April 1, 2014

Reve d'Ossian/Oriza L. LeGrand

Nostalgia is seductive, it's an emotional reminder of beauty from the past that allows us to frame it in a haze of warmth and longing; the difficulties are set aside and we focus only on the loveliest moments.

We are deep in nostalgia for vintage and vintage revival perfumes right now, because of a number of forces working on the imagination at once.  As I thought it would at the end of last year, this trend intensifies every day.

Some of the reasons for this are partly because of the reformulations in classic perfume compositions due to the new EU/IFRA regulations removing many perfume ingredients and so altering their essential nature, partly because of Barbara Herman's wonderful book, Scent and Subversion, inviting us to re-live these perfume experiences with her, and partly because of the sheer romance of being able to instantly time-travel with an intimate olfactory connection.  It's also very special to find perfume of the past in its original form, and it makes for a unique and eventually irreplaceable experience.

Oriza L. LeGrand has been able to revive several of the forgotten perfumes of this old Parisian perfume house, as the formulas were preserved, but I would not be surprised if they were shaped to lean a little closer to our modern sensibilities.

Nostalgia builds on nostalgia with Reve d'Ossian. The concept goes back to the 19th Century Romantic era when poets and painters imagined the primal lives of the forest dwelling Gaelic druids. That may be what this 2012 fragrance, based on their 1905 fragrance is hung on, but the beautifully articulated incense composed of woods balsams and pepper is instantly appealing to our contemporary love for subtle yet intoxicating wood effects.  I immediately got a case of scent hunger for it; and I almost can't get enough, especially of the initial effect that includes a touch of evergreen. Love at first scent is rare for me.  This one preoccupies and draws me in.  It opens strong but dries down quickly to a soft, close to the skin experience. 

It has the expressive aesthetic of a Satie piano piece playing while a Pre Raphaelite in green velvet broods over the lost poetry of Gaelic fairy tales.  All those influences combine in the pure white smoke of incense that stains the skin.

The Le Grande site lists the notes as: Top Notes: Frankincense and Pine woods.
Heart Notes: Cinnamon, Benzoin, Tonka Bean and Opopanax.
Base Notes: Tolu Balm, Sandalwood, Leather, Labdanum, Amber and Musks

120 Euros at the Paris shop, which also has a sample program for the whole line. The Reve is also available in NYC at Juju s'amuse 
Rossetti drawing of Jane Morris

Images of perfume and label from Oriza L. LeGrand;
Dante Gabriel Rossetti drawing from an article on Pre Raphaelites in the City

Copyright 2014 Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved. 

1 comment:

Andre Moreau said...

Thank you, I missed this. Sounds interesting and close to "vintage" vibes.