The first five minutes of Cio Cio San’s development are the most distinguished, consisting of a tart citrus accord that has a bright, citral-like clarity. This is underpinned however, by a waxy, metallic greenness and a vaguely rosy floralcy that comes off smelling plasticy and cheap in a functional-fragrance type way. If you want the chance to catch the bitter tea and light amber base, best to sniff Cio CIo San on paper; on skin, I can barely detect the perfume after an hour and I’m left wondering which is the more audacious: asking customers to swallow the $375 price-tag or the fact that a perfume playing on a tired, Orientalist trope is being presented in a flacon resembling a Roman column topped by a faux marble bust?
Nose: Cécile Zarokian
House: MDCI Parfums
Release date: 2015
Notes (per Fragrantica): yuzu, lemon, ginger, grapefruit, cherry blossom, peony, litchi, tea, guaiac wood, cedar, musk.