Suzanne's Perfume Journal

her in regard to the latter; she once left comments at another blog, where the topic that day was exercise, indicating that she vehemently hated just about any form of exercise you could think of—and then sometime later admitted on her own blog that while, yes, she does flat-out hate it, she “does her part to stay healthy” by practicing Bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga, because it is practiced in a room heated to 105°F. (Which is really saying something since she confesses to despise heat every bit as much as physical exertion.)

If I had an army that needed whipping into shape, Undina is the first person I’d call; however, it would be a gross underestimation to think of her strictly as a kick-ass, organizational kind of gal. Undina has a very soft side to her as well and is extremely generous and caring: fragrance packages show up not just when you swap with her, but as a surprise at Christmas, along with a card featuring photos of her beloved and very photogenic cat, Rusty; she faithfully comments at other people’s blogs and trumpets other people’s posts at her own blog and on Twitter; and she’s extremely helpful in making recommendations aimed at helping her friends succeed. She also has a curious mind and is quick to see patterns in things (as an example, we spent some time emailing each other back in January about Ginger Ciao, trying to figure out what aspects of it remind her of another perfume we love, Annick Goutal Heure Exquise). And though she is a semi-private person who might not ever feature a photo of herself on her blog, I can attest from a photo she sent me that she is a stunning, raven-haired beauty. She’ll probably want to smack me for saying this, but if anyone has “a mind for business and a bod for sin” (to quote a line made famous by Melanie Griffith in the film Working Girl), it’s Undina. Whose real name, by the way, is Julia—and I’m not giving away any state secrets by telling you that, since she recently revealed this on the “About me” section of her blog. But I’ll refer to her as Undina, since she is known in the online perfume community by her nickname.

March 31, 2012:

YOSH Perfumes Ginger Ciao eau de parfum is the creation of perfumer Yosh Han. It can be purchased from, where a 50-ml bottle is currently priced at $110.

Photo of Girl Walking on the Beach with Lei is from Getty Images; bottle image for YOSH Ginger Ciao is from

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YOSH Perfumes Ginger Ciao: Refreshingly Direct, Honestly Sexy

I hadn’t really planned on writing a review of Yosh Ginger Ciao—not because it isn’t gorgeous but because I thought of it as hers, not mine. And by her, I mean Undina, who, as many of you know, is a perfume blogger from California and one of the most loyal friends a person can have, which is why I’d like to say a few words about her before I launch into my review. What most people who follow the perfume blogs know about Undina is that she came to the States from eastern Europe; that she has a facility with numbers, graphs and charts that most of us don’t; and that she is refreshingly candid, no-nonsense and self-disciplined in so many regards. I get a kick out of

Now onto the fragrance she generously decanted for me—YOSH Perfume Ginger Ciao—a perfume that makes me think of her when I wear it, mostly because we chatted about it in some detail, but also because Undina had shortly returned from a vacation trip to Hawaii when she discovered it, and there’s a definite sensuality to Ginger Ciao that says Aloha, in a lei-and-hula-hips kind of way. The notes for Ginger Ciao include Arabian sandalwood, ylang ylang, black coconut, night queen flower, tiger lily, neroli, ginger and basil. The overall effect is that of an elegantly simple composition that reminds me of one of those line drawings which employ only the bare minimum of strokes to convey an image. The olfactory image that Ginger Ciao represents to my nose is that of a garland of creamy, spiced flowers nestled close to the décolletage of a woman whose skin is every bit as creamy as the petals of those flowers. To better illustrate what I’m trying to say, let me use this contrast: whereas a fragrance like Frédéric Malle Lys Méditerranée offers up an almost true-to-life olfactory portrait of a ginger lily, Ginger Ciao smells like an elegant abstraction on the same theme that by not serving up the full and realistic picture of the flower actually makes one imagine more: the ginger lily gliding next to soft skin, and not just one bloom, but an entire necklace of them suspended against the curvy, female form. This is not to suggest that Ginger Ciao is more beautiful than a scent like Lys Méditerranée, but only to give you a better sense of how I perceive it.

Because I seem to be on a major sandalwood bender right now—and because the recent wave of unseasonably warm weather has got me thinking about bathing suits and bare-skinned yumminess—Ginger Ciao is the kind of perfume I prefer wearing over a more realistic floral scent. And I can fully understand how Undina perceives similarities between Ginger Ciao and another fragrance that she turned me onto, Annick Goutal Heure Exquise. The sandalwood in each of these fragrances is enhanced by a vanilla note, to narcotic effect. (In Ginger Ciao, I’m assuming it might be Night Queen, aka Vanilla Cactus, that is accountable for this richness). Both scents have a well-represented green note that keeps the fragrances’ compositions in check, such that they are sensual and fluid rather than fluffy and overly sweet; and both strike us as being simple, elegant compositions that speak of beauty without a lot of fussiness. The bouquets in both scents are not complex (at least not to my nose); they seem to have been constructed in a way that allows certain key notes to breathe and be distinctly recognizable. But whereas Heure Exquise is reminiscent of its name and reference to the twilight hour, with its focus on iris and dew-drenched rose, Ginger Ciao is more forward and exotic, with its emphasis on ylang ylang and spicy lily.

One thing that can be said about both fragrances is that they aren’t about glamour and sophistication so much as they are about beauty itself, and the most natural and direct way it can be expressed. Ginger Ciao is a fragrance that manages to be sultry and alluring while eschewing any kind of pretentiousness. I can see why its elegant formula would especially appeal to Undina; it has a purity of focus and immediacy to it that is more than appealing: it’s sexy in the most honest, uncontrived sense of the word.