Founded in 2020, artisanal and niche fragrance house Karmic Hues has taken the perfume world by storm and is looking to expand its unparalleled catalogue with Rashomon Volume 1 and 2. Gagen and Srivathsa have a longstanding passion for fragrances and have combined their personal hobbies with their love of fragrances.
In 2021, the house released The Cosmis Balance, a fragrance collection of four scents. This will be reviewed at a later date. However, projected for a May 2022 release, the team at Karmic Hues has taken their love for the art of cinema and applied it to their newest line.
Titled Rashomon Volume 1 and 2, the collection is inspired by ”the acclaimed 1950 film of the same name. It is formulated to provide each individual with a completely subjective point of view from one another, owing to the variety of olfactory families in these fragrances and hence invoking the “Rashomon effect.”
The “Rashomon effect” involves individuals experiencing something in different ways. “This collection is inspired by the 1950 film of the same name by acclaimed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa … We have blended these fragrances in efforts to invoke the Rashomon effect (different perspectives as in the film), which is to provide a unique subjective olfactory experience to each individual.”
The sample-set comes in a small black tin. It’s designed with gentle branding on the front and an ingredient list on the back. There is something nostalgic about opening up the tin for me. Maybe it’s because my dad loved mints when I was a kid, and I would beg and plead to have just one.
When you open the tin, you’re met by a small dust bag that includes two fragrance samples wrapped in wax paper. The decants themselves are some of my favourites due to their width. I have large hands, so spraying decants can sometimes be messy as the juice spills over onto my fingers. However, these decants are short, wide, and easy to apply.
Rashomon Volume 1
Notes: Oud, Natural Ambergris Tincture, Sandalwood, Tuberose, Plumeria, Leather, Rum, Honey, Mango, Musk
Where to even begin. The Rashomon effect was in full swing with the first installment of the collection. The people around me and I found very distinct characteristics within the scent. Some of these peers are more experienced in perfumery than others.
My take was that this fragrance was terrific. To generalize the scent, it was musky, fruity, and slightly boozy. However, that description does the fragrance no justice.
I might add that the Mango is very prevalent and heavenly off the top. It gave off a citrus pop mixed with some tartness. Then came the Rum and Honey, which played well with the Mango, reminding me of a cocktail that I need to concoct once this article is finished.
These melded together to create this aroma which took all of these ingredients at their rawest form. Think sugar cane that was just cut into and dipped into a make-believe pot of booziness. Then, the skin of the mango was peeled and plunged into this boozy concoction, followed by honeycombs.
Then, the fragrance takes a turn towards the forest. I get lots of botanicals, piney woods, leaves, and a delightful musk. It reminds me of camping and how it is portrayed in camping commercials. We don’t see how rugged it may be at times. Just sheer beauty and humans existing in their element.
It concludes its life in the forest. However, the notes from birth have been pushed to the wayside. Thus allowing the Musk and Oud to spring forward, cascading over and eventually engulfing the pre-existing note arrangement.
This is a heavenly fragrance with the potential to deceive others into thinking that this fragrance is your natural pheromone. It begins its pure life before taking a darker turn into a world that is almost mythological or imaginative.
Rashomon Volume 2
Notes: Rashomon Volume 2: Natural Ambergris Tincture, Cardamom Absolute, Sandalwood, Leather, Tuberose, Plumeria, Rum, Honey, Mango, Guava, Lemon, Apple, Benzoin, Musk
The two share a very similar note breakdown, as you can see above. However, the profile itself couldn’t be more different. For my North American readers, take a fruit roll-up and stuff lemon War Heads inside it. That’s how the scent opens.
For my non-North American readers, fruit roll-ups are foot-long pieces of candy that have been attached to a wax paper. They’re fructose-heavy, sugary abominations that are so damn tasty, and I hate that I enjoy them so much. However, they’re confectionaries with syrupy sweetness and fruity flavours.
Insert lemon flavoured sour candies or lemon War Heads, and you have the opening. The Lemon is so prominent, and when paired with Apple, Mango and Guava, it produces a delectable sensation for those with a sweet tooth.
It continues on its life very fruity, fresh, and super spring or summer oriented. The denser notes like Sandalwood, Leather, and Cardamom play in the background and project the notes listed above right to the top.
What you end up with is a refreshing, tart fruit fragrance combined with artificial and natural sweetness, finished in nature’s finest woods, flowers, and Orientals.
As you can tell, I preferred Rashomon Volume 1 more. However, it was like comparing two great artists. You can subjectively say that one was better, although you may recognize that both were splendid at what they did.