ingredients: gardenia, orange blossom, musk
Terminal cuteness is an admirable contribution of modern Japan to world culture. A country where even high-security prisons have cartoon mascots clearly enjoys an unassailable lead in this department. On further thought, this kawaii spirit may just be the love child of Japan’s extremes of refinement and trashiness, what inevitably happens when a kitten video is filmed by Kurosawa.
Shiseido’s Ever Bloom, like so many other mainstream Japanese fragrances that are never exported, is an attempt to translate kawaii in fragrance form. It comes in the endearingly dowdy packaging (a sort of obsolete Estee Lauder style) that Japanese mass-market cosmetics are still wedded to. The fragrance does exactly what it says on the can, but does it with unhoped-for brilliance.
In the last few years, we have been treated to a legion of soapy florals whose initial smile turned into a scary rictus within minutes. Not this one: Shiseido turned to one of the most talented young perfumers working today, Aurélien Guichard, to ensure that the pink fluffiness ran right through the fragrance, possibly helped by an amazing new cyclopropane musk called Sylkolide. Guichard has the rare skill of making the ordinary interesting, and in this case achieves it by sticking to the brief with unwavering focus. There is not a single asperity, streak of hardness, or metallic glint anywhere.
Smelling Ever Bloom is like flying through one of those pink evening clouds found in Kawase Hasui prints: you feel an embracing caress, all thoughts harder than a warm marshmallow vanish from your mind, and you reach reflexively for that mohair throw. Ever Bloom is almost medicinal in its disarming effect. It will, of course, be worn by purportedly innocent young women but I feel it would do the average guy a power of good.