Monthly Archives: April 2018

SHADOWS AND LIGHT: : : an in-depth look at Japan’s finest independent perfumery, PARFUM SATORI

The Black Narcissus

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Sometimes it is good to just take a different path in the city and explore. Just wander. Take a left here, because that corner over there looks intriguing, follow that other road over there, by instinct  – no map needed. Get lost. In a metropolis as safe as Tokyo it doesn’t matter anyway: you can relax the usual urban defences, not be on guard, just sink into the streets and the labyrinth, a place that is always changing and demolishing; rebuilding, recreating, and reinventing itself, like a secretive, glowing, neon organism.

Returning blindly from a party one Saturday lunch time somewhere in Tokyo we decided to just walk and see where we ended up. Just peruse the streets, amble aimlessly along, happily losing our way, when, somewhere between the environs of Harajuku, Yoyogi, and Shinjuku, I did a double take. Almost hidden within the tiled and glassed walls of yet…

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‘PERFUME OF THE HIGHEST CLASS’ by KUNINOKOSUI (1951)

 

 

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SWEETEST TONGUE HAS SHARPEST TOOTH :::::: DENT DE LAIT by SERGE LUTENS (2017)

 

 

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I am something of a contrarian when it comes to Serge Lutens. I have owned and worn full bottles of all the consensus scents like Chergui, Ambre Sultan, Fille En Aiguilles, and Cuir Mauresque and not entirely – at the cellular level – truly connected with them, but then gone through bottles of the less popular outliers like Borneo 1834, Nuit De Cellophane, and Louve ( and not to forget its delicious fluffy cousin- preformulation Un Bois Vanille), perfumes that are not as lauded or raved about ( because incense and deep woody notes are thought to have somehow more gravitas and integrity than lighter, more edible confections) but which in my case have afforded me more immediate, and instinctual, satisfactions.

 

 

 

Louve, probably his most infantile perfume, really is a confection- all cherries, almonds, roses, and musk ( and SO damn gorgeous in winter on a red cashmere scarf : you don’t give a damn what is going on out there in the cold, cold world when you are enveloped in its sweet embrace). Verging on sickly, it is nevertheless so committed in its fairytale landscape of wolves in the snow that you practically start to sprout soft white fur.

 

 

 

 

 

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Dent De Lait is Louve’s blood relative; its cub.

 

 

 

 

“Now wearying of the tongue’s games, which have for weeks on end been loosening its tooth, a young wolf is anxious to move from milk to blood.

 

 

 

 

I have loved you for so long I will never forget you“.

 

 

 

 

 

begins the prelude, a typical bit of lupine-themed, freehanded nonsense from Lutens, just another capricious idea sealed in scent by his willing and able sidekick Mr Sheldrake, but one I was surprised to find – given all the negative reviews – I liked immediately : all crystalline aldehydes and sudsy almonds;  a milky metallic facet and a stroke of Lutensian frankincense:  clean, and comforting, but not commercialized, stagnant; or banal.

 

 

 

 

 

Dent De Lait is, for me, in fact, a very clean and wearable scent that I am considering buying a full bottle of in Tokyo: an effusive little wolf that I am quite happy to be nipped playfully by. Opalescent. Cold ( but warm inside). Stimulating and awash in glittering  transparency, but with something strange and bittersweet at its core.

 

 

 

 

 

Bring on the wolf teeth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And kiss me hard on the mouth.

 

 

 

 

 

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the rainy comfort scents

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It is pouring it down right now in torrents, and post-shower this morning, my usual work scents : light florals or citruses just didn’t seem right (they need the sun to shine ).

 

Scanning my main cabinet this morning, only this scent leapt out at me ( even though we are officially forbidden to wear perfume to work) and I am loving it at this moment,  sprayed on my shirt cuffs, all laundered and dry and cosy with ease.

 

 

Do you also have any equivalent mindless, innocuous, ‘nuzzlers’?

 

 

 

 

 

via THE MANDARIN & THE TOMATO : VICE VERSA by YVES SAINT LAURENT

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IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING…………TWO ORANGE BLOSSOM PERFUMES BY GUERLAIN: : : MADEMOISELLE GUERLAIN (20I4) + LE PETIT GUERLAIN (20I4)

viaIMG_8137.TWO ORANGE BLOSSOM PERFUMES BY GUERLAIN: : : MADEMOISELLE GUERLAIN (20I4) + LE PETIT GUERLAIN (20I4)

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PRINCE & HIS PARADISE OF FLOWERS

Is it really two years?

The Black Narcissus

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The music of Prince is woven inextricably into the fabric of my youth, of summer, of friendship, of a boundless sense of freedom and lushness. My best friend Helen and I would lounge about in each other’s rooms with the latest album or 12” on the turntable (when the extended, endless b-sides would often be even better than the A), birds singing in the garden outside, the warm liberating sunset of late July and early sexual awakening and the flowering of our minds, always doused in our latest perfume and proffering our wrists to each other, holding forth on whatever nonsense we wanted to hold forth about, leafing through magazines, laughing and drinking and letting the succulent, delectable warm funk of his wonderful music flood the room and our bodies and our brains. It is indelibly linked to a great feeling of happiness, of parties where we would always play…

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green #2

 

 

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I overshot my trainstop last night, lost in reading something, and ended up at Kitakamakura station, from where, for nearly twenty years I would usually walk up the steep valley road, past temples and dark forests, back to our house.

 

Since the operation I have been taking the  bus from the stop before that – Ofuna, a bustling little transit and shopping hub with a lot of after hours night life, the same predictable routine every night but my legs still are not quite robust enough to tackle the steep incline at the top, much as I would love to : instead, I sit with my head facing forward on the bus like all the other tired commuters as we are shuttled back steadily to our bus stops and our homes.

 

 

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Last night though, when the train doors opened onto the night air I almost gasped ( in fact I actually might have ): at the sheer vegetal richness that was suspended in the air – a loamy, warm green canopy of just blossomed flowers; sleeping pollen; moist earth, still wet in the undergrowth from the previous day but sun baked during this glorious one; the freshwater smell from the pond across from Engakuji temple where frogs croaked much louder than you imagine they should have; amplified by the darkness and the stillness ( I decided to walk, no matter what, and had complete solitude, not a soul, until I almost reached the top)

 

 

 

 

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What hit me so hard, and so immediately, was just how much I have missed this walk. The peace of it, the tranquillity after a long day of teaching in Fujisawa and Yokohama – the mysteriousness of what lies behind the temple gates in the gardens beyond the monks’ quarters; the mamushi snakes that lurk in the grass, all the flowers : now wild irises, callum lilies, azaleas, dandelions, the dark, peaty smell of fresh vetiver grass used to stave off flooding, it is more this – the smell, the smells, that I bathed in last night, all so familiar to me, as familiar as perfumes from the past, an inchoate, emotional recognition in the pit of my pituary, as though my life here were voiced in those plants –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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