There is so much about modern perfumery that is loud and assertive. Ridiculous PR about overdosed ingredients in perfumes by genius level artists. I have found that the perfume from genuinely inspired artists takes place quietly. Far away from the perfume hubs of the world. There is probably nowhere further from my home than the northern island of Japan, Hokkaido. In that place is one of the most creative independent perfumers I know, Yasuyuki Shinohara. His latest release Di Ser Kurokami is but the most recent example.
Shinohara-san works with an all-natural palette of ingredients. He uses only his own hand-made botanicals. It is part of what sets his perfumes apart. The effort to create these allows for nuance only found in small quantities. He can massage an ingredient to an effect that only the most patient artists can do. I liken it to a painter who mixes colors looking for just the ideal shade to complete their picture. The perfumes of Di Ser are the better for Shinohara-san’s search for the right scent profile for each ingredient.
Kurokami translates to black hair. My Hollywood hobbled view of Japan makes me think of wealthy men with slicked back hair. I was surprised to find something different. Not the men but the long silken black hair of a woman which shimmers in waves of reflected light. Kurokami is more akin to that.
It begins with grapefruit. This is not the fleeting kind of citrus I usually encounter. Shinohara-san has made his version that shimmer of light I mentioned above. The grapefruit remains in this role atop the main floral pieces of rose and jasmine. Usually in a fruity floral like this the florals shove the citrus out of the way. In Kurokami they rise to the same level without becoming pushy. It creates a smooth floral quality given the sparkle of citrus. This is not a typical version of these ingredients. It is provided a woody support of rosewood and sandalwood. If the citrus is the shimmer, the woods are the depth of color within a fall of jet-black hair. It is complete with a distant joss stick skirling a strand of incense through the final moments.
Kurokami has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
There is a quiet perfection about the way Shinohara-san places his ingredients. I feel the intent behind each piece of the perfume. Kurokami shows how hand-crafted versions of well-known materials can form something singular.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.