Under the Radar Costamor Beachwood- The Remains of the Day

When I am at the beach in the summer there is a time of day which always seems poignant. It is about an hour prior to sunset. The day is drawing to a close. Twilight is still some time away. This is the last piece of full sunlight even though it is approaching the horizon. The beach is mostly empty. A few guys with metal detectors sweeping the sand. The air is cooling off as the sea breeze freshens. The night blooming flowers are early risers as jasmine and its contemporaries scent the air. I would regularly head out after my shower to enjoy this time of day. This was the time of day where life always seemed good. Costamor Beachwood comes the closest of any perfume I own to capturing it.

Costamor was founded in 2007 by Elizabeth Wright. She wanted to make perfumes inspired by her Costa Rican heritage. Her first two releases Tabacca and Sugarwood evoked the tobacco and sugar cane crops of the country. Beachwood was released two years later. This is less obviously Costa Rican and more typical Beach of the Americas. Like the earlier perfumes Ms. Wright showed a light touch which displayed them at their best.

Beachwood opens with a muted citrus accord built upon mandarin and neroli. This captures the sun after it has spent most of the day in the sky. A lilting coconut reminds you of the suntan lotion behind your ear you missed. An ethereal jasmine wafts out to find the neroli. There they form their own end of day floral accord as the neroli gives way to the night blooming jasmine. A sun bronzed skin musk flows underneath. It closes on a driftwood accord of sandalwood and cedar. As If I have found a big piece to sit upon to watch the fading of the sun. Amber imposes its presence over the later stages.

Beachwood has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Costamor is a good example of one of these independent perfume lines where the creative force behind it executed their vision. After they were done, they could look upon it and say they had done well. That is the essence of enjoying the remains of the day knowing things are still good.

Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle I purchased.

Mark Behnke

Under the Radar: Frank No. 2- The Quiet Christmas Moment

As we enter the final mad dash of parties, lunches, and shopping which mark the final sprint to Christmas it is hard to catch a breath. Not that I really want to but there always comes a moment where all of the madness pauses before gathering speed again headed for the New Year. For me that happens late on Christmas Eve. The prep for the next day’s big meal is done. Everything has quieted down as Mrs. C and the poodle snuggle in warm as we can be. The lights are twinkling on the tree as the ornaments catch the reflection of the fireplace. The house smells of fruit as the pies are cooling. Usually at this point I treat myself to a drink most often cognac. I lean back taking all of this in and breathe deep with satisfaction; while scratching a poodle ear. Two years ago, I discovered a perfume which captures the scent of this moment; Frank No. 2.


Frank No. 2 comes as the second perfume from Frank Los Angeles. The perfumes were overseen by Elizabeth Wright who also founded the perfume brand Costamor. The perfumer behind Frank No. 2 is unclear although it is most likely Bertrand Duchaufour who did Frank No. 1. For Frank No. 2 Ms. Wright does collect many of the smells of Christmas together to form that moment of quietude right in the middle of the Season.

Frank No. 2 opens with a spark of brilliant bergamot matched with an herbal lavender. That aspect of lavender is kept in place by using coriander to accentuate it. The heart is a juicy plum afloat on a boozy accord. This is one of the reasons I like this perfume because the plum stands up to the booze not by melding with it but by floating above it. What comes next is the woods. Fir balsam is the core with maplewood adding a sweetness for the plum to work with. Teak provides a more austere wood for the booze to soak. Right here is the scent of my interlude as all of this comes together. The final development is a bit of coffee and white musks as I grind the coffee to be brewed in the morning.

Frank No. 2 has 6-8 hour longevity and average sillage.

I have liked Ms. Wright’s style through both of her brands. As an FYI if you were a fan of Costamor Tabacca it has returned under the name of Frank No. 3. These are very much Under the Radar brands because they didn’t get a very wide distribution. They are worth seeking out to try especially if you need a breather in the midst of the Season.

Disclosure: This review was based on a bottle I purchased.

Mark Behnke