New Perfume Review Shiseido Ginza- Wake Up the Echoes

There are beauty brands associated with fragrance in what seems like an intermittent fashion. It is like they can’t fully commit to it. The Japan-based brand Shiseido is an example of this. There are moments in their history where they are among the groundbreaking fragrance producer they should be. More recently they have become a flanker house pumping out lithographs of their last two pillars 2000’s Zen and 2016’s Ever Bloom. Neither of the originals was that memorable. Yet I always find that I want to check in because you never know when another 1992 will come along.

Karine Dubreuil-Sereni

That year would see Shiseido produce a collection of five perfumes that would stand against any perfume line’s best creative year. Feminite du Bois began its life as a Shiseido fragrance under the creative direction of Serge Lutens. Chant de Coeur by perfumer Edouard Flechier and a trio by Jean Martel are what Shiseido can be if they want to. When I received my sample of Shiseido Ginza I wondered where the brand would choose to go now.

Maia Lernout

I must start with a super confusing thing Shiseido is doing. This review is on the Shiseido Ginza fragrance in the bottle seen in the header. At the exact same time there is another Shiseido perfume called The Ginza. This is part of a new cosmetics collection. I have no idea why they thought this was a good idea. I haven’t tried The Ginza, but the article-less Ginza is charming. It is composed by perfumers Karine Dubreuil-Sereni and Maia Lernout. They conform to current trends with a transparent fruity floral.

The fruit used is the tart juicy pomegranate. Baie rose is used to turn the fruitiness down a notch or two. Which allows for a spring-fresh bouquet of magnolia, jasmine, and freesia to create the floral accord in the middle. This is also a stripped-down opaque version of these flowers. Layered together it gives them a tiny bit more heft but not a lot more. The overwhelming effect is fresh flowers. Cypress and sandalwood provide a meditative woody foundation. It is the only place where the Japanese aesthetic peeks through.

Ginza has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Ginza is another beautiful spring floral choice if you’re looking for something other than a rose. The perfumers impart a seasonal freshness without resorting to the usual suspects. Ginza feels more like a brand trying to find some of those echoes of 1992. I hope that comes to be.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample supplied by Shiseido.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Bentley Beyond Rich Pimento- After Hours in Havana

There are brands which make excellent perfume that are not well-known enough. One of those are the fragrances under the luxury car imprint of Bentley. It isn’t an unusual thing to see a luxury car brand on a bottle of perfume. The brand identity is worth its weight in gold. As well as the aspirational ability to own something from a car line you might never otherwise be able to afford. As a result the perfumes are made under the auspices of one of the larger beauty companies. The results have been mixed overall. Lalique, who oversees the Bentley fragrance line has seemingly put more effort into making something as memorable as the car. Bentley Beyond Rich Pimento continues that.

Marc Roesti

Most of the credit for the sustained excellence of these probably goes to Lalique creative director Marc Roesti. Last year he oversaw a collection dubbed Bentley Beyond. All three releases were very good with Wild Vetiver my favorite. I was hoping for more and Rich Pimento is here to fulfill that wish.

Karine Dubreuil-Sereni

Mr. Roesti wanted a fragrance redolent of Cuba. He turned to perfumer Karine Dubreuil-Sereni to compose it. I was expecting something brash. They upended that by making a soft Oriental which whispers of tropical nights.

The opening is bright citrus through grapefruit leavened with rhubarb. This is becoming my favorite citrus top accord because of the vegetal quality of the rhubarb against the sulfurous nature of the grapefruit. It makes me think of spring whenever I encounter it. The promised pimento comes along with baie rose. This is such a pleasing soft herbal peppery accord. Geranium and rum provide a boozy floral pool to float them on. Patchouli and olibanum provide a soft shadow to wrap around it all. It ends on a plush amber providing the warmth of a humid night in Cuba.

Rich Pimento has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

As I wore this, I always felt I was walking in Havana after the bars had closed before the sun rises. It is that after hours feeling of possibility in the tropics that embodies Rich Pimento.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Bentley.

Mark Behnke