A couple weeks ago, Mr and I felt that we couldn't take the East Coast winter temps anymore, and decided to escape for a weekend to the beautiful, sunny San Francisco, one of our favorite cities in the US. While in New York the temperatures were still well below freezing, and the snow was piling in dirty mounds on the sidewalks, I was planning a trip that included a stroll among blooming magnolias in the Botanical Garden, a visit to the Conservatory of Flowers with its stunning orchids and butterflies lazily floating in the air, and a lot of chocolate tasting at the 2014 International Chocolate Salon, which turned out to be even better by the inclusion of SF Annual Artisan Fragrance Salon, where I could not only (at long last!) catch up with Meredith of Seattle's Sweet Anthem, but also had the opportunity to meet Michael aka Mik of the San Fran's own MIKMOI Handmade Artisan Fragrance
Long story short, I was very intrigued by MIKMOI's concept of fragrances inspired by Michael's world travels but also the journey of self-discovery, as well as the minimalist aesthetics, and was very kindly given the opportunity to try his EDP Sample Set
*, which comes with a chic MIKMOI Himo Scent Bracelet ($30 for a set of four sample sprays).
The Japanese-inspired presentation is gorgeous: a white matchbox stamped with the fragrances' symbols has four generous spray vials nestled safely inside, and my favorite of all, there's also a simple black and white rope bracelet included. Michael explained to me that on the occasions when you'd prefer not to wear his EDPs on the skin (strict work environment, allergies, wanting to change your fragrance from day to night, or layering scents), the knot on the bracelet can be sprayed directly, making it into a scented piece of jewelry. I instantly thought the idea was very interesting and unique, and would make for a perfect gift - I for one did not want to take off my bracelet at the end of the day.
There are four eau de parfums in the set: Aldwych, Vesper, Ao and Itoh; each fragrance is also available individually in 50ml bottles, retailing for $90. Let's start with Aldwych, a green carnation
: 'An homage to Oscar Wilde. Absinthe top notes, crisp carnation lavender and aged patchouli create a bespoke British flair.'
(scent description taken from the included card). Aldwych opens up with sour citrus and green anise, and I smell some of the carnation/geranium in the background. With time, it settles more into fresh, crisp lavender, balanced out with tobacco sweetness. To me, it's a reinterpreted classic gentleman's cologne, slightly soapy and bracing.
Vesper, a sueded incense
: 'Cocktails trailing Bond Girls. Aperitif top notes, fig leaf, black rose and smooth suede redeemed in a myrrh and frankincense base'
. Vesper is one of the most layered, developing fragrances I've ever worn: it starts with boozy cocktail bitters, almost rubbery leather, dusty woods and dry resins. The top note is cool and metallic, almost a bit medicinal, and the whole thing resembles the leather interior of 007's Aston Martin. But the drydown is a completely different story: the dustiness of fig turns into a sweet, candly-like fruit with a touch of rose, built on the leather incense. Quite fascinating.
Ao, Thai ginger
, is my absolute favorite of the four fragrances. 'Ao ('ah-ow') is 'Bay' in Thai. Young coconut juice infused with tuberose and cool ginger float on a warm beach bonfire base'
. The top is fresh, citrusy, slightly spicy ginger, mellowed out by the creamy sweetness of coconut. I get a cool, calming camphorous woods note, which reminds me a bit of eucalyptus. In the middle, the indolic headiness of tuberose really shines through, with more smokey, warm cedarwood rounding out the floral sweetness towards the drydown. This is absolutely going to be my summer fragrance this year!
Lastly, Itoh, a woody peony
: 'A tribute to Self Discovery. White cedar, pink lotus and peony with tobacco leaf evoke a journey; precious oud guards the elusive path'
. To me, Itoh is a Tibetan Temple: I smell incense, smokey cedarwood undermined by the sheer, watery lotus and sweetness of peony. As it dries down, I get more grounding, smooth woods with a touch of spiciness, rounded out by the florals. It's a mindful, meditative fragrance.
I definitely recommend all niche-loving fumeheads to check out MIKMOI's Eau de Parfums: everything from the packaging, through the compositions, to the fantastic quality and wear demands attention. I can't wait what else Mik has in stock for us all!
Disclaimer: The product marked with
an asterix (*) is a press sample I received directly from MIKMOI for review
consideration. All opinions are 100% honest and unbiased,
no matter if the
products featured were purchased with my own monies or provided as a
free press sample. Thank you for reading!
Oh Gosh, MAJORLY intrigued! I'd probably love all four here! Need to take a good look at the brand!ReplyDelete
MIKMOI has some fantastic scents - and I love that you can try a sampler first before splurging on a big bottle!Delete
"Niche-Loving Fumeheads" made me smile. ;)ReplyDelete
I am a fumehead for sure. There're something special about hand-poured niche perfume.
I think I like the sound of Itoh. I love floral fragrance and love it even more when the woody base gets rounder and sweeter on my skin.
The bracelet is quite beautiful and interesting, too!
It's amazing once you start exploring the world of artisan, niche fragrances - one just has to be careful not to disappear down the rabbit hole! Itoh is very contemplative with lots of incense; not your typical floriental for sure.Delete
Oh, this is beautiful! I love the packaging and the idea of wearing a scented bracelet. They all sound amazing - especially Aldwych!ReplyDelete
Right? Really cool ideas on the packaging, I like how they're drawing from Japanese aesthetics but it's not too obvious. Aldwych is a good 'un!Delete
Sounds do delectable!! I hope you guys had fun & sun in SF :-)ReplyDelete
I'm not particularly interested in scents, but these just caught me, hook, line, and sinker! Something I must look for when I visit later this year. Thank you for this post, Monika :)ReplyDelete