Saturday, March 11, 2006


The mere act of opening the brown illustrated perfume case is like pulling an old violin out of its case. Remove the stopper and you are about to play the most expressive Sonata. The flacon itself, with its stylized, curled stopper, is suggestive of a string instrument.

There is something fascinating about Mitsouko, as if time has stopped and got encapsulated in this unusual bottle. It is like visiting an ancient library and hearing the voices of history whispering from the walls and the leaves of the leather-bound book.

Mitsouko speaks in a silent and subtle language, that cannot be heard by all. I feel it represents a persona of restrained passion and always keeps a certain distance – as if not willing to fully reveal itself even when intimately dabbed as Parfum…

The initial impression is a clean, yet rich and intense scent, somewhat powdery, with lavender and orris notes. This fades quickly, to be taken over by an interesting bitter peach-like note, which brings to mind the feeling you get when you crack the peach core, and the little bitter almond flavour emerges along with the dry woody aroma of the seed, and blends in with the pink sweetness of the not-yet-so-ripe (but full of aroma) fruit! The texture overall is that of an under-ripe peach skin, very velvety but somewhat shivering to the touch… But you touch it anyways to feel the Summer arriving… But also of the dried peach, which possesses a rich and somewhat bitter aroma, and is not as sweet as the fresh fruit.

These notes are enticing, full-bodied and very refined. This unique and lovely peach accord is subtly backed up by a jasmine and roes accord, warmed by allspices and other earthy spices which remained a mystery. The floral heart gradually and slowly deepens softly by the notes that make Mitsouko the wonderful Chypre it is: Vetiver, Sandalwood, and a very modest (just the right amount) of patchouli to make the scent warm but not heavy. These notes politely invite themselves in, to accompany this interesting gathering of notes that are both Eastern and Western…
The notes intermingle with each other so harmoniously and so beautifully that by this time it is hard to tell one from the other for a while… You just give yourself up to fully enjoy the experience and the big mystery behind it…

The classical Eastern Vetiver and Agarwood dominate the base, accentuated with a clean and dry patchouli, and there is just a hint of oakmoss and a warm, animalic labdanum note at the base. The warmer notes of the base grow on you bit by bit, but always stay very mellow, as the centre of the stage is that enigmatic, sweet&sour Japanese Agarwood, and the dry or moist vetiver root. The dry down possesses only a hint of the ambery-vanilla Guerlinade accord, and is mostly a classical, well-refined woody Chypre.

Mitsouko makes me feel as if I am are floating in air and at the same time is very grounded. It’s like forgetting myself while playing classical music (probably from the romantic period – Tchaikovsky’s Seasons comes to mind..), being reminded that I am still in the room only by the scent of the old wooden piano...

Mitsouko brings to mind a wild desert wind, while at the same time acts in a most refined and cultural manner. It is luscious and almost convinces you that it is delicious and fruit, yet does not rise up your appetite at all. It’s a perfume for the sake of perfume, not worn for any other reason but to appreciate this original orchestration of counterpoint and intermingling resonances.
Full of mystery and subtle nuances, it is a perfume to meditate upon…

Although a romantic in the aesthetic meaning of the word, Mitsouko is not a soft spoken, sweetly seductive perfume. It will seduce and elevate ones soul, but not the body, if such a distinction can be made at all. It would be a faithful companion at times of turmoil.

I find Mitsouko very hard to grasp. It’s a fragrance that needs to be worn in very specific moods, when you can totally tune into it and may take a long time to tune into and build a trusting relationship; as if Mitsouko is a shy person that needs to be gently coaxed into a conversation. Even now, after knowing it and wearing it many times, I still feel there is a lot I do not understand about it

Top notes: Peach aldehyde, Orange,
Heart notes: Jasmine, Rose, Spices
Base notes: vetiver, oud, labdanum, oakmoss, patchouli, vanilla.

p.s. I love Mitsouko in all concentrations - the Eau de Toilette and the Eau de Parfum and even the body lotion. More later about the difference between concentrations.

Labels: , , , , ,


At October 20, 2006 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ayala,

What a beautiful tribute to a grand perfume. There is something almost melancholy about Mitsouko. Not for the uninitiated.

Thank you for your lovely review.


Post a Comment

<< Home