So, we announced the Chi-Cocoa Scentsation coming in September, and put it out there with some details, and then … a bunch of you surprised us by announcing you´re planning on coming! Musette is working her butt off on this, on a totally volunteer basis, trying to get this puppy organized, since it looks like the group will be a decent size. She´s stressing a little. Here´s a newsflash – Chicago in the spring and fall is a big convention destination. So, among other things, the hotel rooms in that area aren´t as cheap as we were hoping. Musette´s got her travel agent working on some options; we´re figuring out how we´re going to work Neil Morris and Liz Zorn into the event; we´re enthusiastic amateurs trying to keep it casual while at the same time accepting that there has to be a certain amount of structure if this is going to work. We´ll make future announcements here and on the Message Board to the left, hopefully with some hotel info. Right now, remember to hold onto those unwanted bottles of Jungle Elephant, Aromatics Elixir and other things you bought unsniffed, because we´re going to have a Mystery Bottle Swap! For those of you flying with no checked bags (that will be me, I hope): we´ll provide a mailing address so you can send them ahead if you want.
Okay, on to today´s post.
My love affair with fragrances of the Japanese skincare company Annayake continues pretty much unabated. The most popular one in the blogosphere is probably Miyako, with notes of cardamom, cinnamon, frankincense, hinoki, rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, patchouli, cedar, sandalwood, musk, rockrose, benzoin, myrrh, and amber. I find the first half hour a rough ride – it´s spicy and dry and raspy and the rockrose (aka cistus) and myrrh are all up in your face with their camphor-y herbaceous dance of the seven resins or whatever. Then it dies and we all go to benzoin-woods heaven and live happily ever after.
My personal favorite thus far, in the same woody-comfort-scent vein, is Tsukimi, their “fall” scent – they have one for each season – with notes of pepper, grapefruit, lemon, jasmine, violet, cinnamon, patchouli, sandalwood, vanilla. I find that list misleading – focus on the second half of those notes, because it is all warm cinnamon, woods and vanilla. It is smooth and creamy, neither too sweet nor too dry. It is a woody comfort scent somewhere between Organza Indecence and Feminite du Bois.
Pour Elle is an oddball thing, kind of an herbal tea (notes of bergamot, fig, elemi, water lily, tea, cypress, and white musk) and I need to retry it in the summer, when I think I will like it very much. I held off on this post, figuring by now it´d have been warm enough to report back more fully, but it´s been cool and wet all May and at this point I feel like I will never be warm (or dry) again.
Finally, dusting off and reorganizing my fragrances recently, I ran across a sample of Yukimi, the “winter” scent, which to be honest I didn´t even realize I had. Notes are mint, mandarin, freesia, rose, jasmine, woods, and amber.
It is an unusual scent but it is not difficult. (I would describe all of them I´ve tried so far as unisex, including Pour Elle.) The first bit of Yukimi is as refreshing as sucking on a mint candy. The mandarin adds a nice albeit brief zing at the opening, the jasmine is very clean and the rose is undiscernable to my nose. It is a floral woody scent, with a note that makes me think of anise, but not in a way that bothers me. My favorite part is when the mint is more or less equal with the woods – it´s like sniffing two different but oddly complementary scents at the same time. As I get further into the drydown the amber and woods become more dominant, and the anise note remains politely in the background. If Yukimi had a color, it would be a deep, wintery purple.
Although Yukimi is their “winter” scent its cool minty aspect strikes me as something that would be absolutely appealing in warmer weather, and the couple of days we made it to the 70´s seemed perfect, although I am not sure I would love it in the teeth of a Washington, D.C. summer. But really, folks reading this who are fans of soft, woody scents with floral and/or incense accents, and who have not sampled the line, might find something to love among the Annayakes. All the Annayake fragrances I have sniffed have a refreshing lack of sugar, and an interesting meet-up of quirky elegance and wearability.
Many of these are available at Cosmolane and eSkincarestore for I think $75 – $95, and the men´s are at Beauty Encounter. At less than $100 they are a (relative) bargain for a niche fragrance these days, although not quite the bargain they were when the Canadian dollar was worth 30% less than the USD. Sigh. The bottles are tall and slender and I think they are lovely. By the way, if the notes to Tsukimi appeal to you – Cosmolane threw in a small Tsukimi hand lotion which is great, so maybe they sell it although I did not see it on their site.
Has anyone tried the spring and summer scents, which sound more conventional, or the masculines — Undo, Tomo or Lui? Those each sound good in some ways, but each has a note that scares me – I wonder if Lui is too fresh, and is Undo interesting or is it too masculine for me? And Tomo has coriander and tonka – hmmmm. But the rest of each of those scents sounds delish – lots of tea, spices, tobacco, and similar good stuff.