I’m sure you know this feeling you’ve been speaking with someone on the phone many times and then you finally meet in person. You can finally add a face and appearance to the voice you’ve heard countless times. Same with perfume – brand is a brand but most of all it’s people who created it. After meeting Nick Steward in Florence last month I now see Gallivant in a new light. Obviously my fondness of it grew stronger, especially thanks to the new fragrance that had its launch at Pitti Fragranze. Japan in general is a country I want to visit one day, for now I’ll do it via perfume.
Tokyo as interpreter by Gallivant is a city of contrasts that find a way to coexist. The perfume is opened with brisk aroma of bergamot and yuzu. Their tart, sour yet juicy facets float up as soon as the perfume lands on skin, making my mouth water. Sadly this part is very fleeting and vanishes faster than you can say ‘I want to go to Tokyo’ phrase. But fret not, this only leads to more intricate layers of this composition. Shortly I could smell vibrant spiciness of black pepper. It felt muted but present. Cardamom made it drier and crunchy, while wasabi gave a warm touch of oriental cuisine.
Heart of Tokyo the perfume reveals surprisingly quickly – maybe after 20 minutes I was able to notice first elements announcing its arrival. There’s nothing wrong in it since both heart and base of new Gallivant fragrance last for a long time. First there is cedarwood, presented in a rounded manner which doesn’t happen often. The smell is like the one of old wooden boards. When frankincense joins the composition it’s like I was transported to a Japanese temple – calming scent of incense, so pure and transparent, ideally blends with the woody smell from before.
Because incense smells warm & embracing here, it makes me think of this old temple that exists for so long that its wooden walls absorbed the smokiness of frankincense and trapped it inside its pores. Then hinoki, a Japanese cypress appears from the depths of Gallivant Tokyo, introducing an oily, green facet – an aromatic and slightly woody one. It combines very well with previous ingredients, so I’m going to compare it to natural varnish that could cover the walls of my imaginary temple. To me this perfume has a contemplative mood but is very approachable at the same time.
My favorite part of Tokyo appears later – that is when iris appears. The composition becomes a bit colder, then and additional smoothness appears. Iris of new Gallivant is like luxurious silk fabric colored with different shades of purple, blue and some black and yellow spots. It adds elegance and a hidden sophistication. Having more facets – floral and powdery, that appear later, I just had to make a reference to geisha and her neatly draped kimono. A hint of rose, although barely noticeable to my nose, is like a blush on her cheeks, and you don’t know if it’s make up or if she just blushed.
After a few hours differences between separate elements of Tokyo by Gallivant blur and become like one big accord created from many smaller bits. At that point a well-timed drydown appears. Unfolding like a piece of origami, a very warm and balsamic amber embraces the wearer with its sensual hug. Continuing this scented stroll of the city we encounter a sandalwood monument, shiny & smooth, smelling like a woody pudding. Vetiver disturbs the ideal surface with its grassy dryness. Somewhere between its roots a remaining whisper of yuzu hides secretly. Can you smell its zestiness too? Or is it just me?
Gallivant Tokyo to me is a contemplative, meditative fragrance. At Pitti people commented it has a zen mood but Nick didn’t seem to like that description. For a perfume that is calm and that doesn’t have any sudden turns, it is very entertaining. You can clearly smell it’s an olfactive visit to this Japanese metropolis shown through a lens of one person. It’s a nod to kodo rituals too. When it comes to development Nick Steward likes to work with young perfumers, with Nicolas Bonneville in this case. Tokyo is an eau de parfum and is available in 30 ml cute and handy bottle.