The fragrance formerly known as Urura's Tokyo Cafe is the scent of a warm spring breeze blowing through blossom. We first made this for a charity event in Tokyo at Urura's tiny Green Ginger Cafe and it turns out that her name means exactly that – the breeze through spring blossoms.
Coincidence? Possibly. Magic probably.
This is the fragrance that started Sarah's career as a perfumer when Josephine Fairley of the Perfume Society wrote about it on her blog.
You’ll smell citrus top notes – pink grapefruit and tangerine - deep warm opoponax, tolu balsam, and raspberry jam at the base, rose, violet and woods at its heart, but all blended so smoothly that it's hard to separate them.
We renamed it because no one except Urara could remember the name, but she doesn't mind.
Intelligent Use of Violets by Brooke Belldon
It can be surprisingly difficult to find modern perfumes that eschew violet’s prim Victorian reputation for fainting on the chaise lounge. Maurice Roucel is a genius when it comes to playing on the purple side of smells. Most notably with Tocade for Rochas, Guerlain’s Insolence and Dans tes Bras for Frederic Malle.
But most brands shy away from violets. I think it’s because they can sometimes come across as old fashioned and don’t resonate well with customers in department store beauty halls that are usually packed to the brim with brands run by sheep in wolves’ clothing, who are all under the impression they’re doing something disruptive and edgy. Except it’s usually only marginally different than the last guy’s who thought he was doing the same thing. Bless.
It’s different with the indies, though. Most indie brands are fronted by people who actually know perfume. They’re aware of the fact that the perfumes our grandmothers bought in Selfridges decades ago are actually much cooler, challenging and subversive than the brands sold there today that seem more concerned with their font spacing than the actual perfumes they fill their bottles with.
Indies are also more in tune with the way their customers shop. They don’t need to rely on the curb appeal required to shift perfumes in a retail setting. You see, most perfumes you smell in the shops are designed to give you their best in the first thirty seconds. They have to because that’s usually about how long they have to grab a customer’s attention before they move on to the next thing. Independent artisans don’t need to rely on obvious grabs. They’re led by their craft, and that translates through to the work itself.
Tokyo Spring Blossom was one of Sarah’s earliest works. It used to be called Urara’s Tokyo Cafe. My bottle still has that label, and it’s matured so beautifully. This was one of the perfumes that launched 4160Tuesdays when The Perfume Society’s Josephine Fairley wrote about it on her blog in 2012.
What I love about it is how it sidesteps the obvious. A straight cherry blossom fragrance would have been what one might expect, but it’s not that at all. It’s better than that. Bright notes of citrus fruits, gentle, powdery violets balanced on a strong backbone of balsams and resinous hum of opoponax. And there’s a tiny drop of raspberry jam to keep things from going too serious.
Tokyo Spring Blossom has always struck me as having an observant character gracefully aligned with the ideologies of cherry blossom season. Deceptively breezly, but filled with meaning. Celebrating the beauty in the ephemeral and momentary graces of petals swirling about you in Spring’s first warm breezes.