I associate the Japanese narcissus, or suisen, with the end of the year and the beginning of January – never November.
But cycling the other day on a warm bright morning I was suddenly met with that unmistakeable sweet insistence, encircling me, invisible, hidden in gardens – blinding me – until other clusters of narcissus flowers became visible fully opened by the roadside.
The scent of these flowers always alarms, even while it gets me as instantaneously high as a drug. Narcotic, as befits the origin of their Greek name, narkos – the ravishing prettiness that sends one into narcosis upon one sweet inhalation, yet also always with that plangent, intrinsic essence leaving traces of ambivalence: evil: : poisonously idyllic.
In perfumery, the excitement of the soliflore is also something for me that never dims. A unique portrait of a particular bloom in a flacon, the components secret except to the creator, perfuming the liquid with alchemic precision, a constantly evaporating, and re-evaporating, apparition.
Breathing in Parfums Osaji’s Suisen yesterday, this was manifestly narcissus. The fresh adultness of the narcissus: decaying newness of the flower mouths; low-breathed, almost foul: a rich essence of jasmine – mature, full-bodied indolic jasmine, yet with intestines removed; lab-clipped; edited into an intriguing modern floral that is certainly unsettling, though also also probably lacking something (beauty? ) . Even so, like the flowers the other day by the wayside, in the department store in Fujisawa. – Suisen did stop me in my tracks.