Sunday, April 3, 2011

I'm only dreaming again and I will forever it seems...

 Perfume Challenge Week 13: Monday, 3/28/11, to Friday, 4/1/11

This week brings us another week of scents from Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes. I am loving this perfumer, and so happy that these lovely scents come from the PNW. So without further ado...

Forests of the PNW
Monday: Olympic Orchids Arizona - Experience a walk through the pine forests and clearings of the Arizona high country on a sun-warmed summer day. Notes of ponderosa pine, juniper, sagebrush and chaparral with just the slightest hint of high desert wildflowers. All natural.

Toward the masculine, this is dry, herbal. It smells a bit like organic fertilizer. It also has do I put this delicately...a something in it that smells like the musk of areas of intimate skin. It's a very sexy smell, but I just can't imagine wearing it myself. It actually makes me blush, honestly. I don't know what the perfumer did in Arizona that led to this scent, but I can't help but imagine thinking it was a night to remember. Seriously, blushing every time I sniff at it. If someone came at me wearing this, I'd assume I was in for a wild night. Okay, maybe I can imagine wearing it, but I'm not telling you about it. FN1. 4.5 of 5 nods for the artistry, but I still don't know if I'd actually want a bottle.

Tuesday: Olympic Orchids Carolina - A dreamy scent of the American South that takes you from a day spent among sun-warmed long leaf pines, grassy fields, magnolias, and kudzu flowers through a warm, humid night sweetened with the scent of honeysuckle and star jasmine, always with an undercurrent of tonka-rich tobacco curing in the wooden barns and historic red brick factories.

This one is also super fantastico in my book. I get warm pine needles, I get green tobacco leaves, I get a hint of magnolia petals, and somehow based on the combination of notes I get a bit of banana. Not real banana, but better -- banana bread scent, warm and sweet and delicious. I couldn't find my sample of Washington Tremlett Royals Heroes 1805, but I felt the urge to compare them, and that's a great recommendation in my book. If Arizona is pure sex, then Carolina is like coming home for the holidays. And since those piney woods are the same from the Carolinas to Texas, and banana bread is a staple there, it smells like home to me.

And now I really want a plane ticket. 5 of 5 nods.

Wednesday: Olympic Orchids Kingston Ferry - On a sunny morning when the fog is still hanging over the water, take a walk down to the ferry dock and breathe the sea air, the scents of madrone, rhododendron, heather, wildflowers, garden flowers, and cedar leaves from the land, the sea-weathered wood pilings of the dock, and the sun-dried driftwood and charred firewood from the beach. Tincture of Pacific Northwest seaweed contributes a subtle, green ocean fragrance.

Olympic Peninsula Lighthouse
And speaking of home, these next two are from one of my favorite parts of the country. This one is really hard to describe. It reminds me of the smell of old books or a library. I definitely think it smells like the woods described above -- docks, driftwood, firewood. And the harder to place aspects do, in fact, smell like drying oceanic plantlife at first. After twenty minutes it turns toward a more floral undertone, and the wood drops out as it becomes about the heather and rhododendron. Another twenty minutes and the woods come back, this time balancing with the florals. It's a lovely, grown-up scent. I imagine it being worn with heather grey dresses, low heels, pearls, and a loose chigon. Think summer afternoon wedding near the ocean, in place like this one. 3.5 of 5 nods.

Thursday: Olympic Orchids Olympic Rainforest - Explore the mysterious, lush, mist-shrouded rainforest of the Pacific Northwest, where everything is constantly green, every
surface dripping with water and covered with life in the cycle of growth, decay and rebirth. Cedar leaves, green sword ferns, rhododendron, forest mushrooms, wildflowers from the clearings, oakmoss, and Port Orford Cedar wood are all rising from the wet, leafy scent of the forest floor.

Definitely in the realm of "the man your man could smell like." I don't think it smells all that much like the Olympic rainforest and I spend as much time up there as possible, so I feel comfortable weighing in. It's a mossy green scent, medicinal and earthy. It's pretty, but not something I can personally imagine wearing. Well made and highly recommended to those who like earthly scents without a hint of the floral or the sweet. 3 of 5 nods.

Friday: Olympic Orchids A Midsummer Day's Dream - A scent inspired by the idea of a wild outdoor spirit taking a nap under a shady fruit-laden bush on a hot summer day. Notes of black currant, figs, and green fig leaves combine with an amber base to create a dreamy oriental-gourmand fragrance.

Fig love!
Wow, very unusual. When do you ever get a fruit scent that isn't sweet? All that green fig leaf and currant makes this tart and tangy and dry, like the stuff people rub on your chest. Later, though, it becomes a sweeter figgy scent. It's a deep, dark, rich fig, and I can only imagine it being deeper in warmer weather. If Hermes Un Jardin En Mediterranee is a fizzy figgy cocktail, then this is a spicy, highly concentrated fig pancake syrup. I love it. I will definitely buy it before the summer hits. 5 of 5 nods.

Winner of the Week: Carolina and A Midsummer Day's Dream are both big winners in my book, though all of the scents were great. It makes me even more excited that whomever wins the March drawing, which is open until April 7, 2011, is going to win the sampler pack from Olympic Orchids. All scents are reasonable priced and available under $60.00.

"I should have know.
Friends gave me warning.
You had a dream of your own.
Now our midsummer mornings are through. 
Follow your star; it will lead you somewhere. 
Love is not really so far if in dream I can come there to you."
~ "Midsummer Morning (Midsummer Night's Dream)," Joni Mitchell

FN1. I feel weirdly like Chandler Burr and all his TMI descriptions in The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris and New York.


JoanElaine said...

Great reviews! I have the sample set, and there are so many to try I've barely scratched the surface.

I LOVE Carolina. It is FBW. It's such rich scent and it hits all the right buttons.

I'm very intrigued by the "intimate" notes you found in Arizona. I haven't tried Arizona yet, but tonight when I get home, I'll be cracking that vial open asap!

Diana said...

JoanElaine -- Glad to hear I'm not the only with one in love Carolina. :)