I’ve known of Angela Flanders reputation for making quality fragrances for some time. But, as is widely known, I don’t often venture East (beyond Holborn). The schlep from West sucks all the fun out of what could be potentially a loving relationship. That, and the profusion of hipsters. And the fact it rains every time I’m there.
No matter, as Ms Flanders team dispatched a sample of their latest fragrance, Sakura, for me to try.
First thoughts were of the deep intensity of the perfume and how this bottled concentration from a niche perfumer far outlives the mass market variety on the skin. It may seem obvious but it’s clear that higher concentrations and pure ingredients have been used in Flanders’ latest. This shows in the slightly oily feel of the fragrance (not unpleasant) on application.
Then there comes the rush of scent. Intense, deep, heady, in fact, overpowering if you’ve used to much (I dabbed when I’m used to spray) but sweet and wholesome, this fragrance is straight out of an Edwardian novel – one where the heroine decamps to the Far East for a while and brings back an exotic flair to her aura. That would be Sakura.
As far from a clean, modernist fragrance as possible, violets spill forth with heliotrope with a sweet (perhaps too sweet) almond aftertaste. One is entombed in florals. Sakura harks back to the days of real perfumes and decorum. A perfume that precludes the hedonistic age of the flapper and offers a dose of ladylike, turn of the century propriety in a bottle – the polar opposite to France’s La Belle Epoque.
Sakura may seem backward looking but Flanders sought inspiration from the cherry blossoms of Japan and the Festival of Hanami – a time of serious reflection and meditation followed by parties and festivities. Of, going deep into the soul and then celebrating being.
Perhaps that’s why Sakura’s gentle but overarching femininity is so different and distinct from most fragrances today? Time, research and individuality has been applied in its make-up. No customer focus groups here. Just an aim to produce something of-an-age and beautiful for a woman who wishes to wear her femininity on her wrists. The fact that many Japanese customers prefer light fragrances like green tea of delicate florals means Sakura will travel well.
It’s certainly not for everyone and is at odds with an ultra modern approach. Sakura is its own person.
Angela Flanders fragrances including Sakura are available from her stores at No 4, Artillary Passage, Spitalfields, London E1 and 96 Columbia Road, London E2. See Angela’s website for more details. Sakura is priced £65 (50ml), £45 (30ml) EDP and £30 (250ml shower gel), £55 (200ml Perfumed Body Cream).