February 7, 2011

Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes & Giveaway


These days seem tense with imminent change, with the full weight of the coldest days of winter on us with much to accomplish and the days passing too quickly when icy nights have fallen. The news, the uncertainties, the multiple calls for attention and care from many directions are more demanding when the very air and ground are so cold. These are perfumes that suddenly open a window into the early days of a care-free summer and so transport me while the weather and whole season has been so stormy and the nights longer than I recall ever before. They are a possible alternative Rescue Remedy recalling the days and nights of the most clement conditions and so refreshing and energizing for the days yet ahead.

I can well see why orchid growers become enamored of these flowers' perfumes, which are rich and varied, distinctively day and night fragrances. The orchid scent generating tissues work so hard that sometimes the flower actually warms up from the chemical activity. As live flowers they are most fragrant at the time of day or night most compatible with the activity of their pollinators. These are ancient fragrance compositions, made of the primordial chemistry of natural selection. They range across a wide scent spectrum, from what we think of as a true floral to cinnamon, vanilla or citrus, woody or moss.

Ellen Covey of Olympic Orchids  has made perfumes inspired by the types of orchids she cultivates in her nursery in the Pacific Northwest.

There is a strong stylistic unity to the range. They combine floral and green notes as naturally close and subtle as in garden reality, and all begin with very subtle top high notes, then linger in the mid-range, then dry down deeper but not darker. Like music that doesn’t get too fast or dramatic but stays in the Eric Satie/Chamber music/Oren Lavie range of impressions. It makes it all even more appealing to know that these clear moments of plant generated beauty are originally directed to attract the favored pollinators with such determination their natural perfumes became so gorgeous as to attract human olfactory senses too.

I thank Scent Less Sensibilities for pointing me in their direction, because her review intrigued me enough to get samples, which I suggest to all who have an interest in artisan made floral themed perfumes. They are immediately beautiful on application, and have good longevity for perfumes made with a high concentration of natural materials, holding close to the skin and growing softer over time. (30-33 % for perfumes) and it appears they are reproductions of orchid scents made and modified with other notes and accords, rather than extractions from the orchids themselves.

Red Cattelya is my favorite. Smooth, lyrically floral, beginning with a light citric tang that deepens into a rosy jasmine with no indolic element, a true orchidaceous archetype, like an idealized violet without that extreme sweetness but with a faraway moss distantly anchoring the velvety floral aspect. This is arrived at with listed notes of citrus, peach, apricot, melon, hyacinth, gardenia, violets and lilac. At its base is a dark current of musk, exotic woods and vanilla. I see this as a perfect present for Valentine’s Day or anytime.

Golden Cattelya is a honeyed version that has an airy quality, a lightness buoyantly carrying the floral and green notes into melon-ness.

Little Stars is a jasmine like perfume most expressive of refreshing night air filled with blooming nectar filled flowers. The notes are listed as citrus, neroli, ylang-ylang, clove bud and jasmine on a base of exotic woods, oud, black agar and atlas cedarwood, evoking the white night blooming orchid flower in the midst of the woods.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is just that, florals, hay, cut grass, a green but rich floral that is held in an open air expansiveness and spaciousness.

Luzonica has a lemony floral sweetness that burns down to a subtle and light tea fragrance.

Javanica is a spicy floral cinnamon with green overtones.

After taking some notes on the train, I notice that the fragrances have penetrated the notebook in a pleasant way. The pages and cover give out a lightly vanilla-floral odor when they are turned. I think these perfumes would be good aromatic sweeteners to my winter wardrobe of sweaters, scarves, cases and books.

For more information and pricing (each perfume comes in a variety of sizes/prices) see the online site for Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes.

Above: the American  orchid painter Martin Johnson Heade:  An Amethyst Hummingbird with a White Orchid.


P.S.  Ellen Covey of Olympic Orchids Artisans Perfumes has offered two 5ml spray bottles of Red Cattelya as a give away to two commenters who request entry for the draw.  I will announce the winners on Sunday night in the comments section of this post.

PSS:  The winners of the draw, as announced in the comments, are Skyebotanicals (Monica) and Liz G.  Please contact me with your information so 5 ml of the Red Cattelya can be send on its way to you asap!  Congratulations!
 

47 comments:

Lisa BTB said...

I know of this line but have yet to try any of the perfumes. Thanks for the review. I'm going to look into purchasing samples.

Lucy said...

Lisa,

I think you will really enjoy the orchid ones, especially the cattelyas and the white star...

tarleisio said...

Lucy - thank you so much for the mention - and I'm so glad you like these! (You just know I did!) There are so many of these that I love, and Doc Elly's talent - and her unique signature, which I'm glad I'm not the only one to discover - should be known to far more people than it is. Her orchid scents are stunning - even the ones I can't wear, and I'm glad you liked Red Cattleya, too! Such a glamour puss of a perfume - as well as an orchid. ;-)

Lucy said...

Indeed Tarleisio, I am so glad you found them and that I found your site -- very much enjoy your writing style!

stevewckrt said...

Olympic Orchids is a new line of handcrafted artisan fragrance products, first inspired by the incredible variety of scents produced by orchid flowers and created by Ellen Covey, owner of Olympic Orchids orchid nursery in the Pacific Northwest.
http://www.thinkperfume.com
Perfumes are an integral part of a person's whole life.Perfumes are a key to what is exactly going on inside a man, what he/she is feeling and its emotional status. On the other hand it helps in changing the mood of a person.

Lucy said...

It's an essential part of my life, that's for sure, Stewart. Thank heavens!

Scent Hive said...

I would love to be entered Lucy! Your gorgeous review has really captured my attention.

XOXO
T

Diana said...

I also would love to enter! I'm always excited and happy to see perfumery happening here in the PNW. Thanks for the review and introduction.

JoanElaine said...

A perfumista friend recently sent me some Red Cattelya and Luzonica soaps. I keep them in my dresser, and their lovely aromas flow out every time I open a drawer.

I find the parallel you make between the fragrances, Eric Satie and chamber music most intriguing! As I love both classical music and perfume, these are now must-try fragrances.

If Canadians are eligible, I would love to be entered in the draw.

Lucy said...

Hey Trish, you are certainly entered!

Lucy said...

Diana, you are entered. The PNW seems to be a very active area in natural perfumery.

Lucy said...

Joan Elaine, of course Canadians are always welcome to enter -- such lovely people deserve all the natural perfumes they can get...

dervishspin said...

Oh! I have never heard of this line, thank you for reviewing them.
I grew up in Singapore and I used to have a backyard filled with orchids. I would love to be entered in the draw!

Anonymous said...

Do please enter me into the draw. I love the sound of the combination of floral and green notes and the lingering in the mid-range that you describe.
- Lindaloo

Bellatrix said...

I've tried some of her perfumes (we exchanged samples) but I am always interested trying more. :)

Thanks for opportunity ;)

Lisa Ashby said...

Thanks for this giveaway! I'd like to enter. I've really been craving a new floral recently. I blame it on desperately being over the cold winter weather and ready for Spring to come along. :)

Elisa Gabbert said...

I'd love to try this. I've been working on a piece about all-natural and highly-natural perfumes for a long time, could be a good addition.

samberg said...

A terrific write up, now I'm intrigued. Please enter me for the drawing.

Lucy said...

Dear Dervish, Bella, Lisa, Elisa & Sam, you are all entered. We will await the hand of fate...

smartshopper2 said...

I just discovered your site at The Posh Peasant, looking forward to visiting and reading more. Please enter me in the drawing, would love to try this fragrance line for the first time. Thanks, Audrey.

Lucy said...

I certainly will, and please do stop back, Smart.

Isa said...

Oh, Midsummer Night's dream sounds lovely! I was looking for something like that. It goes to my "to try list".

Red Cattelya must be a wonderful perfume too, so femenine and romantic... I would love to be entered in the draw.

Thank you!

Vintage Lady said...

The names are already enchanting. I don´t know if the the draw is international, i didn´t read the contrary. then, from spain, if i can, i would so much love to enter this draw. Thank you

hotlanta linda said...

Thank you for such a nicely detailed list of the scents!!! Of course, one only wants the entire line!! :-0 Thank you for entering me in the drawing!!

The Gastronomic Goddess said...

What a lovely-sounding line! The scents all sound gorgeous :) *crossing fingers* that Red C. sounds right up my alley, too! Thanks for contest entry :D

Lucy said...

Isa, VLady, Linda, & Goddess, yes, these are gorgeous, and the Red C. will brighten your season. Good luck to everyone!

www.skyebotanicals.com said...

You certainly drew me in Lucy! I fell in love with Mandy Aftel's orchid Solid perfume while in San Francisco- which has the same light and lyrical qualities you describe here... wow a whole line of orchid perfumes, how lovely!

Anonymous said...

I just started following you and have enjoyed reading. I'd love to be enetered in the drawing. Thanks!

daisychainsnlaughs said...

Sorry--didn't mean to post as Anonymous.

Liz G. said...

I just discovered your blog and I've been pouring over the older posts. Your writing style and vision are great! You have opened my eyes to so many lovely perfumes I now want to try. I hope I win because I don't have any orchid fragrances and these sound divine!

ScentScelf said...

I guess this means I need to thank Scent Less Sensibilities and you...I would not have found them, at least not soon, if not for you. A bit of universal harmony, as I have one orchid blooming and the jasmine just started opening last week.

I think I may have to find my way to A Midsummer Night's Dream. The Red Cattelya sounds like it holds promise; could go either way for me, as notes like vanilla and peach are galvanizing, for good or not, in my nose.

Don't you just love the scented notebook? For a long time I carried around a notebook for the sole purpose of slipping scented fan strips into, and would take my notes in that spot...so nice to revisit.

Lucy said...

Hi Monica/Skye, yes it's fascinating the idea of the orchid as a fragance point of departure, they work so hard to produce this attraction. I wonder if they have begun to take in that beings other than their pollinators are attracted to the scents. But since we are orchid propogators too, I guess it's a win win anyway.
You are entered, of course...

Lucy said...

OK Daisychain, thanks for letting me know, and check back tonight-

Lucy said...

ScentScelf, that Scentless Sensibilities is a real find, in more ways than one. I suspect the Red Cattelya would be pleasing to you also, and the Midsummer.

As a friend often says, there is so much creativity! Thank heavens for that at least.

Lucy said...

LIZ G -- AND SKYEBOTANICALS (MONICA)
are the winners of the draw! Congrats!

Liz and Monica, please send me a note at lraubertas at gmail dot com ASAP with mailing addresses.

Happy Valentine's Day Eve!

ElizabethN said...

Well, I've never heard of this line! I would love to try the Red Cattleya, though. Thanks for the reviews and the draw!

lostpastremembered said...

Lucy, I am a dolt but I never think of orchids and scent... I must be missing something. Now you have me curious about it... one day I hope to get a sniff!

Lucy said...

Dear LostPast/D -- will bring my sample set with me next time I see you. Also, remember vanilla, the orchid scent par excellence!

Lucy said...

Elizabeth N, thanks for dropping by...please come back again.

taffynfontana said...

Orchids are beautiful. I can see how someone would find them very inspiring. Javanica and Red Cattelya both sound delicious please enter me in the draw Thanks

Lucy said...

Taffy, thanks for coming by, tho the draw has already been done -- Skye Botanicals and LizG have won! I will repost the winners above.

Monica said...

I am so excited to win a little bottle of this scent! Thank you so much Lucy for the introduction! xoxo Monica Skye

Lucy said...

Monica, so pleased you won. I sent your address to Ellen Covey. Still waiting for Liz G! Liz G? Where are you?

taffynfontana said...

Congrats Monica

Anonymous said...

I have grown and kept orchids for many years and have to say that Ellen's fragrances are closer to the scents of real orchids than anything out there right now. Her "Scents of Place" are also evocative of the places and environments she describes in the names of the fragrances. "Olympic Rainforest" really does smell exactly like our Northwest Olympic rain forests. My favorites are the various incarnations of "Golden Cattleya" as well as "A Midsummer Day's Dream". Gail

Lucy said...

Thank you Gail, for your affirmation that the scents do call forth those sense memories and identifiers of orchids and the NW forests. These are such rich sources of inspiration and beauty and so particular to the region it's good that the rest of us get to have the experience this way too.

The Best Perfumes For Women As Said By Men said...

For a long time I carried around a notebook for the sole purpose of slipping scented fan strips into, and would take my notes in that spot...so nice to revisit.

The Best Perfumes For Women As Said By Men