Saturday, February 25, 2012

In the mood for Spring - Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus

Winter seems to have (at least temporary) lost its grip of Sweden and we've had a week of melting snow, water dripping off roofs and green patches showing up all over the lawn. I'm so amazed with how this affects my perception of perfume. All of a sudden I'm no longer interested in "cozy", "comforting" or even "chilly ethereal". I want florid fruits, vivid florals and prolific playfulness, I've even been wearing my dress with bunny rabbits printed all over it, and I can tell you, that's not a dress for just any occasion :)

A perfume that has proven itself to be perfect for the last few days is Ormonde Jaynes Osmanthus. This is the only perfume that I know of where pomelo plays a major part. Pomelo are sometimes as big as a persons head and believed to be an ancestor to the grape fruit. In latin it's aptly named  "Citrus maxima". The flavour can best be described as a sweeter, milder and more floral variety of grape fruit.

Pomelo also happens to be one of my very favorite fruits and one I'm very familiar with - in high school I spent a year as an exchange student in Thailand and one of my host families there were pomelo farmers. After dinner we used to cut up a pomelo, tear off pieces of the flesh, dip in "nam jim" (= a mixture of sugar, salt and chili that seems maximize the flavors of any fruits it's applied on), shoveit   into our mouths and just "sabai sabai", a quintessential Thai expression that means to relax and feel good about things.

But back to perfume, the intro of Osmanthus is like digging your nails deep into the zest of a pomelo. There is that aromatic sharpness you get when using grated zest in foods, and there is an extra boost from pimento, but there is none of the tartness you get when using citrus juice itself.

About an hour into wearing, Osmanthus goes a bit watery. The zesty sharpness of the intro has mellowed down and I'd almost say it has an aquatic phase. But not to worry, one hour more and the osmanthus absolute seems to be in full bloom, intimately intertwined with the pomelo note. This is my favorite phase, the perfect balance between citrus, flowers and basenots and this is pretty much how it stays for the remainder of the wear.

In all, Ormonde Jaynes Osmanthus is a great scent for spring. It's sunny, happy and energizing, without being annoyingly cheery (as some citruses can be). And it goes great with bunny printed clothes.

Top Notes: Pomelo, davana (sweet Egyptian herb), pimento
Heart Notes: Osmanthus absolute, water lily and sambac (Indian jasmine)
Base Notes: Cedarwood, labdanum resin, musk and vetiver

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Recap Winter 2012

Finally we've had a few days of non-freezing temperature. It's not yet spring but still a step in the right direction. This has made me reach for a whole new sets of perfumes, colognes, light florals and even some fruity ones. So, lets do a recap of Winter 2012, before we forget all about it. 

My top 3 most used for perfumes during the winter of 2012:

Ormonde Woman by Ormonde Jayne - Conjures an image  of dark green fir trees covered in snow. Cool, delicate and severe at the same time. The scent of an elf queen during winter.

Santal de Mysore, Serge Lutens - It took me some time to "get" this one, the first few tries I could only smell wine barrels. Now it's a cornucopia of gourmet notes like chocolate and mint, spice notes like curry and cumin and above all, divine Mysore sandalwood. Funny thing is, when I made my husband try it, it mostly smelled like coconut!

28 La Pausa, Chanel les Exclusifs - Very hard to describe, it feels like adding an (much needed) aura of exclusivity and refinement whenever I wear it. If there ever was such a thing as class in a bottle, 28 La Pausa would be it.

Top trends:

Evergreens - not your regular "green" scents at all, but somehow with a dark,  green, near teal, feel to them. I do mentally place Ormonde Woman in this category along with Mandy Afteliers sweet and heart warming Fir and Chanels, cooler,  Sycomore.

Orientals - they're soft, warm and spicy, in other words, the best thing to battle winter with. Some much used favorites have been Serge Lutens Chergui and Chanel Bois des Iles.

Cool Iris - if fighting the cold does not seem like an option, join it. Some great options here are (the already mentioned) 28 la Pausa, Serge Lutesns Iris Silver Mist (interesting how I got more damp soil, roots and blood during summer, in winter is all about etheral metallic cold) and the soft and super feminine L'Eau d'Hiver by Frederic Malle.

New acquired tastes:

And, yes, one of the most fun things with having perfumes as a hobby is you think you know it all, "I love this, I hate that, yada yada" and then comes along a fragrance that proves you utterly wrong. For me, two notes that I didn't use to like but now have started to crave RE aldehydic cleanness and pepper. Aldehydic cleanness (I'm lacking a proper name here) is that sharp, scrubbed, slightly chemical clean note that make your eyes widen and at least I think "Should I really be inhaling this?". It's present in the top note of Frederic Malles Iris Poudre and it's in Aldehyde 44 by Le Labo.

Another new friend of mine is pepper. I used to think it was a bit to much, to sharp and not something I liked to smell in a perfume. No more. I now love how it adds character to the top notes of most of the Ormonde Jayne scents and how it's used to create contrast over time in Le Labos Poivre 23.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Jour Ensoleillé by Sonoma Scent Studio

My last couple of weeks have been turbulent. Some, pretty fundamental, things that I've been taking for granted proved to be, well, not to be. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Change is an inevitable part of life and it's only when old beliefs are lost that you get room for new ones hat are better suited for you - but it still feels disorienting and confusing. One part of me wanted to clench my wrists and scream like a teenager not getting her way and another wanted to cuddle up with kids and husband under a blanket in the sofa, trying to forget all about the outside world.

But, in the midst of all this I had a very nice surprise. A while ago, lovely Nathalie of anotherPerfumeBlog sent me some samples from Sonoma Scent Studios (Champagne de Bois and Incense Pure) and I liked them so much I  decided to order more. And, yes, now my parcel showed up in the mail! Great, I thought, lets do an all-weekend-Sonoma-marathon. As I'd just read Birgits review of Jour Ensoleillé I figuered, well, that one sounds like a good one to start with, lets go!

Right away, at first sniff of JE there are several, very easily recognizable, notes. There is orange blossom, flanked by it's pals indolic jasmine and waxy tuberose. My very first thought was, this is one of those simple, cheery little things, perfect for simple-minded, cheery people, good for them (=I hate them) (yes, this is a horrible thing to say, but you must to consider the drama-queen state of mind I was in at the time). On next inhale I thought, hey, there is more! And there IS more, that bright and happy side is flanked by another side, dark, cool and just plain beautiful. I can't pick out the exact notes for it myself but according to the list of official notes there are beeswax, labdanum, myrrh, sandalwood, ambergris, vetiver, green leaves and oakmoss.

For these last few days, JE has proved to be my perfect scent. It's happy side has cheered me up and helped me keep focus on that silver lining that is supposed to come with the clouds. The dark side has simultaneously calmed me while mirroring and acknowledging my confusion, like it's saying, it's ok, it's just the way things are right now, they're not perfect but we're all ok.

And that all-weekend-marathon never happened cause after trying on JE, it was all I wanted to wear for several days - and that's very unusual for me as I like to change scents as often as it's practically possible. In other words, a very good mark.

Notes: orange blossom, neroli, tuberose, jasmine, beeswax absolute, labdanum absolute , myrrh, sandalwood, ambergris, vetiver, green leaves, oakmoss absolute.

Picture from Sonoma Scent Studios website

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ormonde Jayne

I got the Ormonde Jayne Discovery set about half a year ago. Right away I started trying on the scents. They smelled good, really really good but I just couldn't bring myself to love them. And it was worse that that, I didn't even like them. They just did not feel comfortable and I wasn't enjoying myself  wearing them. I didn't understand, if something smells good, you DO like the scent, don't you? Every now and then I bought them out, tried one on, but no go. WTF?

But I persisted and eventually, many many tries later, it dawned on me. The Ormonde Jaynes have a very special energy about themselves. Right away when opening that box of samples there is this cloud of a certain type of person. A very self confident person. Someone who knows his or her place in the world. Someone who steps into a room, immediatly becomes the center of attention and just OWNS the room and everything in it. Someone that I'd very much like to be but I know  I'm not and that made me feel like a miserable failure. Yes, that was the feeling that came with the scents.

When I had that realisation, the spell was broken. I realised it's very two-year-odish to believe that you're a success only when everyone else is looking at you. I think most people would agree that it's much more fun to just cruise the rooms of a party, sometimes talk, sometimes listen and just interact with the other guests, exploring their worlds as they get to explore mine. To "own" people is just a very bizarre notion and doesn't belong in a modern, adult mindset.

And the Ormonde Jayne scents, they went from being something that made me feel bad about my very irrational shortcomings into a set of perfumes that smell very very good.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, who needs a shrink when there is perfume like this?