• Featured Brands: TokyoMilk

    We’ve got the new fragrances from Denver-based TokyoMilk in constant rotation — learn more about what inspires the scents in our visit to their Denver studio 
    Photos by Chandler Kim

    What are some of your early scent or fragrance memories? 
    Some of my earliest scent memories were in the garden. As a little one, maybe two or three, I would shadow my mother as she would garden. I have strong memories of the smell of raspberries, the soil, tomato plants, and greens. I think this is particularly an expressive memory because what I also recall are the surroundings—with the memories of the scent I remember how the wind in the trees sounded, I can remember the clouds in the sky. I honestly think this is why fragrance to me is so conceptual and contextual. Fragrances are about creating experiences rather than just being a scent alone. 

    Another scent that is incredibly nostalgic for me is the smell of old pipe tobacco. Nothing will take me back to the memory of my father more quickly — to this day when my family is together during the holidays we swear we can still smell it lingering in the air…maybe it’s dad coming to look in on us. We’d like to think so.

    Can you share more about the process of making one of your fragrances? What inspires the different scents? 
    I start with a feeling or a concept. Often it will be an unusual name or phrase or image that will inspire and influence the fragrance. I love all of my brand worlds, from Lollia to Library of Flowers, they each have such different and distinctive characters. TokyoMilk specifically is fun to create because there is so much more of a fantastical nature to her that really lets me explore fragrances that are very unique. It results in combinations of perfume notes that are not what you experience everyday. 

    Can you tell us more about the new Tokyo Milk Light scent? What sets it apart?
When I created TokyoMilk Dark, the predecessor to TokyoMilk Light, it always felt like a beginning…the first chapter. I didn't have the full concept then, but it seemed like the literal evolution to bring Light into the Dark. The Light fragrance still maintains the unique DNA of TokyoMilk but is lighter in character. This was a fulfilling process because I personally find the darker bottom notes easier to create “personality” in a fragrance. To do this with lighter, middle, and top notes is far more difficult. To create a series of perfumes that is light but still edgy was very rewarding —as a result, TokyoMilk Light is not simple, or overly floral, but instead maintains a very complex character that is still punky and edgy, but lifted and airy.


    Can you tell us about the ingredients you use and what goes into making the perfume itself?
    Our perfumes have always been amazingly complex. I believe this gives them a sophistication that is sensual, easy to wear, and long-lasting. Our fragrance oils are blends of flower and plant oils that are extracted and distilled. Each perfume can literally be comprised of hundreds of fragrance oils to create the perfect balance. 

    I always compare creating a perfume to music. It is about creating a fragrance composition that has harmony, structure, and tells a story. So you push and pull the notes as you are creating: mixing top crisp notes with bottom woody or earthy notes to finally create a fragrance that creates a little mini-world in a bottle. I'm always chasing this vision of trying to bring to life the concept and capture it in a bottle. The most beautiful moment is when someone tries it on for themselves and becomes a character in this story of sorts—and the story changes with each person, and changes yet again with their mood and intention. Ultimately, and philosophically, a perfume is incomplete without its individual wearer. 

    How do you continue fragrance self-education? 
    My favorite go-to resources are antique perfume books. To me, nothing still speaks to the language and artistry of perfumes like very old industry texts. Also, I am always talking with other perfumers and noses in the industry. It is an inspiring creative space to work in as the ideas and concepts are so limitless and personal. The simplest answer for my own continual self-education is to just be “scent aware.” I make a conscious effort to be present to fragrance — to not only be cataloging them in my head, but also to be aware of how fragrance influences us...to observe how people wear fragrance, and how it makes them feel. 

    Do you have a “signature” fragrance that you regularly wear?
    I actually try to be a fairly blank canvas so that I can be more “scent aware” in my environments. This way, its sort of like my nose gets to be the blank sketchbook an artist carries around. Instead of the fragrance I choose interacting with my environment, the environments I am in get to interact with me. I guess this allows me to be the fragrance observer! Unless, of course, I’m going out on a date with my boyfriend… then I try to seduce him the old-fashioned way: dressin’ up, tall heels, and some sexy perfume! 

    What’s next for TokyoMilk?
    Believe it or not I am doing our first fabric line, called Neptune & the Mermaid. I couldn't be more excited about that—I have wanted to do fabrics forever! And from there I’m musing on a new perfume collection to complement it. There is always something "curious” just around the corner with TokyoMilk. That’s what makes her so fun to dream up ...

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