Shiseido Blooms after 140 years

Shiseido Blooms after 140 years

In the Japanese language, the word for “flower” and the word for “nose”—the insider term for a perfumer—are the same: “hana.”

What sweet harmony.

It was Shiseido’s perfumer and president Shinzo Fukuhara who is credited as the first to develop European-style fragrances in Japan. And his approach was to create perfumes based on stories and emotion.  In 1934, for example, his floral Snow Fairy toilette was crafted around the fantastical tale of a snow princess.

“For sight, there is painting,” said Fukuhara. “For hearing, there is music. For touch, there is sculpture. But what is there for smell? I want to elevate fragrance into a work of art.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Fast forward three decades to the launch of Zen, which was crafted specifically by Shiseido in 1964 to appeal to the overseas market: in its floral mossy character, it was meant to evoke the exoticism of the Orient and the beauty of 16th-century artwork from one of the most respected temples in Kyoto.

And today, in celebration of the company’s 140th anniversary, we are presented Zen Secret Bloom, a floral chypre with heady notes of patchouli, incense and black vanilla intertwined with jasmine absolute and bright freesia.

We spritz and smell, and mind travel to a dark, beautiful temple in Kyoto where shimmering flowers release their scent in the moist night air and incense floats all around.

Shiseido Zen Secret Bloom Eau de Parfum Intense, $68 (50 ml) will be on-counter October 15,

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Deborah Fulsang has spent the last two decades as a journalist covering news and trends in the worlds of style—in fashion and beauty, design and décor, food and entertaining. Her long-held love of fragrance led her to launch The Whale & The Rose, a destination for all things perfume-related. Now, when she indulges in a crazy-expensive bottle of fragrance, she can do so guilt-free. Well almost. It’s all in the name of research after all.