Lucien Ferrero Sakura Imperial review first published in Cafleurebon
“Drinking up the clouds
it spews out cherry blossoms –
they scatter and it dies
unable to resist
they fall in the dreams
of sleeping beauty“
Yosa Buson Japanese poet and painter (1716 – 1784)
The awe-inspiring moment of the cherry tree blossoming has inspired humanity, spring after spring, for centuries. The cherry tree blossoms, known as Sakura, are one of the most universally recognized symbols of Japan and a timeless metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life and beauty. The concept of “mono no aware” is a Japanese term used for the acknowledgment and awareness of the impermanence and transience of things and the bittersweet feeling it evokes, finding the perfect depiction in the sakura flower – in the unbearable beauty of their cloud-like blooming, and their painfully short lives.
Many legends are surrounding the mythos of the sakura tree, one of the most beautiful being the tale of the goddess of Mount Fuji, Konohanasakuya-hime (her name translated as “cherry blossom blooming princess”), she who hovers low in the April sky, waking up the cherry trees to life with her delicate breath. Other stories, rooted in Buddhist folk tales are the ones of the sacred trees, called “kodama”, in which spirits find refuge, the sign of an “inhabited”tree was the twisted rope surrounding it, called “shimenawa”, that was placed as protection – misfortune being bestowed on anyone who would cut or harm one of the sacred trees. Cherry trees were often said to be occupied by spirits, and bloomed on certain dates and anniversaries, as delicate flowery incarnations and mementos.
A complex and deeply layered symbol, bitter and sweet, depicting resplendent beauty and ferocious intensity, birth and death, the sakura tree has been also been linked to the righteous path of the samurai warriors or painted on the wings of kamikaze pilot plains. Every April, the tradition of “hanami” (the cherry blossom viewing) gathers thousands of people in a celebration of renewal and hope, reminding everyone sitting under the blossom cherry trees of the importance of mindfully and fully living in the moment.
A note from the brand: “Lucien Ferrero was born in Grasse in French Provence. After perfumery studies in Geneva, he developed his creative work in Paris before joining Expressions Parfumees in Grasse. He is passionate about natural scents and shares his love for French Provence land, source of emotions and olfactive memories. After devoting his whole life to the Perfumery Art, the Master Perfumer Lucien Ferrero has launched his own brand in 2019, born from his experience of the Belle Parfumerie and from his great passion and devotion for this job”
In 2020 Lucian Ferrero launched two other perfumes: Harmonie Pastorale – a scented reinterpretation of Beethoven’s Symphony no. 6 and Sakura Imperial, an imaginary journey into the magic atmosphere of a Hanami celebration, in Japan.
The opening of the fragrance brings to mind the image of a pastel tornado, a luminous, airy, and transparent swarm of petals buzzing and dancing on your skin, with bright and sharp rays of lemon piercing through, and a freshness that calls to mind echoes of the deep, cool waters summoned by the cypress essence – painting the picture of that painfully perfect shade of blue only the crisp April sky can have.
There is a sense of nostalgia, or, to use a more appropriate word a feeling of “natsukashi“ creeping in. Must open another linguistic parenthesis here – “natsukashi” is a Japanese word use to evoke a fond memory from your past, a sort of nostalgia infused with a smile. In some cultures, nostalgia is often entwined with sadness, we have the ambivalence of Romanian “dor”, the melancholic longing of the Portuguese “saudade”, or the longing of the German “sehnsucht“ or “wehmütig“. Natsukashi – which derives from the verb “natsuku”, which means “to keep close and become fond of” – focuses more on the sheer joy and gratitude for having experienced something in your life, rather than the desire of returning to it.
Petal by petal, the fragrance dims down its flowery effervescence, painting the image of a Hanami boat ride on a winding river in which the petals have fallen into, dissolving their pink flowery sweetness into the green still waters. The scent becomes introspective and beautifully nostalgic, like the bitter sweet shiver of an often-relieved memory, making you smile, one eye turned to the past.
The shadows grow longer and slowly comes the night, draping in blue the silhouettes of the blooming trees alongside the river. The bright pink lanterns are lit in the trees, lining the river in light, reflecting on the surface of the waters, trapping you in the moment, between two endless lit skies. The fragrance warms up, in celebration, with balsamic sandalwood, sweet tonka beans, and re-awakened flowery sweetness for a evernew but oh-so-familiar feeling of being in the moment, aware, grounded, and thankful.
Notes: Italian Lemon, Chamomile flowers, Madagascar Cypress, black Pepper, Sakura flower, Salicylates and Apple flowers, Jasmine , Blackcurrant flowers, Sandalwood, Raspberry flowers, Tonka Bean abs.
Disclosure: Bottle kindly provided Lucien Ferrero Maitre Parfumeur. My opinions are my own.
If you like flowery scents, also try: Jeroboam Boha