Coromandel is probably the best example of co-creation in modern perfumery. It is simultaneously unmistakably Jaques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake, and however distinct these two styles are, the result never, not for a particle of second, feels crammed or forced. Not a single note is superfluous or out of place. It is a multilayered symphonic piece that, despite its scope and complexity, perfectly follows Michelangelo’s criterion for completeness: there is nothing to take away here.
There’s been often mentioned a certain accord that apparently renders Coromandel “masculine” to some reviewers. While I certainly understand what is being perceived as such, I find it more of a definition of character than gender. Think about practically any Great Feminine of yore; their illustrious “backbone”, that je ne sais quoi which constituted their very essence. In the incessant tidal wave of syrupy little girl offerings, what once meant class and character, came to be read as virility.
At times Coromandel does bear a close kinship to L’Instant de Guerlain Pour Homme and its precursor Caron’s Le 3eme Homme, prominently displaying a sort of muted, fresh herbal cocoa accord. This is especially true on the humid, sweaty dog days of Asian Summer. That kind of weather does make Coromandel fall somewhat flat, I’m afraid. But to say that Coromandel is a mere take on the L’Instant theme would be a gross understatement. It’s always a new story.
I’ve had powdery floral days with Coromandel, très feminine, très Chanel. I’ve had “Borneo”-like days of deep chocolate and leafy patchouli wearing delightfully close to skin. I’ve had days of the most elegant citrus, chic smoky woods and shalimaresque vanilla with a vast yet delicate sillage that made complete strangers turn their heads in awe. Coromandel has me looking impatiently forward to all the other days to come, be it the cool, colorful days of Fall, the crisp, snowy Winter days, or those first days of Spring when cold tentatively gives way to warmth and greenery.
It has all the makings of an icon: infallible, flawless, versatile, strikingly beautiful, and simply a pleasure to be around.