Annayake: A Revisit

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.

  • Divina says:

    Hi March Sweetie,

    I’m a little late to the party – haven’t been able to sit behind my comp much lately due to exams, but I adore the Annayake line so I had to comment. The fall scent is also my personal favorite of the season perfumes, it is absolute perfection. Miyako is another favorite, its milky, bready scent is just SOOO comforting to me. You can find full reviews of both the summer and the spring scent you are asking about on my blog, but in just a few words: Spring is magnificent, very simple and linear but just unbelievably sparkling, youthful and dewy. It is an uncomplicated floral scent that smells like dewy blossoms and nothing else. I personally love it, it is the essence of spring. You gotta like florals to like this one though. As for summer… it was a huge disappointment. I like the opening as I love tomato vine/leaf notes but I don’t enjoy the watermellon note, albeit finding it fitting to a japanese summer frag. The drydown is a dissappointment, not unique..there are others out there that do the same thing better. If you mail me your address I’d be happy to send you samples of both summer and spring once the stressful exam period is over.

    Kisses, girl.

    Divina

    • March says:

      Gah!!! Watermelon!! After the new Hermes I never, ever want to smell watermelon again. It was horrifying. And your lovely posts on the Annayake line are inspiring. I think I’ll avoid the summer one and concentrate on the rest.

      Good luck on your exams. :)>-

  • dinazad says:

    I’m very happy to see the Annayake scents get some blog-space! It’s a shame they are underrated, or at least not very well-known – I find them very well-made scents. I’d say gorgeous, but except for Miyako (which I love with a vengeance – but you’re right, it was a limited edition) I find them too light and airy to live up to such a sumptuous word. Charming, perhaps? Entrancing? Fey? Like a breeze carrying the essence of a season? Like featherlight silks? Miyako and Tsukimi are the ones I like best, but I find them all lovely. After all, I can admire a lovely silk garment even if I’d rather wear the one next to it, can’t I? 😉

    By the way: Annayake makes excellent skincare products as well!

    • March says:

      I’ve not tried their skincare products. After I did this blog post, the lovely Nancy sent me some samps of most of the ones I’ve not tried, so really looking forward to sampling those. They are entrancing. It’s funny, everyone loves Miyako, while I appreciate it. But things wear so strong on me!

  • SMY says:

    I thought I had left a comment but I don’t see it? Maybe I didn’t push “save”? Oh well, in a nutshell, Hanami is my favorite of the 4 fragrances named after seasons, a lovely cherry blossom without the sweetness!

    • March says:

      I’ll go fish you out of the spam filter. Did you write something porny? 😉

      I wind up in our spam filter all the time, if it makes you feel better. As does Louise. Draw your own conclusions…

      And thanks for the report on Hanami!

  • Erin T says:

    My little blushing face never works anymore! I love him. *sniff*

  • Erin T says:

    Hi Musette: Thank you so very much for putting such time and effort into this event – I’m so excited! Just wondering: I was going to book on Hotwire tomorrow (past my Amex billing date, to give me another month to pay), but should I hold off until we get word of what your travel agent is up to? Even Hotwire is pretty expensive for that weekend, but I don’t get to travel often any more, so I’m going to treat myself and get something nice in 4-4.5 range. If I use Hotwire, once I find out what my “mystery” hotel is, I’ll post on the message board to see if anybody wants to bunk with me. Hotwire can’t guarantee two beds, though, so I might have to get a cot – in which case I’d ask for very little compensation from my roommate (for all you bargin-seekers! I want everyone to be able to afford to come!) But perhaps your travel agent has comparable deals with two double beds?

    • March says:

      I’m sure Musette will drop by and see this, not sure what she’s cooking up. That’s the bite w/Hotwire, Priceline, etc. — they won’t guarantee you separate beds, you have to work that out with the hotel. So in NYC we couldn’t get the beds, our choice was a cot or a king, so … hey, I slept with Patty!! :”> :d 😉

      And it was dee-lightful. However, not sure newly acquainted folks would be comfortable with the same arrangement.

      • Erin T / Tigs says:

        You know, I’m a very casual gal. I would not mind a female bedmate I didn’t know (I think the Cheese would veto, say, MattS or whatever. :”> ) But I thought that was a weird thing to put up on the message board – “Hey, come sleep with me! Cheap!” :d

    • Musette says:

      Hey everybody! Just got back in from a loooong drive along the very beautiful Rock River – it’s the little things 🙂

      My travel agent has gotten her info and all I’m waiting for is the number she wants me to post for you to call/email. It’s not cheap but it’s not as bad as NY/SF. I would definitely check on priceline/hotwire, etc to make sure you are getting the best deal. Sorry about the hefty hotel cost but it’s just odd with all the conventions.

      Whatever you guys do, BOOK NOW! With a convention in town it will fill up fast!

      xo

  • Elizabeth says:

    I have the spring one – Hanami. I discovered it in Germany four years ago. It’s probably the best cherry blossom perfume I’ve ever tried. It’s soft and pretty, but not too sweet, and it has a lightly musky base.

    • March says:

      Thanks, it’s nice to know what it smells like. And I like the report that it’s not too sweet. That is my largest complaint about fragrances these days. :-w

  • barbara says:

    righto-I actually NEVER check a bag-having lost luggage…there is an upcoming charge now if the weight is off(how much weight could be arbitrary).Port cities can be extreme.Travel light and ship-safety in knowing your luggage is over your head….

    • Debbied says:

      But do you ever go on long trips (like at least ten days) with only a carryon? If so, that is travelling light indeed!

      • barbara says:

        two weeks to Europe-one small bag…handwash, handwash-throw out what I can and fill it up with yummies from my visit.No, pills do not have to go in the baggie-I do throw in my lipstick, gloss, and perfume samples-trying to leave no stone unturned, and give anyone any excuse to take stuff or throw it away.Take pills in the bottle with your label on it.

        • Debbie says:

          That’s amazing that you could do two weeks in Europe w/one carryon! Did you have those special travel clothes that are wrinkle-free, light and dry quickly or was packed with your regular things?

          • barbara says:

            1 pair jeans(I wear those on the plane),1 washable wool skirt(or wool pants I can clean there),1 washable cashmere sweater(really),1 pashmina(on the plane, with a jacket), teeshirts, a few undies, a few socks, a pair of good walking shoes(that I am wearing)-t-shirts you can toss and/or wash out while there(and/or replace).1 bra to wear on location-wires go off at the airport. Mind you, Europeans scrutinize us for our fashion statement(wearing basics might not make any).You can add to your wardrobe wherever you are visiting-and you have room in your suitcase.

    • Kim says:

      I agree – I have done 2 weeks with only a check-on – I’m a big believer in layers. For perfumes,I just take sample sizes and fill small bottles for other stuff. And even having the printout from the TSA won’t help. They do have the discretion to throw out what they want and arguing with them just makes you miss your plane – hasn’t happened to me but I have heard of it happening to others. And American just announced today that they are now going to charge even for the single checked bag!!!!!!!!

  • Debbie says:

    I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the work that has gone into Chi-cocoa Scentsation. How many people have RSVP’d? I wonder if the travel agent can put together a good enough deal for me to cancel my ticket and actually stay the weekend. 🙂

    • March says:

      I think we’ve got 30? Maybe more at this point, I haven’t checked. A nice crowd, at any rate.

    • Musette says:

      Debbie –

      Hang on for a few more days – Roberta is excellent and she can possibly get you a good ticket with no cancellation fees (TAs are still good for that, sometimes). As soon as I have all the pertinent info I will be posting her digits/email etc. You can then check w/ her to see what she can do.

      Hope it works – it’s going to be a fun day-into-evening affair!

      xo

      • Debbie says:

        I already bought the ticket. And it does have a hefty cancellation fee–nearly the cost of the ticket itself. Shoot. I didn’t know you were working on this aspect. It would have never occurred to me.

  • barbara says:

    I live in the Chicago area, and travel a great deal-I could not get into the dialogue, so I will post it here.When the TSA says it must all fit in the 5x 7 inch baggie-they mean it-it will go in the trash…be prepared to check your bag or ship your goodies ahead of your departure, with lots of labeling so your stuff finds you again when you get home.No lipsticks in the pocket for quick touch-ups,no large handcreams loose in your purse-all bye bye.Four packs of matches and lighters are allowed-not in your pocket…you will take off shoes, barrettes, jewlery, belt buckles and earrings-super sensors go off with all the above.Basically, you will redress on the other side-leave your coats, scarves and jackets in the bin with your shoes.That said, have a safe and wonderful flight….

    • Debbie says:

      Flying is such a pain in the neck these days that only something like Chicocoa Sensation would be me into a plane. TSA’s website has an extensive list of what’s allowed or not. I guess we can take 3 oz. of perfume on board. (Muttering to self: and what am I supposed to do if I want to purchase more than that? Wait and order later, I guess.)

      • Musette says:

        No…you can buy your perfume and have it shipped directly from the store(s). I’m letting all the Event Stores know that a lot of people will be traveling – they will be prepped to handle shipping stuff out.

        As far as the Mystery Swap bottles go, I will be listing an address for you all to mail them ahead of time, so don’t worry about that. Flying with anything other than a pair of rubber flipflops and a book seems to be more trouble than it’s worth these days. I used to mourn not traveling to the coasts as much as I used to….now I don’t mind so much:-)

        • barbara says:

          you’re right-if you are prepared-it’s a breeze, and not really so horrible…don’t forget-you buy your water when you get to the other side, only…

        • Debbie says:

          Thanks for talking to the stores about it! As for the Mystery Swap, mine will be under 3 oz, so I should be okay, right? I plan on printing off the TSA website and having it in my purse; also to insist on talking to a supervisor if necessary. I’ll get there early. :d

      • March says:

        What Barbara and Musette said. Patty got hosed going to NYC — her bag was supposed to be checked, she got caught in that airplane reinspection snafu, she was forced to do carryon, and they confiscated several hundred dollars of beauty product. She was p!ssed. And she was supposed to be bringing me a bottle of Guerlinade which she decided at the last minute not to do, and boy, was I happy about that! It would have been in the trash with everything else.

        So I wouldn’t even count on being able to check your bags. I’d either have the stores ship it (they understand the issue) or order it when you get home.

        • Debbie says:

          So what happened to her fumes? Were they confiscated forever? That’s horrifying!!

          I won’t have a bag to check. Just my purse. I plan on flying up early and leaving late. I’m close enough.

          • March says:

            It was on the way to NYC, not on the way home, so she didn’t have any yet. But she had some really expensive face cream, hairspray, etc.

            My least favorite part is the contact lens stuff. I wish the companies would get more on the stick — I end up buying it where I’m going and then leaving it in the hotel because I don’t want to shlep it. I wonder if they make travel sizes of saline, etc., if I look online…

          • JenniferR says:

            March, go beg from your optometrist. That’s what I do, and they are embarrassingly generous, even considering the reps give ’em the stuff for free. They are just awash in saline samples, of sufficient size to take care of any but a long trip.

          • March says:

            That is a great idea! Considering that’s where I saw the sample sizes in the first place … :”>

    • Debbie says:

      Are pills supposed to go in the ziplock baggie too? It won’t be a problem for this trip, but if I were to go on a longer trip, that could be a real problem as I am a transplant patient and take more meds than could fit in one of those bags. ??

      • March says:

        You should be fine on the pills. I actually put everything that ISN’T a liquid in a separate baggie (toothbrush, vitamins, meds, kleenex, tweezers, etc.) and have one bag just for liquids.

        • Debbie says:

          Okay. Thanks, March.

          • Musette says:

            Debbie –

            It might be wise, given the insane stupidity of some of the TSA folks, to have a letter from your primary care physician, stating your medical requirements – that way they HAVE to let you bring all your pills with you. Alas, for a job that is extremely sensitive, they hire the oddest people and apparently train them in .04 seconds, right before they give them their polyester pants!

  • SMY says:

    As a relative newcomer, here’s a post where I’ve actually sampled the fragrances! After reading the raves on http://fragrancebouquet.blogspot.com/, I got samples of Natsumi, Yukimi, Tsukimi, Hanami, Pour Elle and Pour Lui. Surprisingly to me, my absolute favorite was Hanami, which evokes cherry blossoms without the usual sweet notes that usually accompany it. It’s perfect for spring. I also liked Pour Elle and Tsukimi, aptly described above. Natsumi is more conventional, to me it smells like what the general public perceives as perfume, still nice, but I prefer the others. Unfortunately, I’m not good at describing notes, so if I get a chance to retry, I’ll report back. In the meanwhile, if you can’t get them on TPC, then http://fishbonefragrances.blogspot.com/ also has them (no affiliation with either site).

    • Elizabeth says:

      I just received a sample of Natsumi and it smells almost exactly like J’Adore to me, which I recently sold on eBay because it was not to my taste. It is very “perfumey” – forgive my novice perfume vocabulary. I don’t know what notes they have in common, but if anyone wants my Natsumi sample, let me know!!

      • March says:

        Natsumi seems to be the general least favorite among the bunch — and now that Divina has reported it has watermelon :-ss I think I will be avoiding it. /:)

  • G Knight says:

    I haven’t tried any of these as of yet though the Tomo seems to spark my interest alot it sounds like a me scent…Where can you get these?

  • Dusan says:

    If memory serves me well (and I think it does b/c I remember liking Lui and Undo very much), Lui is not a classically fresh scent – think your tee soaking up the scent of violets, the non-powdery variety, tea and light woods 🙂 Does that make sense? Well, it purports to have cotton as one of its notes… I was this close to buying a bottle, but was probably sidetracked by someting else. It is lovely, though, serene and very much Japanese in spirit.
    I could swear it was you who blogged on Undo so appetizingly that I pulled myself out of my PJs to go try it. Do you remember/like L’eau d’Issey PH – aqueous (not marine!) woody floral w/ a beautiful spicy saffron opening and a divine lily heart? Well, it is pretty much in the same vein, only take out the splash o’ water and most florals, amp up the woods and burn some light incense. Umm, did I just say these two are very much alike? 😀 Anyhow, Undo is more conventionally masculine than L’eau but not so much that you couldn’t pull it off. And it beats the newer L’eau… Intense by a mile, which is similarly structured (you might easily get sold on its lovely top notes) but eventually topples over in a cheapo puddle-y mess of sugared ambery incense.
    P.S. ‘lovely’ seems to be the word of day 😀

    • March says:

      Funny you mention L’eau d’Issey — I’d not smelled it, and was out to dinner with a group of couples, and realized the husband was wearing some interesting scent. I was doing the full March Hoover Maneuver, which involves burying my nose into his neck and sniffing him delicately, over and over … his wife was not delighted and sat between us at dinner. 🙂 Anyway, I asked him, and he smelled delicious.

      So, based on your reports — those sound fantastic. Violet-scented tea and woods in particular. And “lovely” for the day beats the pants off of “actually” or “great,” which I’m constantly abusing.

  • Marina says:

    I have only tried Miyako thus far, but I know that many Annayake scents get respect on my favorite Russian perfume fora.

  • Judith says:

    The only one I’ve tried is Miyako; I like it, but my experience is more or less the opposite of yours: it seems too light on/to me. Tsukimi sounds great, and the masculines sound like possibilities as well. I just remembered (coming down from the end of school)I owe you some Gomma. 8-| Sorry–I will get myself together prettttty soon. 🙂

    • March says:

      I must have some weird projectile-ray skin; each post should probably come with a disclaimer. I love the drydown of Miyako, and I’ve never read anyone else complain about the opening. I know Marina liked it a lot.

      No worries about the Gomma — it’s not my leather time of year anyway. /:)

  • Francesca says:

    I love, love, love Miyako. I got a little vial in an incense sampler from TPC and immediately bought a larger decant, and I just now purchased an even larger decant because I’m afraid the stuff will disappear completely someday soon and I want backup. It reminds me of some beautifully-packaged Japanese incense I once received as a gift. I love the softness, delicacy, and complexity of it after it’s been on for awhile; it’s like being pleasantly surprised entering a room to find the scent of the incense you’d burnt several hours before still definitely there.
    I absolutely want to try samples of the others. Must. Put. On. List…

    • March says:

      The list!!! Giggle. I should add that if you fall in love with Miyako you might get busy on *Bay and buy one, because I believe it is an LE, or d/c’d. It is the one I don’t think I’ve ever seen for sale with the others, although it pops up on *Bay and resellers pretty regularly.

      • Francesca says:

        OK, thanks for the little shove. I just got one on the ‘Bay. I’ve now officially spent waaaaay too much money on fragrance this month.8-|

        • March says:

          No, no, no — stuff bought on eBay at the egging on of your blog friends does not count toward your perfume budget.

  • Elle says:

    Why have I not purchased all of these yet? *Love* the bottles and Tsukimi and Yukimi sound absolutely perfect. Must try to get samples of the masculine ones as well. Tea, spices and tobacco? Hello! Clarion call there.

    • March says:

      Well, FT …. I do think you should at least try them. The two you mentioned in particular. Although I feel like I should just take the plunge and buy one of the masculines unsniffed. It’s been a whole 3 weeks since my last unsniffed disaster, what am I waiting for?!!? 😉

  • Matt says:

    These sound nice, but I’m even more taken with the cool a$$ bottles. I wonder how long it would take for me to knock one over and break it…I struggle like that with the Serge export bottles as well Bond #9. Am I just clumsy and without grace? Yeah.

    • March says:

      The freaking Serge bottles. It’s like they’re trying to commit mass suicide. I keep mine stacked between scarifying things like Dark Crystal and my silly Royal Doulton (yep — a skankmaster neroli from the China people). The SLs are afraid of the contamination and tend to remain upright then.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I just ordered a sample of Matsuri; have you ever tried it? I’d love to try the others by Annayake – maybe on my next round of sample purchasing!

    • March says:

      I think the Matsuri is their holiday festival one? And I hadn’t, because if I recall correctly it sounds mostly floral, and hence less interesting to me. But. Considering that they tend to be built around the woody base, I might very well love it. Please let me know what you think.

      • Musette says:

        I have a sample of the Matsuri – it’s beautiful, in a woody/floral/Old Spice kinda way.

      • Elizabeth says:

        March, I tried Matsuri today and I have to say, I LOVED it. I think you ought to give it a chance…it definitely is up my alley, and it may not be up yours 😉 but you never know. It definitely does not seem floral to me – more woody and spice rather, but I am a novice, so I may be completely off-base. 🙂

        • March says:

          Elizabeth — Nancy/Fishbone gave me samples (yay!) I need to revisit it. The men’s are interesting. First impression on the Matsuri — okay, I am going to *try it again* but for about five mins in the open I get this peculiar, sweet vomit-note. Which has happened before … honestly that sounds worse than it is, but it’s like a raspy sweet note? Not loving it. Then the rest is gorgeous, woody, much different than I expected. I need to try Matsuri again to see if it was a weird fluke.

          • Elizabeth says:

            It may just not be the scent for you! I can see how not everyone would like it – that is why there are so many different perfumes out there. 😡