It’s a bold step to name a fragrance after a 12th Century school of enlightenment, but Shiseido has never shied from a challenge. As well as being the oldest skincare company in the world (imagine trying to explain the virtues of moisturiser back in 1872), the Japanese outfit can also take credit for introducing the humble ice cream to a nation reared on Manju.
Zen may be the brand’s first scent for men, but with a number of iconic fragrance houses already under its wing (from Issey Miyake to Serge Lutens), it has an enviable talent base to call upon. Consequently this woody aromatic - created by Françoise Caron and Francis Kurkdjian - is able to blend the orthodox (bergamot, violet, patchouli) with the unconventional (Nashi pear, rhododendron) with admirable results.
It’s too early to say whether Zen lives up to the press release’s claim of containing “stress-relieving aromachological ingredients to liberate the modern man from his worries,” but i think it smells just great.
From £42 at Harrods