I’m a tough customer when it comes to fragrance in 2023, because unlike the elegant perfumes of my mother and grandmother’s era, they now often smell too strong and chemical-laden to me. And if they’re organic and natural, then they tend to fade quickly or fail to deliver the elusive wow factor of fine French perfumes. But I have found one to claim as a personal favorite: I imagine Zazen Eau De Parfum from Robert Piguet is what silk and cashmere would smell like if they were a French fragrance – soft, luxurious, subtle, warm, enveloping, and natural. Zazen is understated; it’s an earthy, warm fragrance that is not going to brassily trumpet itself because it doesn’t need to; instead it allures like the gentle sounds of bamboo flutes and chimes, drawing people closer with its tantalizing accords. You would expect an olfactory masterpiece from Robert Piguet, and you would find it in Zazen.
Its top notes are saffron intermingled with the subtle tartness of mandarin and apple.
The heart of Zazen is a burst of intriguing rice, green violet, and orange blossom, which is thoroughly lovely and softly serene.
At its base are musk, tonka, and amber, which imparts a seductive, silken smoothness.
There is nothing quite like this fragrance in the world, which is why you’ll treasure it. Zazen is an ideal fragrance for summer weddings, dates, and soirees because it’s not heady or overwhelming in the heat and crowds, yet it’s distinctly elegant. It’s the French perfume version of a sleeveless silk shift that pairs well with everything, and is well worth the investment. ($218 – $225). Find it here and at Harrod’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, and Selfridges.