Living in Japan I sometimes stumble across perfumes from Shiseido’s storied back catalogue I have never heard of. But the bottle and the box of Hanatsubaki Kai Sumire were enough for me to need to immediately snap up this gem from an antique shop – something almost Keatsian about the painted violets; the heart shaped glass-stoppered flacon.
What does it smell like? Intense. Rather ‘adult coquette’. A dry, musked, almost salty, wily, feminine violet soliflore – like Jardins De Bagatelle (Guerlain) with the metallic white flowers removed but still leaving traces – exuberantly confident; pretending not to be.