February 02, 2020

Listening to Daihatsu Plum Tanka

Dreary, overcast, and dark, February weather gives strong reason to desire spring and the array of flowering plants that comes with it. Here in Chicago we've gone 11 days in a row with no measurable sunshine, the winter snow taunting me outside my window. What better reason to turn one's rituals to floral incense, and what better than Daihatsu's flagship Plum Tanka for a respite from the winter's doldrums?

Plum Tanka is part of Daihatsu's Poem of the Four Sisters (Tanka 4 Shimai) series of four modern floral incenses, each promoted as "fragrances of a beautiful era where perfumes imported directly from France blend with ancient Japanese incense culture." Plum Tanka lives up nicely to this creed, giving the listener a glimpse of spring with a French twist no matter the season.

Plum Tanka's stick note is deliciously semi-sweet, fruity, and unmistakably feminine. There is a French powder quality to this, like the scent of a refined and elegant woman. There is something absolutely delightful about this stick that reminds me of my grandmother - who was quite elegant, beautiful, and fond of French perfume. That's one of the beautiful qualities of Japanese incense - their ability to return us to fond memories with their fragrances.

Lit the sweetness shifts. Where Plum Tanka was cool and powdery in the stick, it become warm and sultry once burned. Darker warmer notes emerge, shifting the sweetness to that of a living being filled with warmth and tenderness. Rather than just a sweet perfume drifting upon the breeze, there is a beautiful elegance that is alive with Plum Tanka. Yet throughout the fragrance remains soft and easy to listen to. With time, hints of the powderiness of the stick returns, weaving softly within the fruitiness of the fragrance.

Plum Tanka's sweetness is seductively malleable. Like a trip to the bakery, Plum Tanka weaves notes that are sweet like a honey, then those that are warm like baked goods, and yet others sophisticated like cooled treats that go perfectly with tea. Every so often there are fleeting notes of cinnamon and spice, quickly returned to their supporting role. But throughout, the mixture settles firmly into a semi-sweet fruity floral that is soft, warm, and comforting, with the French perfume top note clearly prominent.

Once consumed, the fruity sweetness dissipates leaving a fine soft French milled powder fragrance that forms a wonderfully alluring low silky note. The long lasting after-note is soft, unmistakably feminine, and quite French.

Elegant, powdery, and fruity-sweet, Daihatu's Plum Tanka incense is absolutely heavenly.

A fragrance.
A memory.
Transported, I smile.