Gold Lily

Yellow daylily and mini gold ball capped Shangai Tang bottle with with ivory symbol for longevity.

Sheer lily, sweet floral with an undercurrent of earthy spice, held in place with light patchouli and some pale musk. At a distance the flowers are lovely, but an up-close sniff turns it into car air freshener for a while.
I like the coriander and clove drydown on the skin, after the synthetics fade.

The company has moved their fragrance production toward room scents and candles–I think that’s a good direction for them.


I went down the Google-hole looking for current pop music in Shanghai right now, and fell hard for the modern-hits-traditional vibe of this one. (Google translates the title as “I walked through the lonely long river in Mobei and the sun sets,” but Encore lists it as Xiao – “Rivers and Lakes.”)

Orchid Bloom

Shanghai Tang mini bottle with gold ball cap and blue symbol, with strawberries and blueberries.

Fruity wine with floral musk underneath.
The berries open strong and fun, but the orchid is too sheer, like its made of silk and chemical dyes. The musk on the bottom is delicate but loud–a bit shrill, to me.

Shanghai Tang is an amazing fashion house out of Hong Kong, with cross-cultural designs that lean kitschy in the best way.
The founder, Sir David Tang, was a fascinating guy–he was a philanthropist, socialite, business magnate, English professor, and newspaper columnist. His granddaughter runs the company now.


AGA is a Cantopop star from Hong Kong. This one is off her latest album So Called Love Songs.

Rose Silk

Mandarin orange and a gold topped Shanghai Tang bottle with the Chinese symbol for longevity in red, casting a cool shadow.

I keep hoping for someone to put out a real raw silk scent, with the strange animalics that rise from a new bolt of rough tussah or heavy dupioni. (Camel has a hint of it.)
There’s none of that here–Rose Silk is a sheer chiffon perfume, refined and delicate.

Opens with a bright squeeze of mandarin citrus that soon tempers down to a calm rose a few inches off the skin, that lasts most of the day.
Not particularly inspiring, but well made. A good blind-buy for a gift.


Coco Lee and Yo-Yo Ma’s ending credits song to one of my favorite movies of all time.

Oriental Pearl

Shanghai Tang bottle with gray Chinese character and gold ball cap, and a strand of pearls.

Elegant hippy–they dress up to get high, roll only the good stuff, and eat their gourmet snacks with a pinky raised.

Spicy benzoin, labdanum smoke and sheer patchouli, on the sweet side of unisex.
Lasts a long lazy afternoon.

Edit – 8/24/21

Was thinking about words and meanings today, and pulled this one out.
I’d forgotten how nicely patchouli cuts through late summer humidity–Eau de Star is another good one for that.

(Here’s an interesting article about the cartoon frog appropriated by the U.S. alt-right, turned into a symbol of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement. The original artist approves.)


Many locations, from Shanghai to Manila to Sri Lanka, claim the title Pearl of the Orient. Here’s a punk band from Wuhan covering Lo Ta-yu’s ode to Hong Kong.

Spring Jasmine

Shanghai Tang mini with gold ball cap, green longevity symbol, on green plant stems.

Supposed to be bamboo, jasmine and flowers, and olibanum, and that’s nice, but I mostly get Old Skool lilac. Is that what they mean by “flowers”?

Edit – 2/18/23

I bought this set of minis–The Silk Road Collection–curious about what kind of scents Shanghai Tang (a very cool fashion house dedicated to the revival of Chinese culture of the 1920’s–I’ve used several of their pieces on stage) might put out.
Turns out their perfumes were designed by two French-trained Western bigwig master perfumers.

There’s an excellent article over here about China’s fragrance history–Mao banned perfume in the Cultural Revolution.


This album came out at the end of 2013, just before Spring Jasmine was released. Hebe Tien was the front woman for the Mondopop mega band S.H.E.