There are perfumes that I believe are only achievable by a small independent perfumer. The raw materials can only be sourced in small batches. They can push concentrations to higher levels. Frankly, they can take the risk of failing. Because if they miss their vision there’s always the next idea. When they come together they reach into different places than most other perfumes. Many of the perfumes I write about from the independent perfume community are emblematic of this style of derring-do. Another prime example is Auphorie Miyako.
Auphorie is the line of Eugene and Emrys Au based in Malaysia. The Aus have a stated goal of producing perfumes that are difficult to mass produce. On top of that they are scavengers of exotic raw materials which they use in their compositions. Miyako was one of their first releases. The brief was to imagine walking through the ancient city of Miyako during the height of the osmanthus flower season. As you stroll by the flowers their bouquet arises. The Aus have made one of the most intensely satisfying osmanthus fragrances I have tried.
Eugene and Emrys Au
Osmanthus is one of my favorite perfume raw materials because of its dual nature of having very distinct apricot and leather facets with the floral sweetness. It makes it a perfume all on its own. Except in the case of Miyako the Aus decide to go all in by doubling up on the fruit and leather allowing the osmanthus to pivot through its phases buttressed by similar notes enhancing the experience.
Miyako opens with a fruity trio of peach, yuzu, and apricot. The early moments are the fuzzy peach and tart yuzu before the apricot persists. By having apricot as a note on its own it allows the osmanthus to sort of rise up out of it. What arrives with the osmanthus is a lilting green tea note which floats along as the apricot begins to modulate towards the leather. To further that transition the Aus add in their own leather accord. This is black motorcycle jacket leather. It has a bit of oiliness to it which matches the floral source of the more transparent leather. There is a moment about an hour or two in where the osmanthus is laid bare with all of its character splayed out and enhanced when Miyako is at its pinnacle. Eventually things must move on. Hinoki and sandalwood provide the woody aspect of the base accord; patchouli and musk come along a little later to finish things.
Miyako is extrait strength and has 14-16 hour longevity but moderate to no sillage.
Miyako is a perfume which could have gone off the rails if the Aus had added even a smidge more apricot or leather. Instead Miyako stands as an example of why independent perfumery can so often get it gloriously correct.
Disclosure; This review is based on a sample I received from Auphorie.
Editor’s Note: Auphorie Miyako was a winner in the Artisan category at the 2016 Art and Olfaction Awards.