Plum Japonais (2013)

Plum Japonais by Tom Ford
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Plum Japonais (Tom Ford)
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8.2 / 10     204 RatingsRatingsRatings
Plum Japonais is a popular perfume by Tom Ford for women and men and was released in 2013. The scent is fruity-spicy. It is being marketed by Estēe Lauder Companies.

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Yann Vasnier

Fragrance Notes

Saffron, Laotian cinnamon bark, Immortelle, Sawara cypress, Japanese camellia, Oud, Amber, Laotian benzoin, Fir balsam absolute, Vanilla



8.2 (204 Ratings)


8.0 (140 Ratings)


7.2 (148 Ratings)


8.5 (154 Ratings)
Submitted by Freeestyler, last update on 20.11.2018
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Helpful Review    11
following the perfumer, not the perfume line
Fortunately, you don't spritz on a marketing campaign. You spritz perfume. Set aside the nouvelle orientalism of the Ford 'Atelier d'Orient' collection. But do smell Plum Japonais if you get the chance.

More than most fruits, the plum is about the relationship of the skin and the flesh of the fruit. A thin, intensely acidic skin layer is the first taste of the plum as you pierce the skin with your teeth, but the rush of sweet flesh overwhelms the tartness quickly as you continue to bite. In your mouth, the experience reverses and the sweetness washes away as the meat of the fruit gets swallowed, leaving the skin and its sharpness. Tart, sweet, tart. Each bite is a little opera.

The salty, acidic slap of the pickled umeboshi plum is one of my favorite tastes. The experience is huge and invigorating. It’s the gustatory equivalent of jumping out of a sauna and into the snow. Plum Japonais plays with these fluctuating facets of the plum and makes a woody-plum perfume that is both bold and nuanced. Plum could be a thorny note, given that Edmond Roudnitska claimed the plum as his own with the brilliant Rochas Femme. The reformulation of Femme, with cumin standing in for no longer available animalic elements, kept the plum alive and in the chypre territory. Serge Lutens and Christopher Sheldrake used the plum as the starting place for a wholely new fruited-wood amber genre. Feminité du Bois and its successors have claimed the rights to a plum-cedar empire. Any perfumer hoping to make a principally plum-scented fragrance cannot help but see some big shoes.

Perfumer Yann Vasnier takes the plum into new territory with Plum Japonais. The previous pairings, plum/moss in Femme and plum/cedar in Feminité du Bois, were enormously successful and so is Vanier’s. He matches plum with a fir note, making a sweet and syrupy perfume that doesn’t fall into the gourmand trap. I’ve seen oud, spices and all sorts of things listed in the notes for Plum Japonais, but the overall effect is a sweet, cool woody tone similar to that in Fille en Aiguilles. (Take that, Sheldrake!) In both cases you can embrace the sweetness without reservation and never fear falling into a dessert. Even with notes of cardamom and cinnamon, the perfume still leans more toward the Christmas tree than the dessert table.

Vasnier creates a dynamic similar to the tart-sweetness of eating a plum by focussing on the tensions between spiced sweetness and cold balsamic resinousness. And he manages to do it without stealing from either Roudnitska or Sheldrake. This alone is remarkable. Plum Japonais has an unrestrained opening that is appropriate for a fruity fragrance, but settles comfortably into a dusty wooded-fruit balance that remains strong but close to the skin. The drydown is spectacular, more poised than tempting, and is would be a great treat to reconsider on your wrist at the end of a long day.

(I'm just being introduced to perfumer Yann Vasnier's work and am enjoying it tremendously. Can't wait to try more.)

Bottle 5.0/10 Sillage 5.0/10 Longevity 5.0/10 Scent 6.0/10
Flying High Then Coming Down To Earth...
Plum Japonais opens with a splash of relatively sweet fruity plum before quickly transitioning to its spicy heart. As the composition enters the early heart the sweet plum moves to a supporting role as it joins a powerful cinnamon and saffron spice starring tandem with a tinge of dark green fir balsam and slightly rubbery Oud. During the late dry-down the composition moves away from most of the spice and plum as an extremely potent sweet amber takes over as the star later giving way to slightly powdery dry vanilla and benzoin completing the development. Projection is average and longevity slightly above average at 8-10 hours on skin.

Plum Japonais' open and middle phases are incredible smelling. While others have likened the composition to several Serge Lutens compositions I rather find its spicy nature to more closely resemble Clive Christian's X for Men, with Plum Japonais swapping plum and Oud with X's jasmine. The heart phase of Plum Japonais is far from an X for Men clone, but there is no denying the similarities (and that is a good thing as X for Men smells incredible). As a plum, cinnamon and saffron lover I was ready to buy a bottle for my collection after enjoying an hour of plum-laced spice heaven. Unfortunately the early heart is as good as it gets, and things start to unravel shortly thereafter as during the early dry-down the plum-laced spice slowly fades, giving way to simplistic cloyingly sweet amber that ruins it. The powdery dry vanilla driven finish ends the composition as mundane as its open was enticing. The bottom line is the $210 per 50ml bottle Plum Japonais got off to an extremely strong start but in the end disappointed big time, earning a "good" 3 stars out of 5 rating on the whole but is not recommended due to its incredibly disappointing finish (4 stars+ for the plum and spice focused early heart and 2 for the cloying amber driven lazy finish). If you enjoy the early heart of Plum Japonais I recommend sniffing Costume National Homme and X for Men that are more complete and successful options with similar profiles.
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Sillage 7.5/10 Longevity 10.0/10 Scent 8.0/10
Helpful Review    3
Plummy perfection
Oh my, this one is truly unique! Plum Japonais is everything I expected from Chinatown and Ume. Delicious spicy, resinous and medicinal plum with just the perfect amount of sweetness. The fruity notes tone down during the drydown, but the plum is still detectable.

PJ is one of those rare fragrances that keeps twisting and turning without you having to worry that it will become something horrible. The saffron-immortelle combo is just wonderful, immortelle does not get to curry-mode and vanilla or oud are not dominant but perfectly balanced.

Easily the best out of the Atelier d’Orient series. I had a generous sample and want a full bottle. Strongly recommended to oriental gourmand fans or those who never understood what the fuzz over Chinatown was.
Excellent longevity, development and just the right amount of sillage.
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