Ask your mother: labor for a second pregnancy tends to be faster than the first, but no less difficult. As a mere cat mom, I have absolutely zero business making this comparison, but the process of delivering Arielle Shoshana’s second fragrance into the world followed a similar pattern. Sunday was developed more quickly than our first fragrance, Saturday (16 mods vs. Saturday’s 23), but came with its own exciting labor pains.
Sunday’s inspiration was my favorite drink from my favorite Sunday brunch spot: True Food Kitchen’s matcha horchata, an addictively delicious blend of matcha tea powder, creamy rice milk, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. When our perfumer Cécile created our first fragrance, Saturday, we were working with shared reference points. We both knew what passion fruit smelled like. We both knew what saffron smelled like. But as a New Yorker, hundreds of miles away from the closest True Food location, Cécile had never tasted matcha horchata. Not a single one of the adorable Manhattan cafés I Googled offered it. So when the first Sunday mods arrived, they were total horchata heaven- sugary, rice pudding-y goodness- with almost no matcha.
As delicious as these early versions were, I was committed to the matcha horchata concept. There have been rice pudding perfumes before (Kenzo Amour and Bath & Body Works Rice Flower & Shea come to mind), there have even been a few scents with matcha notes (Urban Outfitters Matcha Té, By Kilian Princess), but no fragrance had attempted both. I was determined to create something new, something innovative, something that would make anyone who tried it say, “I’ve never smelled anything like this.” (They do say that, almost every time, and I’m really very proud of it.)
I finally ended up mailing Cécile a packet of Rishi Sweet Matcha, the closest matcha match I could find to what I had in mind for Sunday. A few weeks later, a much more multi-dimensional round of mods arrived at Arielle Shoshana: 9, 10, and 11. 11 was the immediate standout. It was a gorgeous, glorious mug of matcha horchata, beautifully balanced between the delicate bitterness of matcha and the milky sweetness of horchata. Cécile declared it “groundbreaking” and “one of [her] favorite things [she’d] ever worked on.”
(The absolute insanity of hearing that from Cécile Hua, Vice President of the American Society of Perfumers! I still can’t quite believe I get to put the Arielle Shoshana name on two of her incredible creations. Please never leave us, Cécile.)
I adored Mod 11, but was a little less ready to commit than Cécile. Was it almost too balanced? Was the matcha effect really strong enough? Was there a touch too much cinnamon? I begged for more matcha; Cécile generously humored me for another five mods. Those five were wispy, evanescent beauties, weightless matcha meringues that unraveled thirty minutes in. It became very clear very quickly that the only way to make the matcha top notes more prominent was to subtract from the horchata-y base, resulting in compositions that fell apart long before the drydown. By mod 16, I was finally ready to admit that mod 11 clearly couldn’t be improved on. Without a single “I told you so,” Cécile finalized the formula that we now know as Arielle Shoshana Sunday.
I know that every new mother thinks her new (human) baby is the most beautiful cherub to ever grace the hospital bed, but I really do think that Sunday is something very special. It’s such a cozy comfort scent- every time I smell that creamy rice milk note, I feel like I’ve just wrapped myself in a luxurious terrycloth robe monogrammed with the logo of a hotel I can’t afford. And then the delicate dusting of matcha elevates it to, in Cécile’s own words, a groundbreaking green gourmand. Arielle Shoshana Saturday earned four stars from Perfumes: The Guide; I wholeheartedly believe that Sunday is a five-star fragrance. I so hope you’ll love it as much as I do.