Excuses, excuses. I’ve recently returned to school for a year-long course (I’d forgotten what “homework” meant). This week I have the dreaded yearly physical exam to look forward to — so humiliating! I just started giving private tours of a new special exhibit at the museum where I volunteer. Oh, I’m also helping to plan a Day of the Dead event and wrapping up painting the outside of my house before Seattle's six-month rainy season commences. And I’ve been frantically making jams, jellies, sauces and juice from quince; my quince tree produced so much fruit its branches are touching the ground (the yard smells sensational; my ripe quinces produce an aroma I'll describe as “apples-on-steroids meet ripe pineapples”).
I’m not asking for pity, just patience. This week’s review will be short ’n sweet; but maybe that’s a good thing?
A friend who visited England recently (and treated herself to a Yohji Yamamoto cape, lucky woman) was given samples of every Yohji Yamamoto perfume now in production (including all the recent re-releases of old favorites that had been discontinued). My friend is a perfume lover, but is allergic to many perfumes, so I became the beneficiary of the Yohji stash. The “other” masculine fragrance by Yamamoto, Yohji Yamamoto Homme (not to be confused with the more famous Yohji Homme) is rather bland, so I decided to review one of the women’s perfumes today.
Two Yohji Yamamoto feminine scents appealed to me: Yohji Yamamoto Eau de Parfum and Yohji Essential1 (Yohji, honey, the names of your perfumes are so confusing — Yohji-this, Yohji Yamamoto-that — let’s get some marketing people involved in future releases!) I tossed a coin; Yohji Essential won.
I wore Yohji Essential one day as I painted the front of my house; a neighbor, walking her dog, stopped to say: “Your garden always smells wonderful… the flowers!” If she had looked around she would have noticed some unopened rosebuds and a single, stunted nicotiana in full bloom (a self-seeder...I have not sown nicotiana seeds in a decade but one seed survived, somehow, and grew this year, and has been blooming like crazy all summer). What my neighbor was smelling was me…and Yohji Essential.
When first applied, Yohji Essential releases a blast of well-blended floral aromas, with some sugary but green citrus thrown in. As the perfume develops, I detect bright rose, sweet, clean jasmine (with some background linden) and a fruity gardenia scent (almost tropical in character). Though it lists notes of patchouli, musk, galbanum and the like,2 this is a floral perfume; the heftier notes are in miniscule portions (at least in the Eau de Toilette version that I’m reviewing; I’d love to smell the Extrait de Parfum to see if the richer notes are detectable). Yohji Esssential’s dry-down is just a diminishment of the floral notes; they become creamier as they fade.
Yohji Essential is a heady experience, and brings to mind (and nose) some of the powerhouse feminine perfumes released in the 1970s and 1980s, but every now and then, Yohji Essential reminds me of Annick Goutal Le Chèvrefeuille, too (a green floral). The lasting power of Yohji Essential is very good, and great if you get it on fabric (my workclothes, lying in a heap in my basement, smell wonderful two days after being spritzed with Yohji Essential). If you like your flowers clean, sweet and straight-up…give Yohji Essential a try.
Wow. This review wasn’t short after all, but Yohji Essential did provide the sweetness.
Yohji Essential Eau de Toilette is available in 30 (£39), 50 (£49), and 100 ml (£69); also sold: Yohji Essential body lotion and shower gel. Yohji Yamamoto fragrances are currently "exclusive" (at least in the U.K.) to Selfridges & Co.
2. Yohji Essential includes notes of grapefruit, clove, galbanum, chamomile, gardenia, rose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, linden, patchouli, ciste labdanum, musk and moss.