Monday, March 26, 2007

Memoirs of a Geisha

The Aroma M line was created with the Japanese sensibility in mind. Or so says the marketing info. It also says that the Geisha perfumes and perfume oils are made with quality essential oils and no synthetics. Unfortunately, anything that comes in perfume oil format always reminds me of hippie shops. This is pretty much the case with most Aroma M fragrances. My opinions of each of the eleven scents in the line follows...take with the usual grain of salt, as no two noses or skin reactions are alike and YMMV (your mileage may vary).

Geisha Rouge (oil) Notes: Tonka bean, tobacco, vanilla, sandalwood, cinnamon, star of anise, clove Perfume oils that smell of sandalwood, cinnamon, and clove smack of head shop to me, and this one is no different. If you like that sort of thing, this fragrance might turn you on. For me, however, serious blech.

Geisha Marron (oil) Notes: grapefruit, mandarin, bergamot, muguet, japanese magnolia, spicy chestnut blossom One major surprise in the lot: Marron is an extremely pleasant white floral (coming from someone who doesn't like floral scents) with a strong muguet (lily of the valley) fragrance and slight hints of citrus. It gives the sensation of a bouquet of fragrant blooms. The drydown is lovely, with the muguet softening and a bit of the bergamot coming to the surface. I think this frag is a bit strong at first, at least for me, but I thought this one was pretty nice.

Geisha Green (oil) Notes: absinthe, black currant, violet, mandarin, amber, tonka This opens with the strong anise-y scent of absinthe in the foreground, and while that is still strong, the softness of the vanilla-like tonka makes itself known. There's also a slight bite of black currant (Note to those who may be thinking of other things whey they see this word, those tiny dried raisiny things one can buy in a box at the grocery store labeled "currants" are not currants. They're raisins. Currents are a completely different fruit and are eaten fresh. They have a tart flavor and a complex berry-like aroma with a touch of the medicinal. Think blackberries and you'll be close-ish.) The absinthe stays strong even in the drydown, when the amber creeps and the floral scent of violets can be discerned. An interesting scent, but in the end it becomes altogether too powdery for my tastes.

Geisha Blue (oil) Notes: blue chamomile, green tea, leafy greens, jasmine, honey Blue starts out with the sweet floral scent of chamomile mixed with a touch of honey. The next layer of scent holds the jasmine, more honey, and a drop of green tea. The overall composition is a soft floral with just a touch of sweetness.

Geisha Blanche (oil) Notes: lychee, jasmine, hyacinth, ylang ylang A white floral with slightly sweet fruity undertones, very gentle and powdery, not unlike the smell of Johnson & Johnson baby products (baby lotion comes immediately to mind). In the drydown, the powderyness subsides and the hyacinth takes over. This scent is not particularly jasmine-like, which I think is a plus.

Geisha Pink (oil) Notes: sugared plum, orange, vanilla Pink is quite different from most of the other Geisha scents because it lacks a floral aspect. The opening notes are of orange and plum, the latter perhaps a little on the unripe side. Overall, however, I find the fruit smell off-putting and the whole scent a bit too sweet.

Geisha Noire (oil) Notes: black amber, sandalwood, tonka bean An initially spicy scent with an opening volley of black amber followed quickly by a powdery sandalwood and tonka bean. The scent starts out mysterious but turns familiar very quickly, becoming a scent not unlike Shalimar, soft and feminine.
Geisha Violet (oil) Notes: violet, lilac, lotus, chocolate A somewhat powdery and sweet violet aroma with warmth behind it...somehow it almost smells like unripe bananas to me before it becomes more obviously chocolate. The lilac is subtle, and the lotus adds a bit of green. On drydown, the floral aroma takes over and the violets smell like cheap candies.

Geisha O-Cha (perfume) Notes: Japanese green tea, sweet orange, clary sage A very subtle scent of orange tea, more orange than tea at first. At drydown, however, up comes the bitterness of finely powdered Japanese green tea. It smells like the taste of green tea ice cream. Interesting, but I'm not sure I want to go around smelling like that. This fragrance is extremely fleeting in hour later, I could no longer smell it.

Geisha Nobara-Cha (perfume) Notes: rose, sandalwood, amber A very soft but obvious rose with the slight woodsiness of sandalwood and the warmth of amber. Pleasant, but certainly not groundbreaking...especially not for $72. It could use less rose and more amber, for my tastes. The sandalwood becomes more pronounced in the drydown, but doesn't necessarily improve this fragrance.

Geisha Hana-Cha (perfume) Notes: jasmine, bergamot An odd combination. The bergamot is very much Earl Grey tea in this, but the jasmine is not true and smells more like mothballs. The drydown gets weirder and smells of balloons or rubber bands. Yuck.
I dunno. I don't really see any "Japanese sensibility" in this line. But what do I know? Maybe they like to smell bad/odd/weird. Apart from Marron, none of these perfume oils will touch my skin again. Anyone else have experience with Aroma M? I'd like to know...leave a comment!


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