Time to get Cozé

It’s raining outside as I type – that fine misty rain that causes aches in all the wrong places. It’s replaced the snow. Roll on spring, baby.

I don’t buy many perfumes any more. In fact, I don’t even test that many. Of our shared list of the best of 2009 here at the Posse (I didn’t exactly pull my finger out to contribute, knowing little of the territory…), I’ve tried precisely one out of the twenty four or so mentioned. Ouch. Isn’t it time someone disbarred me from contributing?

It’s not that I like, admire, or love smells any less. It’s just somehow my puppy energy is now being sent out on errands to other obsessive ports of call, still wagging its tail, nose moist, eyes eager. Instead of trying and buying new things, I’ve been ploughing through my three boxes of decants, and methodically considering if there’s anything there that might become fbw.

Front runners – long term, have been l’Artisan’s Timbuktu and Parfumerie Generale’s Cozé. They have some connections – both strike me as strong on patchouli and vetiver, and are exotic enough to say, ‘hey, I’m different’, without being wacky enough to say ‘bring on the gimp outfit’. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, if it’s your bag, my beloved kinky reader.

Long story short – I received a 100ml bottle of Cozé from Les Senteurs last week. Let me make this clear – I paid for it; it was no gift. And yes, you got that right – 100mls.

See, there’s something about Cozé that has haunted me ever since I first smelled it, back in 2005 or something. It’s clearly the sum of its parts. You get all the ingredients exactly defined – the vetiver and patchouli already mentioned, the triumvirate gourmand thrum of chocolate (dry, dust, dark – think 85-90% cocoa solids), coffee ( a hint on the breath of a secret lover, if you’ll pardon my silly whimsy) and vanilla (but not in overkill or plastic doll head sense – it never dominates), peppery wood and spice facets, and that ever-present allusion to hemp/cannabis/ganja/weed/draw – at times a touch of ashtray, other moments a hint of the great green outdoors – all leading to a strangely surprising earthy, rather than oriental, effect.

But it isn’t the ingredients that haunt me. Like all brilliant scents, it’s their interplay. This is Pierre Guillaume’s best work (imho, naturellement) and I’ll tell you why. You can intellectualise this scent into the sum of its parts if you want to, and the whole smell of the thing isn’t diminished by it. Wearing it, however, you realise that each element weaves impressively in and out of the others, shifting the shape of the smell each time you catch a waft of it, and never settling on a fixed form. I love mutability in scent, and though the earthiness dominates throughout its wearing, though the heart of this perfume is a hippie (even if he’s more dedicated to cleanliness and hiking than covering up stank with headshop oils), this wonder tells you that you can be whoever you want, godammit, and that whoever smells bloody wonderful. Isn’t that what great perfume is all about?

As for Timbuktu – I need to decide whether I need another green earthy oriental in my life.

If you’ve never smelled Cozé, I can help you out. Three samples to people chosen at random from the comments below. And oh, if you have a shapeshifter you want to nominate as top notch, spiffing, da bes’, please do so!

  • tsuzumi says:

    I hope I can get in the drawing! (assuming you would be willing to try to get it to me in Tokyo) I have never seen this house in Japan, so it might be a first!


  • Laura M says:

    Just catching up on my blog reading! Please enter me for for the Coze sample draw, if it’s not too late, Lee. Thanks!

  • zeezee says:

    I’ve never tried Cozé, but you’ve definitely piqued my interest. Dark chocolate + patch *should* usually are my nemesis notes, but there are exceptions: Borneo 18whatsit for one. How would you compare the two?
    Re: mutability in scent – my latest in that department is Mona di Orio Jabu. I swear it has catnip as one of the more esoteric notes.

    • Lee says:

      It’s very different to Borneo though they do share a dry quality, they’re also both a little leftfield, and have a ‘raspy’ effect to them. I’d say Coze is a little more rugged in character than the suave Borneo.

      You’re in.

  • mariekel says:

    I have been wondering about this one, lately, as I am now on something of a coffee kick in fragrance. Please sign me up for the drawing if it is not too late!

  • zeram1 says:

    I like some of the other PG’s that I’ve tried. Can you please enter me in the drawing as well?

  • Elizabeth says:

    Hope I’m not too late to enter the drawing…I love Timbuktu and it is very close right now to being my all-time fave. I also love Annick Goutal Heure Exquise, and on my skin, there are a lot of similarities between the two. The HE is slightly sweeter and more romantic but they both send me to a higher plane of existence. 😡

  • Geordan1244 says:

    “Wearing it, however, you realise that each element weaves impressively in and out of the others, shifting the shape of the smell each time you catch a waft of it, and never settling on a fixed form.”

    Wow. This almost has me buying, unsniffed (but I know better). I love the development of a quality fragrance, but this sounds like a haunting dream, moving from scene to transparent scene, never settling on one definite image…gotta try it.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

  • dremybluz says:

    sounds like a great fragrance. please add me to the draw. thanks

  • March says:

    Wow! So glad this fragrance is making you happy (and thanks for disclosing its ORIGIN.) 😉 I hope your weather has improved a bit.

  • annie says:

    Oh,lee always so good to hear from you!….please count me in,as I’m ready to snort something wonderful….the older I get,the fewer frags excite me,,but I now have several I LOVE;always a good thing…please fill us in on your dear dog,and (in season)your gardens…smooches:x:x:x

  • hongkongmom says:

    totally sold…good job lee:d

  • elizablue says:

    This sounds like a dream! Lately I’ve been wearing vintage Cabochard edt and it turns all warm and smoky in the drydown, and scents my sweaters and gets me sniffs from people around (fine with that if they’re cute–;)I also put on a spray I make myself with patchouli as an ingredient…I use that as a base coat to “dirty-hippy” up my other scents–but it’s very subtle and not heavy-handed. Kiss My Face makes a great patchouli body lotion for layering as an alternative. And I love me a minute dab of Alamut…really strong at first, mellows into pure comfort and cosy rich bohemian cashmere scarves and kohl eyeliner, and free-flowing hair and ethnic earrings and incense…*sniffs wrist lovingly* Those are my 2 current girls– I want to try this–please enter me–it may be my soulmate! Or souljuice,actually (:

  • Lisa D says:

    Would love to sample the Coze. I’ve been very impressed with some of the Parfumerie Generale scents I’ve tried, like L’oiseau de Nuit.

  • nozknoz says:

    Coze was one of my few non-vintage FBs last year. Like KG, I had sniffed Coromandel and Borneo 1834, too, but Coze was the one – and now that you’ve articulated it, I know it’s that clean, hiking hippie vibe that I loved. (Although I also agree with Disteza that this is what the Devil would smell like when he asks you to dance under the pale moon light.) Thanks for the timely review, Lee!

  • HemlockSillage says:

    Lee, I love your posts! From gardens and vegetables to darling pets to shapeshifter scents, I look forward to your posts. I’d love to try Coze. . .and hope I’ll luck out in your drawing.

    I’m under perfume embargo. There’s a fellow perfumista sponsor, and I’m bound to purchase no perfume, no samples until 3/2010. After then, I’m bound to a strict budget and four FB purchases for the year, maximum. 2009 was wonderfully fragrant, but I need to reign in the mania. It’s been a motivation to pull out my bowl of samples and explore the ones I already have. So many wonderful things to smell. It has been no punishment at all so far. Best wishes to you for a fragrant new year, with hopes for an early spring for you and your garden.

    • Lee says:

      Thank you. Sometimes an embargo can only be A. GOOD. THING. I think. 😕

      Of course you’re in.

  • Joe says:

    Hi Lee: Glad to hear you’re out from under that blanket of white. It’s set to rain buckets here in California for the next week, so I’ll be busting out the Timbuktu & Voleur de Roses & other cozies.

    I’d love to try this PG; it sounds so unusual that it’s hard to tell if it’ll be likeable.

    Stay dry and warm.

    • Lee says:

      Will do – finally managed to get all my tulips planted so no excuses to be out in the cold rain now…

      You’re in.

  • Cat says:

    Would love to be one of the three lucky pups chosen! :d

  • janh says:

    Sounds so worth a try. It’s 72 F here, tho. AZ

  • Tara C says:

    Oh don’t feel bad Winifreida, I was like you the first year too! 🙂 The furor does die down after a while, and you don’t feel so compelled to smell and buy everything that smells nice. I’m down to purchasing only a few bottles a year now, and not sampling much at all. Decants are good. 8-|

  • Winifreida says:

    Thank goodness there is someone like me out there! I’ve probably only got about 100 bottles…BUT I bought them all in the last year!!!
    And I nearly gave up sampling before Christmas…and if I had, I would not have discovered Attrape-Couer and the stunning Isabeys.
    But I am rationalising a bit, getting more decants instead of FBs, forcing myself to use up samples instead of just getting more and more.

  • Cecilia says:

    I’d love to be included too! Your description put it right up my alley…

  • gautami says:

    I love Timbuktu! I like Vetiver and Patchouli combo, so would like a chance to try this one.

  • Shelley says:

    Always love finding you here, Lee. I think it’s tough to not let yourself have a refractory period…tough not to have one whether or not you “let” yourself! Besides, good fragrances deserve a monogamous relationship, at least for a while. :”>

    But, on to shape shifters…love ’em…it’s interesting how some perfumes are straight linear progression on that, and others have a kind of back-and-forth-in-and-out weaving going on. On the intellectual side, I sometimes wonder how much of that is the scent, and how much is us. On the other side…I just love the ride. :d

    I just got some PG samps, because I adore a couple of others so much. So, leave me out of the draw, but be sure to let me catch your Coze-y waft if our paths ever cross…

  • helenviolette says:

    I have not had the pleasure of smelling this (and a lot of the 2009 releases)- I too have been focusing on what is already mine 😉 Do enter me in the draw!

  • T-Rex says:

    Oh, please add me to the draw!!!! I love Timbuktu, and if this is anything like it, I want to try it.

  • Erica says:

    Oh wow, that sounds amazing! I don’t normally like “foody” notes, but you have me convinced that this isn’t overly gourmand, and it sounds like just my thing. Please enter me!

  • Jessica says:

    Please enter me into the drawing as well! Another puppy, who has been working my way through the scents in the Perfumed Court 101/201 sets 🙂

  • Claudia says:

    Didn’t PG do Aomassai too? That’s another comfort scent I liked. Now I think I need to compare that to Coze. Please enter me in the draw too!

    • Lee says:

      They did. And we had some silly joke about the name here, back in the past. I have more mixed feelings about Aomassai – it has a butt-crack accord for me!;)

  • Tara C says:

    So nice to see your post Lee! Love to read your thoughts, no matter the subject.

    Coze was the very first PG scent I tried and I loved it immediately. It is comforting without being overly gourmand. I also love Timbuktu and consider it to be a staple in my (very large) collection. I too have slowed way down on sampling new releases and perfumes in general. With 500+ bottles I plan to just enjoy what I have for a long time. I’ve gotten past the initial rush of having to smell and acquire everything. Now it’s all about appreciating the gems in my collection. No need to enter me in the drawing!

    • Lee says:

      Thanks Tara. I’d like to know your favourites in that collection – are there some you simply MUST wear every month?

      • Tara C says:

        The favorites change occasionally, but in general I would say that the most frequently worn are Chinatown, Tobacco Vanille, Encens Flamboyant, Incense Extreme, Timbuktu, L’Air de Rien, Attrape-Coeur, Labdanum 18, and most recently, Vanitas and Fille en Aiguilles.

    • Winifreida says:

      Tara I replied to you but it went on the end…

  • Connie says:

    Oh my, you had me at “a hint on the breath of a secret lover …” Now I need to find one, secret or otherwise would do, sigh. 🙂

    I love your way with words, Lee. If it is not too late I would love to be in the draw, Thank you!

  • Cheryl says:

    Thanks for your description, it will make me appreciate this even more. I have a full bottle that I bought mainly because it reminded me of a now discontinued aveda scent I used to own. There was something about “it” that I absolutely crave. I find the scent very handsome and well-structured.
    I just had to share this — just now as my 5 year old is getting ready to go to school, she suggested her Dad wear one of her own perfumes (she made it herself with toothpaste and soap water)…and put it on with a PAINTBRUSH. She says that’s the way to put on perfume!

    • Margot says:

      I have a 5 year old in my life who is similarly imaginative AND hilarious. Your clever little perfumista sounds adorable!

    • Lee says:

      It *is* a cravey scent.

      Your daughter is clever and fun and wonderful.

  • Nina Z. says:

    I think I speak for a lot of us when I say that I love reading your thoughts about fragrances you already have because, frankly, I haven’t smelled that many myself yet. So I’d be delighted if you kept on writing about what’s in your sample stash (and what you decide to buy or not)! Oh, and I’d love to be included in the draw for a sample of your newest….

  • Disteza says:

    Don’t enter me in the draw–I’ve already got the FB of this. This is defintely my favorite ‘fume from Parfumerie Generale; I’ve always thought it smelled like what the devil would wear out on a date! It’s definitely one of the less ‘safe’ perfumes, but I’ve worn it to the office, dinner, out dancing, and loved it. Oh, and it smells dead sexy on most guys too. @};-

  • maidenbliss says:

    Count this ol’ hippie in! ‘a hint on the breath of a secret lover’ does it for me. Mutability is always a treasure…

  • Musette says:

    Wow. Evocative post, as always. I don’t think it’s just bloggers who are exhausted and leaning towards their overflowing stashes of samps and decants. I’m certainly no blogger and I’m fatigued beyond all get-out with the trying of new scents (though every once in awhile someone piques my interest with a description).

    Onda would be my shifter as well – that is one weird/wonderful scent.

    Coze doesn’t sound quite up my alley – I definitely am not a lover of chocolate or vanilla in my scents (except for Shalimar Extrait) – but DON”T YOU DARE consider saying sayonara as a contributor to this blog! It doesn’t always have to be about perfume, and you know it! Your posts are delightful and I look forward to them – don’t make me come over there and glue your hands to the keyboard, aiiight?:-w

    xoxoxo your devoted >-)

    • Lee says:

      It’s a long way from gourmand though somehow, A. More outdoorsy than milkshakey.

      Thanks, schnooks…:x

  • Maha says:

    I love vetiver and have many of vetiver fragrances. And a lot of PG samples. Somehow I missed Cose in my research. I will be glad to try it so please enter me in the drawing.

    • Lee says:

      That’s because it isn’t a vetiver fragrance – my bad for being misguiding. But you’re in!

      • Maha says:

        Anyway it sounds interesting. I like hole PG line and Timbuktu is my very first niche perfume purchased last year since you compared them. I feel that I can love Cose.

  • Nava says:

    No need to enter me in the draw; I just wanted to tell you that I looooooooove Coze. I agree about it being one of the best PG compositions. I only had my mitts on a 50 ml bottle, which I used up ages ago. I think it’s time to reintroduce myself to Nasrin at the Perfume Shoppe in Vancouver to see if she still has some of this.

    Thanks for reminding me about this one, Lee. I was pretty obsessed with PG when the scents arrived in the US a few years ago. 😡

  • DJ says:

    Please enter me in the drawing 🙂

  • Kirsten says:

    Hi Lee,

    I’ve missed your Friday posts, nice to have you back x

    I love the way Sycomore (on me anyway) goes from sweet nuttyness to rooty vetiver to tobacco smoke then creamy, pine log-fire smoke, and back round again.

    I’d love to try Coze, sounds just what we need for this miserable weather.


  • Ines says:

    I just tried Cadjmere the other day and realized I remembered it completely different and never before saw so much development in it. I have to convince my boyfriend to wear it more often. 🙂
    Please, enter me for the draw.

  • Nancy N says:

    I love vetiver and clean hiking hippies. Please enter me in the draw.

  • Olfacta says:

    Makes me salivate. I did try a great shape-shifter the other day — but I can’t remember what it was. I did have an interesting longevity experience with (quite vintage) Joy perfume yesterday. 18 hours in, I was in a sauna, and began to notice the most delicious scent. It turned out to be a tuberose, but one that was playing in much lower register than any of the modern tuberoses I’ve smelled. I’m not sure if that was the extreme heat or the old-style flower essence.

    Like you, I’m turning my attention to the 200 or so samples I’ve accumulated over the past year and a half. However, I did order some the other day — one must keep up, I guess.

    We have crawled out of the refrigerator here in the sunny southeastern US — that is to say, we’ve finally surpassed the freeze mark in the afternoons. However, our pond is still icy. Spring will be so welcome this year.

    • Lee says:

      I’m glad it’s warmed up a little for you there. How’s the shoulder?

      I also ordered some samples – yesterday, after writing this post. Funny, eh?

  • Rappleyea says:

    Great review Lee. I’ve never smelled even one PG, and you’ve certainly created a lemming here with your descriptive words. My favorite shapeshifter is the brilliant Spiritueuse Double Vanille – sometimes vanilla, sometimes wood, sometimes tobacco and sometimes the rose, but always beautiful.

  • carlene says:

    Please enter me in the drawing, or just smear some of that on an envelope and send it to me, for I am that clean, hiking hippy you speak of! (also, I usually smell like coffee, but it’s often only because I’ve spilled)

  • london says:

    I went to a talk by Pierre Guillaume at Les Senteurs and he had volunteers from the audience (not me so I can’t vouch for it personally) spray their wrists and then lick their wrists and then smell again. He did it himself as well. No-one died. At least not at the talk! But they said it enhanced the smell in interesting ways. I should hasten to add before anyone thinks this is a great idea in general that they only did it with this one. Perhaps it has a particularly high concentration of edible oils.

    PS I don’t need to be entered into the drawing.

    • Lee says:

      Hmmm… interesting. Maybe I’ll try that, though I’m not a fan of licking. Well, there’s a time and a place for it, but public licking. Hmm…

      Geez, I sound like the counsellor in Glee…

  • vicuna1 says:

    I think we are to have a temp high of 40F today with sun—makes a girl want to break out the skirts and sandals again!

    My first thought for a shape shifter scent was also Onda as well as Kiki, but I also get a bit with Amaranthine. Would love to have an opportunity to try Coze. Thank you!

    • Lee says:

      Sunbathing weather???

      You’re in, of course!

      • Winifreida says:

        OOOH you Northern hemisphere people are such a HOOT!
        Lee I hope you got a few David Austins in this season. Talk about scented roses…”Jude The Obscure” is the most glorious thing, it said on the label ‘myrrh scented’…not only is it myrrrh scented, it does well in my warm climate!
        Parfum Generale quickly became one of my favorites houses during my year of perfume enlightenment.
        No need to enter me, even tho’ Coze is one of the few I have not sampled, the postage is too traumatic….am in recovery mode after getting my first smashed bottle last week…I think they dropped it on the tarmac and drove a couple of Airbuses over it.

  • Abyss says:

    Heh, as soon as I read the opening “It’s raining outside as I type – that fine misty rain that causes aches in all the wrong places. It’s replaced the snow.” I thought it must be someone from UK posting.

    I’m yet to decide to on the SOTD to go with the miserable weather but this sounds very interesting. I’d love to try it.

  • Lee, like Louise, no need to include me in the draw, I have a large sample of Cozé… When I asked Pierre Guillaume which of his fragrances he felt was most representative of his style, that’s the name he gave. I even think it’s the first one he composed (or launched).
    Louise brings up Onda and I feel that both scents have got that elusive, can’t-buy-for-money quality: a soul.

    Now about the delving into favorites rather than going out to test the new stuff… I’m getting that sort of early 2010 vibe from a few of us bloggers; there seems to be some sort of turning point. Novelty fatigue?

  • Louise says:

    I adore Coze’-no need for a samp, thanks, there’s one hiding around here somewhere.

    Shapeshifters and hide-and-seeks are a favorite category of fragrance. Onda is my primary shapeshifter-from leathery to rooty to soft powder. I wonder if vetiver generally dances this way, since your two scents are both vetiverish?

    I love my hide-and-seekers, too. These generally go on lightish, then pop their heads up during the day to say hey. Vanille Galante, Rose Praline, and Lanvin Pretexte play this sweet trick on me.

    Tom can have the wagging tail. I’m made happy thinking of your eager eyes 😡

  • hvs says:

    sounds nice. I’d like to try it. comfort scents at the moment are honey based. shapeshifter of choice would have to be vampire. wait – was that what you meant?

  • Alica says:

    I would like to try it, please enter me in the drawing! Thanks!!

  • Annelie says:

    I tried Cozé maybe 2 years ago, but it didn´t do anything for me then. I get it together with at least 5-6 other PG samples and some of them become favorites of mine, but now I kind of think that I´ve missed something out with Cozé… so please enter me in the draw so I can smell if I get it better this time. 🙂

  • Margot says:

    It would be such a treat to try Coze! Sounds quite interesting.
    That shape shifting quality is intriguing, and I’m curious to read tomorrow’s comments to see which scents will be suggested.
    Thanks for the drawing, Lee!

  • Eric says:

    I’ve like everything I’ve sampled of PG and have added to my God Willing-I’ll-Buy-Bottles-of-These List Cuir d’Iris, which is so nice.

    Anyway, would love to win a sample. Thank you for the giveaway, regardless of results!

  • Sara K says:

    Would love to try this – it sounds like it combines a lot of smells I really enjoy.

  • chasa says:

    I need to follow your lead and take a break from the buying as well…I’ve got so many samples that haven’t been attended to properly in the quest for “new.” So, I think I’ll do just that, right after I enter the sample draw for Coze :d

  • tmp00 says:

    Don’t need to be in the draw since I can smell Coze whenever I want (and it is all that). I just had to pop in to get all Humbert Humbert over the image of you wagging your tail.. :d

  • lemonprint says:

    Ooo oo, oo ooo ooo! Hope I win! That sounds yummy, and I’ve never smelled Cozé. (I am having a tough time even imagining vetiver and patchouli together! Though of course as soon as I say that someone else will point out that it’s like the top combination in 20 perfumes that came out last year…)

    Love those notes. Hopeful about the draw!

    • Lee says:

      Well, the vetiver isn’t listed in the official notes, and it isn’t very strongly there, but I swear I can spot it!

      You’re in.

  • Datura5750 says:

    I would love to try this!

  • Kim Blevins says:

    would love to be one of the lucky 3 to try Coze. :d/

  • Janet says:

    Kevin- I have missed your writing. I will pardon your whimsy whenever I an get it.

    Coze sound interesting, please enter me in the draw.

  • KG says:

    I’m currently searching for the perfect comfort scent…I thought it might be Borneo 1834 or Coromandel, but no…I would love to try Coze!

  • AnnieA says:

    While I seem to be at the puppy stage myself, it sounds great to have a couple of favourite scents to roll around in (if you don’t mind the extended canine analogy). One friend took about three years to find a perfume she liked, and that’s it for her.