No white after Labor Day. Red wine for meat and white wine for fish. Citrus perfume is for summer. These kinds of pseudo-rules are supposed to make our lives easier. They can also have the effect on never allowing us to color outside the lines. Which is silly on my part because it is out on the margins where things can be the most exhilarating. This is the second year in a row when a new citrus focused release has challenged my assertion that citrus is for the dog days.
Masaya Kuroki and Gildas Loaec
When it comes to coloring outside the lines Maison Kitsune has been doing that with their multi-platform stylings founded by Masaya Kuroki and Gildas Loaec. Beginning in 2002 the pair would use the DJ nightlife of Paris as a platform to show off their clothing designs. They opened their first New York Boutique last fall. When I heard they were collaborating with James Heeley and his Heeley brand for their first perfume I was interested enough to get a sample. The trio seemingly enjoyed meshing the Japanese, French, and British aesthetics into a fragrance. The result is Maison Kitsune x Heeley Note de Yuzu.
The basis for the framework are the yuzu baths popular in Japan during the autumn months. Soaking in a wooden tub filled with salt-laden water upon which float slices of yuzu is a fall ritual for many. I was excited because I think one of the very best salt water perfumes is Heeley Sel Marin. I was interested to see if Mr. Heeley and Messrs. Kuroki and Loaec could find some spaces on the margins to create a memorable fragrance.
The yuzu is present right away, but it is presented differently than usual citrus. There is a real sense of humidity around this version of lemon. Instead of crisp brightness there is a muted diffusive effect which is made more pronounced as the sea salt accord rises for the yuzu to float upon. To really give the saltiness some extra texture a bit of seaweed adds a vegetal iodine facet which threads its way through the hot lemon water. I was enthralled by this opening because of the way it renounces the airy sunshine of most sea spray and citrus perfumes. Instead this has a kind of comforting warmth as if I was in the bath. Vetiver provides the sense of the wooden bath tub while the green overwrites the seaweed with something more typical. The final hours of Note de Yuzu are a set of white musks providing a soft slightly powdery final phase.
Note de Yuzu has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
I would have never believed Mr. Heeley could have improved on Sel Marin but Note de Yuzu is much better. I think it is because by collaborating with rulebreakers like Messrs. Kuroki and Loaec it brought out a freer style within. Note de Yuzu is what happens when perfumery is practiced outside the lines.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample from Maison Kitsune.