The short film that the Brothers Quay made to promote the new Comme des Garçons fragrance, Wonderwood, opens with the words "Someone who loved wood more than words can say...", and Comme des Garçons describes the fragrance as a "positive overdose of woods, woody notes and synthetic wood construction (wood gone mad)". They're not kidding. Have they not yet made the fragrance that screamed WOOD loud enough to suit you? Then do try Wonderwood.
Wonderwood was developed by perfumer Antoine Lie, and it includes all the wood notes a wood freak could ask for, plus some spices to liven things up: Madagascan pepper, bergamot, incense, nutmeg, cristalon (a floral fruity note with rosy, plum and apple nuances), cashmeran, gaiacwood, cedar, caraway, javanol (sandalwood), sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli and oudh. What is smells like, mostly, is — you guessed it — wood: deep, dense wood, charred but not quite smoky. The early stages are peppery, and there's a faint swirl of incense, and it all feels a bit raw and rough around the edges. Later, it's smoother and more intense, and it smells like all of the woods listed and then some — surely there is some pine? — with some earthy patchouli underneath. It's mostly dry but not bone-dry, and it's undoubtedly more masculine than feminine.
Wonderwood is not really the loudest of the loud woods. Yves Saint Laurent M7 is (or was; I have not smelled it lately and it may have been reformulated) louder, and so are some of the Montale oudhs, and undoubtedly other things that aren't coming to mind at the moment (do comment and name your loudest wood fragrance). But it certainly gives other wood-focused fragrances a run for their money. It lasts all day and then some: if you put it on first thing in the morning and then take a shower in the late afternoon, it will still be there come dinner time. It might well make a wonderful layering fragrance, but then again it might well eat up anything lighter.
I enjoyed wearing Wonderwood. It's well done and exactly what the ad copy says it is. Still, the little "buy" node in my brain did not light up. After a few days of wearing it, I held a little wood-fest and wore it next to some (admittedly somewhat random) wood favorites: Comme des Garçons' Monocle Scent One: Hinoki (harsh in a good way), Serge Lutens Santal Blanc (my bestest pencil shavings fragrance), Tom Ford Private Blend Oud Wood (oudh without the blunt force trauma) and Gucci Pour Homme (Kevin aptly pegs it as tranquil and dignified). Yep, I still love wood, I just don't love Wonderwood. But if you love wood, it's very much worth a try.
Comme des Garçons Wonderwood is available in 50 ($95) and 100 ($125) ml Eau de Parfum; for buying information, see the listing for Comme des Garçons under Perfume Houses.
I hate the shape of the bottle. Hate.
That’s their standard bottle and I’ve always liked in the travel sizes, but less so in the larger sizes (it’s hard to hold, for one thing).
Regarding the bottle, it always intrigued me…. everybody describes it as “pebble shaped”.
Just two weeks ago, I was visiting a friend’s house and his mother (who has traveled the world and is a collector of quirky things) has, on the coffe table among many other rarities, a chinese ink wooden box that has EXACTLY the same shape as the CdG bottles.
Its this kind of solid chinese ink that comes with a stone to dilute with water, and usually a couple of brushes too.
So I guess that THAT is where they got the inspiration for the bottles, from chinese lacquered boxes resembling pebbles!
How interesting! Bet you’re right. Now I’m trying to remember which CdG was inspired by ink…it was either #1 or #2…
Yes, #2 (which I love more every time I smell it).
What an interesting inspiration for the bottles, Kaos, thanks for sharing that. I’ve always thought they were interesting, but now can appreciate them a bit more. But now what I really want is one of those wooden ink boxes!
That is a great revelation! I want one of the wooden boxes 2
Thanks for this hilarious and informative review. I am well stocked in woods loud, soft, and middling–Montales, CDG Sequoia and Palisander, Tumulte, and all the other spicy incensey ones like Black Cashmere. I clearly need to try this at least once. And Gucci Pour Homme…!
You know, CdG has done so many wood fragrances — they may have just done more than I need at this point? I used to say they ought to do a wood series, but now I think what they really need is a floral series.
Oooh, yes please! And would love to see them do it in their own weird way, but with the materials still intact. No irony please, like those strange doll frags.
Those dolls were freaky!!!
That does sound kind of good, but might be staid for them to do soliflores? There’s Rose & Carnation… I love their series concepts mostly. Always interesting.
Well, they wouldn’t *have* to be staid, right? You can have fun with flowers. Or something. I just think maybe they’ve overdone the wood angle at this point.
Robin…I am TOTALLY with you on this one. Totally!
Then we both save $, LOL…although I still want a bottle of Hinoki.
well sort of…I purchased a decant! HA!
Rats! I ignored that split! and now I’m kicking myself!!!
YSL M7 is loud? I don’t know, but I’m guessing it had been reformulated then. Because M7 is my favorite soft, silky wood scent.
It used to start out pretty darned loud — to me. So either it’s been reformulated, or we just have a different idea of loud
I don’t know what it says about me that an ambivalent review sets the lemmings a runnin’, but they are. I can only figure that this is what is going on in my brain: I was just thinking how much I would love a fragrance that smelled like the Firewood candle by Henri Bendel, and I think this sounds close enough that I’ve convinced myself it will be my dream burning woods fragrance. My bank account says it hopes I’m wrong, but I still really want to try it.
I don’t think you’ll find it smoky enough to smell like the Firewood candle (which to me smells just like my house is burning down) but of course it is worth a shot!
I’m not really big on smoky scents, but there are those days when SL Fumerie Turque is just soooooooooo nice. Kitty, I’d recommend you sample that. However, I’m never interested in things like CBIHP Burning Leaves and so forth; that’s a little too much char and ash for me.
You should try Sonoma Scent Studio’s Fireside Intense or perhaps her regular Fireside, tho I haven’t tried that one. Fireside Intense is very much a wood fire scent. I love it alone, or for layering. I’ve heard that the plain ole Fireside is, well, a little less intense, and a little more sweet than Fireside Intense. Oh, it also doesn’t have the bit of leather you get in Fireside Intense. Think wearing a nice, broken-in leather jacket while standing in front of an autumn fire.
Good call, I should have thought of that!
I have a sample of one of those at home– I need to try it again. I remember there was something about it that I didn’t like, but maybe the other one would work for me. I really love SSS. Which reminds me, I keep meaning to get bottles of Lieu de Reves and Champagne du Bois.
I think the site is down for bottle orders at the moment, while Laurie deals with some health issues (tendinosis in her wrists?), but you can order sample sizes now. I want a 5ml of CdB… looks like I’ll have to wait on that. Which can only be good for my character…
Link to her blog where she explains the temporary shutdown:
Yes — I panicked a bit the other day when I went to place an order for Tabac Aurea and the CdB, and was relieved to find it’s temporary (whew!). Hoping Laurie’s better soon… Those new sprayer samples are nice in the meantime!
Has anyone tried Crabtree & Evelyn’s Hearth room scent? I picked this up a couple of years ago in the oil form. It smells like a wood burning fire place with hints of vanilla and spices – luckily it’s not overly sweet. I love this during the Winter. I haven’t seen it lately offered on their online store but evil bay has it. I wish they would release it again.
Isn’t it funny how our perceptions can differ. I tried this recently and to me it mostly smelled of woodsy, peppery, vetiver (no bad thing since I’m not a huge fan of WOOD fragrances). I got some pencil shavings (cedar?) in the dry down but it wasn’t the hardcore wood I was expecting/fearing. I found it quite transparent and pretty unisex too.
Not a must have for me either, though.
Definitely cedary, but yeah, I did not get as much vetiver as you did.
I haven’t seen anyone else mention it so I’m wondering if there’s another note which that I’m perceiving as vetiver because I’m not familiar with it or some such reason.
I have been really curious about this fragrance and I’m glad you reviewed it Robin! I would like to sample this, but I have a feeling that my $$$ will still be going for a FB of Santal Blanc for a lovely wood scent [one of these days that is].
I wear Santal Blanc more than I thought I would when I bought it…definitely worth owning.
Okay, wood sounds great, what about some tires? …just kidding.
Love their scents, but as always they are pretty bad accessible and expensive.
Is Woody Allen interested in doing an endorsement?
am i the only one who thinks this smells too much like the original CdG?
only I didn’t like Wonderwood as much.
They definitely have some similarities…I like CdG 1 better too though.
I love the “buy node” concept!
Woman walks into the Fragrance Department, is latched onto by zealous SA hoping to make a sale … SA sprays, she sniffs, then says “It’s very nice, but it just doesn’t trigger my buy node” and exits. SA wonders “Is that a fancy word for wallet? Maybe it’s a disease?”
You have just given me an insanely burning desire to try that phrase out the next time I go to a Belk’s (I live in an area where they are the *only* something-resembling-upscale department store), although I’m thinking of trying out the phrasing “activate my buy node”.
LOL…I think it *is* both a disease and a fancy term for a wallet!
I have to agree about the disease part.
Hmmm…M7 is not woody to my nose at all. CdG is a daring house in my book, and daring is good. thanks for the helpful review, can’t wait to try this.
D Squared has gotten my attention with wood. Though synthetic, I find He Wood to be a delight: woody and masculine. He Wood Driftwood and He Wood Rocky Mountain Wood are my current faves. Other woods I find are too unwearable. I have to program my mond not to reach for the fire extinguisher when rocking Gucci Pour Homme. With He Wood it feels natural and ready to wear, like pop-culture. Synthetic as it may be it is befitting.
Edit: He Wood Ocean Wet Wood NOT Driftwood
A woodchuck could chuck wood?
That’s dangerous territory…what if the woodchuck met an oudchuck…would the woodchuck chuck wood and the oudchuck chuck oud or would the oudchuck chuck wood and the woodchuck chuck oud…and what if they were a boychuck and a girlchuck and they liked each other and had baby chucks; would they be woudchucks or oodchucks…A slippery slope…
*nailed it *
We are opposites: to me, M7 is woody as can be, and He Wood is barely wood at all
I had high hopes for this, so much so that I was thinking of buying a decant of this, but I’m now thinking I’ll go invest some money in a bottle of Aromatics Elixir (which smells strangely lighter than I remember it being). Thanks for the review!
Aromatics Elixir is probably a comparative bargain, too.
I’m looking forward to trying this one. I love woody fragrances, and I see we share two favourites: Hinoki and Gucci pour Homme.
Some days ago I tried Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles. I had high hopes on it but somehow I felt a little disappointed. I didn’t like the opening at all (too masculine to my nose, and a bizarre note similar to licorice), but the incense in the drydown was quite nice.
I thought Fille was just ok — not dull, but not anything I needed to own a bottle of. This one I like better, but still don’t feel the need to own it.
it’s just too…smooth, I think. Every wood facet blended so well together that nothing stands out, in the end I lost interest. It’s nice enough, very friendly, but I want more teeth from CdG. Why not let a meteorite crash land into all this wood, ala the Stephen Jones scent?
That might be it: too smooth, also to me somehow too blunt.
The Stephen Jones was so perfect! I want a bottle of that too.
Cdg x Stephen Jones is amazing!!
Meteorite and wood, like warm and cold might be really interesting.
Thanks for the review Robin! I am very curious to smell this- wood is a favorite (me loves SSS Fireside/ Chene). hoping I will agree with you and not need to buy
I love Fireside & Chene too. Chene actually has turned out to be another that I’ve worn more than I thought I would…wonderful scent.
Mmmm- Chene. If I ever make it to Paris- I hope to get a bell jar…
I have a decant of this coming (couldn’t resist at 25% off Beautyhabit price), but I think many woods are starting to feel way too “dry” for me. Same with many incenses (including CdG & Heeley Cardinal). Still, they’re great to have in the arsenal when nothing else will do. I’m looking forward to receiving and trying this.
I’m wondering if this feels similar to CdG + H&M or Dover Street Market — or are those much more pine/evergreen in feeling? (Did we ever determine if they’re in fact the same scent?)
My favorite wood by far (though not the loudest at all) is Micallef Gaiac; I’d consider that my holy grail wood scent. I love some Montale Ouds, but my favorite, Black, is as much about rose as about oud.
Thanks again for a very timely review!
Will be curious to hear if it’s too dry for you then. I don’t think it’s as dry as the Heeley.
H+M & Dover Street Market are VERY similar…they are fresher & lighter than this, not so “dense” wood, more conventionally unisex too.
Yes, a CdeG Jasmine would be interesting!
I love the CdG 2 (not the MAN version) and 888 but their recent collaborations were a bit too edgy for my nose. I love the way CdG can build a bridge between mainstream and niche, not many perfumehouses master this art. In my opinion Wonderwood is wonderfully wearable to work, it stands out but it’s not too in-your-face. It may not be too “woody” (I love M7) but maybe that is just why it is called Wonderwood . Maybe by analogy with Wonderbra, where the contents is also not exactly what the name suggests
Agree about a bridge between mainstream and niche. I sometimes go for the edgy ones, but also nice that they’re not always predictable.