It’s not often that I come across clear evidence of fragrance dilution and reformulation within so short a period of time as a mere two years, but it happened this week. Two bottles of Parfum MDCI‘s Chypre Palatin, purchased roughly two years apart, are unquestionably different in both their visuals and their scent.
Today, I wanted to take you into the world of Japanese niche perfumery. Parfum Satori is a brand that has been around since 2000, but it only recently arrived in America and Europe.
Parfum Satori was founded by Satori Osawa, and she is also the nose behind the fragrances. According to her profile on the brand’s website, she is a member of La Société Française de la Parfumerie, and has a background in scent going back to 1988. Her goal is to make fragrances that are representative of Japanese culture, and thereby “oriental” in a very different sense of the word than it is typically used. Fragrantica lists 19 fragrances for the brand. I’ve only tried four, all eau de parfums in the Premium Black and White Collections: the eponymous Satori, Hana Hiraku, Iris Homme, and Wasabon. I’ll take a look at each one in turn.
If you merely looked at the note list for Nuit de Bakelite, the newest release from the Australian niche brand, Naomi Goodsir, you might quickly dismiss it as a fragrance that wouldn’t suit your taste preferences, particularly if you’re one of those people who has an intense loathing for tuberose. On the surface and from basic descriptions, you might conclude that it was a highly feminine floral with a greener take on what is perhaps the single most notorious, polarizing flower around, one whose indolic, heady, fleshy, and narcotic aroma has sent numerous people reeling ever since Fracas was released decades ago. Tuberose may be my favourite flower in both perfumery and real life, but I know its very name makes a lot of readers shudder and that several of you avoid any fragrance which includes it.
If you’re one of these people, then let me say right now that Nuit de Bakelite has nothing in common with the conventional take on either indolic tuberose or floral femininity, and that you might be surprised if you tried it. From a spiky, herbal, vegetal green floral to a softly smoked iris woody musk to a unisex, spiced, woody tobacco-leather velvet (and several points in-between), it traverses a range of fragrance profiles that you might not expect. The result is interesting, modern, and worth putting aside any preconceptions that you may have about the notorious flower because, in all honesty, I really wouldn’t classify Nuit de Bakelite as a tuberose fragrance at all, at least not in the sense of a tuberose soliflore. At most, it’s tuberose-adjacent in its early hours but, afterwards, it becomes another matter entirely.
I press soft flesh to bark in the evening’s gold dusk,
to breathe heavy hues of a Satyr’s musk.
My body is swelling with the oak’s root and seed
Our veins and our vines weave together with ease,
And as your chatter dispels at the shake of our leaves,
You set your ear to our chest, to hear the whisper of trees. [….]
Beneath the dark of your eyelids, our damp forest floor rises.
The lilac of lavender soothes dwindling sight.
The essence of our body’s sap stained perfume
Soars above oak beams, drenched in silk, silver light.
I press the soft suede of an apricots sheath to your lips.
The sweetness jars with narcissus’ bitter.
Head tilted, enchanted, you breathe your first breath, with the timber of touch I lead you, bereft
of sight and of sound, but with gilt dew on your skin
each of your pursed pores unravels, and the forest seeps in.
I watch moist emerald moss survive in the sun,
I catch burnished, bronze leaves that fall from each stem.
While dwelled in the canopy, I skim saplings in starlight,
And dust gilded galbanum through the dim of the glen.
From autumn to summer, from winter to spring
The branches and bow are open.
The changing of seasons ticks with the sun.
Each colour prints petal marks to rest at your chest; it is dappled with wolf’s blood and the slick of deer’s tongue.
Roses creep at my ankles, bergamot blooms
Clary sage clouds you with billowing fumes,
and here in my tree I watch you awaken; I do not hide behind trunk or stem.
So dance with the Dryad’s, sip all you have taken
Fall blind, deaf and drunk in the pearl of the glen.