Springtime In Tokyo – Review: Guerlain Un Ville, Un Parfum Tokyo

Editor’s Note: I’m glad to welcome Sandra again with a review of another Guerlain. She took us to China last time, see her review of Guerlain’s Shanghai, now we get to travel with her to gorgeous Japan in springtime. Enjoy!

By Sandra

The dog days of winter are nearing an end. One way I know is that Chinese New Year is on February 10! Out with the Year of the Dragon, in with the year of the Snake!

Kyoto Dragon photo

Round about the end of January I start craving sunshine and warmer temperatures. We were blessed with some sunshine the past couple of days and with that the snow melted. Not only are the birds happily chirping away, I seem to have more pep to my walk and I look up at the blue sky with nostalgia and grin like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland.

You see, I have delved into perfume closet and pulled out Guerlain’s Une Ville, Un Parfum Tokyo. I am smitten with this fragrance from start to finish.

tokyo guerlain

Tokyo was created by Thierry Wasser and includes notes of violet, jasmine, cedar and green tea (according to Surrender To Chance) or green tea, hinoki cypress, cherry blossom and jasmine (says Monsieur Guerlain).

I find it is the perfect companion for the end of winter. It is a very green fragrance, but a young green. Not youth mind you, but the young green that we start to see in March around here. The pale green of leaves before they blossom into deep dark green.

Kyoto Garden

From first application I get green, green, green. It is a green tea scent and if you are a fan of green teas, my advice is to give this little gem a try. The green tea I smell is an exquisite green tea from Mariage Frères called Neige de Jasmin where when brewed the jasmine flowers float to the top and look like snow.

After the green tea start, the perfume morphs into a lovely soft woody fragrance, which to me smells of a lush green garden after a spring rain. A fresh rain during spring always put a smile on my face. For the several hours that this perfume stays prominent, it remains fresh and preppy. This perfume makes me giddy and I look forward to the first buds opening on the trees.

Kyoto Golden Temple

I have never been to Tokyo, but have traveled to Kyoto during the autumn. Kyoto impressed me with the sheer number of temples and lush gardens to visit. I was grateful to see the brilliant autumn colours start kissing the trees, but I yearn to see parts of Japan in the spring to capture the cherry blossom season. During my university years in the Washington, D.C. metro area I was blessed to live through cherry blossom season on the mall.

I know that Guerlain has Cherry Blossom in the Les Parisiennes line, but somehow I feel that Tokyo captures the essence of spring in Japan better. I envision myself sitting under a cherry blossom tree, sipping green tea and being mesmerized by the pink petals floating all around me.

Sandra's son Sean

Sandra’s son Sean

Tokyo is one of my favorite perfumes for spring.


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32 Responses to Springtime In Tokyo – Review: Guerlain Un Ville, Un Parfum Tokyo

  1. Tara says:

    Beautiful review, Sandra! This sounds very appealing to me. I like green tea as a note and wore the souped up green tea of Gucci Envy in my pre-perfumista days. It’s lovely to have a perfume to remind you that the green shoots of spring are not far away.

    Have you read the wonderful “Memoirs of a Geisha” set in Kyoto?

    • Sandra says:

      I am so glad you like green tea as a note! I find the perfume really refreshing. Thank you for reminding me of “Memoirs of a Geisha”. I read it and loved it so many years ago and will have to reread it after having been to Kyoto.

  2. lucasai says:

    Sounds like a wonderful perfume and look at all those pictures from Japan, gorgeous. Too bad all those Guerlains are so hard to smell for me.

  3. brie says:

    But this sounds fantastic! Those who know me well can attest to the fact that I am a tea fanatic
    and also appreciate tea notes in perfume. Un Parfum Tokyo sounds like the perfect antidote for the cold, blustery,snowy days we are experiencing in the Northeast of US (yes! give me cherry blosssoms and lilac bushes, PLEASE!). Wishing so badly for spring to arrive 🙂 !!
    Great review, Sandra!

  4. Sandra says:

    Yay Brie – another tea fanatic! Tokyo is wonderful in the cold. It is a pick me up perfume. Cherry blossoms and lilac bushes are so beautiful.

  5. Eva S says:

    Love the pictures from Japan, especially the picture with the adorable Sean!
    I don’t think any other place have left me with so many scent-memories as Japan-the scent of fresh tatami floors, temple incense, tea cermony-tea, the sulfur of hot springs…
    And thats not mentioning all the food!
    If this scent could remind me of cherry-blossom season it would be a must-buy.

    • Sandra says:

      Thank you. You are most right Eva! I feel the same way about Japan and love remembering all the sights and smells of Kyoto. The perfume certainly reminds me of cherry blossom season, so give it a try. I hope you like it.

  6. Sandra, thank you for a wonderful review of Tokyo – my favourite in the City series. I immediately fell for it’s mixture of gentle green and powdery background, so typical of Guerlain. After reading I revisited my own review and realised that I was wrong – Guerlain doesn’t list cherry blossom, but violet and vanilla. It makes totally sense when I smell it again here tonight. Thanks for making me aware of this error.

  7. Sandra says:

    Thank you for responding and for your kind words Monsieur Guerlain. I must admit that it is also my favorite in the City series.

  8. Suzanne says:

    Although for the most part I prefer black tea over green tea (for drinking), there is at least one green-tea perfume that I really love, and now you make this one sound so very beautiful, too. And coupled to violet? Mmmm, I love that note, so this sounds very special.

    Thanks for the beautiful review, Sandra – and for including that photo of your handsome little boy!

    • ginzaintherain says:

      I think I need to head into Tokyo and smell this one again: you make it sound very appealing!

      • Sandra says:

        Neil, definitely head into Tokyo. I am sure you will not be disappointed. Do you have many cherry blossom trees where you live?

        • ginzaintherain says:

          I live in Kamakura, and there is a very famous cherry blossom avenue, though the trees are everywhere. Right now the more delightful ume, or plum blossom, is opening….

          I love how it smells.

          • brie says:

            On the subject of plum blossoms, have you tried Keiko Mecheri’s “Ume”- loved it so much I blew through my sample lickity-split!

          • ginzaintherain says:

            So far I have disdained Keiko for numerous reasons but the other day I looked at the selection at Isetan in Tokyo and thought perhaps I should give her another try.

            How esteemed are her perfumes on the whole, would you say?

          • brie says:

            Neil to answer your question…I am not sure! I had not heard much of KM until I won a full bottle of Rose Attar (confiscated by Pops so I can’t reference right now!!) and along with it came three other samples, including the Ume (another one was quite heavy on the vanilla but I can’t for the life of me remember the name!!!). If you have access to this line you might want to revisit. I know that there are certain Mecheri fragrances (ie;Loukoum) that do have quite a following.

          • Sandra says:

            I am so envious that you have the cherry blossom trees and ume trees around you. It must be absolutely beautiful!

    • Sandra says:

      Suzanne, you will hopefully love this perfume too. Do you mind if I ask what your favorite green tea perfume is? I really started appreciating the note when I started drinking more green tea rather than black tea. Thank you for your kind words.

      • Suzanne says:

        Sandra, the green tea perfume I most love is Chanel Bel Respiro. Not that it smells tea-like, but the green tea note contributes to its gentle green beauty. My second favorite is Commes des Garcons Sweet Nomad Tea, which I sorely wish I had purchased when it was available. Finding a bottle of that one is pretty difficult now. I also think that L’Heure Fougueuse smells like green tea (it has a yerbamate note in it, which is not technically a green tea but is said to resemble it, which reminds me that Lorenzo Villoresi Yerbamate is another really good one).

        • Sandra says:

          Suzanne, the only perfume I know is Villoresi’s Yerbamate which is in my mind wonderfuly quirky. I was born in Argentina and love drinking yerbamate but cannot quite bring myself to smell of it eventhough I like it. 🙂 I will look out for the other perfumes you mention. Thank you.

          • Suzanne says:

            “Wonderfully quirky” is a great description of the Villoresi Yerbamate.

            Born in Argentina? … spent time in Rome … now living in Vienna!! Sandra, you are one well-traveled lady. I think that’s wonderful — no wonder you fit in so well here at OT. 🙂 Perhaps sometime you might write a post about your Argentinian roots?

          • Olfactoria says:

            If I may butt in: I will certainly pester her to write an Argentinian post, great idea Suz!

          • Speaking of yerbamaté, have you had the chance to try the perfume oils from La Bella Figura? They currently have 3 inspired respectively by Paris, Barcelona, and Buenos Aires. The Buenos Aires one has a beautiful maté note.

  9. Hey Sandra,
    Excellent post. Great to see you in print.
    I can come rely visualize you in Japan with a cuppa in spring,
    Portia xx
    Jin is waving hi.

  10. Undina says:

    Sandra, it’s nice to see you here again.

    I really liked Guerlain’s Tokyo when I tried it but this is one of those perfumes where I have a feeling that it’s too expensive for what it is – a light, green spring scent. I don’t think it should be cheaper, I’m just saying that subjectively I can’t get myself to pay that price for this perfume. Though it is lovely and your review makes it justice.

    • Sandra says:

      Thank you. Undina you are right in saying that it is pricey. I have a hard time finding light spring perfumes to love and therefore pounced on this gem.

  11. I found this one very lovely and, as you say, perfect for springtime. I found it light, but distinctive.

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