Although I have never been one for gardening myself, I love the smell of it. The scent of soil on a cold day as Duncan digs in new flowers; the grass mown by someone else as I lie on it; my mother patiently spending whole days in her beloved green space weeding and planning and pontificating alone under the sky and the apple trees. Especially at a time like this, the New Year.
Smelling Comme Des Garcons new Clash Series yesterday, Vetiver Radish, earthy as sore white root vegetables wrenched up from the earth to the light of day – all ozone and pure vetiver – the spade searing through cold humus – I was taken into such a space; a refreshing cologne I would wear either in winter to accentuate the freshness in the air and the space I want around me or to aerate a dry vetiver note come summer. While the Chlorophyll Gardenia in the series struck me as a little too familiarly tropic tiare, Celluloid Galbanum is also a pleasing green floral I would be happy to become a new trend on the light-stepping Tokyoite; a snappily green opening, clean and new, enveloping a floral that reminds me a little of the kind of muguet magnolia perfumes you sometimes come across in gift stores in Sarasota; even a hint of Vivian Westwood’s Boudoir meets Libertine, the florals kept at bay from blooming too heavily by the green notes, while the almost powdered undertones hint at something deliberately trapped; unexpressed.
I have noticed that there seems to be a new tendency right now for perfumeries here to include some much more affordable ranges in their arsenals, or at least to have smaller sizes so as not to break the bank. Nose Shop Shinjuku and Ginza realises that not everyone will fork out for an Unum or an Orchestre De Parfum: to keep the flow of casual shoppers happy you also need to have realistic pricing, so there are several lines that fit into this category such as the Kerzon line which has quite an appealing set of fragrances in its range. Elemi, not usually a headnote featured prominently in many perfumes, is a green, terpentinic resinoid that is used in traditional Catholic incense. Bright, herbaceous, it is less heavy than myrrh and is a counterpoint to balsams such as benzoin. ‘It is impossible to do without this mineral freshness, as sharp as flint…’ says the company’s website, and both D and I enjoyed it on him yesterday; light, subdued, a halo of velvet green clarified frankincense.
Japanese perfumer Miya Shinma’s line of fragrances is stocked at Isetan and most of them are quite distinctive and original. Feuillage Verte startled yesterday in its niche-contoured context with a very old school, civet-like undertone that thrust me immediately into visions of going outside into a fresh green world of Henri Rousseau and thinking, what animal has done its business here, under what bush, and where? This is not as displeasing as it might sound, as I realized after a while that the perfume, green with bamboo, young leaves, citruses, cardamom, and rosewood, also has an old school jasmine I remember from vintage First and Joy and the like; a carnal heart palpitating, invisibly, from somewhere in the burgeoning undergrowth.