Part of the reason may stem from an unfortunate chain of olfactory associations. Green notes aren’t miles away from the slightly sulphurous aspects of grapefruit and vetivert, ingredients which, for some reason, induce gut-churning revulsion in several people. But I wonder if the real cause runs deeper. There’s something about the nature of galbanum - the pre-eminent green material - that is downright frightening. It appears to bring about such an opening of the senses - a trippy feeling of experiencing one’s surroundings in super-detailed, panoramic audio-visuals - that it begins to make you think you’re seeing not only your physical space with heightened clarity, but also your temporal geography. The past and the future appear alongside the present like tangible entities. And that is pretty scary.
It is this chrono-bending quality that Alexis Dadier exploits to the full in Cedarwood, which sees him using galbanum, pipe tobacco, pine, cedar of course, and a strange, mist-enveloped vanilla to tell a story that’s as rooted in childhood tales of Hansel & Gretel as it is in more adult expressions of virility and in visions of a mysterious, white-surfaced world just on the brink of tomorrow. In short, it is a beautiful, layered, compelling piece of work, and although I suspect it’ll join the ranks of the unjustly unpopular greens of perfumery, I hope Ostens follow Chanel’s lead and never stop making it.
[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Ostens in 2018.]