I like to consider myself a fair fragrance reviewer. Even if I don’t care for something, I’ll mention that it didn’t work for me, that others might quite enjoy it. I don’t hand out over 4-star ratings terribly often and, up until discovering Folie À Plusieurs (Folie), I had only ever considered two fragrances out of hundreds as a 5-star/embalm me with this when I die scent (both from Penhaligon’s).
I say this so you understand that I don’t necessarily give praise out lightly, without thinking about it, or that I fling 5 stars at any passing fragrance I fancy. That being established, Kafka On the Shore by Folie is the third 5.
Folie is a niche fragrance house/”olfactive art gallery” based in New York. They frequently pair other mediums with fragrance creations.
We believe the use of fragrance should not be limited to only enhancing our physical appearance, but should also broaden our emotional, intellectual and cultural experience. By using fragrance as a medium for deepening the emotional and kinesthetic engagement of art; our aim is to elevate the cultural value of fragrance — broaden its meaning, and relationship to the human experience.Folie À Plusieurs
This is also the quickest I’ve become a member of the five or more bottles club with any house, including Penhaligon’s. While I could go on about Find Me, Post Tenebras Lux, or Dancing in the Factory, I’ll save those for another day and focus on Kafka on the Shore, created by David Chieze to complement Haruki Murakami’s 2002 novel of the same name (which also won a World Fantasy Award in 2006). But first, let’s take a quick peek at the notes.
Kafka on the Shore Notes
Old book accord, lavender, iris, birch tar, amber, musk, patchouli, cedarwood, oakwood, leather, and vanilla
As mentioned, I want to be embalmed with this scent when I die. Many a perfume has claims to have mastered “old book smell” and to be quite honest, I personally think that while a few have come close, they have all fallen short in one form or another. Either they lost the sweetness of an old book, the muskiness, or straight up smelled like magazines off the rack from a supermarket.
Kafka on the Shore bang on smells like a favorite old book. Just the right amount of must, the aging sweetness of the paper and glue, and the ever slight tang of aged leather. But Kafka doesn’t stop there, oh no. Behind the best old book you will ever smell in your life is a wonderfully woody, slightly powdery, and aromatic delight.
I sprayed on Kafka and let it settle for five minutes before inhaling, and let me tell you. This scent, throughout its entire dry down and beyond, continually lit up the dopamine receptors in my brain like a freaking New Year’s Eve firework display. I almost cried, it is that good.
Now, you might be wondering “Okay, so what’s the catch? Surely something like this must be expensive.” Folie perfumes are not entirely cheap, but they are more affordable than many other niche houses that charge well over $200 for a 50 mL bottle. Folie has two sizes available for purchase, a pocket perfume 10 mL for $39, or a 50 mL bottle for $157. However, keep in mind that if you purchase a 50 mL bottle it ALSO comes with a 10 mL travel spray of that same fragrance. AND they give samples.
Their customer service is extraordinary to boot.
Am I saying you should drop everything and go buy a whole bottle? No. But I think any serious fragrance lover should definitely head over and give Folie a look, because with noses like David Chieze, Mark Buxton, Antoine Lie, Jérôme Di Marino, and more… you’ll certainly be in for an olfactive treat. And if you’re just starting on your fragrance journey and looking branch out into niche scents? Well, the sheer creativity combined with “bang for your buck” makes Folie an excellent house to explore.
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The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.