Friday, May 19, 2006

Today’s Sample: Ormonde Jayne’s Osmanthus

This morning I tucked my Frangipani away. As promised, I am wearing Ormonde Jayne’s (OJ) Osmanthus today, in order to compare it to the Keiko Mecheri (KM) Osmanthus (formerly known as Fleurs d’Osmanthus) I wore last week. I have the OJ on all my usual perfume points, save my right wrist, where I am wearing the KM.

This is not my first time to wear Osmanthus. In fact, it was the first OJ fragrance I tried, and also the first niche fragrance I ever tried. When I received my first sets of samples, I decided I would do mini-reviews for myself, so I could keep track of my impressions. Bob had given me a lovely fountain pen and journal for Christmas, so I decided to use the journal to keep track of fragrances. Funny, I work at a computer all day, and I generally come home and get on the computer there for one reason or another, but I love to write. I love the physical act of writing, the pen and the paper, all of it. Now that I’ve started this project, I generally type these impressions out in Word. I miss the book.

OJ’s site lists the notes in Osmanthus as follows:
Top: Pomello, davana (sweet Egyptian herb), pimento
Middle/Heart: Osmanthus absolute, water lily and sambac (Indian Jasmine)
Base: Cedarwood, labdanum resin, musk, and vetivert

Here’s part of what I wrote as my first impressions of this fragrance: “It’s almost masculine to me, but not unfeminine, like a woman who is handsome rather than pretty,” and “It’s sharp, but the smoke tempers it a bit.” I had also written “hairspray.”

To me, this is indeed a very sharp, smoky fragrance. If I were to take the analogy of the handsome woman further, OJ’s Osmanthus is a woman in the 1950’s, dressed to the nines at a cocktail party, with a cigarette in one hand and a gin martini in the other. Jazz—something experimental and discordant—plays in the background.

I think I wrote “hairspray” because this scent evokes for me all those scents that made up a woman of that era. When I smell this, I see pictures of my grandmother from that time, tan, made-up, well-coiffed. The scent of hairspray mixed in with the scents of perfume, lipstick, smoke and gin. The citrus hangs on to the end in this fragrance, but it does mellow.

The KM is a much prettier scent. The fragrance is soft but confident, elegant. It’s a woman (not a girl, mind you—it is not OJ’s younger sister, the way Anthousa Fig & Vetiver was to Diptyque Philosykos) in pale pink silk, sipping fine champagne at a late morning wedding in the summertime. A string quartet plays.

OJ’s fragrance is one I can definitely appreciate, but I wouldn’t want to wear it. Or maybe couldn’t wear it—I don’t think I can pull this off. But I would like to be friends with someone who could wear this fragrance with confidence. That person would have to have a big personality, or else this fragrance could end up wearing her, and then she’d just be the lady with too much perfume that you roll your eyes at in the elevator. For myself, I prefer the quiet subtlety of the KM, although I’m not quite sure it's really me either.

I’m Frangipani! (You knew I would have to bring it up again, didn’t you?)