When a brand is deciding to make a different concentration version of a previous perfume they can’t just dilute or add more to the existing recipe. That becomes a disaster as the balance necessary for a successful perfume gets thrown off as ingredients get lightened or darkened. A perfumer must identify what it is about the original that makes it what it is. There is a significant effort required as rebalancing takes place. It is painfully evident when it goes poorly. It is just as apparent when it goes well as it does in Costume National Homme Parfum.
This was a doubly difficult effort because the 2009 Costume National Homme EDP is one of my all-time favorites. The original perfumer Dominique Ropion was back to oversee this version. Homme EDP is a cold-weather staple for me. As my sample was making its way to me, I was wary of testing it in the middle of summer. If a lighter concentration was ideal for winter, I expected a parfum to be more so. That turned out not to be so.
The main reason for that is M. Ropion changed the keynote in the top accord and switched out the source of green in the heart. Both are fresher choices which is why this feels so different to me.
It begins with a cardamom heavy top accord with the same grapefruit as before. The cardamom acts as a freshening breeze as it rises in intensity. The grapefruit rides in its slipstream. Cinnamon joins it as this recapitulates much of the opening of the original. I was pleased at the effect of the increased presence of the cardamom. The other improvement is there was an oily interlude in the original after the top accord. That has been removed in Homme Parfum. Now it just moves into a heart of grassy vetiver. This is the other bit of freshening I mentioned. This is that zingy green version of vetiver. Along with it is a fraction of patchouli which delineated the woodiness in vetiver without having it predominate over the greener pieces. The base is the rich sandalwood and labdanum accord I remember from the original.
Homme Parfum has 16-18 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
I wore this on two somewhat warm days. It turned out to be a great choice. I think I’m going to be wearing this in fall and spring quite a lot. Sometimes parfum does not mean denser.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.