Cyber Garden, a scent of things to come

Close your eyes and imagine a garden in  the future.  A place where modern technology and nature meet in a strange harmony  of plants, metal, plastic  and rubber.  A place of  strange flowers , vivid colours, flashing motherboards and glittering microchips;  where steel-framed structures reach like skyscrapers  into  the night sky, covered in climbing vines and neon light.   A place  engineered by both god and man where modern fairy-tales are set.  Now take a deep breath and imagine what that place would smell like…

This was the inspiration for the  innovative  Italian fashion house, CoSTUME NATIONAL,   when they were creating their second masculine scent, Cyber Garden.     Ennio Campasa   and Antoine Lie were the perfumers responsible for bringing this ambitious vision to life, and ambitious it certainly was. Creating a scent that needed to smell both like a garden (think wet earth, sweet water, lush green leaves and intoxicating floral notes) and man-made technology (think metal, melted plastic and rubber) was never going to be easy.   Another challenge for the creators would be to attempt to destigmatize the notion of a futuristic “synthetic” fragrance.  This is because in the world of perfumery the word “synthetic” often has negative connotations and has come to describe scents that are overbearing, cheap and low in quality.  So how well would a fragrance do if half of its very soul were synthetic?

gardens-by-the bay-banner Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay

The Scent:

The bergamot, grapefruit and green notes in the scent’s opening create something that is  instantly fresh and uplifting.  It is this, along with the addition of moss and geranium which, in my opinion, gives it all the hallmarks of a  traditional, “ferny” fougere,  but  one with a little added extra…  The “cyber” elements of   the fragrance  were cleverly achieved  with the help of violet leaf and vinyl. The  vinyl adds a sweet plastic  note, which instantly reminded me of the smell of many of the plastic toys I had as a child.  This is perfectly accentuated and supported by  the  resinous notes of opoponax and labdanum  which form part of the fragrance’s base.   The violet leaf adds an  aqueous, metallic  note which helps to even out and balance the whole structure.  However, even with the addition of these two  elements, the fragrance is still  more “garden” than it is “cyber”, and not nearly as avant-garde  or polarising  as its concept or ingredients would suggest.  In my opinion, it’s actually a very easy scent to  like; it’s versatile and   can be worn day or night by almost  anyone  (although some may find the vinyl heart of the scent slightly too  sweet).   With regard to sillage and longevity, the scent is a good performer.  It is long lasting and manages to have a moderate to heavy sillage without ever being too overbearing. 

The Verdict:

Concept wise I thought this fragrance was genius and something any modern city dweller could resonate with.   In a world that is hurtling faster than ever into the future, is it not  inevitable  for  nature and technology to merge into a strange, new hybrid? However, with a concept as interesting and adventurous as a futuristic garden, I  expected something a little bit more unconventional and unique than Cyber Garden.  This is not to say that I dislike the scent, I just think that CoSTUME NATIONAL had an opportunity to create something truly groundbreaking and missed it.  The overall result  is a subtle and conservative, melange of green, metallic and plastic notes; it’s good, but not great. However, if you enjoy, fresh fragrances with a bit of a twist, then my suggestion is to definitely give Cyber Garden a try.

Top Notes:

Bergamot, Grapefruit, Pink Pepper, Green Notes  

Middle Notes:

Vinyl, Geranium, Saffron, Violet Leaf  

Base Notes:

Vetiver, Patchouli, Opoponax, Labdanum, Moss