I have received a very pleasing influx of new scent samples this last week and feel quite reinvigorated for perfume. It is nice to just come home from work of an evening and reach out for something new to try; just laze on the sofa, read a book, and haphazardly spray on a fragrance from the padded envelope.
Randomly testing one scent the other evening without looking at what it was, I immediately sensed a Japanese quality to the composition. A watery, paired down aspect, but elegant, with tea and orange, light rose, and incense undertones. Squinting to see the name on the phial I saw it was a perfume called Memoire De Daisen-In, by Ella K, a brand that debuted in Shinjuku Isetan a couple of years ago and which I immediately recognized as being quite good. Very ‘curated’, cool, seamless perfumes, pleasing to wear.
Light, reminiscent of subdued, fresh scents such as Hermes’ Rose Ikebana and Osmanthe Yunnan, the Ella K website describes a scent of Kyoto reflection and calm :
I myself only get attenuated hints of that city’s unique atmosphere, so austere, that ghostly gravitas that cannot be rendered in what to me is more of a Tokyo, urban perfume
( the woody, nutmeg aspects on my skin reminded of another perfume I once wore on occasion, Equus by Lalique)
– these photos, incidentally, are not from Kyoto, but taken when we strolled into a random graveyard, at a shrine in the middle of the city on Saturday : Tokyo has many such places : drab, and grey, on a rainy October afternoon, but with a stillness, in the green, that clarified the mind.
Appreciating the perfume’s qualities – a certain enigmatic crispness, and having out of the blue received an email from an old student of mine requesting a private lesson to brush up her English for a potential job that is coming up soon with LVMH (she was always very well presented even as a young teenager; always had a yen for the ‘finer things in life’, so I haven’t been at all surprised that she has been working with luxury brands since graduation ) I thought this would be the ideal interview scent for her – ambivalently unsweetened enough not to seem too obviously ‘feminine’ ( she dresses in black and sober colours, always with perfect cut ) but still with a certain chic and ‘young woman’s allure’ from the rose and the tea, and sharper, woodier notes that lie beneath. While we were discussing, at a cafe yesterday, the minutiae of the luxury industry in great detail, I presented her with the little boxed sample of Memoire De Daisen-In.
Yes. Perfect, she said – and now does indeed intend to wear a discreet spritz or two of the scent when she meets the acquisitions director for an interview in a couple of weeks (also : a new trench coat: accessories from Celine), and to round it all off, this unassuming – but sufficiently stylish and pleasingly fresh, elegant fragrance, clearly suited to Japanese tastes – that I feel sure will add a subtle, invisible deftness to her presentation.