Night vision – Glass meets the perfumers behind Issey Miyake’s seductive new men’s scent Nuit D’Issey

Night vision – Glass meets the perfumers behind Issey Miyake’s seductive new men’s scent Nuit D’Issey

There has been much outcry in recent years over the decline of men’s perfumery – with many critics claiming that there hasn’t been a truly “classic” male scent for decades. Whether one agrees with this or not, Issey Miyake’s new scent Nuit D’Issey will hopefully instill more optimism into this seemingly stagnant market. The scent is inspired by the idea of nature becoming obscured and bewitching at night, with emotions heightened by darkness. As one might imagine, it’s a rather sexy number.

A suave, peppery and leathery character with sharp notes of citrus and bergamot, it’s a scent that grabs you by the crook of your elbow and whispers delightfully scandalous things into your ear. The bottle resembles a monolith, tinted black as one might expect – and cuts quite a formidable figure on the dressing table.

Issey Miyake is no stranger to creating alluring men’s scents. This year is actually the 20th anniversary of L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme, following on from Miyake’s original L’Eau d’Issey scent – both of which have since become classics (the name in French mimicking the word “odyssey”, inspired by the designer’s impromptu trip to Athens.) Miyake wanted to create a scent based on his love of water and – enlisting the help of perfumer Jacques Cavallier – he set about to do just that, with notes of lotus, freesia, cyclamen and tuberose. The famous bottle shape echoes the moon rising above the Eiffel Tower (which allegedly Miyake loves to gaze at from his Paris apartment).

Issy Miyake Night Vision

Translating the same theme for a masculine audience, L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme is an energizing scent for the modern gent, with notes of bergamot, nutmeg and waterlily, enriched with cedar and vetiver. Since this duo of fragrances launched, Miyake has become as renowned for his scents as he has for his iconic Pleats Please collections (a range of garments made from high-quality polyester fabric, made using a single piece of cloth.) His latest offering for men – Nuit D’Issey, marks a bold new direction into the world of night – and was thus greeted with excitement and trepidation by the world of male fragrance, it having no original female version as a forerunner.

When creating the scent, perfumers Dominique Ropion and Loc Dong were inspired by the idea of ‘adding light to the night’. Both men are industry heavyweights; Paris-born Ropion was classically trained in Grasse creating Ysatis by Givenchy when he was just 27, while Vietnamese Dong is considered to be the first Asian fine fragrance perfumer. The duo have worked together in the past on several major scents, including Armani’s Acqua di Gio and Yves Saint Lauren’s Manifesto. In the world of niche perfumery, Ropion is also famous for authoring Frederic Malle’s racy concoction Carnal Flower, so it’s safe to say that he knows a thing or two about creating scents for seduction.

At the launch in Paris, Glass met the two perfumers to discuss working for Miyake, their approach to the fragrance and why “night time” is such a popular theme in men’s fragrance.

How would you describe your different approaches as perfumers?
Dominique Ropion: We’re from different generations and have different ideas – but you have to learn to trust each other.
Loc Dong: Yes, we’re very different personalities – but what made it easier for us to work together was the fact that Issey Miyake is such a strong brand. It’s grounded in simplicity and nature – and that was a guidance for us.

Can you describe the process of creating Nuit d’Issey?
DR: We started with the idea of the night and based it around notes of black wood. It was interesting to explore the idea of discovering nature at night, so we experimented with a number of raw materials, contrasting leathery notes with fresh woody accords.

Did you have a particular type man in mind for this scent?
LD: The most important thing for us was to protect the integrity of the brand. If find the right accord that suits Issey Miyake’s aesthetic – then everybody will want to wear it.
DP: Although I would say the type of man who wears this scent has a lot of strength and is probably very elegant!

Why is “night time” such a popular category in men’s perfumery?
DR: It’s that element of fantasy. We have a saying in French: “every cat is grey at night”. It means anything is possible! It’s dark everywhere, your vision is limited, so you have to be more imaginative in a way. Scent is the perfect medium for that – it’s a perfect example of that sense of intangibility.

How involved was Issey Miyake in the creation of the scent?
LD: He was involved to an extent but not directly – but we had to follow his lead. We’re almost like architects; we use our skill and craftsmanship to realize someone’s vision. If they want water, we’re not going to give them rock! So you have to read between the lines a lot of the time.

What type of scent is the modern man of today looking for?
DR: I have no idea.
LD: We hope he’s looking for this fragrance!


by Viola Levy

Nuit D’Issey is £59 for 125ml at John Lewis

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