A few weeks ago I meet Japanese perfumer Satori Osawa at the niche perfume shop The Perfume Lounge in Amsterdam. The Perfume Lounge is the only store which sells Parfum Satori in Europe (except a pop-up store in Paris) at this moment.
Satori Osawa was born in Tokyo and opened her perfume salon Parfum Satori in 2000. She studied Japanese culture intensively. Its tea ceremony called Sado. The incense ceremony named Kodo. The Japanese art of flower arranging known as Kado and Japanese dance. Japanese culture is the base from which she works. I had the impression Satori had a clear mission to explain her fragrances and Japanese culture to people coming from other cultures. Part of our talk was in explaining aspects of Japanese culture to me which I found very interesting. Satori explained the idea behind her five fragrances as well: Wasanbon, Sakura, Satori, Iris Homme and Hana Hiraku.
Wasanbon is a special refined Japanese sugar. The Wasanbon sweets are called Rakugan. They are hand made in several stages. The Wasanbon sugar has a less sweet, more creamy and buttery taste than ordinary refined sugar. Rakugan are used for the Japanese Matcha (green tea) tea ceremony as part of the tea ritual. First you take a small piece of Rakugan in your mounth afterwards you take a sip of Japanese Matcha tea. In this way combining two kinds of flavours, sweet and bitter.
Satori explaned she created Wasanbon Eau de Parfum as a not too loud dry gourmand fragrance. A scent for adults unlike other very sweet bombs which can be found nowadays. This fragrance is meant to be gentle, happy, innocent and sophisticated. Satori uses this fragrance on moments she wants to take care of herself. To me personally Wasanbon Eau de Parfum is a pink light fluffy scent. Wasanbon is not too sweet, quite delicate and girly.
Notes: Lemon, muscat grape, mimosa, muguet, almond, sugar, honey, vanilla, iris, guaiacwood
Sakura means cherry blossom. Contrary to what one would think the cherry blossom in itself is not a blossom which smells fruity. Sakura eau de parfum is supposed to bring a feeling of happiness, delightfulness and innocence. The joyful feeling of spring arriving after winter. Cherry blossoms filling the air with their pink petals all at once, creating a beautiful pink carpet when they fall on the ground. Satura eau de parfum contains incense, spice and sandalwood. It wears very close to the skin. I really like this scent and could fully wear it.
Notes: cherry blossom, shiso, perilla frutescens, cherry, jasmine, rose, moss, musk, woods, incense
Satori is the best seller in the Tokyo perfume salon. This fragrance is based on the Japanese ceremony of incense, Kado. In this scent the 5 Japanese elements of taste are combined, spicy, bitter, sweet, sour and salty. Kyara is known to have these 5 tastes. Satori eau de parfum was formulated based on the image of it. Kyara is a not very dominant precious agarwood and more refined than the oud we are used to in Western perfumery. Cinnamon and clove are used for the spicy notes, cocoa for the bitter, vanilla adding sweetness, oakmoss, cypress and bitter orange for its sour and saltyness.
I find Satori to be the most outspoken one of all her fragrances. Some compared it to the original Shiseido Serge Lutens Feminite du Bois. Not being an expert on vintage Feminite du Bois I am curious how these two compare to each other. From all fragrances I like this one best together with Sakura. It is a very refined, warm cozy scent. If Satori eau de parfum had a colour it would be the autumnal colours of dark red and brown leaves of a tree like Indian Summer colours of leaves. The texture which comes to mind is very thin but warming wool.
Notes: Bergamot, coriander, cinnamon, clove, cacao, vanilla, frankincense, sandalwood, oak moss, agarwood (oud)
The iris flower is only used in Japan for decoration and not in fragrances. It is used to decorate kimono’s, paintings and in haiku poems and very much part of Japanese culture. Iris Homme starts with a sparkling citrus note of lemon and bergamot to change to a dryer powdery heart with iris and finish with a woody amber/sandalwood base. Although not mentioned in the official notes it has galbanum and elemi as well. Iris Homme wears quite close to the skin. I find it quite a refined scent for men to wear.
Notes: bergamot, cardamon, orange flower, iris (nioi-ayame), violet, jasmine, amber, sandalwood, light musc
Hana Hiraku is the latest release of Satori. It means blooming flower and was made as a Magnolia scent. The fragrance has an interesting combination of sweet melon, creamy jasmine and salty german blue camomille. The blue camomille was added to add a miso and soy sauce note. The Japanese magnolia tree (Magnolia Obovate) smells like melon, creamy and at some stage even carnal. The carnal note was added by tuberose absolute. Hana Hiraku is meant to portray the emotion of a new beginning after wintertime.
Hanu Hiraku was the most challenging fragrance for me as I am not too fond of melon as an accord. It struck me as very odd in the beginning and not as refined as the other Satori perfumes. But after learning the explanation of the fragrance of the Magnolia Obovate tree I understand why the pronounced melon accord was added. The flowers of the magnolia tree I know near our Dutch garden smell more like soap which is very different I imagine from the Magnolia Obovate.
Notes: bergamot, galbanum, melon, magnolia, iris, jasmine, tuberose, rose, ylang ylang, blue camomille, miso, shoyu, guiac wood, opoponax resin, sandal wood, bees wax
Most of these Eau de Parfums are very subtle and quite exquisite fragrances. I would not wear all of them but I could certainly wear Sakura during Spring and Satori with colder weather in Wintertime. You have to take a quiet meditative moment to fully appreciate these fragrances and let them sink in to value them. Before buying a bottle, I would recommend to sample them at ease at home as these fragrances need their time and attention to be valued. Samples can be bought online at The Perfume Lounge in Amsterdam.
I would like to thank Satori Osawa and The Perfume Lounge for the opportunity for this interview.
Disclosure: all photographs were made by Esperessence, the samples which were used for this article, were a gift from The Perfume Lounge I did not get any compensation to write this article. More information can be found on: The Perfume Lounge and Parfum Satori.