the girl with the orchid gloves: Olympic Orchids Red Cattleya review
I recently got a full set of samples and some soaps from a brand new niche perfumery—Olympic Orchids—and I have to say that I am quite impressed with the perfumer Ellen Covey’s nose and vision. As I told her:
I just got your package today, and I must say I was blown away! I had a feeling your work would be good, but I had no idea HOW good. I was literally shaking my head in wonder and amazement at the balance, the craftsmanship of each scent, everything. I will be writing about your whole line on my blog. Not to mention buying some FBs for myself when my budget expands.
thanks so much for allowing me to experience your work. I see great things in your future as a perfumer.
Here’s the deal: I really think everyone should give this line a try. I was impressed with every single thing I smelled, and I do intend to review them all over the coming weeks. SO here’s the first of many, a rather telegraphic review of Olympic Orchids Red Cattleya:
This fragrance is fruity—really juicy even, overpoweringly rich, but quite exquisite. Yes, it is a fruity floral, but a very interesting one, full of life and voluptuousness. This isn’t your typical insipid preteen fruity-floral. This is for REAL WOMEN! Women with guts to wear something unique and intense. I do believe that most of this line is unisex as the perfumer intended, but this one does strike me as uber-feminine.
I get spices—mostly nutmeg, a lovely vanilla, full-juiced fruits, and, yes, a definite hothouse smell—the testing notes say I should imagine myself in a Victorian conservatory, crammed to the brim with the most exotic species collected from the ends of the earth, and maybe I’m suggestible, but that is what I get! It smells overwhelmingly of exotic plants, in a humid place full of growing things. Violet is definitely there, rounding everything out and lending the composition a delicate floral roundness. Beneath it all is a light musk and wood accord, which comes out in the drydown—as if the cattleyas had calmed down and let their bark and terracotta pots steal the spotlight at the very end of the show…..
I also got a very lovely soap in this same fragrance—a rich, oily lather that doesn’t dry my skin and makes me very happy in the steamy shower—the fruity/floral evocation of greenhouse humidity is amplified to great effect. In fact, I think I prefer this intense fragrance in soap form, since its sweetness can become slightly overpowering on the skin after a length of time.
The bottom line? Finally, a fruity floral I can get behind--this has real grace and power!
Soap and box photo mine.
1951 LIFE photo of Nina Leen from myvintagevogue.com
image of Victorian greenhouse in the gardens of the Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, London, courtesy of seriykotik1970