From what little I've read about Japanese perfumes, I expected this to be a quiet, retiring perfume, the kind that you have to sniff right at the skin.
I was wrong. I'm wearing one drop on one wrist, and it's wafting a an intense cloud of scent to my nose as I type. Digging for more information, I discover that this is less surprising than I would have thought - the scent was created in 1954, and Chandler Burr refers to it as an "absolutely classic scent".
But if you've been reading all the fuss about this perfume - the one that Chandler Burr also called "astonishingly beautiful", the one that you can only get from Japan, the one with the alarming price - you don't care about all that. You want to know what it smells like, right?
It smells like a rose. That sounds pretty basic, but it's rare that a rose perfume simulates the experience of smelling a living rose, warm in the sun. Real roses are peppery and spicy and green and tart and, most importantly, complicated. They have more notes than I, at least, can get my mind around.
And so does Shiseido White Rose. It's lovely, but I can't get my mind around it, or describe it properly for you. I can tell you that it's one of those scents that's so fine that the sensation of drowning is acceptable - like A La Nuit or like the queen, No. 19 parfum. As it develops, it grows less intense, but not less interesting - all of the complexity of the rose is still there, it's just quieter, as if the sun's gone behind a cloud.
And it is all rose - this is a soliflore, with nothing else in the mix. It might, finally, be my rose. There's plenty left in the vial, so I'll let you know after a few more tries.
Review Roundup: Pink Manhattan and MaterialeClare and surely there must be more discussion? I'll update if I find more.
Edited to add Bois de Jasmin.
Image: Wikimedia Commons.