Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Neil Morris for Takashimaya New York : Perfume Review

Regular Fragrance Bouquet readers probably know of my deep admiration and love of Neil Morris’ creations. A whole week of reviews was devoted to a number of Neil Morris’ vault scents back in March, and his sparkling Aegean fragrance was featured in June’s Father’s Day special, soon after its launch at Takashimaya New York. Takashimaya, tasteful, tantalizing, transformative, transcendent, has a heart that beats a rhythm most unique: artisanal creativity and all that’s special, unique and exclusive, makes this the place to be for the sophisticated shopper with a taste for the unusual. What better place then, to bring Neil’s creations a bit closer to the public? And now, Neil has been commissioned to create an exclusive scent just for Takashimaya, a scent that captures the serenity of a Japanese Garden. I am absolutely delighted that Neil’s talent is being recognized and that he has been entrusted to capture the essence of Takashimaya. Having experienced the beauty of his creations, I have to say I am not surprised he was the brand’s choice. Neil is not just talented; he wields a magic brush that makes fantasies and scenes come to life in full color. Every one of his scents is a beautiful story, evocative, three dimensional, alive. Yes, if anyone can capture a scene, a feeling or a memory, it’s him.

Neil’s vision for Takashimaya New York was to showcase the coming together of two utterly different cultures; a seemingly unlikely pairing that turns out fitting together as perfectly as a lovers’ embrace:

“I wanted the fragrance to incorporate the beauty and serenity of the Japanese culture along with the stylish sophistication of Fifth Avenue. It’s my artistic twist on East meets West.”

The top notes of Neil Morris for Takashimaya New York, are incredibly bright and sparkling, an innocent, childlike take on the joys of summer, filled with fizzy drinks, juicy fruit and overflowing, carefree feelings of happiness. Exhilarating mandarin and bergamot are fizzing, utterly effervescent with the kick of aldehydes. They readily bind to the smooth texture of rich cream to create the most vibrant images of long, twister ice cream lollies. Juicy blackcurrant is thrown in the mix, coloring everything brightly with its yummy, tangy flavor. Perhaps it’s my imagination, but I also smell a tiny hint of coconut behind the fruity extravagance, adding smoothness and depth to the fragrance. Hot New York summers and the relief of cooling ice cream... This is the perfect summery opening, bright enough to make any old gray day come to life. The development is wonderfully slow-paced, allowing the wearer to experience every little aspect of this beautiful fragrance in a most leisurely manner. As we enter the heart notes, the trajectory of the scent becomes all the more eclectic, slowly introducing us to more exotic accents and flavors. It is a heady path, quite unexpected for a scent that evokes Japanese sensibilities, but somehow Neil Morris makes it work. The blend is almost dichotomous in nature; at once smooth and acanthoid, like teasing, tickling fingers dressed in velvet. The canvas is rich jasmine tea and from there a myriad of colorful blossoms seem to sprout, awake, dewy, juicy. The scent of narcissi is almost dizzyingly narcotic and yet it is beautifully anchored by the grassy, almost woody smell of bamboo... Once again, the perfume takes me by surprise in its drydown stage. After hours (yes, hours, this is a marvelously tenacious perfume that requires patience to reveal all its secrets...) of lively, jubilant and rather innocent sensory pleasures, this happy, exuberant scent manages to excite my interest yet again as it takes a turn that is decidedly darker and definitively sensual... Earthy, exotic and incredibly sexy, the drydown stage finds me with my nose firmly glued to my arm. I won’t lie: I can’t make head or tail of the notes, especially since what I see in the official press release nowhere near matches my impression of the perfume! All I know is that I get the most marvelously mossy-musky-ambery sense from this perfume, and it roars! There is the most mysterious heart of darkness hidden there, with so much animalic warmth, one can’t believe it is quite the same scent. Consequently, Neil Morris for Takashimaya NY, completely defies classification: It starts as the happiest, joyful innocent fruity fragrance, proceeds into a narcotic floral composition and ends up a smooth black panther.

A two ounce (60ml) spray bottle of Parfum retails for 125$ and is exclusive to Takashimaya on New York's 5th Avenue, as well as their online store.



Linda said...

Dear Divina,
Thank you so much for this exuberant and very detailed review: you really make the fragrance come alive, and as I'm most unlikely to sniff it, this is the next best thing! It sounds like a masterpiece, and it is interesting to read of happy, ice cream and fruit notes in a fragrance for autumn, to cheer us up on grey days. A good idea to start the day with the energising top notes, then by the evening to reveal the "smooth black panther". Oh, if i could only visit the shop!

chayaruchama said...

I'm so pleased you're enjoying this !
Neil sweated blood over this one- six months and many mods.

It's a very beautiful scent.

maisqueperfume said...

me like it :-)

Divina said...

Linda my dearest friend, even though this particular one is exclusive to Takashimaya, all of Neil's creations I've so far smelled are gems! I can't begin to describe my admiration for this talented man. I for sure would encourage you to enquire after some samples of his vault scents!

Divina said...

Chaya dear beauty, I read on Neil's blog that you and David tested this one extensively! I can't wait to test this on P's skin.. I so wonder how it will develop on the skin of a man.

Divina said...

Simone, yes, it is wonderful!

Abigail said...

I adore Neil Morris and many of his gorgeous creations. I also adore the boutique, Takashimaya. I'm so happy for Neil that he was asked to create a fragrance for Takashimaya. I knew I wanted to (purchase unsniffed!!) this new fragrance but your beautiful review makes me want to run out and get it tomorrow! :-D

Anonymous said...

I was fortunate to visit the Takashimaya store and sampled the perfume. Every word written is just perfect, as is the perfume! Should I spend the $125 in these dreadful economic times? How can I not? The fragrance haunts me...I must have it!