Tag Archives: Pitti Fragranze

Calm Mind, Gallivant Tokyo

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.

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Defining Undefined at Pitti Fragranze 2018 – part 2

First day of this year’s Pitti Fragranze sure was exciting and packed with many meetings and a wide variety of perfume. I expected that following days won’t be any worse & in fact they were not. Each day gave me something different. Also for the first time in the history of my Fragranze attendance I was at the fair for all 3 days so I got a new perspective by seeing how the last day looks like.

On Saturday I started my olfactory investigations by visting a stand of Soul Couture. This is a new brand of Italian origins & some of my friends recommended it as worth trying. At the stand I met Michele Marin, who founded this brand and who is a perfumer behind it. He created 6 different fragrances presented in simple & elegant bottles and boxes. I especially liked Weekend Postmoderno (with spices and iris), and Gender Ginger (with citrus, ginger and rosewood). It’s also one of the very few brands that offers travel-friendly size from the very beginning.

When I was passing next to Uermi booth I noticed they have some news too so I decided to spend there a few minutes to learn about them. They worked with perfumer Alexandra Carlin to develop two new compositions: SO Satin and UR Silk 19, a rework of UR Silk introduced 5 years ago. They also had a third one for which they teamed with Maurice Roucel. OR Damask is a lush red rose that I really liked. It had a full body and from the start you could smell it’s very well blended.

Miya Shinma didn’t present any new things as she still wanted to focus on the L’Eau de Miya Shinma collection. I said ‘wanted’ because she told me that she has been robbed. She shipped all of her perfume to Florence and when she wanted to organize the stand it turned out that someone stole all of the bottles of the new collection that were inside that box. It’s more than a misfortune – to come to the fair (which is not cheap!) and to not be able to present your latest achievements. So sad.

Have you ever heard of an Irish perfume brand Cloon Keen? Well I did and many years ago I even reviewed one when I got a sample in a swap. Ever since I was curious to smell the other fragrances in their range but it just never happened because I couldn’t get samples locally. This year they came to Florence and had their stand at Fragranze 16 – I could not overlook such occasion. I talked with Margaret Mangan, creator of Cloon Keen, who guided me through fragrances and candles. I’m telling you – I liked all of the scents. Lunasa and Frosted Moon stayed in my memory for long.

On that day another interesting discussion took place in a conference hall. Title of this panel discussion was ‘Asia & You’Chandler Burr as a host and 5 different people were blind-smelling around 20 fragrances and commenting whether it’s suitable for Asian market or no. The gimmick was that Chandler asked 20 random brands exhibiting at the fair to select ‘the most Asian’ scent from their range. Then at a panel those people had to come to the scene, shortly explain why they think it fits. This was followed by smelling, commenting and at the very end the name of brand and perfume was revealed. I think it was brave of all those brands since comments were often not nice. My friend, perfumer Alex Lee was one of the panelists and later when we talked he said he didn’t feel good doing it. It surely was a challenge as he didn’t want to offend anyone.

Beaufort is not a brand that belongs to the group of my brands but I decided to give a try to their new composition mostly because their stand was shared with Atelier des Ors where my friends were. New Rake & Ruin was very much like gin – super metallic, tons of juniper, lots of smoke and animalic ingredients. Absolutely not my cup of tea but at least I gave it a try, right?

Nowadays I think that Laboratorio Olfattivo is one of those brands that just have something new any time they exhibit, meaning new things are added to their range twice a year at least. After introducing a handy 30 ml bottle as well as travel kits (2 x 15 ml) now they presented a new perfume. Its name is Sacreste and it’s composed by Luca Maffei. The scent itself is very incensy but with a lot of warm oriental elements like saffron, cardamom, amber. It’s nice but not very new in terms of idea.

One of the completely new brands that appeared inside of Stazione Leopolda was Maison Rebatchi. For their debut they launched 4 fragrances but even if I’m alone in my impression I’m going to say it was a let-down. The bottles look kind of like boutique collection from Dior. Each scent was done by different perfumer and even if one of them was Bertrand Duchaufour didn’t convince me. And people there seemed annoyed they have to talk to me. I quickly lost my initial interest.

Dusita with Pissara Umavijani at its front was busy all the time but I managed to have a few minutes with her. Current focus is still on Erawan of course but Pissara let me smell the fragrance she’s been working on and which she’d like to launch in spring. Oh boy, it was very good, quite different from her previous creations… and it has a lot of iris! At Andy Tauer’s stand Les Annees 25 was the newest perfume but Andy also had his 2 candles (they just launched!) that I could smell. Extrait d’Atelier still focuses on Maitre Ceramiste – not rushing things is always good in perfumery.


In the evening many of us went to a street party celebrating the opening of Campomarzio70 boutique at it’s new location in Florence. It was super crowded and we had to be careful because taxis and buses kept passing through. Afterwards I was supposed to get something to eat together with Nick Steward but the word spread and I actually started gathering people to come with us. We ended up having a fantastic dinner for 10 people. That’s it for day 2. Normally I would pack but not this time!

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