Those familiar with retaW, the Japanese fragrance and skincare brand, will recognize the latest product launch from Baxter of California: it’s an air freshener for your car.
The car tag, done in collaboration with retaW, comes in a scent Baxter calls “Galactic Cedar,” and it sells for $16.
I’ve written about Baxter here before, but retaW, inexplicably, was new to me. It was started in 2009 by Japanese streetwear legend Hiroshi Fujiwara and it does fragrance differently: car fresheners, scented luggage tags, anti-bacterial odor eliminators for raw denim and sneakers, along with more conventional products like shampoo, lip balms, liquid hand soaps and scented candles.
“I was a big fan of the retaW brand going back several years,” Baxter’s JP Mastey told me via e-mail. “In 2010 we purchased the body wash and candle line for our Baxter Finley (barber shop) retail. Los Angeles is car culture, we all know that. I wanted a lifestyle product that was slightly out side of the box for us, but one that we could legitimately get behind and co-brand as a Baxter product. A scented car tag was the perfect product, and retaW was the perfect partner.”
The scent is described online as “punchy and complex with cedar and earth tones of amber and oak-moss.” Smelling my sample, the cedar and oak moss really leap out. A hint of pine and mint and maybe bitter licorice. As weird as this sounds, there’s a note that reminds me — pleasantly — of a Chinese whiskey I had in San Francisco’s China Town years ago. Whether you’re accustomed to cardboard trees that smell like Pine Sol or not, this is very different.
“The scent is based on a very complex cedar fragrance that we developed with a ‘cedar closet’ in mind,” Mastey said. “It’s not your typical straight cedar wood; our custom scent has notes of amber, oak moss and earth tones, giving it a sophisticated profile unlike most car products on the market. It’s like an Eau de Cologne for the car.”
So far, it’s sold only on Baxter’s site and in their barber shop. It’s a limited edition right now, but demand has already been high, just days after its release, so Mastey says there may be another run.