One Thousand Scents

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Two Different: Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus and Champaca

I could reach for a way to draw a connection between Osmanthus and Champaca, but the fact is that I opened my box of Ormonde Jayne samples and couldn't decide which of the soliflores I'd like to try, so I chose two.

Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus has a property you occasionally notice in other scents: it smells very different in different quantities. A tiny amount of it on your skin smells rather nice, if fundamentally uninteresting: it naturally has little projection, because there's not much of it, so you have to get up pretty close to smell it, and when you do, what you will smell is a bright apricot floral with a plush opening rapidly cut through with a knife of vetiver. Ten minutes after that it settles down and becomes dull, which is where it remains. If you spray it on with some abandon, it immediately becomes a vulgar fruity floral, from which it never recovers. It's not cheap (currently £80, about $125), and it isn't made with cheap ingredients, but it smells cheap, which is worse than if it actually were cheap.

Champaca, on the other hand, barely reads as a floral at all, and in fact flirts with outright weirdness. After a brief whiff of suntan lotion, it turns into a heavily peppered bowl of milky rice pudding, hot from the oven, garlanded with freesia. It smells even more like rice pudding than did Kenzo Amour, and clearly owes a debt to the mad-genius Le Feu d'Issey, with its creamy-buttery roses. I can't tell if I like it, exactly, but it's interesting, I'll give it that, and unlike Osmanthus, I'll be wearing it again, because I like a dollop of strangeness in my scents. I will not, however, be wearing this to dinner, because, like Le Feu d'Issey, it overwhelms food: you can't really smell anything else, and you'll fancy you can actually taste it.



  • I wasn't impressed by either of those two either. Keep going through that set though, there are some gems. I love Woman, Tiare and Ta'if and Frangipani is a nice summery floral. Orris Noir is pretty good too if you're into spicy.

    Also, I know someone who raves about her long-gone Feu d'Issey. I've never smelled it, is it good?

    By Blogger Unknown, at 12:03 PM  

  • Woman and Ta'if are very good, as is Man. I don't know about Orris Noir, though: I am not a fan of iris, at all.

    Le Feu d'Issey is extremely good: peculiar, but fascinating and unexpectedly wearable, an invisible art object. It's easy to see why it was a commercial failure, and just as easy to see why it's a fetish item for some people, who adore the dazzling bottle and the bravely unconventional fragrance inside. Some people hated it, maybe a lot of people, and I heard reports that some samples and bottles had gone dreadfully off (always a hazard), but if you can find it in good condition, you really ought to smell it.

    By Blogger pyramus, at 9:25 PM  

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