Reviews of parfums*PARFUMS Series 6 Synthetic: Tar by Comme des Garçons

I've always assumed I'd like this, but now that I'm finally trying it, I really don't.

The star of the show is that rubber note that that was trendy in avant garde perfumes in the 00's. It's the one from Bulgari Black and SMN Nostalgia - the note they usually listed back then as lapsong souchong tea.

This rubber note is combined with lavender, which gives it an unsettling brightness, and some other sort of ozonic smell that reminds me of the smell of sniffing permanent-ink markers back in grade school.

I usually like weird perfumes like this, but something here is making me queasy. I guess it kind of smells like hot tar, but it's so sweet that it's just creepy. Oh well.
4th February 2021
Metropolis by Fritz Lang 1927
7th January 2019

To my nose this relaunch of "Tar" is nothing more than CdG's "Odeur 71" in a much smaller and more expensive bottle. I don't get any of the true 'black tar' note I got from the original. And while I realize the folks at CdG love to use odd note names like "grilled cigarettes and town gas" (really, what would a GRILLED CIGARETTE smell like? and would you want to smell like one?) but to my way of thinking, if you're going to call a scent "Tar" there should be some whiff of it in there somewhere. ("Garage" actually does have that oily, concrete-ish smell to it that you would associate with a garage.) Don't get me wrong, I LOVE 'Odeur 71' (I always keep a bottle of it and that's how I know it smells exactly like "Tar") so the reason I give this a neutral rating is because it wears much closer to the skin than "Odeur 71" and it's much more expensive. Live and learn.
25th May 2018
I will never get tired of this one, too bad they ditched the original bottle, hope they didn't change the formula either. love it!
27th April 2018
The original formulation of Tar was something that I could never conceivably wear, but something that I would always want to smell. It was just a deliciously foul bottle of hot, freshly paved asphalt. It was a hot, but breathably vivid Los Angeles day. I first smelled this at the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA, which at the time was one of the few easy places you could find CdG and this series in particular. The memory is indelible, like a footprint imprinted into a new road by a firm foot.

Let's hope the rerelease for Olfactory Library adheres just as well.
5th July 2017
An interesting experimentThis is a very interesting and complex scent. It has three stages.First, there is a clean, industrial, plastic-y bright stage. Like a plastic doll, left in the sun. Definitely some tar notes, but not the warm smell of freshly-poured road asphalt, more like well-aged or well-tempered old tar. An old industrial site... whiff of a metal ashtray... yet attractive, interesting and wearable. Not my style but I am intrigued. Then a great pyrogenic/flinty note develops. The reviewer who mentioned "old concrete basement" really captured this. Old, but clean -- not musty or moldy. Thus, this stage is high-concept and well done.The second phase stalls. It gets a bit sweet and tiresome. I wonder if the scent is losing its edgy nerve. It gets dense, like plasticine. Then, a third stage appears! A woody incense! Quite a surprise, given what has gone before. Though, in thinking of the CdG line, that really is their signature or house style. This is very nice and has good longevity.Overall, a very interesting scent. Try it, don't be put off by the synthetic aspect. :coolold:Pros: The synthetic notes work wellCons: Stalls but recovers"
29th September 2013
I like avant garde fragrances, and this doesn't smell bad. Imagine the challenge of making tar wearable. But I don't know where I would wear it. It is linear tar and plastic, not as bad as it sounds. Just not for me.
26th January 2013
Tar is actually much less scary than it may sounds. Yes, it smells of pure asphalt and it is somewhat weird but, as usual with Comme Des Garcons, it results wearable, absolutely unique and very distinctive (assuming you're fine with the typical avant-garde aspect of most of the house's deliveries).

Upon application, Tar delivers an industrial accord of black asphalt juxtaposed to a slightly strident note of bergamot. The overall effect is remarkably modern, sort of urban-industrial in a very artistic way, unconventional yet very compelling. In this phase Tar brings to mind of large clean basements, modern art exhibitions at the Hamburger Banhoff, minimal techno parties taking place in ex-warehouses now turned into alternative clubs, brand new modern buildings, high speed trains, cabs, temporary Guerrilla stores, rainy days, wet asphalt. Tokyo, Berlin, New York...

The fragrance evolves into an amazing styrax driven drydown that while being slightly more approachable than the opening, it's still far from resulting conventional. Insensey, woody with just a hint of sweetness and with the typical synthetic facet that's the house's hallmark. Probably not a fragrance to anyone's taste but, if you're up for something really avant-garde, there's nothing like it.

Once again, when it comes to the binomial "weird and wearable", there's nothing like Comme Des Garcons.

Love it!
3rd May 2012
Since the very first time I heard about this series and especially this one, Tar, it was something I HAD TO try, just because I like eccentric concepts and I do really like some synthetic smells, especially the "new plastic" type of.

It's actually hard to find so I didn't have the chance to try before buy, but it couldn't be a better blind buy, it's exactly what I wanted in a synthetic fragrance.
To my nose, it doesn't really smell like tar, even if I detect this note somewhere, it's more something like freshly made plastic, gas with a touch of "electronic dust" added. The smell itself doesn't evolve so much, but it becomes a bit softer as the time passes, though.
Extreme, unusual, 100% non-natural, I imagine Motoko Kusanagi (from the "Ghost in the Shell" anime movie) wearing this fragrance.

Not sure it's well appreciated by the crowd, but I'm sure it was made for me, I love it !
11th February 2012
Very very nice, and quite similar to Dzing! Also family to Bulgari Black. As I own those two, I guess I don't need Tar. If you like those kinds of scents, though, try Tar - it's cheaper to boot.
21st June 2010
I pretty much like the description of this scent as "a modulation of vetiver into another key". Especially talking about "dry" and "earthy", except that here we're talking about oil, petroleum, coal, asphalt, rubber, almost pungent, very heavy and not aided by any "pleasant" note in whatever sense you may put into this word.For the first one or two hours I almost got headache wearing this. It's like you've put on a brand new cheap plastic/rubber/whatever synthetic raincoat or - to be literal - you're in the center of a renovated street with the asphalt still melting. I don't mind making strange impression or a strong statement to the world around me wearing this, if it wasn't that I myself would get dizzy wearing it. Still, I should add that I'm actually not a big fan of 'earthy' scents in general, if that makes little more sense.Anyway, after this pungent phase some surprisingly wearable synthetic notes come to light, more vynil than tar. They don't have any depth but still, after the initial torture it was a nice surprise to have them. This 'base' is quite resistant on clothes, I would say. Makes your cotton t-shirts smell like rubber boots. It just depends whether you want this effect or not.Speaking of complexity, smells to me like a single note which you cannot divide. I guess that's the concept.It might be a good idea to mix this scent with some floral/fruity/green or whatever more or less "naturally" smelling perfume comes to mind, just to add a bit of alien groove to it. But then, it's pretty much possible that you'll end up with something similar to Bulgari Black. Which leads me to the following description:Remove everything sweet, smokey, vegetal, flowery, profound and complex from Bulgari Black and you'd pretty much have CdG Tar.
5th September 2009
This doesn't smell like tar to me at all; it smells like rubber - specifically, the rubber valve used to blow up flotation toys for the pool. Further in, it begins to smell more like the surface of the flotation toy or a pair of heavy duty grippy rubber work gloves. Either way -- rubber or tar -- I don't want to smell like this. I find it interesting but not bottle-worthy. Longevity and sillage are below average on me (both 2 on a 1-5 scale).
27th November 2008
Probably the most avant-gardish personal fragrance ever created. Very much a borderline case : Is it wearable or not?Well yes it is wearable, but I can`t imagine anyone using this that often, and for sure the application must be very moderate. Otherwise it can be really disturbing.(2-3 sprays is my suggestion)Suprise suprise, this really doesn`t smell like anything else on the market, and I find it quite hard to describe.It smels alot like a mix between suffocating town gas and wonderful smell of fresh asphalt. And believe or not, I get small whiffs of blue cheese(!)Its very earthy, dark and a tad smoky too. I`m sure the burnt styrax is one of the main ingridients here.The drydown reveils suprisingly complex nuances, it even turns a bit sweet in the end.Highly recommended for anyone to try. Find out if its intoxicating or more just toxicating for you.Personally, I find the impact somewhere in between.I love it very much.
15th November 2008
When I was growing up as a kid, I got really really bad headaches and nausea from the smell of roofing tar. Tar, the CdG scent, walks that line between [I]headache inducing[/I] and [I]uniquely interesting[/I] very carefully. Here's the thing: it smells less like that boiling hot tub of smoky tar that roofers use to tack shingles down with - and much more like [U]asphalt[/U]. You know, the smell of a fresh paved road. The drydown (as some others here on BN have mentioned) is a extremely smooth and silky interpretation of a very industrial and synthetic smell. Almost sensuous, I dare say. It is incredibly linear (tar, tar and just more tar). Sniffing your skin up close and your nose is filled with that warm asphalt smell. Comforting, if you will. Smelled from afar, as the scent rises up to meet your nose, the smell is softer, rounded and slightly petrochemical-ish. Think...a toned down 'dried paint' smell. The second time I wore Tar, I intentionally over applied it - to really amplify the 'asphalt' note on my skin. Of course, it worked - but then I got a slight headache (it seems my nose couldn't tell the difference between real tar and Tar!), so I won't do that again.
3rd October 2008
Smells exactly like hot asphalt that just went down. On the skin it smells strangely refreshing after a while. Very similar scent to Le Labo Pathcouli 24 less the vanilla and Lonestar Memories less the leather. There is probably a little patchouli in there along with the birch tar. A little too industrial for my taste but it definitely is not offensive.
24th September 2008
Comme des Garcons Tar comes out of the bottle like the idea of oil-slicked, gasoline-soaked asphalt on a blazing summer day. This is exactly the fragrance you wear to an ex-boyfriend's wedding, or to the In-Laws' house at Christmas. Dark, filthy gruel for the soul. Is to Chanel No. 5 what industrial-strength triple selective herbicide is to your unborn children. Too bad they don't sell this stuff by the gallon, though, as that first heady blast of oil and asphalt disappears in the rear view mirror far too quickly. Oddly sweet and tame at the finish.
22nd May 2008
I just recently completed my collection of the entire Synthetic Series. While I already was a fan of Skai, Dry Clean and Soda, I'd always mentally partitioned off Tar and Garage as "those other two." Basically I liked the concept behind Tar and Garage, but didn't think either would be wearable. That changed today when I wore Tar for the first time. I sprayed some Tar under my shirt and ran some errands (the sprayers on the Synthetic Series dispense a lot of juice). I was standing in line at the bookstore, and the person in front of me was holding up the line. Some people walked up behind me and I was starting to get self conscious about the Tar. Suddenly I heard the girl tell her boyfriend "Hey, something smells good!" And I eavesdropped as they talked about their favorite perfumes. Not even a "that guy in front of us REEKS" or anything. They seemed to enjoy it--even though I don't think they had any clue as to who or what they were actually smelling.The think about Tar is that it has an olfactive effect similar to vetiver. It's like a modulation of vetiver into another key. Similar range of facets and textures--dry, arid, earthy, sharp, salty. Different ingredients, similar effect. In comparison, Garage is similar to Tar, but with the addition of some other notes that make it more of a literal translation of "garage" to Tar's somewhat abstract rendering of "tar." Of the two, I definitely prefer Tar and find it more wearable. As for garage/car/gasoline scents-- Santa Maria Novella's Nostalgia beats out Garage handily, in my book. Garage is complex, unusual and smells of all kinds of solvents and vapors, but it also smells strongly of olive juice-- and I've never seen a gearhead sipping a dirty martini while performing an oil change.It may take a little courage to wear Tar, but it's actually very pleasant in a strange unplaceable way. Everyone with an eccentric side should try it.
11th April 2008
Smells like an accident. Whatever caused this to be couldn't have been on purpose. It's an accident – something spilled, something caught on fire, something got broken, something got electrocuted. It must have been an accident. This isn't tar. I spent one summer in college tarring roofs with hot tar. This isn't tar. This is an interesting oddity. It is a tamed down version of the aromas it represents because the real things would have given me a headache by now. If someone wanted to actually wear this, I would say, “Go ahead, it's your skin; hell, I'll even throw in the feathers.” But I wouldn't understand putting this on my own body, or putting it on someone else's body for that matter. An interesting oddity – I'll certainly keep a sample around.
12th March 2008
So far, is as extreme and individual as A*Men :)It´s distintive and definitevely not for overyone.VERY UNUSUAL AND DELICIOUSLY KINKY ;)I´m consider myself quite a trendy person, sometimes in a extreme nice way but i wouldn´t find any ocassion that i could wear it.For indoors use only.It smell powerfull but subtle in a way,inicitially very strong smell of pure asphalt plus smoky dusty air, Kerosene. Basicly the smell run all over the fragance.. The dry down is more gentle and the gasoline mixed with tar rest in a ood citric way.its so difficult to explain but seems odd and disturbing smell, I find it myself pleasant but unwearable:)
7th September 2006
Surprisinglys delicious, it starts out sweet with the spiciness of tar. It dries to a drier scent, more leathery perhaps, dusty city street in the heat. And definitely gasoline and rubber tires screeching. I was going to say surprisingly wearable, but after the initial sweetness has faded, not so much. But fascinating, very fascinating.
14th August 2006