While the northern hemisphere has heat waves, Cape Town is stuck in the tail-end of winter. Even the northern parts of South Africa already have hot spring days, but down here at the southern tip, we still slog through (what we perceive as) coat weather.
In an effort to conjure spring, today I decided to break type with the winter fragrances, the L de Lolita, Pentachord Auburn, Femme and Jasmin Noir I’ve been rocking. I felt like wearing my main summer staple, the scent that whispers to me of cotton dresses, flip-flops and broad-brimmed hats:
A Scent by Issey Miyake.
Now, I’ve hated Issey Miyake perfumes for a long time. Ever since my first snout-ful of L’eau d’Issey I have approached anything Issey with great suspicion. I mean, really? The pour homme version – purest generic. L’Eau Bleue, not better, all the many, many flankers of the female scent, not better at all. (I never got to smell Le Feu, for which I am sorry, it sounds great.)
So when A Scent came around, I spritzed in-store with a sardonic twitch about the mouth and a wary trigger finger. And lo! There was love.
Kevin over at Now Smell This had this to say in his great review: ‘I’m shocked that the Miyake folks describe this perfume as minimalist. If this is “minimalism”, the “opulent” of such a perfume-rating scale would kill those who sniffed it.’
And yes, I get that – A Scent is certainly strong, persistent and very present; even twelve hours after application I’m still getting compliments. But I also get the ‘minimalist’ thing: it doesn’t smell like a composed medley or a symphony of notes, but to me rather like a single thing, a pot of mulch-and-flowers, maybe. A moss patch with a single sprig of jasmine.
Now, that’s sounding like there’s a whole lot of dirt in A Scent, and there isn’t (hey! why haven’t I layered it with Demeter Dirt!? Must remedy!). It is certainly just-showered clean, especially the first few hours, and the ‘crystal moss and musk’ in the base, yeah, they do say ‘hello, I’m a modern department store fragrance’.
But boy, someone worked magic on this, because shower-clean is the LAST descriptor I look for in perfume. I could not have imagined even being able to tolerate A Scent by looking at the notes (lemon verbena, galbanum, jasmine, hyacinth, cedar, crystal moss and musk), but here I am, loving it. It’s one of only two perfumes I’ve ever had to buy a second bottle of (the other being the original Omnia, which I promptly fell out of love with after buying my second bottle, and a 100 ml at that). Not only that, my current, second bottle of A Scent is a gigantic, preposterous 150 ml – and I believe I’ll see its end, too. There’s a certain something to buying a veritable vat of perfume when you know you’ll really use it. And come on, that brick of an icy bottle is a stunner!
Aside: I was most, most distressed to look at the Issey Miyake website to find that the only A Scent shown on the main page there is in the pink Florale bottle . . . without the Florale tag. They simply call it A Scent EDP, while, if you search for it on the site, the EDT is still the green beloved of mine. Strange . . . taking a quite different flanker and making it the EDP. If they discontinue the EDT . . .
So why do I hear so little about A Scent? It seems to me perfectly calibrated to the (so we’re told) American love of clean-smelling perfumes. I don’t often see it on best of summer lists, I can’t remember when last I saw a mention of it … what gives, People Who Currently Have Summer? Are any of you wearing it? Has anyone smelled the Soleil de Neroli version – worth it? I thought the Florale flanker was most heinous (shades of L’eau!), but maybe the Neroli would work in a cologne-like way. What say you?