Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hanami by Annayake : Perfume Review


“We carry the perfumes of Annayaké exclusively” the kindly sales assistant informed me when I inquired about them, taking extra care to raise her tone of voice slightly to accentuate the last vowel with the correct intonation after I had mistakenly pronounced it in a rather western manner. She was right of course. I do not know why I did not think of it myself. Perhaps it was out of force of habit, I had been mispronouncing the brand name for a couple of years already, ever since I started using the Annayake Ultratime skincare line for my face. I have since switched to Kanebo, which I also tend to mispronounce, accentuating the word as it would be verbalized in Dutch. Old habits die hard. In any case, I left the shop happy, with samples of all the Annayake perfumes they carried and have been testing them for the last two weeks. The homogeneity of the flacons had me in doubt of the perfumes’ uniqueness; I had enough trouble remembering which perfume was which due to the lack of any contrast other than the jus colors. But I needn’t have worried: I am thoroughly impressed. As promised, I will focus on my three favorites this week, Annayake pour Elle, Hanami and Tsukimi. It now seems a shame to leave things unfinished, so I will try to extend the reviews with the additions of Yukimi and Natsumi as well, if there is enough interest for them. I have unfortunately not been able to find Matsuri as of yet. It is a great shame, for that would help me finish the circle of the feminine fragrances in the Annayake line. For a great review on Miyako, a limited edition eau de parfum I have not had the fortune to come across, please check Colombina’s review.

Hanami, Natsumi, Tsukimi and Yukimi each represent a different season of the year, and each is meant to be a manifestation of a certain female personality, mirroring and accentuating her character. Hanami, the first of the four fragrances, is an expression of spring – time of awakening and rebirth, and the personality it represents is that of a positive, optimistic and dynamic woman. The word “hanami” literally means “flower viewing”, a centuries old customary spring activity undertaken all over Japan during the spring months. The flower most closely associated with Hanami is the cherry blossom, or Sakura, as it is called in Japan. At this point I should probably confess that I am a great fan of anime and manga. Considering most well-known Japanese festivals and celebrations feature quite heavily in both, there is no lack of mental imagery in my mind for Hanami: a female voice will wistfully gasp “Sakura!” while a couple walks down a lane lined on either side by cherry trees in bloom, petals falling and whirling madly around them, not unlike snow. Businessmen will demurely walk out of their office buildings at lunchtime, only to be seduced by the glory of nature around them and they will find themselves instinctively loosening the tight knots of their ties. Hanging lanterns will sway in the breeze come evening, gently lighting the laughing faces of the people reclining on blankets under the splendor of the blooming trees. Romance is in the air, palpable and energetic.

There couldn’t have been a better representation of spring in a perfume than what Annayake has put on offer with Hanami. The first whiff is that of dew on velvety petals, just unfurled in the light of dawn; morning dew in an endless field of green, moist, fresh, veracious. All the moisture contained in wonderful fleshy petals trying to seep out of their satiny pores. Amazingly, what initially starts out quite shy and cool suddenly intensifies on the skin, like nature resolutely blooming all at once. Freesia, muguet and cherry blossom fuse together bewitchingly, leaving me utterly captivated. These are the truest flowers I’ve ever smelled in a bottle. I cannot describe Hanami as a complicated fragrance, but this is by far no criticism: it is the form and essence of spring, encapsulated. It needs nothing more, it is perfect as is. Hanami is neither old-fashioned nor modern; it is simply timeless, ageless. Moreover, all that is needed to create wonderful sillage are a few drops. It is a perfume that gives and gives, enveloping the wearer in the most beautiful blend of flowers all day long.

Pictures courtesy of tanuki.org.uk, www.ekakiya.jp, www.search.com and foto.muri.se respectively.


7 comments:

helg said...

You make it sound wonderful!
The Japanese are so delicate around flowers and cherry blossom is so intricate to their culture, it is no wonder "Sakura" is the magic word.

Arhianrad said...

Divina,

You have caused SERIOUS lemming lust. SERIOUS.

Any word on the Tsukimi (moon viewing, right?) I will have to hunt these down...

Divina said...

Helg: Hi dear! Sakura is indeed the magic word! Also considered a very beautiful girl's name in Japan. How I wish I could travel there in spring time! It is my number one travelling destination, actually. (need to save up a LOT before I take that trip though, I want to do it right and travel around the country for a month or two..)

Divina said...

Ahrianrad: I created a lemming!?! *giggles* Hey, I can't help it, I'm proud!

I will be reviewing Tsukimi tomorrow :) Moonviewing indeed! (Tsuki=moon, mi=see, also hana=flower, mi=see) Please do not mistake this for proficiency in the japanese language though! My knowledge is restricted to small words and frases and the like. I love languages in general and consider japanese especially beautiful and melodic though so I am hoping to learn it properly sometime in the future.

chayaruchama said...

How delightful !

My babygirl, Ms. Juvy, is a Sakura- addict...
If you've made her lemm, that's a very dangerous thing.

I look forward to your next review !

[BTW- I used to live in the Netherlands- it's one of my favorite places]

Jenavira13 said...

Such lovely evocative imagery and completely lemming inducing.

Divina said...

Aw, thanks Jenavira! I am looking forward to your next perfume vignette btw :)