What's in a name? Plenty. Expectation, mood, and as a result how we perceive a scent has everything to do with what is on the label. And Keiko Mecheri's Jasmine is case in point. Not so much because it was recently renamed Clair-Obscur, but more so because when something is called "Jasmine", "Jasmin", "Gelsomino" or any other variation on the name, once expects it to smell like a Jasminum of this variety or another. Like many other jasmine-named fragrances, this sample was left unattended for many moons until I finally got all obsessed with this note for the July Jasmine summer theme. The reason it was neglected, among the rest, is because it did not really smell like jasmine to me (Did I mention yet that I'm spoiled with all the pure jasmine absolutes I have on hand?).
Jasmine (or Clair-Obscur, if you will), begins as a green, fresh jasmine with a fruity, soapy, shampoo-like personality. It seems to focus on the tea aspects of jasmine, but that does not make it in the least tea-like. Rather, the result is a triple-milled bar of jasmine-gardenia soap. While I can enjoy this type of soap - I would like a jasmine perfume to have more depth and complexity. It took me a few more wears to realize the soapiness comes more from a lily of the valley note than from gardenia, actually. Lily of the valley is a note widely used in functional perfumery, soaps in particular. The notes listed are Sicilian night blooming jasmine and Absolute jasmine. And thankfully, once the soapy-tea-greens dry out, there is more of the absolute coming through.
It's overall pleasant and agreeable, but smells more fake than authentic (which seems to be a repeated problem with all but a couple of the jasmine perfumes I've sampled so far), and does stand out as particularly original or true to the flower either. But thankfully, this is rectified about an hour or two into wearing it, at which point I felt quite ridiculous for not recognizing the Lily of the Valley sooner. It has something in its evolution reminiscent of non other than Diorissimo! Once the soapy green notes and lily of the valley (not quite realistic as Diorissimo) dissipate, I'm left with a true jasmine absolute on my skin. A development that I've only experienced with Diorissimo. So far - most of the jasmine fragrances I've sampled, if they smelled compelling at all, had a rather brief jasmine phase, and were quickly replaced by a repeated theme of musk and vanilla. Kudos for Keiko Mecheri for creating something that smells like true jasmine in the dryout, and remain that way for a while so we can enjoy it.
So what's in a name, you ask? If the name had alluded to lily of the valley in some manner, I would have enjoyed my first wear better, instead of being disappointed that it smells like soap. Anticipation plays an important role in how we experience the world - and fragrance in particular. Now that I told you what you're up for, go and try it out and enjoy a well-made lily of the valley and jasmine perfume.