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 Jazzgardenias, casablanca lilies, Turkish rose, pink pepper, coconut, coriander, cognac, chocolate. For the love of Peteanother 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

  • Gaia says:

    I’ve had a very similar experience with the Yoshes. They act weird on my skin. But more bizaare than the oils were a couple of bordering on nasty emails that I got from Yosh herself. She didn’t like what I wrote about them and actually told me that she “expects” me to rewrite. Someone doesn’t really get the blogging thing. And she takes special offense when one comments on her less than bright choice of names.

  • Robin says:

    I’m with Marina — you can get the same sort of thing elsewhere for much less. I would say the same thing about the Jalaine line, but both YOSH & Jalaine have a huge fan base, so perhaps I’m missing something.

    • March says:

      Well, then you and I are both missing it.:) I don’t think they’re a style that appeals to us, maybe. They’re not, on some level, “perfume-y” enough for me. I’ve smelled some other oils (isn’t Cimabue an oil?) that just worked more like perfume — that sort of development and projection.

      I want one of those Jalaine bottles, though.

  • Tigs says:

    I have trouble with goofy names. And didn’t Yosh have a perfume named after J.T.leRoy’s “memoir” “The heart is deceitful above all things”, which turned out to be a giant fraud? That’s not Yosh Han’s fault, of course. I do think it’s safer, though, to name things after the feeling or abstract they evoke, rather than some gimmick or an individual ingredient. Guerlain used to be good at the former, Apres L’Ondee or Habit Rouge, for example, rather than U4EAHH! (which is wrong on so many levels) or Ginger Ciao (which could have the AG Vanilla Exquise problem).

    • March says:

      Hey, I think you’re right about the LeRoy thing — although (seriously) that whole thing smelled so much I could never figure out how anyone bought it. I don’t see a reference to it anywhere; I think Yosh should have left it around as a tribute to the title, which is certainly true and makes it almost more interesting, you know?

      U4EAHH is one of those names I just can’t get by. Even if I thought it was the best of them, I’d have trouble paying for a bottle with that name.

  • tmp00 says:


    That’s definately more Marin. Please see the hard-to-find book “The Serial” by Cyra McFadden or the movie of the same name for explanation.

    • tmp00 says:

      just looked on Amazon, and it’s available in book form. For those of you looking for a fun read, this is it!

      • Lee says:

        see my Marin rant, Tom, above…

        I’d like to imagine it a la Pynchon’s ‘Vineland’ but that it ain’t. Now a place further up the coast that intrigued me was Booneville (sp?) which has also been novelised. It must be some freaking huge marijuana growing zone – truly like somewhere out of Pynchon’s imagination, rahter than reality…

        I’ll look into that book.

  • tmp00 says:

    Not feeling these at all.

    • March says:

      Um, no. These don’t seem like you… but that bottle does make me sigh. I’m a sucker for its clean lines.

      Can’t wait to read about your Blue Sugar!

  • Gail S says:

    The only one of the Yoshes I even halfway enjoy is that goofy-named U4EAHH!. All of the others I’ve tried are just too sweet with nothing to distract from that sweetness. I keep wanting some more depth, darkness, spiciness, anything! Could be just a skin chemistry issue, because I keep thinking I should like Ginger Ciao. But nope, just a generic sweetness, no ginger, no basil. Oh well, it’s nice to rule out one expensive line, huh?

    • March says:

      Gail — there seems to be a lot of fellow-feeling out there. I guess these either thrill you or … not. I have a few fragrances that I’m pretty sure I’m the only fan, and that’s okay, too. :)>-

  • Ina says:

    I love Yosh oils! I’ve tried so many different perfume oils, and I must say Yosh oils are far superior in quality and lasting power. Most oils turn either sour or wet cardboard on me. My favorites are Ginger Ciao, Omniscent, La Contessa… I now need to resniff Stargazer. Oh, not affiliated in any way, btw. :d

    • March says:

      Ina, they really are pretty. They just didn’t give me the mileage I was hoping for. But I still want one of those bottles. I covet those bottles, and the Jalaine bottles, which I think are even more gorgeous.

  • Patty says:

    Uh-oh. I actually like a few of the Yoshes, but I also think the oil format lends itself to having a… something, I can’t find the word without being rude, “simpleton” feel, I guess. I find most oils to be that way, and it’s my least favorite perfume delivery system. Now, I do love Whiteflowers and Ginger Ciao and Sotille of the Yoshes. I don’t reach for them very often, though.

    I would love for them to come out in EDP, I think I’d know better how good or bad they are.

    • March says:

      Yeah, I guess I’m a simpleton too!;) Musc Rav oil is pretty amazing, though. You and I are just sillage sl*ts, and I wonder whether the notes would be more distinct in an EDP as well.

  • pitbull friend says:

    You did it, March! I’ve only tried Ginger Ciao — at these prices, I wasn’t willing to try others with notes I find dubious. Ginger Ciao smells to me a lot like Bain de Soleil (the orange gelee). I like it, but BdS is much cheaper. And I do NOT like oils, which has turned me off on some Ava Luxes & Sonomas.

    An overlooked “natural” company, though, might be V’tae. Years ago, I fell in love with their mandarin/gingery Sensuality Water(notes listed: ylang-ylang, sandalwood, lemon, lavender, ginger, mandarin and cruelty-free musk). One can spritz with abandon on one’s self or room, as it’s still only $25 for 2 oz. Their Green Grass & Sunshine has a strong palmarosa note, & I use to remind me that spring will come someday. (Esp. like now, when it is clammy cold, with possible snow this week!) Dinazad, I am sure that you could make up something like these! But they are cheap enough that one might as well buy them pre-made.

    Our hometown brand Aveda (bought out by Estee Lauder a few years ago) has tons of the new-agey crap about it (props to Lee!) but really does “natural” well. Alas, they discontinued their lovely “Chakras” line and one can now only get it at inflated prices on the Bay. Doesn’t seem like these ultra-groovy lines are selling all that well, does it?

    • March says:

      I LOVE that Green Grass and Sunshine. It smells all lemon-grassy to me, it’s great in the summer heat.

      The spammers are getting sneaky. I went in there to clean the filter and discovered they’re using your name… creepy, huh?

      • Ellen says:

        Hey, March: Ooh, creepy. Is it causing a problem for you? Do I need to change my “name?”
        –Ellen, friend of pitbulls 🙂

        • March says:

          No, no — it’s fine. I mean, they’re still being correctly trapped as spam (I have noooooo idea how filtering works, but it works pretty darn well — you would not believe how many we get a day.) But I’ve noticed just in the past week or two they’re clearly using familiar names, but the addresses are all wrong. It’s kind of interesting, actually.:-?

  • dinazad says:

    I once attended a one-evening-mix-your-own-perfume-from- essential-oils perfumery course and came up with something I called “Dreamtime”. When I first smelled “La Contessa”…. well…. I thought: hey, I did that! It smelled exactly the same to my mind. I still have the recipe, I should probably re-create it and see if it really smells similar. But…. the connection, once made, ruins Yosh perfumes for me. To me, they all smell like something you’d cook up in a one-evening-mix-your-own-perfume-from- essential-oils perfumery course (:| And at that price, I could attend a whole series of courses and start a business of my own!

    • March says:

      Heh heh — your own Contessa, eh?

      Actually, now that I’m seeing what people are flipping Douglas perfumes for online, I think your business lies there.;)

  • Marina says:

    Someone Special (two of them) will stop speaking to me, but…I am sorry, the same kind of stuff is done by Ava Luxe and Sonoma, for much, much less money.
    The only Yosh scent I like is Sottile, just because a)I love LOTV and b) it is very simple, doesn’t have that uncluttered, “jumble of notes feeling” of the rest of the line. If they ever finally make EDPs out of their scents, I would buy Sottile.

    • March says:

      Yeah, but have you looked at your chakra lately? It’s probably got a big rip in it or something. Or moths. Mine’s at the drycleaner.:d

  • Judith says:

    Being old (I had another B-day recently–they just keep coming), I object to the rich hippie vibe for reasons similar to yours. But I do like Ginger Ciao (although I like AL Viva about equally well and it’s much cheaper), Contessa, and Winter Rose. Not enough to get a bottle of any of them, but enough to have acquired some partials through swaps and samples.:)

    • March says:

      I know!!! Happy Birthday!!! <:-p You're now, what, 30? It's a big decade, lots of changes...b-) I really liked Contessa best, but I swear there's something close in those Bourbon French things.

  • Elle says:

    I had a feeling you wouldn’t feel Yosh love. 🙂 But, as you know, I adore them – well, most, not all. The Temperares were way too sweet for me. The Stargazer actually took me forever to appreciate. I still can only wear it occasionally. Same w/ Sottile – has to be the perfect air, sky, at the exact right moment when the redbuds are in bloom in spring and then I can wear it and nothing else will do. Oh, and the Yosh scents are definitely not all natural. Except for the SIPs, I really haven’t found a single all natural scent I can wear and I have forced myself to try almost all of them (well, all the ones I can think of that are mentioned on POL or MUA) in the name of experimentation…and suffered through multiple testings. I’m not sure why the Yosh scents work on me, but they definitely do.

    • March says:

      Well, I’m going to keep all my samples. Who knows with me? I could be on here in six months raving about how amazing the Stargazer is.

      With my “natural” blather I was trying to highlight one of the things I liked best about the line, testing it: there weren’t any jarring Glade-like notes, which you can get with florals and which I really, really dislike. I’ll put up with weird, and skanky, but that whole Plug-In faux-floral smell I can’t stand, and it turns up more often than I’d like in some fairly quality fragrances.

  • Louise says:

    I tried, I really did. I even liked the hipey-dipey stuff a bit, being west-coast raised and all.

    But naught-a one single Yosh pleased me. I am with you, March-a little (especially real!) lily is great-but more gags me. Beyond the price, the oil format is not so good for me-sometimes I am like Maria B., other times I really want a sillage presence. With Yosh, no entrance drama at all.

    Lee-I hope the Macrobiotics restore you, dawg. May I obtain your email before our trip to Britain?

    • March says:

      Ooooh — when are you going to Britain?! I’ll send you his email; I’m not sure he’s goofed around in the dashboard enough to know where to look… then you can test-drive him and tell me how he performs, I’m going in May.\:d/

      Yes, you and I like our entrance drama!

  • Solander says:

    I’ve only tried the much-raved-about Ginger Ciao, and eeh, a cheap perfume oil with a horrible murky lily smell with extra-evil coconut thrown in. As you can tell I’m not a fan of lily notes either, I think they smell at best waxy and at worst like stale water. It wouldn’t surprise me if the scents were actually natural – that would explain the limited range of notes (e g lily, lily and lily). I don’t think I like natural perfumery, or either it just doesn’t work with my skin chemistry – most of the Ayalas I tried didn’t do much for me either…

    • March says:

      So, Solander … is that cheap, murky and evil in a bad way?:-?

      I’m guessing you didn’t like it.:-”

      I guess I’m with you on the natural perfumery, or as much as I’ve sampled of it. I’m going to analogize it this way: I feel like it’s different music being played on a simpler instrument, and it’s unfair to both sides to compare them. If natural perfumery is, I dunno, a gentle etude played softly on a piano (this is shaping up to be pretty lame, forgive me) and I’d rather have something composed for the full orchestra, then no amount of piano-playing is going to satisfy me 100% of the time. However, for people who prefer the simple instrument (or find the full orchestra overwhelming) it’s perfect.

      • Solander says:

        That’s a great analogy! Only, I’d swap the piano for a flute carved our of horn or something. Most natural perfumes I’ve smelled have been very muted and sort of “flat” and almost muddy/musty, and also the range of notes seems very limited (unlike a piano). I don’t like scents that smell artificial, like most ozone/aquatics for example, but I certainly don’t mind artificial ingredients. I want the full, bombastic orchestra too! :d

  • Lee says:

    So here it is (I sound like Randy from American Idol…), dog: I’m eating close to macrobiotically to deal with this post-viral mofo that’s screwing up my system; I garden near enough organicaly (apart from battles with red spider mite, immune to all incursions except the chemical); I do yoga; I have an allotment for growing veg and fruit; I’m pretty much a peace loving dude who wishes everyone could just get along, man. However, that Yosh blather attached to such high-end prices does my head in the same way as Rich Hippy does – like it’s designed for Carmel-living nimby milionaires who want to recapture some of the late 60s karmic vibe they were digging before their stocks and shares became more important or before Brian Wilson became totallly acid-fried…

    And like you, March, Chakra energy, numerology, and pick’n’mix ideology makes me at best titter…

    • March says:

      Rich Hippie (none of which I’ve smelled) is the one that really bugged me. I skipped them out of some weird principle (I knew enough freeze-dried hippies in Santa Fe who would have been horrified) — and I found your Carmel description hilarious. BTW I think some of the fans of the line were too young to remember much of the 60s the first time around, and maybe that’s part of the issue.

      PS Please see Louise for correct spelling of “dog.” Next week we’ll learn to construct a sentence “‘Sup, dawg?”)

    • Marina says:

      There, you said it, dawg. Have to give you the props.
      I absolutely agree. The price and the new-agey blah-blah clash tragically. I do like Rich Hippie’s scent much more than Yoshes (although they are *insanely* overpriced), but I do agree.

      • March says:

        Dude! Yes, it is hard to be Tragically Hip(pie). At least the basic essential oils in, say, the co-op are inexpensive. But I’d guess that the natural perfumers would scream at that comparison.

    • Maria B. says:

      Hey, dog, check it out. That just wasn’t good, dude. You should be saying Marin County. They’ve got it together on the Peninsula. I’m going to send Sanjaya over to give you a hairstyle.

      Your karma ran over my dogma, dude. b-)

      • Lee says:

        I remember eating in some supposedly fancy restaurant a few years ago in some Marin ‘town’. Wild and bare-foot children ran around the tables bumping into each other and seated adults whilst flies landed on mine and my food. Everyone was white. No-one wore shoes and tie-dye was everywhere. The food was basic cantina stuff at high end prices. Then, on the way back to San Francisco, we stopped at a whole food supermarket. My friend, half-Pakistani, was asked by some hideously self-absorbed rich hippie if they had umbajula root with kombucha extract tea in stock – I guess cos she looks vaguely Hispanic, it was assumed she worked there. Why the frick else would she be in Mill Valley or wherever the hell it was. It was awful. I found it to be one of the most unpleasant places I’ve ever been – where westen materialism imagines it meets mysticism and chews on its own colon. Unfriendly, dirty, monocultural, insular. *shudders*

        I never mention Marin.

        • Maria B. says:

          Horrors, Lee! What a terrible experience.

          And on the Carmel front: Yeah, I’ll cop to the fact that people who go by maps think Big Sur is right near Carmel, but actually, Big Sur is not there but rather, like, in its own space-time-chakra continuum. :)>-

          • March says:

            Neither of you need to know this but … the only time I’ve been was when I was pregnant with Diva and we did the California Coast drive, and into Napa Valley (the Cheese lurves his wine.) Unfortunately my condition combined with the winding roads meant that I was, at any given time, either ravenous or puking — sometimes both. I’d vomit and then say, okay! Let’s go eat something! I drank some wine, too :-$ and Diva STILL turned out normal. Ish.

      • March says:

        Hahahaha!!! Can I get some crystal therapy with that? Hot stone massage? Past life regression?/:)

  • Maria B. says:

    Hello, March. So you did write about Yosh after all! 🙂

    I like oils. Okay, let me be specific. The oil version of Musc Ravageur sends me into a state of utter contentedness. Since I don’t care about sillage, being utterly selfish about my little perfumed environment–as long as I can smell it, I’m happy–oils are theoretically a good match for me. But I just can’t see paying that much for fragrances that don’t have notes I’m all that interested in. As for Stargazer lilies, they send me running. 😮

    • March says:

      No, that part was true about the Yoshes! I was trying to retest most of them to get another shot at the smell.

      Musc Rav oil soaks right in on me, and the sillage is perfect. But it’s in its own category. I don’t even think of it as perfume per se — actually, it’s my own life-enhancing drug…;) The Yosh oils sort of sat on the surface of my skin for longer than I’m used to.