Shiso Fairy



Shiso has always been one of my favorite food ingredients. In my childhood, this gorgeous herb was usually paired with Japanese plum, ume, or made into hard candy, or some other culinary magic of sweet (rather than savory) disposition.

As soon as I got my hands on some shiso essential oil, I wanted to build a perfume around it. One where the other ingredients shone a spotlight on the aroma of shiso in all its glory.

From my association of the leaf with sweetened sour plum, I wanted to partner it with something fruity. The closest thing I had to a non-citrus fruit (that wasn’t gamma undecalactone) was a new sample of Framboise, and a shiso-berry fragrance seemed like a good idea! However, I soon learned that the Framboise was too sweet in an overripe way in the mixture, which I wanted to be crisp.

Subsequent mods included a synthetic rose accord* phase, which was surprisingly potent and took over; and a too-green phase, mostly because I was figuring out how to titrate Stemone® and styrallyl acetate.

Now, at mod #10, it’s pretty decent, at least for now. It opens with shiso (yes!) and bright citrus, and quickly gives credit to florals—which don’t seem to last long enough or manage to avoid the bump-in-the-road of “essential oil smell,” but redeems itself with a final drydown into the cool, but very comforting, woody base. The cedarwood is quite charming. This fragrance contains no musks.

  • Top: shiso, bergamot, ethyl linalool
  • Heart: jasmine sambac, rose absolute, elemi, Stemone, Hedione®, Citral
  • Base: oakmoss, Atlas cedarwood

I’ve been craving the easy, soaring harmony of 90s pop recently, and listening to Tal Bachman’s hit “She’s So High” in its unabashed cheesiness that’s just so satisfying. Which led me to wonder what other things she could be so

Fair. It’s a light composition, smooth, with contrasts but not contradictions. Eau de cologne concentration (how far I’ve come from my initial 50:50 default ratio of aroma materials at full strength to alcohol!)

Airy. It’s meant to be uplifting, yet delicate. Like sipping tea in a garden (metaphorically).

Like a fairy, the shiso dazzles and then leaves us wondering where it dashed off to next…


Hence, Shiso Fairy!





*Per Perfumer’s Apprentice demonstration formula: Peonile®, dimethyl benzyl carbinyl acetate, geranyl acetate, citronellol, phenyl ethyl phenyl acetate, undecavertol, phenethyl acetate, and rose oxide.






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