First encounter: It has always been a dream of mine to visit the land of the rising sun, Japan, ever since I was in elementary school. All those times, I reminisced watching Japanese dramas such as 花ざかりの君たちへ (For You in Full Blossom), 花より男子 (Boys Over Flowers) and all dramas acted by my favourite Japanese actor, Kimura Takuya (木村 拓哉). As I age, my interest in male scents grow, which makes me started writing this blog in the first place.
When I received an invitation to attend my close friend’s wedding in Yokohama last December, I of course, said yes. Finally, I could strike it off my bucket list the moment I landed in Narita International Airport on a chilly Friday morning. But, I could make it one step better by also exploring the fragrance scene whilst I was there. I did a little research and discovered a Japanese independent perfumer whose shop was situated in the heart of Tokyo. It was there when I met up with the lady up close and got the chance to go through her works with me on the last day of my trip.
Her scents, I kid you not, were amazing! While her fragrances were mostly unisex (which I grew fond of), I was also looking for a perfume that was exclusively homme. The perfumer then brought out this perfume and it was a matchmake in heaven.
Inspiration: Growing up in a quaint neighbourhood in Tokyo, Satori Osawa has and always been surrounded with plants. She would often observed her mother conducted Japanese floral arrangement classes called Ikebana (生け花) or Kadō (華道) while she was a child, which she later became a master herself. Her treasured book – a mini encyclopedia on greenery where she would always brought along when heading to school. Occasionally, she would paused and noticed the plethora of flowers growing along the path, before smelling and plucking a few into her pocket.
The wealth of knowledge Satori-san obtained over the years – being a master of ceremonies in tea and incense, Sadō (茶の湯) and Kodō (香道) respectively, inducted as a member of ‘La Sociéte Française de la Parfumerie‘, as well as managing her own herb and aromatherapy shop and lastly under the tutelage of Mr. Kenji Maruyama saw her launching her own namesake brand, Parfum Satori, in 2000. Her inquisitive mind triggers by experimenting with various components, creating her own original perfume formulations for her Japanese clientele.
When Satori-san was prompted by me on her favourite note/s to work with, she adored playing around woody notes. “[More towards] balsamic, incense type of notes when putting together a fragrance. Maybe, it is because of my experience with Orris root.” Her favourite muse is extremely rare and precious – it is derived from the roots of the Iris Pallida flower.
Traditionally used for its healing properties in Western medicine, the oil of Orris extracted from the flower’s rhizome is now used as a base note in the art of perfumery due to its robustly floral, dense and woody accords it exudes. Did you know that for every ton of iris root that is being harvested, roughly about two kilos of essential oil or sometimes called as Orris butter can be extracted, making this a highly prized item. Now, imagine using a very high quality of Orris butter in a fragrance. Absolutely mind-blowing!
Readers are glad to know that Satori-san has incorporated this treasured substance in Iris Homme (イリスオム). Aimed at mature men, this scent epitomizes one that is not only sophisticated, but also a fashion mover with a free spirit in mind. A perfect complement to a man’s wardrobe ensemble, Iris Homme is suitable to be worn on multiple occasions which he cannot live without.
Bottle: As part of the premium black collection, Iris Homme shares similar traits as Satori – a simple, relatively square opaque bottle that comes in a deep, black tint finish, while a slender gold neck cap completes the design.
Her recognisable logo – a hexagonal-shape trademark called Kikko-mon (亀甲紋) which was said to bring the user good luck is prominently placed on the bottle’s surface. Again, like the rest of Parfum Satori’s scents, they are encased in a refined black box with a gold line named Inro-gata (印籠型) running across the box.
Type: Citrus, woody
Top – Lemon, cardamom, orange flower
Heart – Iris, violet, jasmine
Base – Amber, sandalwood, light musk
Occasion: Day, office, casual, spring, summer, fall, winter, special occasion such as wedding and graduation, weekend
Duration: A few spritzes of Iris Homme on my pulse points find that it stays close to my skin. With its projection range lasts up to an arm’s length, the scent is not overly dominating, making it comfortable to be used in an office setting without setting off a few eyebrows from your colleagues.
This somewhat echoes Satori-san’s philosophy in her creations, indicating “[In general], Japanese are very conscious about smell. So, for example, my creations are in a way more sophisticated [that] is not too loud, more in a delicate manner that is created.” Its longevity easily hits up to the four hours mark before it disappears.
Verdict: Right off the bat, Iris Homme unveils itself with a sensory blend of citrusy lemon and spicy cardamom while the fresh fragrance from the orange flower follow suit, exciting the senses. I love how each accords are flawlessly balanced in their formulation, retaining their intrinsic properties without overwhelming each other at this point.
As the eau de parfum evolves with respect to time, the floral medley of violet and jasmine surges in, taking over the top accords. The key ingredient and Satori-san’s stimulus, iris, solidifies the heart notes together while it pulsates steadily with a continuous stream of mildly sweet and warm aroma. I do get a feeling that at this juncture, both iris and violet takes centre stage as the main leads in this perfume performance, subtly downplaying the role assumed by the jasmine flower away from the spotlight.
The perfume’s dry down in its final hours steers to a more incense-y path, due to the presence of woody sandalwood and tears of the sun, or commonly known as amber. “Amber makes the fragrance more masculine and that’s why I added it to the fragrance,” as Satori-san justifies the amber’s capacity in the scent.
Iris Homme, is by far, one of the few fragrances which I have reviewed to-date that is inherently masculine due to the complexities of ingredients intertwining with each other. Wearing it in the day does sharpens the minds of men, both intellectually and professionally, for which I see no reason why men should have this fragrance in his arsenal.
The gifted Satori Osawa has truly encapsulates the Ganbaru (頑張る) or the tenacity of Japanese men in modern times that I always have an admiration for in this bottle.
Read more about Parfum Satori by visiting the following links below:-
- A Quick Chat With… Satori Osawa
- Parfum Satori – Brand Insight and Meeting Satori Osawa
- Parfum Satori – Satori (2006)
- Parfum Satori – Kon Shiro (2014)
5 Chome-26-5 Sendagaya
Shibuya, Tokyo 151-0051, Japan
Tel: +81 3-5787-7207