a journey of the senses by FLACONNEUR
GEISHA NOIRE – 2007 – ♂♀
Notes: Black Amber, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean
Perfumer: Maria McElroy
Price: $80 for 50ml bottle
The Aroma M company was created by artist Maria McElroy in 1998. A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, she attended the San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco, California. During her attendance there, she found herself captivated by Asian abstract paintings. She moved to Japan after completing her education and spent several years there studying the art of fragrance and many other Japanese cultural esthetics. These studies gave her a well-rounded experience for her future pursuits in perfumery. Geisha Noire eau de parfum is an adaptation from the Aroma M’s popular perfume oil of the same name. While the strength is slightly reduced, the end result is still satisfying. Just as the cultural icon that inspired this fragrance creation, Geisha Noire eau de parfum is a delicate, comforting amber confection that entertains the senses.
The success of Geisha Noire is built on the simple construction of three notes, black amber, sandalwood and tonka bean. The Japanese culture esteems the concept of simplicity, so Maria McElroy’s strategy seems completely appropriate. Sandalwood plays a key element in Japanese culture. You will find sandalwood incense commonplace in Japanese religious ceremonies as well as a means for Buddhists to maintain a person’s alertness during meditation. McElroy studied incense ceremonies for several years in Japan, so she seems quite experienced with the concept. The smell of sandalwood, whether natural or burnt as incense, is slightly resinous, woody and simply celestial. The sandalwood in Geisha Noire is not freshly cut but slightly antique, mysterious and dark. There is a powdery element present in Geisha Noire that seems appropriate in honor of the snowy faced Geisha culture. Similar to the monochromatic presentation for the face and hair of the Geisha, this powdery element in one-dimensional but necessary to complete the fragrance’s Oriental disposition. Visually, the Geisha are like exotically colored birds. Their garb has captured the interest and imagination of the western world for decades. While their mythical outward appearance is doll-like and seems to lack a certain humanness, their sweetness is achieved by their colorful attire. Geisha Noire derives a satisfying sweetness from the careful use of the vanilla-like persona of Tonka bean. This sweet note blends naturally with woody sandalwood making the merger smooth and silky. Black amber is the final key component in Geisha Noire’s sweet but deeply cozy nature. Like the allegorical and ominous landscapes of Japan, black amber introduces a sculptural element like the carefully pruned trees of a Japanese garden. There is also a sensual element reminiscent of the softly rolling mountains of Japan. Black amber is a slightly heavy, but rich, element that concludes this Oriental accord. The dry down in Geisha Noire is warm, comforting and sensual, which makes it a perfectly appropriate fragrance for night.
The presentation of the Aroma M products keeps in tune with their Oriental inspired roots. The products are presented in a black, kimono-like drawstring pouch. Some of the bottles are decorated in beautiful papers that are like miniature Japanese paintings. Other more colorful and beautifully made fabric pouches can be purchased separately from the Aroma M online store, if so desired.
Some have said that they can detect vague echoes of Shalimar in Geisha Noire. This fragrance is more simply constructed with a less aggressive bad girl personality. Geisha Noire eau de parfum is much like the Geisha themselves. This fragrance is quiet, somewhat reserved but slightly exotic, and always capable of keeping one entertained.