It has been until recent days on a rainy and frozen winter in Japan that I realized how impactful the oriental notes appeared to me. The first impression is from a perfume creation of Ms. Satori – A Japanese perfumer whose perfume house is located in Roppongi Street, Tokyo.

Oriental notes, or accords, may be smelled best in a cold weather, when your olfactory sense is no more blocked by the heat of the sun or tiny dusts in the air. These notes leave a beautiful trail behind of every one wearing them. Sensual, heavy and sweet , the blends of oriental resins, opulent flowers, adding some cocktail notes of fruit. Just a little drop on my twists and behind the ears, I could almost feel the perfume molecules dancing around and drowning me in romance. Oriental perfume notes give me the feeling of being protected and embraced. Or, at least, it pushes away the coldness of blowing winds that freezes my little feet that day.

I always find it more comfortable playing cards with fruity and floral notes in my perfumes. A floral bouquet with the heart notes of Moroccan rose – Muguet – Gardenia blended with Kaffir lime – Mandarin – Petitgrain in the top is always easier to have balance. Saigon is hot. People don’t need an embrace from their perfumes. A cool lemon juice is preferable, for most of the time.

The idea of creating an Oriental perfume came to me today, just when I was sitting watching sunset beside Tuyen Lam lake in Da Lat,with the melody of ‘Loving you’ playing from the bar.

That moment was breathtaking. The last rays of sunshine kept scattering on the sparkling surface of the lake, regretting their last moments. The transition of light and darkness in the sky continued until the sun had been completely swallowed by darkness. That moment, someone just lit a fire nearby. I just felt it from very far away but the air sent me some sweetness and the smoky scent of burned woods. The flickering fire just gave me the same feeling of that day when I did not feel cold and lonely walking on Roppongi street in a frozen winter. The feeling was so intense that it almost called back all the memories, the smells, the sounds and colors of that day.

I started right away with my perfume kit I brought along. For the first time, my mind smelt the perfume very clearly before I put things together. I knew I needed Agarwood, Peru Balsam and Amber with the addition of Champaka,Osmanthus, Musk and Peach notes. The formula was drafted quickly and my hands started trembling. The memory became so vivid that my mind told me to capture it before it went blur. I kept smelling, testing, shuffling the notes til the last drop was poured. I dipped the smelling strip in …and the scent was there. Not the roundest one. But what surprised me the most was the smell of Neroli and Lilac, although added in a very small proportion, revealed the amazing facets that I had never felt before.

The perfume turned out floral Oriental, not just Oriental as I planned at first. My hands were full of smells; my mind was full of questions and full of joy. A memory has been bottled and a glimpse of self-consciousness crossed my mind. I want more memories to be triggered. I want to thoroughly understand my inner-self and explore the world through scents. I want to learn more…

I want to become more.

Rei Nguyen

Dalat, Feb 7, 2018