New Perfume Review Masaki Matsushima mat; homme- Concrete Garden

For those of you who have never participated on the perfume forums there is one thing you miss out on. There is an international sense of community paired with the desire to want to share. When you start talking about something you like in a perfume, others will chime in with ones you should try. Often that was followed by an envelope containing a sample arriving a few days later. Even better would be the chance to buy or swap a bottle for the perfume in question. One day on Basenotes I was chatting about the idea of a Japanese aesthetic saying I wanted a perfume which smelled like a Japanese garden. A few days later a sample of Masaki Matsushima mat; male showed up. It was just what I was looking for. I would swap for that bottle a year or so later. I would find others from the brand at the long-gone NYC department store Takashimaya. Ever since it closed, I haven’t tried a new release from the brand. Which was why I was very happy to receive an e-mail telling me about their latest release Masaki Matsushima mat; homme. A few days later a sample arrived.

Jerome di Marino

It seems like the brand is attempting to branch out again. That can be a terrible thing if they are using the fondness for the name to package forgettable perfumes. In this case the converse is true. Masaki Matsushima is following the same minimalist artistic aesthetic they always have. The biggest change is in the perfumer. In every prior release it was composed by Jean Jacques. For mat; homme Jerome di Marino takes the wheel.

If mat; male was what I wanted a Japanese garden fragrance to smell like, full of natural scents. mat; homme is a perfume of the concrete towers of the urban landscape. Delineated woods form the frame, except for a nod to nature, as even in a concrete canyon a tiny garden can find purchase.

Mr. di Marino uses the versatility of Szechuan pepper to create an accord of sunlight off the glass windows of the concrete towers. Lemon and elemi provide a bright citrus reflection off the Szechuan pepper. It has a nose squinching quality akin to squinting your eyes against the real thing. Lavender is the flower growing between the buildings. Mr. di Marino wreathes it in a halo of saffron as the reflected light reaches the only sign of life. It all comes together in clean woody lines given texture via labdanum and cinnamon.

mat; homme has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

As it has been with the previous Masaki Matsushima releases mat; homme is transparent in an Eastern aesthetic way. I wonder if the new direction is a nod to the current trends in perfumery matching that. Even if that is so mat; homme is a beautifully realized fragrance of the concrete garden within every big city.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Masaki Matsushima.

Mark Behnke