A Japanese Gem
Shiseido Koto, a serene green floral chypre, was launched in 1967 in Japan. Top notes are soft aldehydes, citrus, and herbs. Heart notes are narcissus, gardenia, orris root, jasmine, lily of the valley, jonquil and rose. Base notes are oakmoss, patchouli, leather, amber, vetiver and castoreum.
I found a bottle of this subtle delight on the Big Bay for around $20. I love the Classic Zen (black bottle), by Shiseido, and Koto launched at about the same time. They are sister scents, beautifully retro. Where Zen Classic is somewhat stern, a “touch me not” little black dress of a scent, Koto is soft, like sunlight filtering through Japanese paper screens. There is no sweetness in Koto, but the white floral accord shines through the classic chypre structure. It reminds me a little of Guerlain’s Chamade, but, where Chamade’s color is a rich gold, Koto’s is a glowing ivory. Definitely the best perfume to wear while practicing ikebana, and listening to the koto, of course. I encourage anyone who loves green, retro, or chypre scents to try Koto.