Saturday, 8 April 2017

The Fragrance Shop Mitsouko: Review

The World With, Rukuku

"you know I hate installation art... " Your partner's voice disappears into the background. Champagne glass in hand, you stare at the screen, transfixed. Guests mills about in small groups, enjoying canapes and discussing the other artworks for sale but none really paying attention to this piece. Bright blue sky fills the screen before your eyes, then a forest in autumn colour. The camera is moving. You walk a path with it, leaves crunching under foot. Still moving, the camera pans downward. Hands peel an orange. From your left, an icy wind hits you, scented with orange peel. The screen fills with the face of a redheaded woman; she blows you a kiss.... Your partner's hand is on your arm, dragging you:" …You have got to see this portrait by Em Milan..."

The Fragrance Shop Mitsouko (FSM) is a fitting tribute to its namesake. This company does an excellent job with its dupes and the Moth Woman greatly admires their approach. Yes, this is a replica scent and of spectacular quality but it is in no way a clone of the original, more of a homage. FSM is particularly interesting in that it strongly suggests an alternate direction that Jacques Guerlain might have gone with the idea of original Mitsouko.

The beginning is very intense at close range but only delivers moderate sillage.  Orange is the main theme, flesh, peel, pith, slightly bitter with a tingling effect like peeling an orange, at a guess, probably created by the inclusion C8 or C10 aldehydes. First impressions are of something very perfumey but in a good way. There is also a tinge of the medicinal, old hospital smell normally associated with some oudh-based fragrances.  There are also tiny hints of something indolic, sugary sweetness, powdery opium poppies and a little of the peach skin traditionally associated with the original. An hour after application, the already meagre sillage has halved.  Something green and clean, like a sharp breeze in the country dances through, freshening everything. The fruit elements have reduced proportionally, the opium is fore-fronted and powderiness has lessened. Two hours out and a strong clove note appears in the mix plus something the Moth Woman could only describe as nutty cardboard?! There is soapiness but in a good way, very classy. A sombre feeling overlays the mix. Overall, the middle recalls the pomander accord most people recognise upfront of YSL Opium. At three hours, it is five inches from the skin but close in, it is still overwhelmingly powerful, suggesting it is seemingly heavier than oxygen. The fragrance has, at this staged, evolved into peach skin/orange peel aldehyde powder recalling more the original Mitsouko, if it had been intended to be a duet between oranges and peaches rather than a peach solo. At 14hrs, it is still very strong on the Moth Woman’s skin, still though the projection is minimal. At this stage, the striking resemblance to YSL opium is the dominant trend. A full day later, it is still there though reduced to a light, salty, oakmoss scent.
There is no denying the quality of the oils produced by The Fragrance Shop. However, they are expensive, falling on the high end of the price range for perfume oils. The quality is easily equal that which they imitate, in superb artistry and the quality of ingredients used, so the cost is not unjustified. These would be a good option for those who can afford the original but find alcohol based scents far too fleeting.
FSM is a fitting tribute to the original but with improved longevity and more office-friendly levels of projection. It t should appeal to those who hold Guerlain Mitsouko close to their hearts but in no way should be considered a clone or dupe.
Available here.

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