Yuzu Overload

I came across Demeter Fragrance Library more than 10 years ago while searching for a linden perfume. First I was inspired by the number of different perfumes they offered (as I was researching the brand online) and then completely disappointed by the simplicity of their creations, once I tried some of them at Sephora. Since then I tried several of them, even bought a couple (they were $5/30 ml at TJ Max, so I couldn’t resist but I use them as a room spray), but since then I never considered that brand again for personal perfume.

I’ve never been a huge marmalade fan. Most likely, because those that I tried were too over-processed to the degree where it was just sugar syrup soured by citric acid. But also because it was so far from what I used to love as a child. When I was growing up, lemons were scarce: as with a lot of other things and produce, one had to be in the right place at the right time to buy some. So, of course, nobody would be buying just one or two lemons if they were to happen upon them. But since lemons did not keep well for too long, I remember my grandmother slicing them, mixing with sugar and storing in a jar. And since no heat was involved into creating these preserves, they still smelled and tasted very natural.


Citrus and Honey Tea


So when a friend offered something that was called Yuzu Hot & Cold Tea and looked like most citrus store-bought marmalade I’d tried before, I was skeptical, but being a polite guest I got a couple of spoons… WOW. I’ve never eaten or smelled a real yuzu fruit before, so I have no comparison point, but that Yuzu “tea” was so fragrant that I wasn’t sure whether I should eat it or slather over my pulse points.

Since then couple of times my friend managed to get me that “tea” from some San Francisco store, but we don’t see each other often enough to make it a steady delivery channel, so I tried to find it around where I live first and then online – without much luck. I don’t remember how exactly I came across Yuzu Marmalade on Amazon, but I decided to give it a try – even though it was a different jar (much smaller) and it wasn’t “tea.” Luckily for me, it was exactly the same taste and aroma. So now I keep ordering it online, even though $11-12 for a 10oz (300g) jar seems a little steep.

Recently, while running a search to see if any other online retailers had it cheaper or in a bigger jar, I discovered that Demeter had perfume called Yuzu Marmalade. Of course I wanted to try it! While I was thinking of checking if Sephora still carried the line, a kind NST’er offered to send me her small spray bottle of this perfume, with which she wasn’t that enamored. From her I got also the idea of the post title, as she wrote in her note:

Not my favorite frag, but I like the experiment of yuzu marmalade overload–in fragrance and on toast.

Despite not that glowing recommendation, I had high hopes: not because Demeter makes great perfumes, but because how hard could it be to create an artificial citrus scent representing just one note, right? Demeter did it so many times to other notes, often relatively convincing even if not the most naturally smelling. I’m surprised to report that Demeter failed miserably: not only Yuzu Marmalade wasn’t even close to that zesty and aromatic marmalade that I had in my mind’s nose, but it barely might be classified as a citrus scent. All I can smell is that over-processed orange marmalade’s flat sweetness. Extremely disappointing.

I’m not even sure if I really want to wear yuzu soliflore, but I would love to find perfume where it’s recognizable. Any recommendations?



Images: Lemons from my friend’s recipe, (if you’re into cooking, I highly recommend looking through her blog); the rest – my own


22 thoughts on “Yuzu Overload

  1. No surprise the Demeter fragrance was a letdown sadly. I’d recommend Yuzu Fou by Parfum d Empire which I think is fantastic although I don’t know how realistic it is.

    Great Rusty modelling pics as usual.
    Now I’m craving marmalade…


    • I had a set of PdE’s perfumes but I checked – and no, Yuzu Fou wasn’t one of them. Now I’ll need to find and test it.

      Rusty was really interested in my set-up but disappointed by the content: even though he likes and eats fresh oranges, yuzu marmalade left him uninterested.


  2. I haven’t had a chance to see or smell a real yuzu but I love the idea of yuzu marmalade. I recently discovered sweet orange marmalade in Lidl supermarket and I’m obsessed with it. You can see small ‘strings’ of orange peel in it. It’s very fragrance and delicious, more tart than sweet to me.

    Heeley did a perfume called Note de Yuzu in collaboration with Maison Kitsune and I think this one is nice.

    re: Yuzu Fou suggested by Tara – on me it’s really sweaty.


  3. Hi Undina, I love how one thing leads to another, especially in scent adventures like this one.

    I love Demeter Gingerale and have a bottle of Demeter Ginger I use as room spray.

    Amazon blind buys are a naughty habit of mine. I couldn’t resist looking up yuzu marmalade. I’m tempted to order a jar, and one of the ginger marmalade from the same brand. I eat ginger candy, dried ginger, fresh ginger, pickled ginger, gingersnap cookies too. Love it!

    I can imagine how lovely a realistic yuzu perfume would be. I love the smell and taste of yuzu, and of marmalade too.

    Thanks the story, and the Rusty pics, such a handsome boy.


    • I was actually curious about that ginger marmalade :) But then decided not to experiment and go with something I knew I liked.

      Since I rarely even attempt real reviews, those chains of events are usually what prompts the post. I have many perfumes in my collection that I haven’t featured in any post just because there was no story connected to it. So, I also love when everything comes together (even if I end up not liking perfume).


  4. Ah, too bad about the Demeter perfume, but like Tara I am not really surprised. I am partial to Yuzu Rouge from Parfums 06130, and note that Bois de Jasmin also rates it:


    If you get a chance to try English marmalade again, and aren’t already familiar with them, Tiptree and Frank Cooper are reliable brands


    • Thank you for both recommendations – for perfume and for marmalade. I hope to try at least one of them :). And, to be fair, I’m not sure if the marmalade I tried before was English ;)


  5. I find yuzu too bitter a note in most scents but yuzu tea would be delicious. A good marmalade is a great British tradition and we have lots of orange marmalade in Florida as one would expect.


  6. Yuzu doesn’t smell nice on my skin, so I don’t seek it out, but I think Olfactive Studio’s Still Life is supposed to have a dominant yuzu note. And Dawn Spencer Hurwitz makes a scent called “Yuzu.” You’ll have to let us know what you try and what you end up liking!


  7. I don’t care for orange marmalade, but I do like lemon marmalade. Not sure if it’s yuzu or some other citrus, but I do love the earthy, sweet citrus in Diptyque Oyedo.


    • After reading comments, I’m getting a better appreciation for marmalade as a type of preserves, so I will be tasting more marmalade (and testing more perfumes :) ).


  8. I was intrigued and immediately googled. Zara evidently carries a lot of their own perfumes, kind of like Victoria’s Secret, at least on line. I never knew, but then I don’t go into Zara. Age. Anyway a couple of years ago they came out with something called Yuzu Tea but it doesn’t seem to be available this year, so that is no help I guess.

    On another matter, A while back you published something about magnolia and I remember commenting how I had this magnolia tree with beautiful big blooms but no smell. I was in Houston this past weekend visiting family and the neighbor’s tree was this magnolia like mine, but much bigger and tons of blooms. The smell was beautiful although subtle and I groused about why does their’ smell and mine doesn’t. Then when I came home yesterday I was watering all the plants in the garden that had gone without for 4 days and I thought, what am I smelling? My magnolia tree only has a few blossoms but they have a scent, the first time in the nine years I’ve lived here! I cut one and brought it to my kitchen and this morning there was a nice lemony white flower smell when I walked in. So strange that it has taken it this long to scent!
    Good luck with the yuzu, I need to check out the preserves!


    • After this fiasco with Yuzu Marmalade I wouldn’t trust just a listed note or even a name – at least not for a blind buy. But I’ll try to find if any of perfumes that I can get for testing smell any closer to marmalade that enchanted me so much.

      It’s an amazing story about your magnolia! I’ll make sure I keep smelling magnolias I came across – just in case I meet a mature one :)


  9. What a pity this one didn’t work out, Undina. My favourite yuzu scent would have to be Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme. Very 90s, but still so good.


  10. Pingback: In the Search for the Perfect Yuzu – Undina's Looking Glass

  11. Pingback: In the Search for the Perfect Yuzu, Take II or Yuzu Obsession – Undina's Looking Glass

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