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Celebrate Springtime with the New L’Occitane Fleurs de Cerisier L’Eau Collection

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It’s officially cherry blossom season! If you’re visiting Japan this spring, you can expect to experience the magical sight of these pink-and-white flowers, which will likely begin opening in the next two weeks in much of the country (the trees in Fukuoka, Kobe, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo, and Nagoyama are expected to bloom in late March), with other cities’ flowers (like Matsumoto,  Kanazawa, Sapporo, Sendai, and Hirozaki) blooming in April or even early May. Usually, sakura flowers remain in bloom for only a week, and that temporality, that knowledge of their ephemeral nature, makes their emergence all the more exciting. In Japan, cherry blossoms are regarded with such reverence that their viewing has become a ritual of sorts. Hanami (or flower viewing) picnics, strolls, and parties take place in public and private gardens and parks throughout the country, the sole purpose of which is to admire the beauty of these flowers. Here in the U.S., from March 20th through April 12th, thanks to the cherry blossom trees donated by Japan over 100 years ago, residents in Washington, D.C., can admire the flowers cropping up around the Tidal Basin through a guided bike ride, pedicab tour, or boat cruise.

Cherry blossoms, then, have come to symbolize the magic of spring — which is why, every year,  L’Occitane releases a new collection of bath, body, and fragrance products that pay homage to these delicate blooms, incorporating special packaging elements and distinct aromatic notes to make each yearly release distinct from its predecessors. The 2015 L’Occitane Fleurs de Cerisier L’Eau Collection, available now, incorporates the following products:  Fragrance Touch ($22 at USA.LOccitane.com), Hand Cream ($12 at USA.LOccitane.com), Shower Milk ($20 at USA.LOccitane.com), Moisturizing Milk ($25 at USA.LOccitane.com), and Lip Balm ($12 at USA.LOccitane.com).

All of the products in this year’s collection feature gorgeous pink packaging with red and white details, as well as the playful and feminine illustrations of Provençal artist Charlotte Gastaut. The L’Occitane Fleurs de Cerisier L’Eau Fragrance Touch tube, for instance, has a lavender-tinged pink exterior adorned with floating  clusters of white blossoms, their interiors bright red and the words “Fleurs de Cerisier” written in a red cursive font. When you place the tube upright, you’ll notice that, right above the silver cap, there’s an illustration of a young woman in a pink A-line dress standing with her eyes closed and her nose pressed against one of the blossoms directly above her head, presumably smelling its delicate petals. Similarly, the clear bottle housing the Fleurs de Cerisier L’Eau Shower Milk features cherry blossom branches embossed on its surface and a rectangular pink label with the product name and playful illustrations positioned at the very base of the bottle. In this Gastaut-envisioned illustration, the same chic lady in the pink dress is perched atop one of the cherry blossom branches, with one hand reaching up to touch a blossom hovering over her. Also adding to the illustration’s charm, an unexpected red bow can be seen on the left-hand side of the label and silver touches add a hint of sparkle to a few choice blooms.

Check out these close-up shots of the Shower Milk and Fragrance Touch:

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The aroma of the products, meanwhile, is positively delightful, subtle and tender, with authentic cherry blossom extract from the flowers native to the Lubéron region of France at the heart of the composition. What I personally find refreshing, however, are the other notes: juicy and aqueous watermelon, blackcurrant, and zesty lemon at the top; the rose orchid, and white lily joining the cherry blossom at the heart; and woody and musky base notes.

Every time I bathe with the L’Occitane Fleurs de Cerisier L’Eau Shower Milk ($20 at USA.LOccitane.com), my mood is lifted. The scent is milky, powdery, and floral in the most delicate way, with the fruity notes that manifest themselves in other products within the collection taking a backseat. L’Occitane’s goal was for the scent to mimic that of newly opened cherry blossoms, rather than magnify the aroma of these flowers when in full bloom. The scent, then, is way more subtle than that of previous cherry blossom editions.

Similarly, the shower milk’s consistency strikes the perfect mid-point between creamy and gel-like. It’s not quite as fluid as, say, milk (otherwise it would drip right through your fingers the moment you squeezed it onto your palms), but it’s not as rich as a traditional creamy body wash. It doesn’t lather as much as a shower gel, but it does create a sudsy consistency and it’s easy to smooth onto the skin. Once you rinse it off, skin feels clean and refreshed; moreover, because of the sunflower seed oil in the formula, skin is nourished and moisturized.

Another winning detail: the aromatic experience is limited to the duration of your shower or bath so that, minutes after you towel dry your body, the scent will dissipate from your skin. I personally love this since it allows me to wear any fragrance of my choosing without the shower milk’s aroma interfering with the final aromatic result. I also love that it makes each shower feel like an at-home hanami, a  special but fleeting moment.

That said, if you want the aroma to linger for a longer period of time, you can reach for the L’Occitane Fleurs de Cerisier Fragrance Touch ($22 at USA.LOccitane.com). This portable fragrance has a clear color and a gel-like consistency so that you squeeze a dab out of the tube and glide it onto pulse points using the soft, flexible, slanted tip. The moment the perfumed gel is dabbed onto pulse points, you’ll likely detect citric notes above all else. My first impression of the perfume was more fruity than it was floral — in fact, the lemon note was more akin to ruby red grapefruit for me (which I personally prefer!) and I did pick up on the aquatic vibe yielded by the water melon note. The blackcurrant note, for me, was more akin to a ripe raspberry, which may just be the result of the aromatic combination. These fruity notes help to make that first impression exciting and joyful, perfect for a spring scent. But they’re also fleeting, which is actually a positive since the scent is special because of its subtleness. The soft cherry blossom aroma, meanwhile, lingers for hours, but it’s very subdued. As the hours pass, the scent seems to mingle more and more with your own skin’s natural musk, so that it feels like the aroma is emanating from your flesh, like you yourself are a petal in bloom.

Women who love delicate and feminine aromas will swoon over the Fleurs de Cerisier L’Eau Fragrance Touch, and the convenience of its portable tube will make it an excellent addition to any makeup bag, allowing for quick touch-ups during picnics, lunch dates, and romantic outings.

 

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