I'm a sucker for fancy packaging, whether it's for soap, talcum powder, home fragrance or perfume. Oriza L. Legrand presents its collection in beautiful retro packaging, but as we all know, what's on the inside of wrappings often does not do justice to the marketing/design work. With Oriza L. Legrand...it does.
perfumer Hugo Lambert, (original formula released in 1925); listed notes of bitter orange, tangerine, dried rose, cognac, tobacco, cocoa, almond, oak, benzoin, vanilla, honey, leather, patchouli, amber; 100 ml Eau de Parfum, $165
Horizon is an amber-y, "orange-scented" patchouli fragrance — its opening notes remind me of Seville orange syrup and chinotto (citrus myrtifolia) mixed with patchouli. The amber accord contains vanilla/benzoin, honey, and leather with a light dusting of bitter cocoa powder. Horizon contains old-style patchouli, not the "modern," scoured patchouli we smell most often today. Thanks to the tart orange, bitter cocoa and pungent patchouli notes, the amber phase of this perfume may appeal to those who normally shun amber fragrances as being too cloyingly sweet. Horizon smells rich: it is powerful and its materials smell top-notch. As it dries on skin, Horizon's resinous patchouli intensifies and is joined by boozy wood and "tobacco-musk" (the almost-dirty aspect of tobacco leaf). The extreme dry down is pure, classic (but sheer) amber. Horizon has great lasting power and sillage, is unisex, and, due to its heft, seems best suited for cool/cold weather.
perfumer Hugo Lambert, (2012); listed notes of herbs, powdery “pollen”, pine, pepper, white lily, oak, incense, myrrh, musk, elemi, moss, wood; 100 ml Eau de Parfum, $165
Relique d'Amour begins with the aromas of dried herbs and mothballs; in fact, place those herbs and mothballs inside a fragrant cedar chest, and you can imagine the opening of this perfume. The cedar chest I knew best in childhood was my mother's; I opened it often to smell the lovely silky aroma of smooth evergreen wood. My mother also kept soaps (wasteful...for she never used them) in her cedar chest...and after a few minutes on skin, Relique d'Amour smells a bit soapy, as if you've just opened a fresh box of fragrant "white flowers" soaps. This floral note wavers between the scents of tuberose and jasmine (not any "white lily" I've ever grown or smelled). As Relique d'Amour dries on skin, I detect hints of soft incense and myrrh. If you want to smell "clean," without resorting to white musk and ozone/fresh notes, try Relique d'Amour.
I started not to say this, but in fairness will: on certain days I wore Relique d'Amour I thought: "funeral parlor." There's something spooky about the incense and flowers and mothballs. A visual came to mind: a silent film scene — wild-eyed Lilian Gish swooning over a glossy black casket, organ soundtrack blaring, and banks of flowers everywhere. "OH, NO! (sob, hands tugging on undone tresses)...why, why did he die? Death! DEATH! Give him back to me!!!!!!" Don't let that scare you away, though!
Relique d'Amour is a feminine perfume with soft sillage and good lasting power.
perfumer Hugo Lambert, (original formula released in 1914); listed notes of clary sage, mint, fennel, “green shoots”, oak moss, angelica, fern, galbanum, clover, violet leaf, pine, vetiver, mushroom/humus accord, roasted chestnut, leather, labdanum; 100 ml Eau de Parfum, $165
Chypre Mousse smells heavenly from the first spritz with its lush mint-fennel notes. A hefty dose of oak moss appears next, accompanied by galbanum and an old-fashioned (think vintage Houbigant Fougère Royale) fern-forest accord with some clover thrown in. Chypre Mousse has a sparkling, lively, "living" character, as if one is standing between a sunny summer meadow and a damp-dark woodland with its aromas of evergreens and fresh, damp earth. And as a surprise, there is a note in the dry-down that smells of warm chestnuts. Without exception, everyone who I've let sniff Chypre Mousse said the equivalent of "Wow!" (and that's "wow" in a good way). Though I have more scents to try in the Oriza L. Legrand line, I have a hard time believing Chypre Mousse will be dethroned as my favorite.
The Oriza L. Legrand perfumes reviewed here are an interesting bunch: perfumes inspired by the past but with contemporary touches. I can't wait to try all perfumes in the collection...and the soaps...and candles.
Oriza L. Legrand fragrances come in splash bottles (with a screw-on atomizer spray included with each perfume). For buying information, see the listing for Oriza L. Legrand under Perfume Houses.