Cashmere Wrap: 39 posts

Scents that have a comforting, enveloping feel, similar to a cashmere pashima.

Osmanthus, Kinmokusei, Fragrant Olive and Its Perfumes

To inspire those of you who will be taking my Osmanthus classes.

Once the weather turns cool in Tokyo, a sweet perfume fills its streets. It escapes from the parks and enclosed gardens and for a few weeks it becomes a familiar presence in a city better known for its skyscrapers, electronics and cuisine than for its flowers. The tiny blossoms that give Tokyo its aroma are easy to miss, but the perfume is so vivid that osmanthus is sometimes called “a ten mile fragrance” tree. In Japanese, it’s known as kinmokusei, and in English it may be referred to as a “fragrant” or “Chinese” olive, hinting at the plant’s origins, but by any name, the aroma of ripe apricots, jasmine petals and leather is irresistible.

Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena was likewise enchanted by osmanthus, and he chose to pair it with a tea note in his fragrance for Hermès, Osmanthe Yunnan. Although Ellena was inspired by a visit to the Forbidden City in Beijing, his creation captures my memories of Tokyo in autumn. Every element in the perfume is delicately rendered, from the fruity notes that recall the softness of peach skin to the transparent white blossoms soaked in tea. The marriage of tea and osmanthus is a classical one, because both ingredients play up each other’s facets of fruits, woods, sweetness and bitterness. Osmanthe Yunnan is a happy perfume, and whenever I put it on, I feel as if I’ve stepped into a pool of sunlight.

Continue reading →

Scents That Evoke Winter Pleasures

A few years ago, I wrote an article about winter fragrances for the Financial Times. I enjoyed working on that piece and I still like rereading it, but the kind of winter wonderland fantasy that I described in it is no longer part of my reality. The last time I strolled through a snowfall was when I was visiting Bulgaria four years ago. There was a fleeting appearance of snow in late November in Brussels. These days it feels like spring, rather than winter. My daffodils are sprouting. The buds on the trees are full and green. Winter is only a distant memory.

Does it mean that winter scents are anachronistic? In fact, I crave such aromas more than ever. In that spirit, I’m sharing my article and my ideas on recreating winter splendor.

Continue reading →

Delicious Scents : Tonka Bean

The tonka bean, one of my favorite ingredients looks unprepossessing—a shriveled black pod covered with suspicious white bloom. However, its scent of toasted almonds, amarena cherries, sun warmed hay and vanilla custard is one of the luscious in a perfumer’s palette. What’s more, the tonka bean was responsible for a revolution in modern perfumery.

Tonka beans, the seeds of the Dipteryx Odorata tree native to South America, contain a component called coumarin. It’s present in many herbs and plants, including lavender, figs, and cherry leaves, but tonka beans are so rich in this aromatic that it crystallizes to the surface of their skin. Indeed, the very name coumarin comes from a French word for the tonka bean, coumarou. Coumarin was first isolated from tonka beans in the 1820s, and in 1882 it became the first synthetic material to be used in a perfume. To create a fantasy accord inspired by ferns, perfumer Paul Parquet added coumarin to the classical eau de cologne blend of citrus, lavender and geranium. Notes of amber, musk and oakmoss filled in the rest of the composition and Houbigant’s Fougère Royale was born. Along with it, came a new family of fragrances called fougère, which in French meant “fern.”

Continue reading →

My Favorite Comforting Winter Perfumes

Merry Christmas! This winter I crave comfort even more than I normally do. My workload has been extremely heavy, in addition to various activities in which I participated to support Ukraine at this difficult time. Also, winter arrived so suddenly that it caught me unawares, and it seemed as if one day I woke up to long stretches of cold weather and Belgian December rains. Normally, I would cope with it by reading and cooking, but making time for myself has been challenging lately. Perfumes came to the rescue and a few favorites in particular comforted me even when my schedule was grueling.

Below I will share several perfumes that embodied comfort for me this winter. I also recorded a video describing them, in case you prefer to listen (scroll to the end of the article.) In my video, I focused on five favorites, but in this article I will add two additional choices from the new 2022 launches. As always, I look forward to hearing about your own comforting, inviting scents.

Continue reading →

Shoyeido Incense Powder Perfume Zu-Koh

55555

Incense powder is one of the oldest forms of perfume, and Japan has perfected its craft. Called Zu-Koh in Japanese, incense powder is made by mixing finely ground ingredients like sandalwood, clove, cinnamon, camphor, and patchouli. Different combinations of the same materials can vary from bright and spicy to dusky and mellow. This form of incense perfume is easy to use–just rub it onto the pulse points–and it lasts well. Unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly rare, and the Japanese incense maker Shoyeido is one of the few brands still offering it.

Shoyeido makes three types of incense body powder, but the difference among them is not so much in terms of scent as in the quality of the components. Johin is the most affordable one at $10.95. It has a soft scent of sandalwood dominated by camphor and clove. It’s the least long lasting of the three powders.

Continue reading →

Latest Comments

  • Maggiecat in Recommend Me a Perfume: May 2024: Seconding the Fragonard perfume museum and stores. Very nice scents at reasonable prices. May 27, 2024 at 4:18pm

  • Karina_NL in Recommend Me a Perfume: May 2024: …and I suggest not to miss Goutal’s (prev. Annick Goutal) stores. Enjoy Paris! May 27, 2024 at 3:03pm

  • John Luna in Recommend Me a Perfume: May 2024: according to the all-knowing consensus of Fragrantica readers, possible substitutes for the Kors include Gucci Bloom, Kim Kardashian(!), and Nasomatto Narcotic Venus (also deserving an exclamation mark for the title… May 27, 2024 at 2:49pm

  • Aurora in Recommend Me a Perfume: May 2024: Hi Andrew: Seconding Jovoy, you’ll find several interesting brands there and adding le musée du parfum Fragonard. Also enter the discount parfumerie Marionnaud, there are several boutiques. May 27, 2024 at 2:40pm

Latest Tweets

Design by cre8d
© Copyright 2005-2024 Bois de Jasmin. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy