If you read any quantity of perfume writing, you probably know that the Japanese have a reputation for loving light, almost-not-there perfumes. Notes in such Japanese-beloved/Japan-inspired scents are often citrus-y — or watery: water lily, lotus, cyclamen, tulip and the like. The perfumes I'm writing about today are made by companies based in Japan; I was curious if they would fit the "supposed" Japanese scent target.
Parfum Satori Hana Hiraku (A Flower Blooms)
[by perfumer Satori Osawa: listed fragrance notes of melon, bergamot, galbanum, magnolia, iris, jasmine, tuberose, rose, ylang-ylang, chamomile, miso, kogashi-shōyu ('burned' soy sauce) , beeswax, sandalwood, cedar, mitarashi (sweet soy sauce)]
Read Hana Hiraku's list of notes and you'd expect a powerhouse. Hana Hiraku certainly has one of the most interesting openings I've smelled in ages: a combo of realistic muskmelon, ramen and thick soy sauce (a salty-sweet delight). If the perfume stopped right there, I'd be a customer ASAP. But Hana Hiraku still has some interesting developments in store. After the strange food-y opening, there's a swoosh of indoles and a dash of galbanum announcing the arrival of an outdoorsy magnolia-jasmine accord. These flowers are supple and rain-drenched (no, not by Calone; the scents smell slightly diluted). With Hana Hiraku, Parfum Satori promises a "dry oriental," with miso and soy sauce replacing the musk in traditional Western oriental fragrances. I do smell an earthy note in the dry down, but the indoles and melon are still discernible up close and on the air. The final stage of Hana Hiraku smells of light, floral incense. Enjoyable!
J-Scent Roasted Green Tea
[listed fragrance notes of coconut, peanut, mint, jasmine, wintergreen, iris, cedar, vanilla, clover]
Another clever opening here. There are mingling scents of toasted coconut and peanuts...that lead to: jasmine. 100 percent of the people I let smell Roasted Green Tea said it was "too weird" for them but that they'd buy a candle in a second. Me? Bring on the weird. If those "sniffers" had given Roasted Green Tea some time to develop, they would have encountered a roasted tea soli-scent. Roasted Green Tea's opening leads to a heart of long-lasting roasted tea leaves (Hōjicha). At the very end of its development you'll smell an earthier/musty tea aroma mixing with some background cedar and vanilla.
Do these two scents fit the Japan profile? Yes — and no. Both Hana Hiraku and Roasted Green Tea stay close to the body but have presence. They are "light" without being bland (an understatement). I'm curious to explore more from both perfume lines.
Parfum Satori Hana Hiraku Eau de Parfum is $175 for 50 ml; J-Scent Roasted Green Tea Eau de Parfum is $80 for 50 ml; both are available at Luckyscent (where samples are also for sale).