In a nutshell, it's like rolling out a wet hemp mat in front of you, so that you can walk across the stands with green and yellow fruits and herbs, while strolling through the market of fruit and herb sellers in the middle of Tokyo. The countless box-shaped displays of the stands made of bamboo cane form narrow alleys, neatly piled up to cubist backdrops, at their ends revealing the view of the hazy outlines of the skyscrapers of an endless city. The streets breed under the sultry heat of the rainy season, everywhere a film of moisture seems to lie on the surfaces. As soon as you stroke over the exposed skin of your forearms, you want to dry, cool and disinfect your hands at the next colorful flashing, beeping and talking automats.
You are sure that there are vending machines for this, too, but unsuccessfully in your search, of course, because none of the purpose and purpose of the colorfully labeled boxes that seem to stand at every corner would be understandable to you. As if by a biological peculiarity it seems granted to the locals that no moisture seems to stick on their faces, the housewives, businessmen, teenagers in their baby clothes and dyed hair hurrying through the narrow alleyways all seem to have stopped sweat production as if on appointment.
The short turmoil that the earthy smell of moist hemp gives you when you enter the market has vanished after a few seconds, and the bitter, sour, stunning liveliness of the scent of bitter oranges that seem to be omnipresent here hits you like a blow. They have a sour scent, similar to the scent of freshly grated lemon peel, but more complex, deeper, reminiscent of grapefruit and limes, without spreading the sulphurous mattness of grapefruit or the haunting exoticism of limes. Cool smells it, a boon on this rainy hot day.
Right next to it are the stalls of the herbalists, the bundles standing in vase-like woven containers of bamboo or lying, following a geometry unknown to you, arranged in small wooden boxes. Mint, you grind a few leaves between your fingers: No chewing gum mint, as expected, it would fit well into this incomprehensible environment, but a herbaceous, dark, stalked-woody mint aroma, the plants as if dried in the warm wind and by secret magic brought back to life. Among them another bundle of a small explosion of scents: Aromatic, green, citric lemon verbena, with its metallic tart scent, which you can almost taste, a dark, herbaceous tone, which lies very delicately under the tangy bitter oranges.
You still think you perceive the earthy smell of the rain-wet hemp mat, which occasionally rises in this exquisite sour-bitter mood, but soon the harsh impressions are mixed with the shimmering woodiness of the cedars and the warm, deep, pleasantly dry and slightly rubbing musk. Something reminds you of the mineral darkness of oakmoss, but it is only an illusion, the heat plays a trick on you, the astringency and eccentricity of the fragrance creates this impression. Nevertheless, and this surprises you the most, the smell of your damp skin is like a cooling, dry, ideally tempered, powdery silk cocoon, everything fits, you've arrived at yourself, and the heat and the city around you, they can't harm you anymore.
The Corsican Marc-Antoine Corticchiato, the nose behind perfume d´Empire, wanted to create with Yuzu Fou a homage to modern Japan, according to the marketing saga, and his point of view on it, without me being able to give it concrete form or explain it, is French, just as the exquisite fragrances he creates are French. Whether it may be because his fragrances always have a certain bulkiness and eccentricity, with fragrance components that at first often take getting used to, but then find a refined use in the overall composition and exert a strong appeal, or whether he obviously likes to use historical fragrance models or historical figures, to give fragrances a story, or because he always uses the theme of chypre (the most beautiful orange chypre I know comes from him) in an exciting way (with which he meets black people at in´s anyway), his fragrances often have their own elegance and delicacy, which I associate with "French". This may be as clichéd a characteristic as it wants to be, perfume d´Empire was and is one of my personal brand discoveries of the past year and Yuzu Fou is currently my summer favourite, unfortunately undervalued here on Parfumo in a hair-raising way.
I very much hope that the brand's fragrances will soon be available again, in Germany they are obviously only available from stock since the beginning of the year, if you know more, please let me know.