The sheer power of the Japanese citrus
Yuzu, one of the key components of L’Eau d’Issey pour Homme by Issey Miyake grows in a remote village on the small island of Shikoku in South East Japan. There, begins our quest to understand the complexity of the citrus fruit that exhilarate the senses.
The high maintenance citrus
Over sinuous mountain roads, surrounded by a beautiful forest of cedar trees rests Umaji, one of Japan’s most beautiful villages and proud producer of yuzu. There, the locals have a say about the fruit they cherish so much: « Peaches and chestnuts take 3 years, persimmons take 8 years to bear fruit and yuzu takes 18 damn years ». Placid, they have acknowledged that the hybrid child of the wild tangerine and the Ichang lemon has an eccentric temperament that requires patience. So, the villagers will spend hours, lovingly pruning trees for they believe the more you care for the trees, the better the fruit. Come November, as most trees shed their leaves and shrivel, the yuzu fields come to life for harvest season. The village sparkles with bright yellow spots that embellish the glossy dark green trees. Meanwhile, the complex fragrance seems to float above the hamlet and its 900 hundred souls. It is then time for the villagers to gather and collect the rough-skinned fruits that turn from green to yellow as they ripen. And as yuzu is born in the midst of the freezing arms of winter, the fruit becomes a symbol of strength and resilience.
A bouquet of everlasting freshness
Open, the yuzu seeds are big and its taste is tart and yet aromatic. Each fruit is packed with juice used to enhance cooked vegetables and sauces in Japanese culinary treats and western cuisine. In perfumery, his power draws an acidulous and tonic scent, a high quality note coming from the peel of the fruit that smells of grapefruit, tangerine and greenness. The demanding citrus may require a lot of care; it exudes generosity when married with other scents. In L’Eau d’Issey pour Homme, the zesty blend of yuzu is one the top notes and it sparkles admirably well among other natural notes such as the floral verbana, juicy mandarin, sweet cypress, lemony coriander and minty sage. Combined with these bubbly aromas, the delicious freshness lasts as the perfume unfolds. On the bare skin, the chemistry of the raw materials is absolute, driven by the citrus note that conveys energy and poised masculinity.
In celebration of yuzu
For centuries, the Japanese citrus has been revered on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. During toji, public baths and onsen all over the country offer hot baths filled with the yellow fruits. At home, as the early night falls, people add yuzu to their baths, enclosed in a cloth bag to release its tangy aroma or cut in half to free the citrus juice in the water. After a languid soak, some will scrub the fruit against their body for a smooth and glowing skin. The yuzuyu as the soothing bath is called holds many virtues for the Japanese, it is said to guard against colds, nourish the skin harmed by the chilly days, warm the body and relax the mind. When the ritual comes to an end, the Japanese pray for ichiyou-raifuku as their eyes lazily follow the bobbing fruits. And they wish for the return of warmer days where the sun will be as bright as yuzu, casting a soothing yellow glow around them.
TUGIO MURATA/a.collectionRF: Image 1 (left)
Paolo Negri: Image 1 (right)
pasmal/a.collectionRF: Image 2 (left)
Damir Frkovic: Image 2 (right)