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.

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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 their 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 a read 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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Got Milk?

This is not a post about COVID-19-related shortage of milk, though the last time I checked, my local store was out of condensed milk, and at least some of Amazon prices for it tripled recently.

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From what I read, it’s international: children do not like milk. When I was growing up, I was a strange child (probably, more than in one respect, but for this story I’ll mention the one that matters): not only I liked milk, I liked hot milk and even milk skin. Besides keeping my mother and grandmothers happy, it made me popular in my class.

For the first three years of the elementary school, children were given hot milk after the second period. I suspect that it was an attempt to provide nutrition to everyone, so that children from poor families would not go hungry. Most of my classmates came not from those families, so after having a good breakfast at home a couple of hours earlier, by the time milk was served they weren’t hungry yet. And did I mention it was hot milk? So, most kids in my class hated it. But drinking milk was mandatory, and our teacher would pressure pupils to empty their glasses. And almost every day, after finishing my glass, I would drink at least one or two more instead of my classmates (and they would bribe me with cookies or candies that they were given by parents to go with milk). And since I almost never had anything with me (I’m not sure if there was a reason for that, or if my mom just didn’t think of doing that), both parties were quite happy with the arrangement.

In addition to regular milk that I liked, I loved condensed milk. Nine years ago, I told a couple of stories from my childhood and teenage years that had a strong olfactory connection to Jo Malone’s limited edition perfume Sweet Milk (“Here’s a photo I’ve been looking for…”: Sweet Milk by Jo Malone), and I still have a strong bond with that perfume.

 

Sweet Milk by Jo Malone

 

My bottle is almost empty, and all these years I was on a lookout for another milk scent. Thanks to my perfumista friends, not only I got to try many great perfumes, but I think I found several excellent replacements for my favorite perfume – or at least something that I enjoy wearing.

Neyronrose from NST was very kind to send me her sample of Demeter’s Condensed Milk. Fragrantica lists just 2 notes: milk and sugar. I’m positive it has more. If you are familiar with Yves Rocher’s Pur Desir de Rose, it has a similar artificial spicy note as I can smell in Condensed Milk; and I do not care for it in either perfume. Still, as an exercise it was interesting.

Brigitte shared with me samples of two perfumes that fit this Single Note Exploration topic: Fichi e Panna by Kyse and Milk oil by Ava Luxe.

Fichi e Panna (notes: fig, milk, sugar, vanilla and sandalwood) is more about fig than milk, but it’s so delicious that I couldn’t stop sniffing my wrist as I tested it. If you like fig in perfumes, do yourself a favor and try Fichi e Panna: it’s very warm and naturally smelling fig and vanilla custard. It comes in a variety of sizes and very reasonably priced. Now you see that I just had to get a travel spray.

But the second perfume, Ava Luxe’s Milk, was a clear winner: not identical, but it smells very close to Jo Malone’s Sweet Milk. Comparing them side by side, I think that Milk is slightly sweeter but otherwise – a perfect match. Since Brigitte’s sample was for oil, I decided to buy a small bottle of Milk oil perfume as well. But I was curious, so I also ordered a sample of EdP. I’m glad to report that they both smell identical. And both formulations have a good longevity. So, you can decide what you want to try based on your preferences for the medium without sacrificing the experience.

 

Ava Luxe Milk

 

I got a small decant of Fresh Cream Warm Cashmere by Philosophy from hajusuuri. Notes listed: coconut, cashmere wood, vanilla, sandalwood and musk. Initially I dismissed it because it didn’t smell like Sweet Milk. But it wasn’t intended to! And once I accepted that, I realized that I liked that warm vanilla scent with milky undertones. A small travel bottle of Fresh Cream Warm Cashmere is making its way to me as I’m writing this.

You would think I would have stopped after finding not one but three milk-related perfumes, while still having my favorite perfume. But no. As I was recently placing an order with DSH Perfumes, I just couldn’t resist ordering a sample of her Au Lait VdP (notes deconstructed from the brand’s site: ambrette seed, buttercream accord, French vanilla, sweet cream, tonka bean, milk). If to go just by the opening, I think, I like Au Lait more than all other perfumes covered in this post: to my nose, in the very beginning it has some boozy quality that I just love. Had it been even slightly more tenacious, I would have bought a bottle already. Alas, this wonderful stage lasts just a couple of minutes. What is left after that is still eminently enjoyable: a beautiful gourmand scent that doesn’t project much but warmly enfolds you. But what I get from it is very close to Ava Luxe’s Milk that I already have. And for some reason I’m still not completely on board with the new Voile de Parfum format. I still plan to get a 3 ml sample spray of Au Lait the next time I order something from DSH.

 

Milk Perfumes

 

And now I’m off to the store to see if they’ve restocked sweetened condensed milk. If no, I’ll have to drink my weekend coffee black while sniffing my wrist: luckily, as you can see, there’s no shortage of milk-inspired perfumes in my household.

 

Images: my own