7/23/13

Laguna (Salvador Dali/Cofinluxe)




I'm becoming a fan of Mark Buxton. In the autumn of last year I got acquainted with Taxi, and thought it was excellent but hampered by its genre. I recently got my hands on an ounce of Laguna, the infamous 1991 fruity-floral that Buxton crafted for the partnership of The Salvador Dali Foundation and Cofinluxe, and my heart went all a-twitter when it touched my nose. There are times when fragrances generate instant love, and my first wearing of Laguna was one of them. This is fine stuff, the work of a man who takes pride in using cheap materials and alchemically transforming them into pricelessly classy fragrances. It's also historically important: Laguna was one of the first nineties fragrances to embrace the sweet-aquatic theme, employing fruit notes, lily-of-the-valley, and cleverly-disguised dihydromyrcenol to convey a languidly narcotic floral in a fresh, tropical style. The result is something brilliant and original. Nothing else smells quite like it.

The name Laguna refers to any one of several exotic locations (take your pick between Hong Kong, Brazil, Australia, Mexico, the Philippines), but I think it's an alteration of the word Lagoon. A Lagoon is a small body of water adjacent to the sea, with demarcations of coral reefs and small islands. Hearing Laguna transports my imagination to a little white beach, its coastline overflowing with green mosses and colorful flowers that dip their tendrils into sapphire waters. Indeed, the perfume conjures this scene, with a brief but rewardingly realistic pineapple-lemon-coconut accord, followed by a peachy lily, iris, and jasmine heart. The florals are blended, and almost flattened into a slick mess, but an airiness in the structure prevents it from smelling cheap. Then a curious thing: sweet but inedible vanilla and a very quiet sandalwood hold things steady as Laguna dissolves into a cool musk.

There's a milkiness to Laguna's drydown, and at first it seems like a typical oriental-vanilla amber was integrated into the structure, but vanilla is more than a sweet extract - it is also an orchid, with white flowers that yield their own cozy sweetness. I think Buxton replicated the scent of vanilla flowers in Laguna, and by doing so he managed to create an original amber accord that straddles edibility without betraying the promise of all those green top notes. I also get a whiff of tonka and spiced patchouli to round it out, and the dyrdown musk is of the salty variety. Laguna is soft, juicy, a little dewey, a little woody, and entirely wonderful. It's a great way to get exposure to Buxton's early style, perhaps to better understand how it evolved. When my ounce is finished, I'll be replacing it with a larger bottle, that's for sure!






4 comments:

  1. Hi Bryan,

    Please compare and contrast this with the Laguna Homme version. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Kris, I'll do my best. Laguna Homme is not a well-rated fragrance in the blogosphere, and surprisingly Turin counteracted his praise for the feminine version with a scathing one-liner for the masculine. I am in no particular hurry to buy a bottle myself. Seeing as it's an older downmarket brand, it's almost impossible to get a sample, but I will keep a look out. Maybe if I see a great deal on a small bottle of Laguna Homme I'll snatch it up, like I did with this one.

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  2. Cofinluxe and Buxton strike again it seems. How unisex is this? I know you have a more open mind in this regard then most.

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    Replies
    1. It's actually right in line with Joop! Homme in terms of sweetness and woodiness. There's enough prominent sandalwood and unsweetened vanilla that I'm comfortable wearing it, no problem. The most feminine aspect of this fragrance is its very tippy-top notes, which are bright and sweet-fruity, and then about two minutes in there's a rather peachy-plummy note that slides through, but within fifteen minutes the sandalwood and vanilla comprise most of the fragrance, and they do not strike me as being overtly feminine at all. If you can find a one ounce bottle of this for under ten dollars, I say try it.

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