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First encounter: A recent trip to Japan last December saw me visiting the atelier of one of Japan’s independent perfumers. Located in the heart of Tokyo, I had the opportunity to speak to the lady of the hour who burst into the Japanese fragrance scene at the dawn of the second millennia, where she presented her scented creations to me with much zeal and passion. It was hard for me to put a finger on the fragrance I absolutely adored, since I simply love all of them. This one that I have picked out, however, is very unique to me and I feel the need to share this with everyone.
Inspiration: There’s no better way for one to start off their morning before heading to work, besides a hearty breakfast and an energizing bath, is to slip into a crisp, tailored, ironed high quality white shirt that was freshly laundered the night before. For which, the clean and refreshing scent perks someone up in a snap.
As the day progresses, the individual’s energy dissipates away and the only known method to recharge himself is to retire by succumbing to the comfy bed after a relaxing shower, as the calming smell of the duvet slowly eases him into deep slumber. That was the concept when Japanese perfumer Satori Osawa, who founded her own fragrance house, Parfum Satori, developed Kon Shiro (紺白).
Referenced with the image from the familiar colour combination of navy blue and white, the fragrance evokes the simple yet high quality Japanese lifestyle through the use of unconventional pairing of fruity and aldehyde notes. The end result – a torrent of soft and serene smell akin to a piece of linen that was left to bask beneath the endless light, making it favourable to be worn by both sexes. “I think Japanese people loves this kind of fresh and clean scent, and this can be shared with both genders,” added Satori-san.
Bottle: Adopting Satori’s bottle structure, Kon Shiro bears clean lines silhouetting the unembellished glass bottle with a thin gold neck cap finish. The only difference? It comes in a transparent flaçon with a slight blue tint, as opposed to the black, opaque body like Satori’s. Satori-san signs off her perfume bottle with her distinctive hexagonal-shaped logo, Kikko-mon (亀甲紋), which subtly adds as a symbolic good fortune to its wearer.
Like all of Parfum Satori’s fragrances, they are specially housed in a black box, furnished with a slender gold line called Inro-gata (印籠型) which gives the entire packaging with a touch of elegance and grace.
Type: Fruity, aldehyde
Top – Bergamot, lemon peel, galbanum, cassis, aldehyde
Heart – Cyclamen, rose, jasmine, orange flower, dried prune
Base – Patchouli, vetiver, sandalwood, guaiac wood, cacao
Occasion: Day, night, office, casual, weekends, date night, dinner, spring, summer, fall
Duration: While I absolutely love this scent on my skin, I am slightly not a fan that when it comes to the perfume’s longevity. I got a a good 2~3 hours with this one, before it fades away. The perfume’s projection is not overpowering; its range lies to at most, an arm’s length. This somewhat echoes Satori-san’s formulation that appeals the Japanese crowd as compared to the western counterparts.
“[In general], Japanese are very conscious about smell. So, for example, my creations are in a way more sophisticated [that] is not too loud, more in a delicate manner that is created,” as Satori-san explains her craft.
Verdict: Let me begin by saying that Kon Shiro starts off with a wave of freshness with a smooth blend of citrusy bergamot and lemon accords with a fragrant burst of galbanum. There are at times when I can detect hints of juicy blackcurrants (cassis) dancing around in the top notes as well, balancing out the sharp citrus and floral notes. The dominate note here however, is aldehyde which enhances the entire top layer with a breath of fresh breeze, giving me the impression of soaps and detergents.
As the first layer peels off, Satori-san’s love for flora is evident here as the floral melange comprising of rose, jasmine, and cyclamen softly hits me. This may spell trouble to men as they typically are not use to be wearing scents containing such accords. The dried prune, believe it or not, gives a slight caramel-esque that guides the scent on a slightly sweeter path as opposed to the overly floral heart notes.
Towards the end, the familiar woody smell of sandalwood and guaiac wood take over, taking the perfume with a slight masculine edge. The perfumer’s intelligent use of patchouli and vetiver keeps the dry down fresh and refined, giving an air of sophistication.
I must say that Kon Shiro is one scent that does not go wrong at any occasion and age, especially for perfume converts who are just starting out spraying on fragrances for the very first time. It is definitely a much better upgrade than wearing those scented, “sporty-kind” deodorants that one often see in most convenience and personal grooming stores.
Despite its rich, original formulation that she has come up with, the person is indeed wearing the fragrance and not the other way around. “My fragrances bring out and inspire the appeal of an individual, rather than dressing up the person and rely solely on appearance,” iterated Satori-san.
I mean, who DOESN’T love the smell of fresh fabrics, especially the scent of a freshly steamed outfit. But then again, I’m not sure whether everyone agrees with me on this one but I have always been drawn to the alluring smell of clean materials each time I step into a luxury boutique. I am guilty of trying on a few clothes in the changing room and I would take a quick whiff from the outfits I chose. As the scent fades away, I would often yearn to find a scent that would perks me up again and I have indeed found it in Kon Shiro.
Read more on Parfum Satori by visiting my previous entries:-
- A Quick Chat With… Satori Osawa
- Parfum Satori – Brand Insight and Meeting Satori Osawa
- Parfum Satori – Satori (2006)
5 Chome-26-5 Sendagaya
Shibuya, Tokyo 151-0051, Japan
Tel: +81 3-5787-7207
All images credit: Parfum Satori