I am flabbergasted to find niche perfume in Fujisawa. While vaunted as an ideal place for middle class families to bring up kids, convenient for transportation, and the location of the upcoming Olympic sailing down at Enoshima Island, the city i am work based in is not exactly Fashion Central.
But here on the ground floor of recently refurbished Odakyu department store, where I sometimes come for lunch, is a shop selling not only The Different Company, Garment and Olfactive Studio, but also Nobile Essenza 1942 and an interesting range of aromatherapy.
What’s good about this for me is that where usually, faced with shelves and shelves of all the latest grandiosity from conceptual independents to select from, when I usually get overwhelmed and don’t get to experience perfumes in full depth,, this limited, spacious new concession is an astonishing apparition ( but WHO is going to fork out the cash for a perfume at this price in this carefully economizing hub of frantic school mothers and their cardigan-shopping grandparents ? Or are these pricey fragrances aimed more at the demi-monde, the tight-trousered night people who emerge from the woodwork and limousines after dark…….?) At any rate, all this takes me back somehow to my teenage years, when my world was smaller, and things of importance loomed larger. After school I would ogle the merchandise in bookstores, record shops, perfumeries with much more of a wishful attention span; consider my future potential pocketmoney purchases very carefully, picturing and dreaming of them went I went to bed at night : saving up for an item of clothing, a 12” or LP, and then later, perfumes, was extraordinarily exciting; a sign of self-assertion, of pushing your own drawing pin into the map. I would linger persistently at Beatties in front of the YSL or Givenchy or Calvin Klein counter, feeling that I was deliriously about to enter a new world; collect samples like a gem dealer, spray the tester bottles liberally on a blotter or blotters and keep re-smelling, smelling, extracting them from my inner pocket, or the inside of a book.
Those days can never return. But I have retained a lot of that very same thirst and curiosity, and I know that I will, now that I can’t go to Tokyo, on rainy lunch breaks enjoy going meticulously through all of these perfumes at my leisure. The warm woody white violet Al Sahra, one of the first scents I have tried on two separate occasions, is, I would say, mid-level alluring, a rich, soft, sawdusty floral labnanum frankincense that is nicely composed with a slightly haunting central refrain of lily and cinnamon, but not something I will necessarily be handing over my hard-earned cash for. Then again, now I have more opportunities to learn these perfumes thoroughly…..,,,..who knows?