A fragrance which captures the natural scents of summer without being twee or over-the-top. This is what childhood summer smelled like, playing in long grass and flopping down, exhausted, to nap on piles of hay.
Blue chamomile, camphor, artemesia, marjoram, incense, rose otto, angelica, jatamansi, amyris, ambrette, cedar, vetiver, lovage root.
Perfumes that capture summer tend to fall into ready made categories. There are the salty, marine scents that use the seaside as a central player; there are the suncream scents that use sun warmed skin, creamy lotions and bright, optimistic notes; and then there are scents which capture a more natural summer spent amongst the long grass, picking clover and watching ants climb on fallen logs. Maruyama by Parfum Prissana is that latter sort of summer scent.
Maruyama opens warm, rich and soothing with an ambery sweetness like liquid sunlight. There is a significant herbal punch here, but the whole thing is wrapped in a resinous ambery warmth, like flies stuck in ancient tree resin. The opening is particularly beautiful, it feels as if the perfumer has really captured old sunlight and wrapped it up. This isn’t scorching, arid, pounding sunlight, its beams of something mature and nuanced, full of warmth but no aggression. It flows around the more herbal notes, entwining itself in and amongst, it bends things and colours everything with this perfect remembered summer glow.
The progression of the composition of Maruyama is rather interesting. Whilst most perfumes start with the most flighty and volatile molecules first, before progressing to the slower-to-evapourate and denser ones later, Maruyama pulls some olfactive trickery to make it seem as if it’s the other way around here. Whilst chemically this can’t be the case, the effect is really interesting to wear. Whilst the fragrance starts with this resinous, slow, sweetness, as it settles it really opens up and feels much more airy and bright.
Hay and dried, sweet grasses swirl around us now and it is very plausible to imagine you are lying on a haystack, breathing that horse-breath of warm hay. This is greenery that has been sun-scoured to the point where it is no longer green and just the herbaceous essences remain. You can almost see the bleached colour of the stems and leaves as well as smell that comforting herbal softness.
It becomes increasingly apparent, at this point in the wear if not before, that Maruyama is very complex and multifaceted. It made us think of summer in several worlds, all slightly different, overlaid across each other to make the summer of all summers. When you wear Maruyama it sings of summers you have known, and of summers you have yet to experience. It’s potent and magical.
As Maruyama wears on, a sharp sourness creeps in. It’s a little reminiscent of a citrus note, a little metallic, and it cuts through the comfort of the hay and grasses that went before. It doesn’t unhinge the scent, but instead takes the products of the field – the dried grasses and plants – to the next level, hinting at the apothecary’s shop where the plants might be sorted, ground and mixed into potions to cure one ailment or another.
The final phase of wear for this fragrance leaves us with a long-lingering woody, spicy and a touch medicinal type of scent. It is the combined, healing fragrance of piles of dried and crushed leaves, stems, petals and seeds, all arranged on a wooden bench, or in little wooden drawers, ready to be pulled out and mixed into some tea or tonic.
Maruyama is very savoury by this point in its evolution. The marjoram and artemesia see to that perfectly, but it still remembers the warmth of summer that started the whole process off. There’s a touch of something sweaty lingering at the back of an inhale, but it feels like the sweat of the apothecary’s hands as he works the pestle and mortar, grinding the plants to a finer and finer dust.
Maruyama is the scent of the sort of summer you see in films, where people flop into haystacks and pull pieces of grass from the hair of their paramour. It’s a beautiful rendition of the very natural smelling herbal leaves and stems which populate richly diverse meadows, and the scent of those substances dried and ready for medicinal use. There’s something deeply nostalgic and comforting about Maruyama, it is a fragrance which feels like it will just make you feel that bit better for wearing, like slipping back into childhood memories of playing in the long grass whist school was on a break.
The other stuff
The longevity of Maruyama is good. We got a solid 6-8 hours of wear from it following an early morning application.
The projection of the fragrance was moderate, going to about handshake distance or so. Warmth really makes this fragrance sing and project further so we would definitely suggest that it makes an excellent wear for the warmer summer months.
Maruyama is the sort of fragrance that doesn’t really typify any gender specifically so could be worn by anyone who cares to.
Parfum Prissana is the product of the fecund imagination of Prin Lomros who operates several perfume lines including Strangers Parfumerie and Prin. Prin comes from Thailand where he also teaches film studies, and film does indeed show up as an inspiration in many of his creations. Maruyama though was inspired by a visit to a herbal garden in Japan.
We were kindly given a no-strings-attached sample of this fragrance by Bloom Perfumery. Thank you to them.