Floraïku

So now I risk being a cultural barbarian when I throw Japanese and Chinese poetry in one bag, regardless of period, style, everything in one pile, but I have to.

For a long time, I hated poetry as such. As a bookworm child, it was not very meaningful to me, so many pages used for so few letters seemed sacrilege to me, sometimes I took mercy on at least for Daniel Hevier, or some other poets that were either funny or interesting in some way, but otherwise nothing. When I grew out of children’s poetry, it was even worse. What I came across, whether alone, or presented to me at school, came to me completely creepy (I would comment that even today I did not completely adorn my taste, ehm…). It all came to me regardless of the period and country of origin pathetic, and/or pompous, and/or romantic, and/or with some completely unnecessarily tragic touch, or most often, more or less, all this together.

And then I came across this book at the home library:

Bohumil Malthesius: Songs of Old China, in Czech

I must have been desperate for lack of something to read when I got into it, but it totally caught me.

And since then, I have begun to look for ancient Chinese poetry, then gradually also for Japanese poetry, whatever I could get my hands on.

Not unnecessary pompous, no empty words, emotions concise and subtle, but accurate and aptly sketched as if by a few precise brushstrokes, nothing more, just everything expressed.

The Floraiku brand follows this style. The brand name is already a composition of two words, Flora and Haiku. Haiku is a genre of Japanese poetry that is characterized by firm rules, but more importantly in this case – with incredible brevity into which the whole content of meaning must fit.
 
And so are the fragrances of the brand. From a few ingredients (each scent has 3-4 of them), full-fledged scents are created, they are no less good than scents with significantly more complicated compositions.
 
And since Haiku was originally created from the chain poem style called Renga, which was created by different authors writing different strophes that were then concatenated into a single poem, Floraiku has a reference to it as well. It has a simplified system of layering scents called “shadowing”, for which two specific perfumes are intended – Sleeping on the Roof (Light Shade) and Between Two Trees (Dark Shade). These two fragrances can be combined with all the others in the collection. In this way, it is possible to have three bottles and at least 7 different perfumes. That’s why they also offer a travel case for perfumes with space for three vials.

Also, bottles themselves are sophisticated puzzles. In the package, you get a flacon with an ornamental lid, and a travel vial, while the flacon lid itself can be used as a package for travel. You simply insert the travel vial into it – and there are also two other, simpler lids attached, with which you close both bottles.

Noses of the brand are Alienor Massenet and Sophie Labbé with individual perfume labels by Victoire Cathalan.

I saw them the first time outside of the virtual world at Harrods in Salon de Parfums where I was captivated by them (after all, like everything else that paid off for me going there and up), both in terms of scents and the whole atmosphere, design and concept of the brand, which is characterized by Japanese inspiration and Japanese culture.

Therefore, I ordered the Discovery set so that I could try them in different combinations at home. Here are the results on my skin. All combinations described herein are created by applying the same amount of each scent. Of course, you could also play with different ratios, but I decided this article should not be endless.

So first let’s look at both “shadows”:

Sleeping on the Roof (Light Shadow)

Very delicate and cute lily of the valley with a little bit of very soft green jasmine (they state an orange flower, but I smell jasmine). The scent is very delicate and without any development, but it could be worn on its own. It holds for an incredibly long time.

Between Two Trees (Dark Shadow)

Maté, incredibly strong, slightly sweet maté, like one friend once brew for us after his return from South America trip. I’ve never drunk anything like this before or after. Vetiver adds dry smoky greens and grapefruit a little bit of bitterness. Beautiful scent, wearable on its own.

Both Shadows Together

What will happen if you make something lighter and then darker? Nothing, actions cancel out each other. And here it works too. At the beginning a pleasant lily-of-the-valley grapefruit introduction, then soft dry greenery. Nothing more. Holds only close to the skin, almost unrecognizable.

And now we can fully concentrate on the rest:

One Umbrella for Two

Blackcurrant candy, just to eat it. With the gentle faint note smell of hay, but only like a breeze from the outside, the candy does not weaken in any way, on the contrary, it got a slightly denser consistency. More than Geinmacha tea itself, dainty popcorn from it appears there. At the end now and then you can smell light fine cedar.

With light
Sweet blackcurrants in combination with a lily of the valley acquire a different, far less “edible” character. Jasmine note (really it is jasmine for my nose and not the orange flower) turns the scent explicitly into a beautiful light perfume without any gourmet associations, with a fine black-currant vibe.

With dark
Incredibly beautiful caramel popcorn, later with a gentle vetiver underlay, is like eating great popcorn on a dry, late-summer meadow. Over time, the vetiver becomes more prevalent, the gourmet tones recede into the background, but they do not disappear, only in connection with more bitter ingredients, they begin to form a denser consistency and do not allow the vetiver to go into too much smokiness. Evening gradually falls on the summer meadow.

With Both shades
The beginning clearly dominates caramel popcorn. But relatively quickly is driven away by what I would descriptively call “watery jasmine”, but not in the meaning of Wrightia religiosa, but jasmine with aquatic notes. Later appear darker notes of the vetiver. Unlike the alternative with “only” Dark Shade, the scent darkens here to nonsweet but slightly bituminous notes.

It is interesting that while the original, non-layered scent came to me explicitly feminine even girly, the others are already unisex, and the last one with a slight inclination to the men’s side.

The Moon and I

Beautiful tea scent. Essentially, it behaves as described, starting with the unsweetened Maté, continuing with very green whipped Matcha, and at the same time a bunch of different teas and infusions, including linden and chamomile, are here, at least in the head of the perfume. It should finish with cedar oil. Instead, it ends with something that definitely reminds a slightly sweetened black tea.

With light
Firstly wet moss, then lily of the valley in green moss. Almost no development, but a very nice gentle unisex lily of the valley scent.

With dark
What will a double dosage of maté do with a little bit of grapefruit? Sweeter maté! Strange, but in this case, it is so…. Later the sweetness disappears to be replaced by vetiver smokiness… Very interesting and very casual and at the same time luxurious perfume.

With Both shades
Dark tea scent. A black, well-infused English tea that transports us like Alice, just not into a rabbit hole, but into a fairy-tale dim forest on a dark damp moss. When we listen quietly and well, we certainly hear the giggles of pixies. In drydown remains very delicate, slightly nostalgic, and slightly disturbing green sweetness… beautiful scent.

I Am Coming Home

Freshly sliced ginger, which tickles in the nose and nearly makes you sneeze, with a soft, freshly brewed, but already lukewarm white tea. Gradually, the combination surprisingly begins to remind me of homemade chamomile infusion.

With light
It is interesting how ginger and lily of the valley tame each other. There is basically nothing left of the ginger and only a faint of the lily of the valley. And then, white tea suddenly becomes black, English tea, with a little bitter orange blossom.

With dark
Sweet! I don’t know what it is, but it’s non-gourmet sweet! Ok, now it’s starting to smell a little tea-ish. Strong, slightly over-infused, sweetened tea. And a dark green vetiver shadow.

With Both shades
Where two argue the third benefits…. so here, finally, the ginger manages to crawl to the surface again. It’s even stronger here, though a little less sharp. And the ginger remains, even though it is later modestly seconded by the dark, dry vetiver green.

I See the Clouds Go By

This is the most intense black-currant scent I’ve ever tried. It starts with an intense, almost unsweetened black-currant jam, continues with the sweet-bitter juicy flesh, all the way to the bittersweet skin. Beautiful.

With light
It’s unbelievable how the smell changed. No, there are neither currants nor currant flowers. Well, to be precise, the two ingredients fight a little bit for the first few minutes on the skin, but then merge into the slightly artificial scent of a plastic bag previously used for forest fruits, until slightly overlapped into a nail polish remover. Interestingly, even though it is not my cup of tea in any way, it’s wearable, it matches many mainstream scents. Just it is not worth the money spent this way.

With dark
Black wild berries have fallen in forest moss. At first, it seems like blackberries, but as they begin to bitter, they turn into some wild bitter fruits. And it gradually gets dark and dusk falls on the moss hill. This is beautiful.

With Both shades
The acetone note is distinctive from the first moment. But only for a moment. And then, suddenly, it’s gone and it is clear, the crystal-clear smell of lily of the valley with fruity notes, with something that recalls the smell of light aldehydes. It reminds me of Liu by Guerlain, but in a much more minimalist and significantly more modern version.

Cricket Song

Um, a smell I would definitely not expect from ingredients. Bergamot… I wanted to write that it avoided me, but no, it didn’t go around, it just didn’t do its typical citrusy-bitter entrée, it just grounded a magnolia flower together with vetiver like a sinker grounds a helium balloon. The result is rather a heavier floral scent with a slightly old-fashioned touch. Later it acquires an interesting honey undertone. A lady playing cricket? Can be.

With light
A lily of the valley playing the role of water hyacinth for a while seems to move it all into completely different waters, then not, and then again, yes. They just for a while move around that flower-honey position and finally they solve it with a compromise, where the lily of the valley wins, but only tightly. The result is quite different from the original scent, but again it feels adorable in an old-worldly way.

With dark
This is very interesting. Smoked grapefruits, both grapefruit, and smoke are significantly more intense than in pure Between Two Trees. Grapefruit blows away after a while and a strong smoky scent remains with a small, but explicitly only symbolic pinch of unsweetened honey.

With Both shades
Ok, so here the grapefruit and vetiver show us their green side, the lily of the valley just blinks from afar. Honey note is not here, but clean floral notes, then smoke, but lighter and more airy than in the previous combination. The result is a beautiful airy-floral-slightly smoky scent, smelling very modern (in a good way) and unisex.

First Dream of the Year

It seems that the first dream of the year was about a bitter orange. At least the combination of orange blossom with grapefruit smells like Bigarade orange in this case. Then bitter orange unwinds and the dreamer wakes up on a soft cushion of iris powder.

With light
Very light lily of the valley first with citrus, then dances to orange blossom, together they create an effect, not unlike the new Diorissimo, but with the contribution of iris powder notes and probably also a little bit of less sharp musk (but only a little bit).

With dark
Sweet ripe grapefruit on a green background. Later grapefruit blows off and the greenery grows stronger. Dark green, dry, slightly sweet green. Sometimes a little bit smoky vetiver appears, but really only occasionally and symbolically.

With Both shades
A classic-smelling citrus introduction, rather bitter, strongly “men’s”. Remotely reminiscents classic cologne, but it is fuller and rounder. Green notes, ripe, full, juicy green notes as a bonus. Drydown slightly sweet green.

My Shadow on the Wall

The juicy bitter green of a violet leaf with a slightly powdery undertone. Powder notes will soon take command and the greenery is just sitting somewhere in the background. Suddenly mimosa starts to bloom somewhere nearby. Nevertheless, a very pleasant powdery, explicitly unisex scent.

With light
Okay, so the greenery is picking up citrus mimicry here, creating a fresh introduction so that it can then show us a very light, modernized, cute variation on the Champs Elysées by Guerlain. Later, the unisex-powder accord lets us know about itself again and makes it more special.

With dark
Soft greenery with powder notes. Well, it sounds like a description of the first, but this is significantly different. This greenery is simply darker, as if “stiffer”. It is softened by milky and woody sandalwood notes.

With Both shades
Gentle, soft, cushion-soft, powdery, unsweet scent with a subtle “bitter” undertone. Later with little woody green notes.

Sound of a Ricochet

At first a sharp, even unpleasant breeze, like from a homemade vanilla tincture. When this blows away,  a very civilized, smooth, and soft tonka bean note appears.

With light
LOL…. So, the lily of the valley expelled the vanilla from the alcohol, but she was so exhausted by herself that she walked away immediately… .and on my skins stays some liquor,  vodka, or something. I’m not a great expert on that kind of alcohol. But when the lily of the valley took the rest, she found that no one else had occupied the space yet, so it finally fill it completely there.
 
With dark
Sweet-gourmet-oriental introduction (well, a kind of “European-oriental” ..). Then some ingredients add something that reminds you of chypre notes. At this stage, I can imagine it in a bottle made of quality glass, in a box lined with satin, and the year of its launch, one thousand nine hundred and seventy, or one thousand nine hundred and eighty. The santal-vetiver drydown completely confirms this impression.
 
With Both shades
Very nice start. Not very original, but promising a nice, high-quality “classic” scent. And so it continues. A little bit of vanilla, a little bit of flowers, a little bit of greenery, a little bit of sandalwood… there is something familiar in it, but it does not evoke a feeling of banality, rather universal usability.
My Love Has the Colour of the Night
The first gust carried me back X years ago when I first tried Gaiac by M.Micallef. That polished woodiness, that strongly woody character of the scent is similar. Unfortunately, while Gaiac was pleasantly warm, like wood in the sun, this goes somewhere to the cellar. Well, I know, me and the patchouli… but still a pleasant smell. Maybe I will try it again in warm weather.
 
With light
A light floral-woody scent, where instead of the obligatory cedar is a smooth light hardwood. Explicitly relaxing scent.
 
With dark
Light brown scent. A little bit cognac. Not gourmet, only if I had to imagine how it smelled light brown, so like this. Okay, those cognac notes are certainly there (or rather whiskey?) Definitely, something that matures in old oak barrels.
 
With Both shades
Well, fruit tones came out of this… .where? How??? Probably the grapefruit will play a role in this, but this is not a grapefruit, or generally a citrus note. Just some generally pleasant tone of not fully ripe fruit. Well, the fruit is placed in a wooden bowl or on a wooden shovel. Yellow fruit. It evokes in me the idea of yellow greengages, nashi pears, carambola, physalis, and similar fruits in a wooden bowl. Probably someone didn’t finish eating it, because after a while it goes to the cellar. That’s what patchouli did to me again…. I’m also looking forward to trying it in the summer, the sun might reverse the drydown.
 
 

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