17 is the new fragrance from Fo’ah. This niche perfume is a perfect scent to welcome spring, because it is inspired by memories of cherry blossom. Sounds good? Find out more in the review below!
Spring is here, and it’s time for light and lightness. 17 from Foah is a beautiful way to welcome this time of year. And for a number of reasons it makes me think of Japan.
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Firstly, because the official story behind the fragrance told by the brand is about a Japanese traveler relaxing in a desert oasis along the Silk Road. This image encompasses both the note of the palm tree (a unique accord used exclusively in Fo’ah perfumes) and the scent of cherry blossom remembered by the traveler, both part of 17 composition. This is a very direct and visible link. The other one is less obvious and more subtle.
Although I’ve never been to the land of the rising sun, what I know about the Japanese culture suggests that there is a deeply rooted tradition of appreciation of the nuances of the changing seasons. The experience of being in sync with nature is both a meditative one, directed at the inner world of the onlooker, and a form of outward communication. Subtle signs such as elements of interior, color palette of the tableware, choice of accessories, little seasonal gifts and food items that are consumed only during certain months or even weeks signal to everybody around that the person, household or company are carrying forward the traditions and values of the community, creating an atmosphere of continuity and upholding the connection to the natural world. A stranger would hardly notice the difference (for a tourist, a certain pattern on a plate in a restaurant is as good as any other and might seem random), but somebody who grew up in the country will instantly know how to read the signs and understand their meaning.
To me, 17 is a very Japanese scent in this regard. It’s a perfect embodiment of the beautiful custom I described above. Sakura (this most Japanese of all Japanese clichés) aside, the character of the fragrance is so unobtrusive, subtle, yet full of marvelous meaningful details, that I can’t stop thinking it would be hugely popular in Japan, were it sold there.
It’s the perfect fragrance for early spring – for those days when you already feel the energy of awakening nature, but the air is still chilly and fresh. It’s a very sophisticated and super airy floral scent with a distinctive woody base. 17 has the juicy, yet very watercolor-like freshness of the litchi fruit. Some dew drops that vibrate on the green grass in the early mornings before the sun can turn them into disappearing vapor. Calm and smooth wood. Hints of the wind blowing through a blossoming Sakura grove. And the hard to pin down but very distinctive note of the palm tree – a fresh green type of scent, somewhere between light wood and a sunny meadow. The sum of these parts has no hard edges and is a real watercolor painting for your nostrils.
As with the visitors to Japan who stay oblivious to all the little symbols surrounding them on every corner during their stay, one might overlook the beauty of 17 if one approaches it with the expectations suitable for some bombastic fragrance hits currently on the market. It’s not a perfume that “knocks your socks off” in the first 1.5 seconds. It’s not designed to dominate the surrounding space and express strong, wild and dramatic larger-than-life emotions. Instead, it’s full of grace and quiet beauty, it flows like a peaceful river, bringing the wearer private joy throughout the day. Meditative, calm, poetic and uplifting – these are the words that come to mind when I wear 17 from Fo’ah.
Interestingly, although the mood this scent immerses me into early spring, the perfume is capable of prolonging this experience well into the summer. On my skin it works best when it’s really warm and the air humidity is low. An elegant way to take a little piece of spring into June, July and August.
And if you are wondering about the unusual shape of the bottle – it’s a reference to the shape of the palm tree trunk. The palm is the original central source of inspiration for the brand, its official tagline is “Mémoires d’une palmeraie” (Memories of a palm grove). For Fo’ah this plant, so typical for an oasis landscape, builds a bridge between the East and the West, the lush perfume traditions of the Middle Eastern kingdoms and the elegance innate to the best European fragrance creations. Thus, also the (well-earned) pride that Foah’s founders take in the exclusive rights to the innovative palm tree accord that was developed specifically for their brand.
If you enjoy lighter, fresher scents, you should definitely check out Foah, and specifically 17 (all their fragrances are named with numbers that have a positive meaning in the Middle eastern culture). I certainly can’t wait till all travel restrictions are lifted, and I can again meet the brand’s charming founders and hear about their ideas for new compositions.
Although Fo’ah is a very young brand, they’ve already done a great job at building a distribution network around the world. First stop to learn more about Fo’ah and shop their fragrances is the official website that also offers international shipping. A cool feature is the option to refill your empty bottle after it’s used up! If you prefer to shop more locally in your country you can find a list of all the retailers here. Just some of them to give you an idea about geographic availability: Jovoy Paris, liquidesconfidentiels.com, rafinadparfumerie.com and ausliebezumduft.de in Europe, Sanahunt in the Ukraine, Limited Gallery in the Middle East.
Isn’t the bottle gorgeous? Have you tried anything from Fo’ah? And what’s your favorite spring flower?