“What colour is the scent that makes love bloom? …….. ………..that MADE love bloom………….” SHISEIDO SUZURO (1976)

I found and bought this yesterday. Suzuro vintage parfum (30ml) by Shiseido. I had never even heard of it. It was there. I got it for 25 pounds but it is up for grabs on eBay for $550. Ultra-rare. Apparently Shiseido’s ‘best perfume’. Impossible to find. I thought I should get it.

A museum piece.

What does it smell like?

No 19 crossed with Arpège.

Admittedly neither; but also definitely also completely both.

I offered my wrist to D when he came home after the scent had procured itself for a few hours on my skin.

“Is that not Arpège?”

“It is.”

” And is this “,

(dabs stopper onto the back of hand) ” not 19?”

“It is. Wow.


For anyone who knows these two perfumes as intimately as I do (and I know there are plenty of you out there), this is a very odd thing.

On the skin, at first, the hyacinth/galbanum/vetiver/iris/neroli chic amalgam is immediately the Chanel seventies masterpiece – which Shiseido had already commemorated in its far less expensive local Japanese drugstore perfume Murasaki- but also, in its soul, nothing like it. This is Shiseido. I feel echoes. It has its own heart. some memories of Inouï, and Shiseido Kamakura. Something local ( the Shiseido factory is just down the road).

Even so, as we know, vintages are different, accentuate different facets….. so on first inhalation I definitely felt that this could easily be just a slightly, mysteriously different 19 (but what is that I am smelling……..is it …….chamomile?). Sharp, citric; very green…..

Quickly, a different personality takes over; a more tamed, calming, and domestic mimosa and sandalwood-led aspect – fuzzier, tender, rather lovely – that eventually leads to a slightly sharper version of Arpège (one parent from 1927, another from 1970, how odd.)….

Doppelgängers mating; and giving birth to a hale, and very sensible, mysteriously intelligent lovechild. ….


Filed under Flowers

8 responses to ““What colour is the scent that makes love bloom? …….. ………..that MADE love bloom………….” SHISEIDO SUZURO (1976)

  1. Robin

    You just weaved a magical little spell for us. I can imagine some divine overlap, knowing Arpege and No 19. I must put both on tonight as I head for bed, both wrists to my nose, and imagine you coming across that bottle of Suzuro. I think you must have seen it before, because I remember the box in a photo. That box is unbelievable. I can picture the scent winding through the stylized clouds. Those birds! And the bottle. I am delighted for you, dear Neil. It was waiting for you.

    • I badly want to send you some ; you would understand all of this immediately.

      Going to meet D in a bit for dinner .



      • Robin

        How lovely.

        I was just thinking. How right it would be if Shiseido’s best perfume didn’t smell French. I know there haven’t been the same historical perfume underpinnings as there have been in France, so it’s understandable that Suzoro would be based on the classic French model. But how incredible it would be if Japan had had its own traditions and developmental arc and Suzoro smelled brilliantly, accurately, wholly Japanese.

      • Robin

        Sorry, Suzuro. It’s early in the morning, before my coffee.

  2. It sounds absolutely lovely. How lucky you were to purchase this, I would be over the moon.

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