The champaca tree (Michelia champaca) is native to India and Southeast Asia and it produces heavily scented flowers in profusion. When a large champaca tree is covered with flowers, whole neighborhoods can enjoy the blossoms’ strange, intoxicating (and naturally fruity-floral) scent — reminiscent of jasmine, quince, banana and magnolia (a relative of the champaca). Champaca trees are often planted on temple grounds and champaca blossoms are placed on Buddhist and Hindu altars as offerings. The scent of champaca can also be found in perfumes: Ormonde Jayne’s Champaca, Christian Dior’s J’Adore and Comme des Garçons’ Series 8: Guerrilla 1 all contain champaca.
Voluspa’s Japonica series of scented products got its packaging design inspiration from Japanese flower motifs (often seen on handmade papers and on textiles). The Japonica scented sprays come in six scents and are Eau de Parfum strength; they can be used as room sprays or to scent the body.
Champaca Bloom & Fern includes notes of champaca blossom, fern leaf, muguet and gardenia, and when I first smelled it, it brought to mind French perfumes of the 1940s/1950s era — dare I mention the names “Dior” and “Balmain” when writing about an $18 aroma spray?
The scent of Champaca Bloom & Fern reminds me of the smell of greenhouses — a damp, mossy and earthy aroma mixed with the perfumes of blossoming tropical plants. Champaca Bloom & Fern opens with a vibrant aroma of crushed fern leaves and moist, fragrant loam, mixed with the complex scent of champaca flowers. (The creamy notes of muguet and gardenia are more apparent when the scent is put on skin.)
The lasting power of this scent on skin and in the air is very good, comparable to Diptyque’s room sprays. I would classify Champaca Bloom & Fern as feminine when worn on skin, but when sprayed into the air, the scent’s notes of fresh fern, damp earth and feisty champaca blossoms make it unisex.
Voluspa’s Japonica sprays come in 125 ml bottles for $18; other scents in the series are: Baltic Amber, Burmese Rosewood, Capri Fig Frangipani and French Cade & Lavender. The Japonica series includes candles and hand lotion and hand soap.
For buying information, see the listing for Voluspa under Perfume Houses.
Next weekend: a review of Santiago Huckleberry from the same line.