The Biggest Fragrance Comeback This Year

One of the most popular scents of the 90s returns in a modern interpretation

It’s safe to say that every year, more than a thousand new perfumes are launched. A way to stay in the game: Give the fragrance an update. And that’s exactly what the folks at Issey Miyake did.

When Issey Miyake was working on his first fragrance in the early 1990s, he had only one thing in mind: To create a fragrance with no scent – because the most beautiful scent in the world, according to him, was simply “the scent of water on a woman’s skin.”

So in 1992, the brand’s L’Eau d’Issey (eau is French for water) was launched. It had a distinctive aquatic floral scent like no other at that time, making it a huge success. But let’s face it, the new customer today might not have been born when that first launched. Now, after 24 years, the bottle and the juice are modernised in the form of the latest L’Eau d’Issey Pure.

In with the new

But how do you bottle the scent of water? This was one of the challenges for perfumer Dominique Ropion when he started working on the new scent.

The brief he was given was to write the story of L’Eau d’Issey today. “For a perfumer, the smell of water is very abstract because first of all, water has no smell. It means that you have the freedom to create, but in fact, you are not as free as you think,” says Ropion, who has 38 years of experience and is known for his knowledge of raw materials. Though water itself has no particular smell in the beginning, the liquid can capture all the scents around it.

This contemporary fragrance, which took two years to develop, is something that you could describe as “same but different”. At first whiff, it definitely brings to mind the original’s floral-aquatic notes. Yet it manages to come across as a completely new fragrance.

What it smells like

The new floral-aquatic is full of unexpected contrasts. For example, though the juice looks transparent and light, it’s actually sensual and elegant. There’s something refreshingly clean about the new L’Eau d’Issey Pure, too.

Using Maritima and Ambergris to evoke a salty sea breeze, it also contains floral and citrus notes of lily of the valley, orange blossom, rose and jasmine to further elevate the transparency and a watery effect. Then there’s the Cashmeran base note that gives it a woody sensuality.

But as with taste, scent is subjective and a very personal thing. It smells different on everyone and might be sensual to some, and comforting to others. You’ll have to try it to know it.

From $85, Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pure EDP, in stores July 2016.

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