Keiko Mecheri's Jasmine

Humble Beauty

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.

bubble and squeaky clean

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.


Although the name suggests it to be a night-invoking perfume, I find it extremely summer-like and full of light.
It starts off with a citrus splash of bergamot and tangerine, backed up with a feminine floral notes of jasmine, and a more masculine eau-de-cologne like notes of orange blossoms and a hint of musk, that adds sensuality to that blast of freshness.
As the top notes start to fade, they reveal a luscious fruity note of peach supported by vanilla, which gradually pushes away the dominant orange-blossom and tangerine accord.
The dry down gradually enters with an interesting and surprising accord dominated by a fresh, woody and masculine vetiver notes, accompanied by green notes, orange blossom (softer and more subtle now), and a very modest hint of vanilla and rose. 
This perfume is full of surprises, I love the way the stages fade into each other. The overall impression is of freshness and vivacity, mingled with a tad of melancholy, which brings to mind Chopin's expressive piano nocturni. 

It’s surprising to see that such an old-fashioned aldehydic floral was launched in the 80’s (1981 to be exact). The perfumer behind Nocturnes is Gerard Lefort.

Top notes: Aldehydes, Bergamot, Mandarin, Green notes
Heart notes: Orange Blossom, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Tuberose, Stephanotis, Lily of the Valley, Orris, Rose, Cyclamen 
Base notes: Vetiver, Musk, Sandalwood, Amber, Vanilla, Benzoin

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