The scent was developed on the occasion of the Serpentine Galleries’ expanded presence in the Royal Park of Kensington Gardens with the new Serpentine Sackler Gallery. Serpentine Galleries invited Tracey Emin to illustrate the bottle and box.

Serpentine fragrance notes

    • grass, leaves, pollen, aldehydes, ozone, asphalt, labdanum, smoked cedarwood, pollution accord, benzoin, juniper wood, guaiac wood

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Latest Reviews of Serpentine

The green opening of this scent brings to mind fragrances such as Green Spell by Eris Parfums and Corsica Furiosa by Parfum d'Empire. The grass note in the opening has a fig-like quality, although it's not listed as a note. Unfortunately, the grass note fades quickly and what's left is a musky blend of juniper, galbanum, and nutmeg that lacks definition. While the drydown is not unpleasant, it is a fainter version of the opening, and the overall composition strikes me as muddled and hard to parse, though perhaps that's just me.

That being said, CDG has done a good job with the pollution note, and the musky aspect is well utilized. However, the fragrance's performance is quite poor, lasting only an hour or two. Overall, I would give the opening a 5/5 but find the rest of the scent lackluster.
4th September 2022
This sounds very strange but Serpentine is a fragrance that is clearly a work of chemical manipulation of modern, synthetic aroma-chemicals that also manages to give an abstract impression.

What i get is relatively clean, green, faint smokiness, with a aldehyde opening, and sweet musky & woody undertones. It feels like a rainy evening, walking the city streets to rendezvous with an old lover.

Not necessarily a bad thing, but it means your should sample before buying, for sure. A most versatile fragrance that can be worn for any occasion at any time of year.
31st July 2022

The smell of a laundry, or someone ironing shirts near you. Metallic notes, heated fabric, scented starch, detergent (I'm making this up as I go). Then comes a darker, woody vetiver in the background. It smells good and it is original. Average performance and longevity.
9th February 2019
I have enjoyed CdG's Odeur 71 for many years now, and I purchased it and worn it knowing its eccentric, unconventional construction that still comes across as "right."

Enter in Serpentine by CdG, another scent that is meant to be an outside-the-box creation.

It starts out with a really bright "grey-green" feel, clean and vegetal (i.e. the grass and leaves). It evokes a scene of the outdoors that includes man-generated, concrete urban jungle traits as well (e.g. the thinly pollution-stained air, sidewalks, buildings, et al). Synthetic, but not cloyingly so.

Also, there's a subdued diluted soap-water vibe as well that seems to prevail overall in Serpentine. Amidst this, wisps of labdanum and juniper can be detected, and the phenolic tar quality of guaiac wood is evident, echoing blacktop within this scent's outside city imagery.

To me, Serpentine also comes across as easily containable within the flurry of notes of Odeur 71; or should I say, it feels like a derivative scent influenced by facets of Odeur 71. A truly distinct experience, unlike what you'd find in typical fragrance counters. And DEFINITELY worth sampling before deciding to buy a pricy full bottle; blind-buying is not encouraged here!

Thought-provoking, picturesque creation from CdG which I appreciate for its individuality and courage.
14th November 2018
Future Jason:

Most days convince you that you are a blissfully happy idiot. Not shy about the latter.

Today's vote in the idiot column comes from the fact that you've had a sample of this for months, and can't remember ever having worn it. And now, having worn it, you want to have worn it most days in recent memory.

The opening is cray-mazing, like the bully vestiges of Encre Noire getting swept off the sidewalk by some blustery fresh air. Not too far in, a rubbery mintyness happens, which is awesome. As the rubber sits, you get the pollution vibe they're talking about. It lurks. As pollution does. Smokestacks.

Towards the end, it gets a bit trying. It's the rubber and smoke that stays; some of the other stuff fades. And there's only so long that I like smelling like rubber and smoke.

This is complex, in good and unique ways. 50/50 that you own some someday.

1st April 2016
Super-tart/turpentinic/xerox-toner-like/aldehydic/hyperbaric/aqueous/medicinal woodiness. Comme des Garcons Serpentine is a sharp abstract/robotic take on "wittingly" plastic woodiness with apparent fruity (kind of simil-berrish) shades and a secret rubbery-leathery twist (probably on me responsible about the fruity illusion). Its intensely "simil woody-ostensibly floral-red berrish-lemony" kind of fizzy-ozonic initial tartness conjures me more than vaguely scents a la Mark Buxton Devil in Disguise (partially Wood&Absinth) or (at least conceptually) several deliberately "musky-plastic" experiments a la Andrea Maack (Coal, Dark), Oliver&Co. (Nebula 1) or Escentric Molecules (Molecule 01). Probably synth woodiness and chemical "suedishness" elicit a simil red-berrish undertone while it seems to catch a sort of "magnolia-centered atmosphere" throughout (a scent as L'Erbolario Magnolia jumps partially on mind, in spite of its surely diverse substance and conceptuality). I surely detect grass (as faint undertone never jeopardizing the dominant woody intensity), liquid frankincense, Iso E Super woods (EM Molecule 01-nesque), galaxolide, "oxygen", aldehydes and simil-floral pollen (eliciting a sort of really faint vegetal bitter/pasty dissonance) while a general (green/yellow) leafiness surrounds the elements. I get as well of course a sort of petroleous "xerox-tonerish" (Odeur 71) undetone by now kind of "trademark" for the Comme des Garcon's "cybernetic" production. Dry down is a sort of monolithic melancholic woody-soapy embrace kind of warm and futuristic at same time (with a plain chemical/metallurgical vibe) end eliciting a sort of aqueous/silent atmosphere conjuring me vaguely (but in to a "plastic" post-modern disguise) the old Mila Schon Uomo's pureness and solitude. I detect also a sort of grass/carnation-like earthy-floral vibe as like having energically rubbered those elements on skin. I figure on mind white concrete, dazzling hyperbaric chambers, dodgy/secret research centres, aseptic lounge-bar rooms and electronic suburban rendez-vous. Appreciable chemical alchemy which anyway doesn't strike profoundly the "classic" old heart of mine.
21st February 2016

Much like Comme des Garcon's Odeur 53, Odeur 71, and Garage. Serpentine is a continuation of a winning concept: the idea of presenting an olio of miscellaneous odors in an interesting and coherent fragrance. I've enjoyed all the odeurs… I find Serpentine my favorite of all of them. I particularly like this one because it is fresh, clean, and up-lifting – for most of its run. Serpentine opens with aldehydes and “oxygen,” I love aldehydes and I sort of depend on oxygen, so how could this opening miss? The fresh green cleanliness is remarkable. It's the kind of accord that, upon smelling it, a person is obliged to breathe it in greedily. …Love those aldehydes… the opening lasts for much longer than most openings do.

As the opening morphs into the heart notes, Serpentine takes on a warmer (less oxygen-green) aura with a background asphalt note. The asphalt note is not at all dominant so it balances well with the original character of the fragrance, and the oxygen-aldehydes are still quietly coming through the heart notes. At this point, the fragrance has taken on a soapy ambiance not as enjoyable to me as the opening, but still something I find very comfortable to wear. From here, the movement is a gradual accumulation of labdanum and woods which do a decent job of representing the general atmosphere of a city's pollution… Still, surprisingly gentle, soapy, and highly wearable.

Odeurs 53 & 71 I found intellectually interesting and important. Serpentine I find not only interesting, but majorly enjoyable. I purchased it two days after I first smelled it.
7th February 2016
This is a winner. Don't know how they did it, but I get green grass and asphalt. Quirky and fantastic. Thumbs up!
16th July 2015
This fragrance note pyramid gives a few more details and suggests the nuts & bolts of the scent's construction:
Grass, leaves, "pollen" (galbanum, iris leaf), "oxygen" (aldehyde, ozone), "asphalt" (black musk, nutmeg), labdanum, smoked cedar with a little bit of pollution (benzoin, juniper wood, guaiac wood)

As a fan of green scents, I find this to be striking and modern. On the one hand, it has bright, sunny-green notes. They are grassy, leafy, "crunchy" in the style of Diptyque's Eau de Lierre. On the other hand, there is a shimmering dusky haze note married to an intriguing, smoky and slightly dirty note. Definitely an urban greenscape. Quite a brilliant evocation of a place and concept. The scent wears very well and has a lovely, close to the skin dry-down.
31st March 2015
Serpentine opens with an unexpectedly vibrant and realistic lime-green accord with a slight creamy note underneath, and also a really subtle candied feel that reminds me of elemi, and something bitter-green that resembles to lentiscus. Hyper-clean and minimal and with a contrasting soapy-powdery aftertaste providing a cozy “freshly ironed shirt” effect, and a light woody base, yet not that synthetic or abstract; the greenness is restrained and thin, but it's sharp and natural in its own transparent way, at least at the opening stage. This thin texture is what fascinates me for the first couple of hours: the scent is vibrant and “alive”, and the sillage is solid (probably thanks to aldehydes too), but at the same time it's incredibly subtle and faint. I don't know how they did that, but as much contradictory as it may sound, Serpentine smells rich and minimalist at the same time, and as I said, not that synthetic as one may expect. After one hour or so, on my skin Serpentine gets warmer, more “greyish”, always clean and soapy-green but with a sort of more abstract feel, as if the initial greenness slowly faded away bringing Serpentine on a more and more “lunar” field, depersonalizing the scent until it reaches an enjoyable stage of pure grey-musky cleanness, almost mineral or concrete-like, with just a subtle, foggy pink-grey breeze of anodyne powdery-soapy notes. It's like watching a timelapse video of a natural landscape becoming more and more deserted. And that is the drydown for quite long, which after a while, once this brilliant transition ends, gets honestly a bit boring – I get the pleasure of “grey-clean-soapy” notes, just not for that long. Apart from this, which is just my taste, I personally consider Serpentine a clever, interesting, versatile, pleasant and truly “contemporary” scent surely worth a try (not sure about the purchase, as it's a bit costly).

7th November 2014
Serpentine opens with an extremely fresh aldehyde-laced airy ozonic accord shortly adding hints of green fresh cut grass in the background. As the composition transitions to its early heart the aldehyde led ozonic accord remains, now joining light synthetic musk and mild powdery iris in support. Through the heart the white musk and iris very gradually give way to a woody incense-like accord that grows in intensity though never quite matching the strength of the aldehydes. During the late dry-down soft cedarwood takes on the starring role with a blend of very mild spice and remnants of the powdery iris remaining in support through the finish. Projection is average, as is longevity at 7-9 hours on skin.

Serpentine to the unobservant may be dismissed as "just another fresh composition," but that really doesn't come close to doing it justice. It is true it starts off extremely airy and ozonic, somewhat resembling a very mildly perfumed ozonic air freshener, but where things get interesting, however, is when the composition transitions seamlessly through its many phases. First it adds the green tinge of fresh cut grass, next adding powdery musky facets to the ozonic mix resembling linoleum, then again swapping in woody incense to the weave playing with the fresh aspects in the latter heart and finishing as lightly-spiced soft powdered woods. The journey tells a nice story and proves there is a lot more to Serpentine than one might first assume. Like most Comme des Garcons compositions Serpentine comes off synthetic at times, but it is obviously intentional here and meshing perfectly with the house style. What is not always a guarantee with Comme des Garcons is whether one would want to wear some of their offerings but in Serpentine there is no need to fear as this is probably the easiest offering from the house to put on daily if desired. On the flip side, the official notes list contains some rather avant garde notes and accords like "a little bit of pollution," but while the linoleum is kind of quirky the more "out there" aspects never really materialize, and maybe that is a good thing. The bottom line is the $95 per 50ml bottle Serpentine is an ever developing fresh composition from Comme des Garcons that is worthy of the house's great synthetic innovative heritage, earning a "very good" to "excellent" 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5 rating and a solid recommendation.
3rd August 2014
Comme des Garçons Serpentine
-Once again, Comme des Garçons exercises it's right to be different. Right off the bat, I knew this was a keeper. Serpentine opens with notes of dewy green grass, tons of musk and aldehydes. The asphalt is done right here and produces a flinty (almost peppery) edge which offsets the green preventing this fragrance from becoming lame and one dimensional. The iris smoothens out all of these mentioned notes and provides a bit of softness in the dry down. The back of the bottle reads "The Grass, The Trees, The Lake, And You"...Overall, I find the fragrance to be remarkable and very wearable. This fragrance successfully paints the picture of a green, ozonic, and urban environment.
7th June 2014