I’ve smelled about half of the line’s fragrances and they have all, without exception, been extremely gregarious and brash, bringing their message across at full steam. Subtlety and balance is clearly not something that is being aimed for with this line, but while this might sound like harsh critique, it is actually not meant that way: Tokyo Milk’s perfumes have a particular kind of charm and these characteristics seem intended, an attitude that seems to say “I don’t take myself too seriously, but I am terribly charming, aren’t I? Go on then, buy me for a bit of fun, won’t you?”. Given their character, their image and their cheeky charisma, I get the feeling that while many of these have the potential to be hits with older perfume lovers as well (e.g., Poe’s Tobacco for tobacco lovers/collectors), the line will, as a general rule, be more popular with the younger crowd.
Unfortunately, while these are relatively cheap in the USA (either in boutiques where they are sold or via e-tailers), they are quite hard to find here in Europe and more extravagantly priced to boot. I was lucky enough to come across a big sale while in London this past summer, where all of the brand’s perfumes were being sold for about 7 GBP instead of the usual 35 (!! - about 53 USD). The line features many gourmands and since I was at the peak of my vanilla love-affair at the time I had great fun playing around trying to choose one. In the end I went for Kabuki, an exceptionally unique, playful and (perhaps too) youthful scent. The longevity isn’t great (about 3 hours) but the scent makes up for it with its upbeat personality. Kabuki is a rather linear scent featuring a soft, velvety vanilla backdrop full of innocence upon which the other notes seemingly explode. The opening is very citrusy, smelling like an overdose of crunchy white sugar drenched with lemon juice and decorated with the aromatic shavings of the rind. It might seem bizarre that I list the white sugar as a note and even more so that I call it ‘crunchy’ of all things, but yes, Kabuki does smell like sugar and manages to translate the texture as well. Having been a mischievous child who used to cut a lemon in half, dip it in sugar and suck on it until my lips were puckered and red to my parents’ amusement, I feel justified to attest to the realism of this interpretation! Cutting down the sugary-sweet feel of the scent, the addition of bitter grapefruit notes bring a modicum of balance, as well as bringing a sense of maturity to the otherwise playful appeal of the perfume. While I can’t quite make out the purported jasmine notes, Kabuki truly has a very pronounced lychee note and an extremely realistic one at that. I can’t help but think of spring when I smell this scent, perhaps because its happy, exuberant personality is so efficient in bringing across that ‘not a care in the world’ feel the optimistic air of spring always brings in my heart. While this is completely unsuitable for those that don’t like sweet scents (it is very sugary) those that enjoy gourmands should definitely give it a try. While it is undoubtedly sweet in the most toothsome manner, it is quite light and not heavy or overbearing. Wear without fear, even when the weather is warm.
Images: www.wikipedia.org and www.tropicalfruitnursery.com