Every year in spring, the International Museum of Music in Bologna hosts International SMELL Festival. Cults and myths of the ancient East, Latin America and Africa have been combined with new applications of scent from the person who propagates to the social body, giving rise to a sort of ceremonial nose daily. On that occasion I met Yosh Han, creator of fine perfumes fragrances, who has devoted her appearence to Japan and to the incomparable of its flowering cherry trees.
FM:In the world of perfumes, memory and boundaries are thin. When you think to Japan, your homeland, which is in essence you mind?
YH: Japanese summer humidity is a strong memory. When I visit other places characterised by that humidity, it reminds me of the Japan. Its aromas are subtle, and in my case refer to food and drinks. I love the smell of a particular type of dessert with cinnamon which is only to be found in Kyoto. If a friend of mine goes through the city I ask him to bring some of it to me. It’s called Yatsuhash, and it is a triangle of delicacies prepared with rice flour and stuffed with sweet adzuki beans or sesame black. It is absolutely divine, perfect if accompanied by green tea.
The Smell and the taste of combo is a terrific memory. Incense of temples also represent a vivid memory. Not by chance, when I was in a tea shop in Zurich, and the shopkeeper has used an incense of 300 years ago, I was instantly catapulted in my childhood memories when I used to burn incense at the altar. Also, I think at the moment it lands in Japan, there is a very fine aroma of a fresh fragrance of rice. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but it is a particularly fine fragrance, that I never found the same way nowhere else in the world. As a touch of snow …
FM: And when you think of a country where you haven’t been yet?
YH:I find myself fantasizing about the innumerable and complex fragrances of India, with all its wonderful colours and flavours that blend into the smell of urban chaos. Dreaming also about dense jungles of Brazil, Madagascar, or Southeast Asia. Each with its local plants, trees and flowers. And then the smell of rain, so unique in each site.
FM:Nature and fragrances inspired by our world… What are your next projects?
YH: It’s all still in definition, but I’m working on a project with a famous Polish theatre director. I also have a new perfume which will be released shortly on the market called “Sombre Negra”, noir, touching, smoky and smells like skin. I traveled extensively along the coasts of Europe, and I felt incredibly inspired by marine scents, from the North Sea, the Adriatic until the Black Sea or the Lake of Zurich. I feel very fortunate to be able to travel and meet new people in this way, absorbing the smells of the places I visit. It’s always fun to go into town, but the real power comes from the Earth and the sea. In this sense, maybe I’ll work on something salty in the near future.