Along comes a package of Yosh samples, from Someone Special. I have smelled the Yoshes exactly once – in New York – in the middle of my big sniffage with Patty, so my impressions are muddled. I thought the bottles were stunning, and … I dunno, can´t remember. Here, clipped from lacremebeauty.com, is info about the line: “The YOSH collection combines the art of perfumery with aromachology, the therapeutic properties of essential oils. Each multi-faceted scent is hand-crafted and blended by Yosh using the finest ingredients from around the world, then assigned a numerical value that corresponds to the fragrance family (such as floral, fruity, green, woody, and spicy) and resonates with principles of Chakra energy and numerology.” That is precisely the sort of New Age-y wingnut blather that makes me giggle. Was my avoidance of this line (let´s face it, my Chakra energy is probably a disaster) entirely predictable?
If anyone wants to sample the line, Yosh has a Sweet Suite presentation with 5 samples, one each of Sottile, Stargazer, U4EAHH!, Whiteflowers, Ginger Ciao and Omniscent, for $30 at both Lacreme and Luckyscent. The idiotically-named U4EAHH! (pomegranate, aloe vera, cucumber, pear, water lily) I actually remember being entranced with, but I don´t have a sample to blog about today, nor will I be blogging on Phenomenon, Whiteflowers or Trompeur, because I don´t have samples of those either.
Ginger Ciao — Arabian sandalwood, ylang ylang, and black coconut, Kenya lily, basil, and ginger. Richer than I remember it at the opening, focused more on ylang and lily, with the coconut adding an almost cocoa-butter “exotic locale” touch rather than a tropical-drinks note. Over the first 15 minutes on my skin it slowly shifts toward the ginger. The sweet sandalwood drydown sticks around a decent amount of time on me.
La Contessa – limited edition, sold out. Via Lacreme: “A seductive blend of of the finestest Parvati and Arabian sandalwoods with notes of Oriental Kush, Night Queen, Cucumber, Vanilla and Bergamot.” Those notes don´t sound like me at all, I can overdose on sandalwood fairly quickly, but I found myself seduced just like they promised. The drydown is a particularly rich, smooth combination of sandalwood and the green notes, and I would have guessed vetiver. I will say that between the Oriental Kush and the Night Queen it´s definitely vibing the Bourbon French vibe, and if I looked hard I wonder if I could find something similar in their lineup for a lot less money…
Omniscent — gardenia, Egyptian tuberose, fig, lilac, violet, kush, Tunisian opium, vanilla, sandalwood, basil, clove, geranium, pink grapefruit. On Luckyscent it says: “Opening with a fierce peppery blast, this is a lavish, reckless feast of a scent, complete with platters of candied fruit, hookahs and handsome men with bad reputations. If this fragrance were a party, your mother wouldn´t let you go.” Don´t I wish. This is just way too murky for me, too much going on at once, quite sweet and with a surprising cherry-almond note that, for me, is not a happy surprise. It wasn´t terrible – all of these smell reasonably attractive, with no grating, plastic-y notes – but it didn´t do much for me either.
Stargazer — Kenya lily, white ginger. I had no idea so many of these were lily scents. I was all ready to type “kill me now” — I love the lily smell, just not in massive doses in fragrance. Donna Karan Gold would be a fine example of a lily fragrance I think is beautifully done that makes me retch. Instead, Stargazer opens on an almost grassy note that sticks around. Very pretty. Not sure I´d pick it out as lily; the ginger registers on my skin as a vaguely peppery smell. Maybe “Kenya” means “tolerable.” (Four hours later: fine, kill me now. Nuthin´ but lily. But, hey, if lily´s your thing…)
Sottile — tea rose, lily of the valley. With just those two notes you´re halfway to my idea of Hell (to get there, just add galbanum and cedar. Or lily.) Oddly … this sort of works. Huh. Okay, I would never choose a bottle of this. But it´s not giving me that oncoming-migraine feeling, either. The LOTV is missing the throat-choking aspect, and the rose isn´t too heady. There´s a pleasantly subtle, green feeling to this scent. My guess is if you´re the sort of person who would actually be happy with a LOTV/rose combo, you´d really love this one. (Update 2.5 hours later: Cripes. Vamoose, already. Scram! Go awaaay!)
SF Jazz – gardenias, casablanca lilies, Turkish rose, pink pepper, coconut, coriander, cognac, chocolate. For the love of Pete – another lily? Sigh… well, this is a heavier, creamier scent than the others, with more of a focus on the gardenias than the lilies, and the coconut, cognac and chocolate add smoothness. Gourmand rather than edible, with the base shifting gently back and forth between the mildly peppery chocolate and coconut. I don´t get anything distinct in the way of rose, and that´s fine with me.
These fragrances are oils, which go on … oily, you know? Theoretically this shouldn´t be a problem on my very dry skin, but I did find myself eyeballing the damp patch on my wrists suspiciously, worried about my sleeves. This is probably the sort of scent I´d apply right after showering and then wait a few minutes before getting dressed.
I also had mixed results in the lasting power and sillage. The Yoshes had the disconcerting habit of randomly disappearing on me (except, of course, for the Sottile and Stargazer, the ones I liked least), as if the scent had literally soaked into my skin. I did a little experimenting, applying unscented lotion or jojoba oil first, and it seemed to help a bit. And the sillage seemed to vary a lot too – of course you can always smell the ones you hate (scrubber!), but the ones I really liked varied in their ability to waft. I´d say that for scents that start off with their richness, they don´t consistently project as much as you´d expect. However, when you´re looking for a more subtle “skin” scent that stays fairly close, that can be a desirable thing.
In sum: I found these very pleasant, if not Earth-shattering. They have a certain … diffuse gentleness that I’d guess their fans adore, and it’s not quite my thing, but that’s not Yosh’s fault. They feel nicely done; the line has a “natural” smell to it (although I´m not implying in any way that these are natural-ingredient-based; I´d be surprised if they were.) They manage to straddle the aroma gulf between that mildly crunchy “natural oil” smell and fine perfumery. I think lily-lovers in particular might adore Stargazer. I would probably own one of these (Ginger Ciao, or La Contessa if I could find it), just so I could reach for that beautiful bottle when it was exactly the right day. But at $130 for 8ml, I probably don´t need all of them.
YOSH Ginger Ciao image: lacremebeauty.com