of Fat Electrician by État Libre d’Orange. Nevertheless, the familiar warm, earthy notes from the vetiver started to surround it and tone it down considerably. As you dig deeper, you get the subtle compliments of the cypriol and guaiac wood that bring even more warmth and a bit of smokiness. To me, they soften the harsher radish by adding an almost resinous buffer between the two main ingredients, allowing them to merge rather than collide.
It’s so fun when you can easily detect the main components of a fragrance. You can close your eyes, draw it in, and confidently point them out to yourself. That always feels like a win to me with an industry that tends to embellish and mask their compositions in riddles and prose. I would say that the vetiver notes truly do smell like dried vetiver grass whereas the radish is less specific and smells like fresh vegetables. Regardless, it’s discernible and that’s a pretty remarkable feat.
Clash – Radish Vetiver is only available in the small 30ml bottle but it lasts and covers a lot of ground with only a few spritzes. It lingers on the skin for most of the day as well. Even better, it’s $65 price point makes it a pretty attractive option the next time you’re looking for a new fragrance.