Monday, May 12, 2014

Parfumerie Generale Coze

I've had a complicated relationship with Coze from the very beginning. Numbered 02, it's one of the very first perfumes Pierre Guillaume released in his Parfumerie Generale line. It smelled good. It smelled really really good. But I suspected that Coze also made me smell like a smoker. It was the combination of tobacco and hemp oil, and I just could not get over that. In addition, the lively and peppy spices hovering just above the smoke residue kept reminding me of the way my mother smelled more than twenty years ago when she was still a smoker (in her case it was a mix of smoke and her Chloe, but the effect was oddly similar).

But even when wearing Coze felt uncomfortable, I could still appreciate the artistry: the modern take on an almost vintage theme, the way Pierre Guillaume uses gourmand notes to create something new and wonderful, and the elegant opulence of the composition. Which is why I've almost always had a sample or a small decant of Coze within reach and I'd spend a few hours in its presence every once in a while. On good skin chemistry days it was nothing short of glorious in its warm chocolate-pepper hug over luxurious wood notes. On bad days there was the smoker's coat again. It was when the good days significantly outnumbered the bad ones that I added Coze to my wishlist.

I bought my bottle in Italy, and it's a good story that I'll tell you at another time. I'm so glad I did. Coze envelops me in a tweedy embrace, not quite sweet but promising delicacies. It's a woody fragrance more than anything else, and the wood smells expensive the way perfumes twice its price do not manage to present themselves. It's not quite a lavish sitting room and not exactly a gentleman's den-- more like a whiff of both caught in the coat and scarf of a man or a woman who visited briefly but now have an even more interesting place to attend.

Obviously, I completely missed the gender assignment of Coze. Luckyscent places it closer to the masculine end of the spectrum, but as fragrance that made me think of my mother the very first time I smelled it, I didn't get it back then. My mom herself would never wear such a woody perfume, but that's irrelevant. Nowadays, I do see the manly side (Pierre Guillaume himself has a Coze shower gel made exclusively for his personal use, not sold to the public. He smells fantastic). Despite the gourmand leanings, Coze is a surprisingly understated fragrance that exudes refinement. All of us, men and women, could use some of that these days.

Notes: hemp, patchouli, cocoa, pimento, pepper, nutmeg, precious woods, blond tobacco, bourbon vanilla.

Parfumerie Generale Coze ($85, 30ml EDT) is available at Osswald. Luckyscent also carries it in the larger 50ml bottles.

Photo: Wenda Parkinson by Norman Parkinson, 1949.


  1. Love Coze - one of many PGs that make me very happy. Will have to get some out and wear it tonight. Actually wore three PGs this weekend (Felanilla, Bois Blond and Bois Naufrage) after reading your Bluebird post. That post inspired me to go look for a perfume that for years I despaired about never being to have - his Jasmin Predateur. I got two small decants of this scent which he never officially released either because it was created exclusively for a French actress or because the components would have made it prohibitively expensive (heard both stories). What was interesting to me about it was that one of the decants I had was so gorgeous it made me want to weep, but the other, although clearly the same scent, was lovely, but lacked a certain depth and dark note that the other decant had - not sure why they were different, but that small shift in one to something deeper, more complex made all the difference in the world on my skin. Anyway, it was pretty much at the top of my list of scents I would sell my soul for, but when I went to try it after reading your post on Friday, I found that I no longer felt that way. Only had a tiny bit left of the decant I thought was my scent soul mate, but either my tastes or skin chemistry have seriously changed or the scent itself changed (quite possible) and it no longer makes me swoon. Still have a fair sized decant of the other Jasmin Predateur and it definitely isn't even in my top 5 favorite scents of his - a good thing since I can't have it.

  2. Cozé is my favorite patchouli forcefield for the deepest, coldest days of winter. To me, it's very similar to Coromandel (lighter) and Borneo 1834 (heavier) - the same patchouli-cocoa idea - and Cozé the one of the three I like best. I rarely dare to wear it away from home, admittedly, but I'm so glad I have it for winter nights. The PG brand is underrated, I think. nozknoz


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