Saturday, October 22, 2011

15 minutes of lime light?

The most incredible Justine Crane was kind enough to write an article about me in The Perfume Magazine! Read it below.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Top 10 Incenses of the Month

Rose Neriko was chosen as one of April's Top 10 incenses by Olfactory Rescue Service
It's sooo exciting!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream Scent Event

Organized by Amanda Freely of Esscentual Alchemy, this event involved 11 bloggers reviewing 16 perfumers' creations inspired by the play. Sample sets are available from WAFT by Carol.

Reviews of Dreams by Parfum Phyto!
You'll find my description of the perfume is at the bottom of the post...

Bloody Frida wrote:
I am one of the fortunate folks in this world who can lucid dream!  I love dreaming.  I love sleeping.  I love the Summer Solstice/Midsummer.  So you can just imagine the excitement when I received Yuko Fukami (Parfum Phyto)'s Dreams perfume.

Now I'm quoting Yuko as she describes her creation -  "As ephemeral as a dream.  It sparkles, it's sweet...and the memory lingers on the skin..Flowers in the meadow against the crushed grass, hay, and woods of the forest floor."

This lovely elixir contains the following:
Top notes - coriander, virginian cedarwood
Heart notes - tuberose, violet leaf, cassie
Base notes - hay, flouve, ambrette seeds, ambergris

At first blush, the cedarwood is prominent, cushioned by the coriander.  The tuberose then springs out, but not too much, along with the violet.  I am transported to a marshy green space, covered with trees, my bare feet are squishing happily on the ground of dirt and moss, woodland flowers, and leaves that dropped the autumn before.

I find a dry place, and lie down looking skyward - the trees are a canopy, the breeze from the far away meadows reaches me.

Sleep comes peacefully and gloriously! And oh what dreams for this beloved Summer Solstice!

WAFT by Carol wrote:

A dream makes life worth living
A dream gives you purpose
A dream gives you focus
A dream gives you ideas
A dream gives you inspiration
A dream gives you determination
A dream gives you tenacity
A dream gives you passion
A dream gives you vision
A dream makes you see possibilities
A dream helps you overcome challenges
A dream broadens your horizons
A dream gives you fulfilment
A dream gives you abilities
A dream gives you ambitions...
- photo and quote from crazybutable

Was it real or was it a dream ? Have you ever had a dream so real , so colorful , so wonderful you just didn't want to wake , or when you awoke could not believe it wasn't real ? Dreams have always fascinated me . A healer told me once to concentrate on my hands in my dreams - if I could see my hands I could control my destiny ....

Yuko Fukami has created the scent of a green meadow  next to a wooded stream , a sunny beauty that is quite long lasting . Rising as a mist in soft waves from my arm , the notes are so well blended it is difficult to pick out only one - creamy , green and not sweet , this calls from across space and chimes softly.

Beth Schreibman Gehring of The Windesphere Witch wrote:
I was not familiar with the beautiful perfumes of Yuko Fukami, but one sniff of her lovely "Dreams" and I was smitten. Dreams is a very pretty perfume  and has a very spicy, solid green quality that I love in a perfume probably because of the coriander and violet leaf  that become immediately apparent upon first sniff. Dreams is a light fragrance, green and very sheer yet it is strangely narcotic and reminded me instantly of a solid perfume that I loved as a child called "Newly mown hay". I really want to smell Dreams as an eau de cologne. I have the distinct feeling that it would be very refreshing that way, something that I'd thoroughly enjoy on a warm summers day. It reminded me a bit of my current favorite Herme's lovely Un Jardin Sur le toit without the fruity apple and pear but with a flourish of yummy tuberose and a delightfully musky little bit of ambrette.

I was taken back immediately to a time decades ago, on a very warm and breezy day at our local hunt club. I was wearing a lovely  white linen dress as I presented a fluttering championship ribbon to a gallant gentlemen dressed in full fox hunting  attire. A hint of something flashed between us as I stroked his horses beautiful flaxen mane and I smiled. He was gallant, gorgeous and his horse was exquisite. Whether the moment we shared was the result of the heat of the day or the icy gin and tonic with freshly squeezed lime I'll never know.....but there were most definitely passionate and exquisite Dreams.

Felicia of Frangrance Belles-Lettres wrote:
Yuko eloquently simplifies this most difficult task of having our most innermost moment exposed into an enchanting scent that brings the essence of Shakespeare’s play into a thought provoking piece of literature. 

DREAMS is a woody scent that brings a lively spirit to an area in the woods that can be dark, dreary and damp. Its enchanting and magical powers bought many fairies to this area to perform their duties for humankind.

This woody scent is a bright indication that all dreams are not bad. It creates the attitude that “I can do all things that are possible”. 

Scott Ellis of Le Parfumeur Rebelle wrote:
Oh! I know this one! Violet leaf. The first thing I smell is violet leaf and then the perfume starts to change. I get other green things, some woods, some creamy flowers, and then the perfume starts to smell like one thing. Like a dream or a memory that disappears the minute you know you are dreaming. This is another perfume that smells really good on my skin. More of the floral parts of it come out on me than on my girl. On her it smells more green and musky. On me it smells like creamy flowers. The ingredients in this perfume are coriander, Virginia cedar wood, tuberose, violet leaf, cassie, hay, flouve, ambrette seed and ambergris. Languid.

Monica Skye Miller of Perfume Pharmer wrote:
Another gorgeous melodic fragrance from Parfum Phyto. Perfumer Yuko Fukami weaves much magic into her fragrances. Like heavy velvet Dreams covers you completely in a soft cloak without being heavy…the colors shimmer and change as it is worn…from deep greens to pinks, purples, indigo and copper. I am reminded of a deep forest pool on a hot summer night, the cool water enveloping one’s body and the fragrance of the forest and water plants all around…Dreams is a beautiful and sensual fragrance…

by Yuko Fukami / Parfum Phyto
~~ A Midsummer Night’s Dream Scent Event, May 2011

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended:
That you have but slumbered here,
While these visions did appear;
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend.

-from A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

As ephemeral as a dream.
It sparkles, it’s sweet…and the memory lingers on the skin…
Flowers in the meadow against the crushed grass, hay, and woods of the forest floor.

Top Notes:  coriander, virginian cedarwood
Heart Notes:  tuberose, violet leaf, cassie
Base Notes: hay, flouve, ambrette seed, ambergris

My inspiration came after watching the film version with Judy Dench and Helen Mirren. This was my attempt at capturing the fleeting dream state against the reality of the rich, fragrant dirt and woods.

The limited edition perfume will be available soon at Parfum Phyto Etsy store or you can email me.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My first perfume review: 9/clouds by Brad Kalavitinos of jo5ephk’s

Black and white, laboratory, scientific, industrial, clean, modern are some words that come to mind when I think about the packaging of the sample I received. I sense that this isn’t just about smelling good…

At first, the scent that came out of the spray bottle surprises me as its creamy, milky, caramel-sweetness contrasts with the expectation of the visual. But I notice quickly that there’s a solid edge to this fragrance. It’s not just all sweet; there’s a hardness underneath the creamy sweet, like a steel plate covered by soft wool.  

The steel plate starts to peek through the soft wool. Sometimes it’s vetiver, sometimes it’s angelica root. Then I smell blue. Blue liquid has been poured over the wool-covered steel; it’s rose. Wool-covered Serra sculpture drenched in clear blue liquid.

I finally understand:  it's a play of soft and sharp immersed in blueness of rose. It’s a composition of opposites, sweet and dry, soft and hard, light and dark, as if rays of light are shining through nine clouds.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rose Neriko

Neriko is a traditional Japanese incense dating back to the 7th century, when women of aristocracy blended their signature scent to imprint their impressions on men. Back then men and women in court lived completely separated. The Story of Genji mentions incenses and their impression on Hikari Genji numerous times.

I started off by making a more traditional blend of sandalwood, jinko, resins, and kaiko or cuddy shells, cloves and camphor. The neriko was nice enough, but there was nothing special about it. I remembered the pieces of jinko that  Ross Urrere had given me that he had soaked in rose absolutes. They smelled heavenly!

So, I thought to modernize and Westernize the neriko by adding rose. I started by just adding some rose absolute, but then I got this brilliant idea to add rose petals and rose concrete. I pounded the rose petals by hand into powder, then added the wood powders, spices, camphor, etc. After it was moistened, I added the rose absolute and the rose concrete, and pounded the mixture the prescribed 1000 times and then rolled the paste into small balls.

From top left clockwise: kunroku resin, jinko, camphor, rose petals, sandalwood
I love making neriko. It's very tactic and satisfying. It's also kind of mindless once you get over the measuring part. It takes a while to make, but I can watch TV while I do it. And the result is almost always satisfying. (I did make a few stinkers along the way; a necessary evil, I think.)

The rose neriko smells like a fresh, raw, dewy rose to me. It's not the refined, French, perfumy rose. Nerikos are not to be burned, but heated. It lasts for over one hour heated in an aroma pot. It's smokeless, which is a fact I like very much.

Neriko is used in tea ceremonies, too, in the winter. In the summer, jinko and sandalwood are burned. (Or more precisely, heated.) I will write about some traditional neriko I have in the near future.

Rose Neriko can be found on Etsy!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A New Friend

My new friend Yanagi-san on the left; my good friend Akiko on the right
 I've been looking for someone to teach me kodo (香道)or the way of incense, but to no avail. There seems to be a lot of teachers of the way of tea, but not incense. Then, a good friend of mine met someone that teaches about incense that used to work for one of the largest incense makers in Japan. She even managed to arranged for me to meet him! A dream come true!!

I met Kenichi Yanagi on a Friday afternoon. Our conversation began with ousu ("weak" tea) that my friend served on the tatami mat. It was a great ice breaker and a very nice gesture. We listened to three different woods that I had: an old sasora from the Edo period, a kyara from Yamadamatsu, and a sumotara also from Yamadamatsu.

I asked him about how to distinguish the five different tastes, kan (sweet 甘,) san (sour 酸,) shin (hot or spicy 辛,) ku (bitter 苦,) and kan (salty 鹹.) Sweet is fairly easy to distinguish, and I finally think I understand sour and salty. Sasora was sweet with a touch of sour. The scent became a little bitter (I thought) as time passed, but was largely unchanged. Apparently, constancy is one of the things that is required of good quality.

Yanagi-san cut a tiny, tiny piece off and said that it's better to use very small pieces of wood to tell the quality of the wood. I thought this to be very interesting as we dilute essential oils and absolutes when we evaluate them. In fact, I work in dilution when I'm composing as I can tell the nuances better when the oils are highly diluted. Also, we were told that a venerable monk that names woods listens to the wood as he hold the burner on his lap. He says that "if the scent doesn't reach his nose, it's not worthy of being named."

Yanagi-san gives lectures on Japanese incense materials and on incenses mentioned in the Bible. No less than thirty scent materials are mentioned in the Bible, he told us. He goes to botanical gardens around the world to find these plants. He is having a hard time finding a live spikenard plant. If anyone knows where one can see it, please let me know!