Recently I've been receiving requests for more fragrance reviews, and I'm delighted to oblige since bath and body products are my first passion (even before makeup and nail polish, if you can believe that).
I've been wanting to try a fragrance from Toyko Milk since I first heard about this brand maybe a year or two ago. I realize that the price point of their fragrances isn't in line with most products I feature on Nouveau Cheap, but $30 for a one-ounce bottle of fragrance is actually inexpensive for a boutique fragrance (many boutique fragrances can run upwards of $100 or more). Plus, this one's easily accessible on beauty.com, which is where I purchased this bottle of Kabuki No. 9. That said, let's take a look...
Tokyo Milk Kabuki No. 9 Parfum
(retail: around $30, 1.0 oz)
It was torture trying to decide which Tokyo Milk fragrance to buy. I almost bought Let Them Eat Cake, but then when I saw a reference online comparing Kabuki to Fresh's Sugar Lychee (one of my top 10 fragrances of all time), I knew it had to be mine.
Back of bottle:
Just a little aside: Kabuki is a form of classical Japanese theater, and its most distinguishing characteristic is that the actors wear white face paint. (the brush used to apply this face paint is where we get the term "kabuki brush" today). I think it would have been more striking to have used an image of a Kabuki actor in traditional white face makeup here, but I digress...
From the Tokyo Milk website:
A decidedly different collection of brilliantly paired fragrance notes housed in an alluring glass bottle decorated with an iconic image of Japanese theater.
Time honored tradition: Sugared Grapefruit, Lychee & Sweet Jasmine
Kabuki is a soft, feminine, "dainty" type of fragrance that opens with sweet lychee fruit and tart grapefruit and then dries down to a mostly powdery, almost heliotrope type of candied vanilla fragrance. I can only detect the jasmine after this has been on my skin for about 30 minutes, and even then it's quite subtle. As a super-fan of Fresh Sugar Lychee, I don't quite see the similarities here, as I find Sugar Lychee to have a dominant lychee note that lingers throughout the life of the fragrance. The lychee note in Kabuki is far more fleeting to my nose.
The best way I can describe this fragrance is by telling you what it's not. This is definitely not a sparkling citrus type of fragrance, and I wouldn't put it in the "clean" category either. It's not dark, heavy or sensuous. At the same time, it's not as sweet as say, Pink Sugar, but if forced to put it in a category, I guess Pink Sugar would be the closest mainstream reference, although it would be at the FAR end of the Pink Sugar spectrum. Think Pink Sugar without the cloying syrupy notes and with added fruits and powder. Gah! That's not really helping, is it? How about this: if Pink Sugar were to whisper softly at you through a gauze of powder, it might resemble Kabuki No. 9.
This fragrance wears very close to the skin and doesn't enter the room before you do. I can get about four hours of wear before it fades completely, but of course everyone's body chemistry is different so your mileage might vary.
Do you own anything from Toyko Milk? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
PS: Tokyo Milk also makes lipsticks, lip balms (I'm dying to try their Iced Green Tea Bon Bon Lip Balm), candles, bath and body products and more. You can view/purchase their entire line of products here.