Blog post by Gwen

Blackpepper – unconventional and exceptional and exciting

Image - CdeG Black Pepper -


Sometimes when I sniff a new fragrance, I am uninspired. That doesn’t mean I’ve lost my passion for perfume or that I’ve become cynical; I haven’t. It just feels like there isn’t really anything new or exciting – not in a weird way, but in a great perfume-smelling way.

Which brings to mind a story. My friend Lisa, a perfume addict, and I were sniffing fragrances one evening at her house with a mind to buying one or two. She sprayed something on her wrist that filled the air around her. Then she made a gasping noise and then she made terrible gacking noises. Between breaths, she said, “Don’t ever let me sniff this again.” Of course, in the spirit of scent sisterhood, I felt I should get up close and give it a whiff. I wish I hadn’t. We got rid of most of this scrubber (tip: my favourite way to remove fragrance from my skin is to run a stainless-steel spoon over it. Works for removing garlic and onion smells from your hands, too!), but the memory still haunts us both. In fact, I still suffer from occasional olfactory flashbacks that bring tears to my eyes.

It wasn’t until I smelled Blackpepper by Comme des Garçons that I found what I had been seeking – a unisex fragrance that is unconventional, new and exciting that’s a joy to wear and to smell.

OK, the name, Blackpepper kinda gives a hint as to what it smells like, but this fragrance is so much more than heat. It’s a love affair that will last through the ages…or as long as CdG makes it.

Right off the top, there is a glorious blast of pungent Madagascar pepper. Is it too much? Nearly, but no. The word is that nose Antoine Maisondieu made blackpepper 20% of the formula. But don’t worry, he knows what he’s doing, after all he’s created five other fragrances for CdG, and one of my all-time faves Fat Electrician for Etat Libre d`Orange.

Once the nose-tingling ends, austere, balsamy, cedarwood comes forward, I smell dark, spicy patchouli and resinous, musty oud too. It’s coming from rich, fragrant Akigalawood, a synthetic created at Givaudan that has an odour profile similar to patchouli but with spicy, pepper and agarwood facets. The woods elongate the warmth of the pepper and soften it, creating a gently spicy, smoky glow.

There’s a point about an hour into the fragrance when the woods and spiciness open up and allows a lush, fresh floral note to peek through – such a gorgeous surprise – before Tonka bean appears and sweetens it just enough. Oakmoss at the base grounds the woodiness and adds its own slight sweetness, while a musky accord binds it all together.

For all the pungency it has at the opening, Blackpepper dries down to a beautiful spicy/woody skin scent. Unconventional, exceptional, and so, so very wearable.

Thank you, Blackpepper, for putting me back on the perfume path.

Check out Blackpepper in our Shop.