Shiseido’s newest men’s fragrance is so exclusive that it can currently only be purchased at Shiseido boutiques throughout Japan and other licensed sellers (I’ll be buying mine at Carrefour). Though the men’s skincare line is now sold around the world, and the scent of the skincare line is very similar, this Eau de Toilette is mysteriously hard-to-find. I recently asked a Shiseido representative why the fragrance hasn’t been launched worldwide. Naturally, she had no idea. An internet search shows the fragrance is available at only one Japanese cosmetics website and the mysterious notes may include (by popular opinion) bergamot, bamboo, rose, hinoki (Japanese cypress), sandalwood, fig leaf, cinnamon (spices), and musk.
The fragrance is a remarkable woody/spicy composition slightly reminiscent of Marc Jacobs for Men due to the fig leaf notes. The scent opens with a fresh watery note, perhaps bergamot and bamboo, maybe even lotus, before quickly revealing its woody, spicy heart. Hinoki and sandalwood are accented with cinnamon and possibly ginger, also reminding me of Armand Basi Homme, with a somewhat floral hint softly caressing the woods. The scent settles with a light musky note, though never loses its warm spicy quality.
Shiseido Men is certainly not the most original scent I’ve encountered, hence the “it reminds me of” statements, but every time I try it on my skin, I find myself really enjoying it. Whereas I just couldn’t get past the heavy-on-the-fig-leaf Marc Jacobs, I find the Shiseido easier to wear. I think the predominance of sandalwood, cypress and cinnamon notes, paired with the lower musk note, is what most grabs my attention.
The bottle is a beautiful lucite cylinder whose bottom and sides have been shaved off, leaving them flat and smooth, showcasing the clear fragrance inside. The pricepoint here in Japan is 5,500 Yen for a 50 ml Eau de Toilette spray, slightly pricier than most men’s scents, and testers and discounted bottles are nowhere to be found. I first heard about this about a year ago, though now I can’t recall how, and it’s been available in shops since December, 2005.
For more information in Japanese, you can visit the Shiseido website, but sadly, the text is not copyable for on-line translation. I have no idea when this one will ever cross the wide oceans, but I think if it does, it may become just as infamous as the now discontinued Basara.