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 imIMG_5671pressed 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, itConservatory by seriykotik1970. 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…..

IMG_5699 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!

check out Ellen’s thoughtfully-written blog and her website, where you can order samples of her line…..


Soap and box photo mine.

1951 LIFE  photo of Nina Leen from

image of Victorian greenhouse in the gardens of the Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, London, courtesy of seriykotik1970


  1. Oh, you have me interested in this line definitely. And Red Cattleya sounds really good - I love juicy-fruit smelling notes. :)

  2. Oh, Ines, I have written a special post just for you! About her line and fig.....Stay tuned, my dear!

  3. Red Cattley is OK, very fruity :)

  4. you're right Bellatrix!

    It's not my favorite of the line, but I had to start somewhere...

    and I do like it for its killer fruitiness
    which was your favorite?

  5. I loved her Javanica!
    I haven't had a chance to try the others just yet ,seeing as I got it yesterday but I think Ellen's line is very promising too.
    It's exciting.

    Do you realize me and her are practically neighbors, she's only about a half/hour away from me??!
    We are planning to meet up sometime in Aug. when she gets more supplies in a store called Steuber's.
    It's because of you my dear,
    thanks for the nose up :)
    I can't wait for more reviews on this<3

    xoxox, T

  6. I loved the javanica too! so spicy and nutmeggy and all...

    I am happy you two will meet up! I thought you might live near there ;-)

    That makes me smile!

    I am jealous of all you pacific northwesterners, for sure.

  7. Come join us then!

    Move here already, you know you wanna!
    We can revel in summer together and lament the winter and rain the rest of the time. :P

    xoxo, T

  8. Thanks for the wonderful review! I love the pictures. The girl with the orchid gloves is amazing and absolutely perfect.

    Thanks too for the introduction to Tamara. I will be meeting up with her when I go to the agricultural supply store in Snohomish to buy orchid growing supplies.

    About 8 years ago I almost moved to Ithaca, but that's another story entirely. Right now I'm glad I'm in the Pacific Northwest. Nothing can compare with our beautiful summers.

    I look forward to the rest of the reviews.

  9. Believe me, it's my pleasure!

    glad you two will be getting together, as well!

    Have fun.

    I'm curious..were you offered a job here in Ithaca?

  10. Ellen is a fab talented perfumer that I'm blessed to 'know' a bit :) The Red Cattleya is one of my favorites, perfect for the summer and such a creative fruity floral, really special!
    xo from Irina

  11. I've sampled Ellen's creations here is Australia as well. What do you think of the Olympic Amber? Definitely my favorite. The mid-base notes remind me of Madam Rocchas
    Javanica is interesting as well - smells like it contains coffee tincture? Yummy.


  12. Irina, I think creative is the perfect word to describe the composition of the Red Cattleya!

  13. Mark24,
    ALl the way in Australia, already! Wow!I loved the olympic amber as well! I want to write about it in a post sometime soon.
    I totally see the Madam Rochas in there!

    I loved javanica--it is delightfully unusual.

    Thanks so much for stopping by.

  14. I am interested on that soap. Where I can find to buy this? Do they have a website? Thanks! :)

    human pheromones


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