AND HER TINY MOUTH PUKED: : ::: : : : : : POUPEE…………………………by ROCHAS

4A3A0AB9-081A-40BE-BE16-2126B26CA045.jpegIt’s a dark rainy day so indulge me

The Black Narcissus




Poupee was a peculiar little oddity that was released and quickly disappeared by the house of Rochas in 2004.


Liking the bottle and the box one day when coming across it browsing in the cheap-end bargain bin perfume section of some Japanese supermarket, I just couldn’t help reaching into my pocket, unsmelled, and buying it (that textural, felt orange flacon cap is really quite appealing to me). I also bought another one for my friend Claire just for good measure (‘Thanks for the er…….bizarre and insane little perfume’, I think she wrote in a letter sent sometime afterwards…..’I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it’.)

Neither were most people, apparently. Failing on the US market immediately because of the name (no-one seemed to know that it signified doll, and imagined instead that it evoked something more akin to ‘droppings’ or ‘doo-doo’),   this sweet, and pink-laced little creation was…

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Oh. My. God.




Novichok, the poison that was smuggled into the UK to kill Russian ex-double agents (but ended up killing an innocent bystander) was carried inside a NINA RICCI PERFUME BOTTLE.










The sheer horror of it: finding an abandoned ‘perfume bottle’ in a charity bin, giving it to your partner, and then letting her unknowingly spray on a lethal nerve agent, directly onto the skin (she died a week later…).


Filed under Flowers, SCANDAL


The Black Narcissus



According to an article I read in the newspaper the other day, it seems that it will soon be possible, at a price, to bottle the scent of our loved ones. Our deceased, dead, loved ones.

A French fragrance company has  devised a way to steep their scent – from clothes, their pillows and sheets they have slept in – extract the unique smell; and capture that fragrance, peculiar to the person alone, in a perfume.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. We all know how searingly evocative smell (and perfume) can be in its associative power to bring a person momentarily back to life or make the absent present – and I of course understand perfectly how the poignant smell of an unwashed item of clothing, or a used and unlaundered pillow case could be heart-piercingly painful when inhaled in a moment of grief: the desire…

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Today I am writing about oceanics.

Do any of you like any marine scents I need to know about?


img_4350via PROBABLY THE MOST POPULAR PERFUME OF ALL TIME IN JAPAN……. “THE SURF ZOMBIES”: : : : : INSENSE ULTRAMARINE by GIVENCHY : : : : (1994 – present, in annual Japanese remixes)


September 1, 2018 · 1:48 pm














I NEVER wear scents like this. Never. But stinking, pre-shower, on a hot sultry afternoon here just before taking a bike ride to exercise the old legs,I decided to spritz myself with something, anything, so as not to offend any passersby I might encounter on the street with my stench. Something strong. And somehow, there was a quarter full bottle of vintage Gucci Nobile there by the bathroom sink, an unwanted throwaway that D had picked up for nothing at some recycle shop or other, and before I had even finished sniffing it I had sprayed it on my sweating T-shirt and was quite impressed by the pong. Real manly stuff.  Full of tight herbs and lavender; granite hard. And off we went.





Returning after my masculine bike ride and after my shower, strangely, I felt like wearing this again. God knows why. So I have sprayed it all over and it is suiting my mood. I feel kind of



















Quite sexy in a way. Nostalgically macho. But clearly well made.









This might not be the last time that I wear




















Do you ever go off on odd, irrational and unexpected scent tangents like this?


Filed under Fougère, Hairy Masculines, PERFUME AND PERFORMANCE

the perfume never stops













At Fueguia 1833 in the Hyatt at Roppongi,  and L’Officine Officielle Buly today in Daikanyama.












( you can see me and D endlessly sniffing at the end of the second picture. Fueguia had SEVENTY perfumes, some of them quite intriguing, but even so…)




Andrea Maack, L’Orchestre Parfum, Son Venin, Stora Skuggan, Sauf, Nebbia, Abel, Agonist, Laboratorio Olfattivo, Unum, Nebbia, it goes on and on: Liquides Imaginaires, Zoologist, Les Bains Guerbois – almost universally overpriced, ludicrously so, and even more expensive in Japan.



Some perfumes I have liked, and would wear. And might buy ( like L’Orchestre Parfum’s gorgeous frankincense, Encens D’Asakusa, or L’Histoires de Parfums’ dreamy Madam Butterfly.) Even if, on the whole I sometimes I feel that with all these never ending grim hipster smoked woods and Burning Barbershops and pretentious conceptual nonsenses it’s as if no one has ever got over CB I Hate Perfume and Comme Des Garcons two decades after the fact: everything MUST be metallic and off putting and smell of sinister priests or gunpowder or blood or some other extortionately priced humorless claptrap.




Stimulating, yes.




But sometimes  I just wish there were more JOY in it all.





Any thoughts on any of the above brands?


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I decided to take a break from writing yesterday afternoon, because enough is enough sometimes, no matter when the deadline is, and we cycled round to the new house of Aiko, my ‘Japanese sister’, who I have known since she was a kid when I first moved to this area in Kitakamakura and we befriended the Mitomis, our neighbours, greengrocers, landlords  – and family, basically, who have been such an important part of our lives these last two decades. Birthday gatherings, New Year’s Day celebrations, summer festivals, hosting both mine and D’s parents for dinners when they come to stay with us in Japan – the bonds are very strong.



Aiko is all grown up now, and has done very well for herself, living in a beautiful, simple, light-filled house they have renovated  surrounded by green – about five minutes from where we are – with her husband and three year old son. She seems very happy. Living in the area that we do – an ageing demographic, like much of Japan, where the streets are not plucked of weeds every five minutes (which suits me perfectly – I love the wild ramshackle aspect of it all) near all the zen shrines, but not near the tourists……this area has been my oasis all these years, a place I can genuinely relax and wind down from the more hectic aspects of Japanese life elsewhere, despite its inconveniences. It is difficult for me to imagine living anywhere else, and telling, also, that all the Mitomi children have also decided, after being in different cities in Japan for several years, to return to the nest, all living not more than ten minutes away from the main Mitomi house.  This neighbourhood at the top of a mountain has real pull: there is a sense of community. And some indefinable, special energy.



As we entered the house and were given the ‘grand tour’ yesterday, the first room we went into happened to be where Aiko keeps her modest, though well selected, perfume collection. I suppose one of the pleasures of hanging out with younger people is sharing your loves and passions, and if they are influenced in some way that enhances their life it is certainly quite an enjoyable thing. In the old days we would have cinema evenings with food and wine, and of course perfume – it wasn’t quite teaching her English so much as her just being naturally immersed in it-  and it quickly became obvious that Aiko has a definite inclination towards scent- her favourites, and bottles she ordered for herself from the Palais Royal in Paris, being Fille En Aiguilles and Sarrasins (which she smells amazing in: it wasn’t until I smelled it on her that I finally understood the full redolence of that unmistakeable perfume).



A definite jasmine lover then. Which is why, I suppose about ten to fifteen years ago,  for one significant birthday or other  – although I had totally forgotten about its existence until I saw it there on the shelf  yesterday – I must have ‘made’ her a perfume. Smelling it again, and wearing a little as we chatted over cakes and umeshu plum liquor, the scent completely intact in its photocopied, re-upholstered Chanel box, I realized, or had vague remembrances of, blending various jasmine perfumes (Le Galion Jasmin and the original Gianfranco Ferre, and possibly one more) and then adding various jasmine, and other, essential oils (this can’t have been cheap and is totally indicative of my ridiculous profligacy over the years) – and it was hardly, it goes without saying, haute parfumerie. Not at all. In fact, it was a bit of a mess, in truth: I don’t think I really have that talent –  I am just too eager, and extravagant. I have no restraint (nor any knowledge of, or remote interest in, chemistry), so I could never be a perfumer in a million years. But even so, ‘Le Jasmin D’Aiko’ did smell kind of nice, I must say; florally potent; evocative of another era, tender; warm.


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