In the Search for the Perfect Yuzu

Last year, when I published my Yuzu Overload post, in which I told my story of liking yuzu marmalade (as in “food”) but being disappointed by Demeter’s eponymous perfume, asked for recommendations on other yuzu-centric perfumes, I didn’t realize how many of those were out there.

I wasn’t sure where to start, but I got an unexpected help from a kind NST reader, Perfumelover67. As I was passing onto her a couple of samples that she wanted to try, she asked if there was anything I’d like to get in return. I mentioned that the only thing I was looking for at the time was yuzu… And she just happened to have 4 samples she could share with me.

That was how it all started. After that yuzu seemed to be jumping at me from all possible places, without me even trying. So, I decided to share with you my findings.

I will not do the usual “runner-up” sequence leading to the best. Instead, I want to start with introducing to you my perfect yuzu scent that I found. It was one of the PL67’s samples, and after testing it for a while, I decided that I wanted it in my collection.

Rusty and J-Scent Yuzu

Yuzu by J-Scent. I don’t think I should be surprised by the fact that a Japanese brand did the best job out of everything I tried so far. With notes lemon, bergamot, orange, thyme, grapefruit, lime, yuzu, rose and mandarin, it is an extremely believable yuzu scent, at least the way I know that smell from enjoying yuzu marmalade, jar after jar. If I were to smell it with my eyes closed, I’m not sure I would be able to tell whether I smell the first minute of J-Scent’s Yuzu development or an open jar of the preserve. It starts slightly sweet and very juicy, then develops into a tart scent that stays on my skin surprisingly long for that type of perfume. I have never been a big citrus perfume fan. But J-Scent’s Yuzu is just perfect for me, and I look forward to wearing it this summer.

* * *

All other perfumes that I tested for this Single Note Exploration project can be placed into one of the two categories: “I can smell yuzu note” and “If you say so…”

Most perfumes in the latter category do not deserve even a paragraph in this post – not because they are bad perfumes, but because that note is in there only nominally, they shouldn’t be considered as examples of this note in perfumery. And because of that I will just list them – so that whoever decides to run their own search for this note knows what not to test (though, otherwise than not having enough yuzu in them, these perfumes might be good on their own): Diptyque Oyedo, Gallivant Tokyo and Sylvaine Delacourte Smeraldo.

One more perfume from the same category I will single out – just because with that name I expected more.

Yuzu Rouge by Parfums 06130 – flat and slightly artificial abstract citrus in the opening, some pale rose on a good day after that. If you were to read a notes list, you’d expect this perfume to be fabulous. It’s not. For the sake of all the great ingredients listed, I hope they were either artificial or used in homeopathic doses. Sooo not interesting.

* * *

From perfumes in which I could smell yuzu I got mixed results, but they all are worth trying if you are interested in this note.

I knew nothing about this, also Japanese, brand, but I ordered a sample of Kazehikaru by Di Ser on a whim (I should have read first!). It’s all-natural perfume, astringent and slightly herbal (a very recognizable green bitterness I smelled often in all-natural perfumes). Notes: yuzu, neroli, lavender, shiso, Japanese rose and vetiver. I’ll pass, but be warned that, as a rule, I tend to dislike all-natural perfumes. If your experience is different, please give Kazehikaru a try.

* * *

Yuzu by Acqua Di Parma has a divine and very realistic yuzu opening. Unfortunately, it’s gone within seconds. I’m not exaggerating: I re-tested several times because I couldn’t believe it was happening. It disappears quickly and becomes just a pleasant floral bouquet. Notes include yuzu, bergamot, Sichuan pepper, lotus, mimosa, violet leaves, jasmine, musk, liquorice and sandalwood. If you like any of AdP’s perfumes, try this one, whether you’re looking for yuzu or not. That opening!

Yuzu Perfume Samples

* * *

Tacit by Aesop is more astringent than some other scents I tested, but it’s not too bitter. Notes: Citrus, yuzu, basil, clove and vetiver (which is probably responsible for some woodiness I smell in development). I like it, and I could wear something like that if I needed more summer citruses: it is very pleasant, refreshing and not banal, even though for my taste it doesn’t have enough yuzu.

* * *

Peche au Yuzu by Kyse – mouthwatering yuzu/peach combination in the opening, but then it gets too … peach-y (?). It’s the sweetest perfume of all I tried for this post, and I think it’s quite pleasant if someone likes a peach note in perfumes. I don’t.

* * *

Note de Yuzu by Heeley – opens beautifully: juicy, sweet, slightly tart. It’s not too complex but bright and pleasant. My complaint is: it subsides too quickly on my skin. Nevertheless, I think it’s a beautiful summer perfume. I just don’t need more than 10-15 ml of it, otherwise, I wouldn’t mind adding it to my collection.

* * *

When I read it, I couldn’t believe that Jo Malone also released a yuzu-centric perfume. With quarantine going on, there was no chance I could get to try it for free, so for the first time… ever I paid for a Jo Malone sample. OK, it wasn’t exactly a sample: I got a mini bottle on eBay.

Hadn’t I found my perfect yuzu perfume, I would have been quite content with Yuja by Jo Malone this summer. A pleasant opening burst of yuzu (do you see a pattern?), and then it calms down quickly and reminds of many other Jo Malone “blossoms” from their limited editions. I will wear what I have (cute bottle, it’s very convenient for re-application), but I don’t think I’ll need more.

Rusty and Jo Malone Yuja

I found my perfect yuzu perfume (and at least one second best). Does it mean my search is over? I thought so until I read recently that Parfums de Nicolai has just released Eau de Yuzu. Of course, now I want to try it.

Images: my own


33 thoughts on “In the Search for the Perfect Yuzu

  1. I remember Yuzu Rouge – and Yuzu Fou! – but crucially not how they smell, haha. Glad you have found the perfect example….for now. ;) It is a refreshing note for summer all right.


    • At some point I got a set of Perfume d’Empire samples – and somehow Yuzu Fou wasn’t a part of it. I will definitely give it a try if I come across it.


  2. I am so glad I was of some help in your search for your favorite yuzu. I remember you yesterday when I wore Nomenclature Shi_So, because I do not wear yuzu scents often, despite liking the note. I find Shi-So very green, citrusy, herbal. Great longevity and sillage. Worth a try.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hope to try it eventually: as I mentioned in reply to Vanessa’s comment, unexplainably my set of samples from the brand didn’t have that perfume. It must be really good (by my theory that “bad” samples circulate better :) ).


  3. Thanks for exploring yuzu for us. Because you mentioned JM Yuja in my search for perfect citrus post I decided to buy a 5ml decant when someone decided to host a split on the polish perfume forum. It arrived today so I’m going to wear it tomorrow.
    I will also have a sample of Heeley Note de Yuzu coming with my copy of new NEZ issue.
    I like Nicolai so I’ll try to test it too


  4. Have I even tried yuzu? Not sure, although as a fan of Nicolaï I definitely want to try the new Eau someday. Btw, Rusty looks fab.


    • Thank you! Rusty was properly rewarded for his participation in the photo shoot :)

      If it weren’t for yuzu cold tea/marmalade, I would have never known about that scent. I’m glad I found it (both the marmalade and perfume).


  5. How nice that you found your yuzu, and J-Scent is rather reasonably priced! I love Oyedo personally, but having never smelled an actual yuzu, I am easily satisfied I guess. :-)


  6. What a great read Undina. I love hearing about the way you research and hunt down and try things out and whittle your list into favourites and finally make a loved selection (or 2). I’m so like that myself, and the last line you wrote “Parfums de Nicolai has just released Eau de Yuzu. Of course, now I want to try it.” That is so me I burst out laughing. That’s how I end up with 2 or even sometimes more new loves.
    The only Yuzu perfume I’ve ever tried was Olfactive Studio’s Still Life. I can’t actually remember what it smelled like but I think it was my first moment of Yuzu anything that I know of. It intrigued me enough to go and find out what Yuzu was and, in the absence of any others coming my way, I forgot about it. I think the easiest one for me to try would be the Jo Malone. I hope Lucasai will let us know about his experience with it.


    • Thank you, SV.
      Interestingly, until I fell in love with yuzu marmalade (and even some time after), I didn’t pay much attention to yuzu as s perfume note, even though before testing any perfumes I was adding it, with notes, to my personal database. So, I had Still Life as well, but I think I passed on the sample without even registering yuzu presence there.


  7. I’ve heard of Yuzu for the first time in the perfume branch and I don’t know how it tastes or smells naturally. All perfumes I’ve tried with Yuzu were very fresh and had this bitterness which reminded me of a grapefruit – Heeley’s Note de Yuzu and Pierre Guillaume’s Yuzu ab Irato (here the freshness comes from the mint). Today I’ve got a sample of Patricia de Nicolai’s Eau de Yuzu and it is pure perfection: calm, smooth and fresh. I was in doubt whether to spray it on my skin or drink it. Oops, she did it again! :-)


    • OK… Now I just have to try this perfume! :). I would have tried PG’s one as well, but I’m not sure I could easily find it in the US. But I’ll try to see if any of the decanter sites have all three (otherwise, shipping costs make those samples golden.


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  10. Lovely read, Undina. I love Yuzu centric perfumes. I tried Nicolai Yuzu recently and liked it but it didn’t stay too long on my skin. A cologne style fragrance. Will try the Aqua di Parma one as i like other fragrances from them. As others mentioned Yuzu Fou is worth a try from Parfum d’Empire, it was my first Yuzu fragrance. I have never tried Yuzu marmalade and will have a look if I can find it here. Would love to smell a real Yuzu fruit sometime. Rusty looks gorgeous as ever.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I did try Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune and it wasn’t my thing really, but it’s a well done scent. I also tried Heeley’s new Notes de Yuzu and I wasn’t a fan of that either. I think yuzu scents are often too bitter for me. I probably just haven’t tried the right one! I like scents with orange, mandarin, bergamot and lemon notes best. Thanks again for this great citrus exploration!

    Liked by 1 person

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