Say it with a long “o” – Shiso – and in Japanese, it means “modern thought”. With a short “o”, it trips over the tongue with the uniquely complex flavor of the shiso leaf. An iconic herb in Japanese cuisine, shiso is seldom featured in fragrance. But its smell – a blend of mint, basil and cumin with a metallic flash — has long fascinated the perfumer, Bertrand Duchaufour.
Duchaufor uses shi_so to spin an arrestingly modern take on a classic eau de Cologne, replacing citrus with a kaleidoscope of green notes. The zesty bite of cardamom is a powdery cool heat that instantly enlivens skin and makes us tingle from head to toe. A sprig of cool spearmint is bone chilling, but in a good way: the intensity of this herb never overpowers and eventually develops into a delightfully evasive sweetness, akin to the dulcet, velveteen textures camphoric clove reveals when well-situated. Lemony verbena revitalizes, revealing a fruity sweetness beneath all the bracing refreshment. Raspy blackcurrant prickles and oozes, a bittersweet, utterly delectable darkness that reminds us of crazy, love filled kisses stolen amidst a thicket of skin scratching berry bramble. Soapy, almondy anise nicely cleans up this blackberry-induced lustiness, while tart rhubarb lends a gleaming edge to shi_so, endowing this ultra modern, clean cologne with a magical modicum of old school panache. Glycolierral wraps the bracing blend in a sweet, milky, sap-laden bubble, and airlifts all onto skin: as it pops, a searing bolt of light disperses over skin. In short, shi_so makes us glow.