Comme des Garcons Daphne

Daphne GuinnessHello, darlings!   As you know, there are some fragrances of which one whiff is enough to make you want to vomit (EldO’s Secretions Magnifique springs immediately to mind.)  There are other fragrances that are, in some way, reminiscent of actual vomit.  (Oh, look, it must be March posting today…) For me, as many of you know, one such fragrance is the ubiquitous Angel, which is redolent of the smell of upchuck after your kid’s eaten a little too much of the Easter Basket.  I think that choco-vanilla-patch combo is one of the most disgusting smells ever concocted by a legit perfumer, and Angel’s vast popularity continues to baffle me.  (Angel lovers, don’t bother flaming me.  Look, I love Light Blue.  And Dior Addict.  Obviously I have no taste at all.)

Another category of sick-making fragrances is typified by the spice-market scents, and I happen to be quite fond of those.  Those of you who aren’t fond of them really, really hate them – they are, I suppose, The Souk Threw Up On Me.  Get Melissa started on Laura Mercier’s fall LE, Minuit Enchante, which she found anything but enchanting.  She couldn’t get that thing off her fast enough, although, unfortunately, Minuit Enchante isn’t in any hurry to leave.  It would be a fantastic/terrible scrubber.  I bought a bottle.  I looooove eeeeet.   I love that screechy agarwood at the bottom, and all those yummy spices at the top.  Everyone stayed far, far away from it at my perfume party.  Melissa probably begged them not to touch it.

Daphne, the new fragrance by Daphne Guinness (who I am pretty sure is an heir to the Guinness fortune, yes?) was done by Antoine Lie for Comme des Garcons. Notes are bitter orange, incense, saffron, Centifolia rose, Tunisian jasmine, tuberose, iris, patchouli, aoud, amber and vanilla.  It is decidedly in the spice-market category, where there is no such thing as Too Much (and correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s sort of the impression I get of ol’ Daphne.)  At $150 for 50 ml it is expensive-ish, but since you’re not talking about real money any more until you hit $250, I guess it’s not ridiculously priced.  Also, is it just me, or does reading someone described as a “muse” make your eyes roll back in your head reflexively?

Melissa gave me her sample vial, with her blessings and strict orders never to spray it anywhere near her again.

Two sprays of Daphne is probably one spray too much, this thing is huge.  And for the first thirty minutes, it’s nothing but love – it reminded me quite a bit of Bal a Versailles, the parfum, overlayed with something containing even more candied sweetness.  I thought it was kind of a riot, although – WARNING – then I went through a ten-minute phase in there of almost total anosmia, but it’s there, people!  Please, for the love of God and other humans, don’t reapply!  I was in touch with Daphne then, I was digging her, I was feeling her hippy-dippy Morocco vibe.  I was sort of channeling that other heiress who used to swan around Marrakesh all the time in her fabulous caftans … Talitha Getty?

mr yuckAnd then things started to come apart, and then turn ugly, in a way that was fascinating but I can’t quite bear to repeat.  Daphne got bigger and bigger and bigger, like a Macy’s parade float, while at the same time it stretched and stretched until all the interesting bits – the candied part, the bitter orange, a great leather-glove note, the white florals that gave it some lift – fell away, and I was left being slowly strangled by this web of terrible, bedizened bitterness – saffrochouloud, I guess, all sour and raspy and hateful and strange. It was expensive and awful, like those evening dresses at Neiman Marcus that look like they’ve been attacked by a psychopath armed with a BeDazzler.  Daphne combines the subtlety of Liberace with the warmth of Darth Vader.  It is oversized and grim and have I mentioned bitter?

Which is weird, because I swear, hasn’t everyone been complaining about how the sweetness was killing them?  Like the unbearable gagging sweetness of those giant faux party-balloon dog sculptures by (crazy-like-a-fox) Jeff Koons?  Man, I hate those things.  And those sliced up cows and sharks in formaldehyde by that other wanker  – and good luck unloading those pieces of dreck in the current art market, suckas!  But where was I?  (Sorry, we switched over to the modern art screed channel briefly).

So.  Good news: I killed off all the sweetness in Daphne.  Bad news:  I was left with the blanket of bitter tears of saffron, patch and oud that forced me to come home, scrub my arms with Liquid Dawn and change my sweater while trying not to breathe through my nose.  After which I applied a healing, head-clearing balm of Annick Goutal Mandragore.  (And later: Gucci Rush, my adorable new mini!  It dribbles just the right amount, no overspray.  See, I told you I had no taste!)

Any of the rest of you tried this thing?  How do you feel about spice-heavy scents?  Isn’t Malle’s Noir Epices the most fabulous thing you ever smelled?  (hehehe)  Go ahead, ’tis the season, hate on it.   Or tell me your favorites, what if I’ve missed one?  I love DSH’s a lot, by the way — Cimabue, Mahjoun, Sienna…

image: Daphne Guinness, British Vogue, March 2008

126 Comments
Katie Puckrik December 29, 2009

Oh March, "The Souk Threw Up on Me" describes my perfume preferences to a T! Thank you for shining this light on my Eddie Spaghetti fragrance collection. I now know who I am: the Queen of Sheba. I loved reading your visceral reaction to Daphne. And I'd like to step out from this anti-Daphne mob you've whipped up to declare that I think it smells absolutely beautiful on me - and for all the reasons you hate it. Yes, it is inconsistent, and big, and bitter, but I think the bitterness gives it mystique and rescues it from being too sweet. The bigness works in the dry desert climate I live in, but the inconsistency does give me a little trouble. On me, Daphne goes through a phase where the florals smell stale and frumpy. But the incense rallies me 'round, and I'm on board the crazy train once again. When I reviewed Daphne last month, I was conflicted, but I love it more every time I try it. I don't wear Fracas, so it kind of fills that candied-tuberose Fracas hole for me!

Flora December 17, 2009

I am a little slow I guess - i just realized last night that I have samples of BOTH Daphne and LM Minuit Enchante - a very good friend included them in a recent swap. So I slapped both of 'em on to see what happened. 1. LOVE Minuit Enchante - very soft and woody on me, not too heavy at all. Will wear again soon! 2. Daphne - ARGH! Okay, it goes on smelling very expensive and luxe, and I think I like it, and then, in a few minutes - I am wearing this high-end perfume but I am ALSO sitting in the back of a filthy taxicab that has a fake pine tree air freshener dangling from the rear view mirror, and somebody did a poor job of cleaning up the barf that some drunk guy deposited on the cheap vinyl seat the night before. So here I am, wearing perfectly lovely perfume, and HOLDING MY NOSE SHUT. That's Daphne for me! :o

mariekel December 16, 2009

Ah, how I love spicy 'fumes! But I must admit that my adoration is not shared by some of my friends, one of whom nearly ousted me from her car when I wore Noir Epices last. My absolute fave in this category is the uniquely fabulous Nuit au Desert by Victorie Gobin-Daude (when IS she making that comeback, dammit??). But i will definitely go for anything containing black pepper, saffron, coriander or ginger. And i LOVE oud. DG has been on my must try list for a while now... On a side note, I went to university in England with a Guinness heiress. She was actually boringly normal. Maybe the madness skips the occasional scion.

Lee December 16, 2009

Enough about the perfume, I want more modern art kvetching. Fwiw I loathe Koons more than Hirst, but they're both languishing in one of my inner circles of hell. And I like Noir Epices but it goes to plastic on me. Arabie is in my top 3 of all time forever and ever amen. But it's Patchouli 24 that I'm wearing all the time right now and it ain't even spicy. Kisses at you, to you and with you,

Disteza December 16, 2009

"I was left with the blanket of bitter tears of saffron, patch and oud." OK, now I want to try it. As the girl who rocks Arabie in July and de-skanks Bal a Versailles, I feel it is my duty to give this a whirl. Perhaps D. Guiness has some crazy skinchemistry a la Estee Lauder and this IS what took to make something that smelled good on her. Or maybe it's just the perfume version of 'fashionable' resurgence of harem [email protected])

Samantha December 16, 2009

"The subtlety of Liberace with the warmth of Darth Vader." It's official...you're my hero, March!!

Francesca December 16, 2009

Isn't it interesting how we can talk about how some of us love stuff and others of us hate the same stuff and nobody goes all crazy like people responding to "Perfumes: the Guide" as though LT and TS said, "OMG, all your children look like troglodytes!"?:-?

Musette December 16, 2009

I'm running off to meet Mistress Shelley @ Barn's. Well have to try this, just for giggles - but maybe just on a strip? My latest :o was Delrae Mythique. At first spritz it was LOVELOVELOVE! Then something really jam-ooky started....then it got really schweeeeeet. Then I got sick. Worse yet to come: in a hurry, grabbed the wrong decant, thinking it was Cartier VI. It wasn't. I was stuck with Mythique all day long. And like so many Haters, it stayed for dinner. xoxoox >-) ps. HEEE-LARIOUS review!

kathleen December 16, 2009

I've worn Daphne, nobody ran. When the bitter orange blast wears off, I get a lot of iris. Then it goes all warm. Keeping in mind, when I wear Miel de Bois, everyone wants a sniff, so go figure. I am a strange one, this is clear...

DJ December 16, 2009

nearly. fell. off. my. chair. fantastic review. I will probably skip Daphne, unless I come across it randomly and vaguely sniff the bottle. Noir de Epices. Well, I loved it, and it didn't love me. My chemistry turns it into something like a cold sweat smell. Ew. :(

Flor December 16, 2009

"Daphne combines the subtlety of Liberace with the warmth of Darth Vader." Perfect sound bite. ;)

Catherine December 16, 2009

"And those sliced up cows and sharks in formaldehyde by that other wanker – and good luck unloading those pieces of dreck in the current art market, suckas" Blowing you a kiss, March--He/that art IS such a wanker. I haven't tested Daphne. The price alone... But you've reminded me how very much I'd like to have a sample of Malle's Noire Epices again. For some reason, I think I'm finally about to like it.

Momlady December 16, 2009

Ah, the barf note. I thought it was just me. It seems like it's in almost every new perfume being released..'course that part really could be just me...if it has 'vanilla' or 'musk'..on me it's barf. I don't recall patchouli or oud as being bitter...in fact patchouli has a tendency to go sweet on me. Thank God something does! But you've got me scared with the big bitter weirdness. Saffron? And what about the screechy oud? I my experience Oud can be a lot of things..big, loud, penetrating...but screechy...in what way? I get screechy from just about every floral that can make it past the first 5 minutes on my skin. I have to admit you have piqued my curiosity but, I should probably stay away from this one. Now the Minuit Enchante, hmmm...that one might work...providing the flowers deon't stage a nasty revolt.:-\"

mals86 December 16, 2009

Only March would combine Liberace, Vader, vomit, and Macy's parade floats in one post, and I say that with admiration. I am the ORIGINAL Opium-and-all-its-nasty-little-clones hater, but it's not the spices in there that bug me, it's the resin. I tried Minuit Enchantee a few weeks ago, and thought it was lovely. I don't need a full bottle, since it's so potent and long-lasting, and also since I bought Alahine for my Christmas present from The CEO :d , but I'd love a decant. (I was visiting my brother that day, and he jerked his head away from my wrist as if I'd slapped him, and asked what I'd done "to tick off the sales assistant.") I think Daphne'd suffocate me. Haven't sniffed Noir Epices yet, but am hoping to scare up a sample sometime soon. (Oh, Joe... Joe, you on here?) Mahjoun was tooooo sweeeeet. Love Organza Indecence and Mauboussin, and wish that SSS Sienna Musk had just a bit more spice.

Kristy Victoria December 16, 2009

Something about this one had me at first sight - I'm a huge CdG fan (have bottles of CdG 2, Vettiveru and Stephen Jones) and an even huger Daphne Guinness fan. So, when I finally got the chance to try it at the party, I was in loooove. Contemplating buying a FB love. It's a little out of my price range, sadly, but I still want it. ;)

chayaruchama December 16, 2009

OK, babies- This is Dab City, not Spritz City. It is a kitchen sink scent. I love it, it sings blithely for me...but I'd never have guessed that, in a million years . I love Dawn's stuff;this is far less subtle [DUH ! D'OH !]:d BTW, I've missed you all- Sometimes, the sheer numbers of comments COW me :o

Silviafunkly December 16, 2009

I probably won't like it, but I masochistically want to try this, if nothing for my education. Thankfully I doubt it will be as ubiquitous as horrid Angel. I will be thinking of your hilarious review as I sniff ! I LOVE :x spices: cumin, cardamom, clove, cinnamon, saffron... bring them on. My only request is that I don't end up making me smell like I dipped my wrist in curry, like Santal de Mysore does. Love El Attarine, Epic, Kindgdom, Malabah, XII L'Heure Mysterieuse, Rose Kashmirie just to name a few spicy beauties.

Rappleyea December 16, 2009

March, even if I never wore perfume, your reviews would be great reading just for the snark and general hilarity! :d Someone with more aroma-chemical knowledge than I can chime in, but I'm wondering if what makes scents blow up like Topsy (OY) is too much iso E super? Your description of what happens to this thing sounds just like what I've read about that chemical.

hilary December 16, 2009

I like spices in theory (love Minuit!) but the ones I hate, I really really hate. Noir Epices is an all-time scrubber, as is Le Maroc pour Elle, the sample of which I am never touching again. I think I can give Daphne a miss. =)

Louise December 16, 2009

So, um, you didn't like it??? :o On me, Daphne went on strong, then ran its paces quickly to the horrendous upchuck drydown. But I think it's not a complicated proposition-the stuff simply reeks (sorry to any fans). I did feel it was either sloppily concocted, or a bad joke. Hey, you want another samp? =)) I am a total spice freak-remember, I wear Spezie de Medici in the summer? Souk Nocturne, CdG Original, AL Madeleine and Kretek, many DSH, and my fav cheapie, V'Tae Sacred fire. The more the merrier...but poor Daphe, she doesn't even qualify to fit into this category. BTW-Noir Epice is horrible on me-turns to a rotten flesh scent rather fast, and of course is tenacious as heck >:) Sad, because this one does seem well constructed.

Eva December 16, 2009

Oh March what a great post!!!!! I tried Daphne last week and for a moment I got all nostalgic remembering Bal AV and what a stunner it was when I first discovered it years ago, but then Daphne dragged me back to the present day and took over the entire shopping mall that I was in. I had to run screaming home and remove a few layers of skin :o Yikes I LOVED those Indian shops - one drop of Patch oil would last a decade or so.

Fiordiligi December 16, 2009

This is such a brilliantly hilarious review March! Thanks so much. Ms Guinness is indeed a member of the Guinness family and is also bonkers. She is Diana Mitford (Moseley)'s granddaughter so comes from a long line of bonkers people. Now, I have been given a sample of this decoction but have yet to try it. It is all taped up and it sounds like that might be the best way for it to stay.....but really, I have to try it, don't I? Angel is indeed horrific but I agree with air that l'Eau d'Issey (and all its calone-laden cronies) is the most disgusting scent imaginable. It makes me retch just to type it - ughhhhhh. And hey, I remember Indian shops too - those bedspreads! The beads! The cheesecloth dresses!

air December 16, 2009

Dior Addict is a wonderfull chypre in my opinion, so no bad taste at all about that ;) I am really curious for the Daphne perfume. Talking a out disgusting perfumes There isone more: Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey Whenever I detect it on someone I almost puke!!!!! The strage thing is that the ones wearing it disgust other better quality perfumes:-w I quess there is a misanderstanding in what is fresh or just sour......

Masha December 16, 2009

I think Amouage does spice nicely, and wow, they really know how to blend heavy notes into something just stunning. I'm thinking Epic! And Lyric is just gorgeous, not too heavy. And I'm jonesing for some Tribute!

carter December 16, 2009

I am dying to try Daphne. I wasn't before, but I am now. Bring it >:/

Ninara Poll December 16, 2009

Are any of us sure this scent isn't supposed to be an artistic statement rather than a wearable scent, or some sort of incredibly cruel joke? Maybe someone was congested/somewhat anosmic/senile the day this was mixed or tested and wasn't able to properly, fully smell the final product, only parts of it, and thought what he/she smelled was ok? Maybe an improper or bad ingredient was put into the final product by mistake? Maybe someone thought of a list of notes that sounded like they'd smell ok together but failed to test the product? I ask all of this because Daphne *sounds* ok, if a bit overdone, when reading the notes, but if the reality of it is that horrendous... *shudder* Look on the brights side, at least it doesn't have pink pepper, melon, aquatic/ozone notes, "crystal musk", or "sensual woods" ;)

Francesca December 16, 2009

I like some of those spicy scents, and I feel like I liked Noir Epices, but I also am not sure that's what I'm thinking of. No, I tell a lie, I was given some and I like very much. Arabie was waay to much for me to wear, but I might like it on some fabulously sexy man who would sweep me off to the casbah. Oh, and "the souk threw up on me"? =)):)>- I think I may have just put too many emoticons in there, but what the heck, right ? Oh, and what to wear to the departmental Christmas party tomorrow? Stick with the Idole de Lubin that's been my best pal for the past couple of weeks ?

Annelie December 16, 2009

I tried Daphne earlier this fall and it was a strange experience. There was that wonderful creamy, smoth, slightly spicy floral smell all covered with used frying oil. Is it absolutly sure that Daphne isn´t also the heir to the McDonald´s fortune? Otherwise I usually like spicy-heavy...

Elizabeth December 16, 2009

Spices=good. I do love Noir Epices and Ambre Sultan. I have a small decant of Mahjoun that I have sniffed but never wanted to spray on me because it scared me with its gourmandiness(?). Maybe I should try it before bed, which is the only time I ever can abide gourmand scents. Oh, and thanks for killing my Daphne curiosity, in a most entertaining and final way.

QuinnCreative December 16, 2009

If I can't tell it's March in the first three sentences, it's not March writing. You and The Muse used to go smoke Marlboros behind the gym, didn't you? Daphne is a bad, bad girl. She is not a muse or even amusing. She is the bitch who puts tabasco on your toothbrush and lets it dry and then you brush your teeth. She is the one who hides Durian fruit in your car and another in your lunchbox. My guilty pleasure? Arabie. All winter long.

Melissa December 16, 2009

I was wondering when you would get around to reviewing Daphne! All I had to do was touch the little sample wand to the back of my hand and I knew that I had to.... give it to you! Really, I don't hate all spice scents. Serge does the spice market so beautifully, as does Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. But something about these powerhouse florientals with rose, jasmine, tuberose, incense, AMBER, <:-p VANILLA, <:-p and various woods or patchouli make me want to scrub my own skin off. One teensy dab of Daphne was enough for me and one spray of Minuit nearly got me banished from my father's house. The second it hit my skin at Nordstrom, I knew I was in trouble. I scrubbed with everything within reach (Mercier Cleansing Oil followed by nail polish remover and various other concoctions) then drove out to see dear dad. He greeted me with a look of sheer disgust and muttered/growled something about "horrible perfume". Not that he cares for many fragrances, but Minuit provoked one of his more dramatic reactions. :-l

Flora December 16, 2009

I had a feeling this one would be exactly this way! RE: DSH, I adore Mahjoun beyond words, and Cimabue in the oil is divine, and of course I love SL things like Arabie - but something tells me that too much stuff got thrown into Daphne that has no business being in a perfume. When I read the notes,all I could think of was wretched excess, heavy on the wretched. :(

Tara December 16, 2009

March you hit right! Daphne was a total scubber...I tried it at Barney's and WOW it was bad, but not immediately. At first it was nice, but then everytime I smelled my arm, I'd get this wonderful tuberose-ish smell, but then something really vile a second later. It was awful and huge..Really!! I was on the subway going home and was hoping that my fellow riders did not associate that vile smell with me. It was embarassing and disappointing because I usually enjoy CdG perfumes!

Divalano December 16, 2009

Ahahaha I love when I can tell by the 2nd line that oh look, it must be March posting! Ditto re muse, although I'd love to have one of my own. Just saying. I like spice, to a point. Must be cold out. Souk Nocturne, Poivre Piquant now & then (tho I hate the drydown), the reform of Organza Indecence has a cinnamon punch for the first half hour on me. Ambre Narguile when I'm in the mood. The one that does me in tho is Arabie. Once a year or so on the most bitter day in Feb it's heaven, the rest of the time it's a potpourri in an Indian spice shop .... trick is finding that one day & pouncing. A sample should last me through the next millennium.

Patty December 16, 2009

BeDazzler? I had no idea anyone could ever work that into a post about perfume. You are the master, my friend. No, no Daphne for me. Everything I read about it terrifies me in a way that only Lola has until now.

Tiara December 16, 2009

What a hilarious review. Luckily I put down my hot cocoa before I scalded myself! Certainly appreciate the warning - don't think Daphne and I will be sharing space any time soon.

Robin December 16, 2009

Um, two sprays of Daphne is two sprays too much. A little dab'll do ya, in fact, it really seems to me it ought to be sold with a calibrated dropper instead of a spray nozzle. Angie loves it though!

dissed December 16, 2009

We may not share the same taste in perfume, but I'm no fool -- I'm not getting near that stuff. No, no, nuh-uh.