Woodcut by Ellen Covey for Olympic Orchids 2014

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Portia

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Hello Indie Frag Heads,

This was the Winner of the 2015 Art and Olfaction Award in the artisan category. How has it passed me by? Heard, as a huge fan of Ellen’s work to not know this. I find her ability to create magnificent, multifaceted fragrance with depth and luster second to none. If you have only ever smelled designer and niche fragrance then Olympic Orchids is a horse of a different colour. Your nose will be surprised.

OK, I’ve found why I never got to Woodcut. Azar wrote very early on about it here on Australian Perfume Junkies. Now if one of the team gets to a frag first that usually means I can go smell something else in my ever expending pile of unsniffed fragrance so sometimes, even with a favourite perfumer, I gratefully let that one slide. Anyway, I recently bought this sample and WOW!

Woodcut by Olympic Orchids 2014

Woodcut by Ellen Covey

Olympic Orchids

Olympic Orchids gives these featured accords:
Fractional distillations of pine and cedar, oakwood absolute, tolu balsam, olibanum, caramel, burnt sugar, vanilla

Eating chocolate by the woodpile, maybe making chocolates in a wood kitchen, I am smiling from ear to ear. The wood is SO REAL and the hint of chocolate is making my tummy grumble for some. Soon the smell of charred wood or blown out matches joins the fray and that heavenly overlay of caramel keeps everything sweet. Maple syrup sweet rather than fairy floss. BOY this is good stuff, no surprise that it won the Art & Olfaction Award.

Woodcut by Olympic Orchids MIH83 PixabayPDI

Sweet, warm and resinous woods. My friend TinaG said, “Hello snuggily winter days”. She’s right. It is a perfect winter fit but I also bet it would be refreshing in the heat of summer too.

Further reading: Fragrance Daily and Australian Perfume Junkies
Olympic Orchids has a 5ml Travel Spray for only $18

Do you ever try the Indie Perfume makers? Which is a favourite?
Portia xx

Scent Free Day?

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Portia

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Hi there APJ,

Sometimes my nose needs a rest. I am not quite sure why. Today I woke up and usually before I grab the dogs to feed & walk them I scent myself so I can enjoy the fragrance as I wander with the boys. It’s usually around 10am and the day is warming up nicely, this summer it’s already been quite hot by the time I get home so I really feel I’ve put the scent through its paces. 30-40 minutes after spritzing I’m well into the heart of the fragrance, in some cases even the dry down already.

Scent Free Day?

Anyway, today I walked into my fragrance room and my body just said no. So I walked back out again with only the merest traces of last nights fragrance on my T-Shirt. I quite liked having my nose open to smelling the various eucalyptus, cars, coffee and toast at the local cafe, the mown yesterday grass in the park and the myriad other scent snippets of a half hour wander around the neighbourhood.

There are other times I don’t like to be scented. Some illnesses, in very enclosed spaces, meeting potential employers for the first time. I do have a little Meeting New Employers Hack though. I always have a softly scented hand cream with me and apply a very smell amount before going in. Int means my hands feel nice and leave a fresh, clean scent on their hands when we shake. You’ll notice people touch their face almost directly after shaking hands, unconsciously they are reading your hand scent.

By now though I have given myself a spritz. Ballets Rouges by Olympic Orchids to fit with Lucasz at Chemist In A Bottle‘s rose month. MMMMMM

So, my question to you all today is “When do you need a Scent Free Day?”. Are there specific moments or periods in your life when being scented feels wrong? Is there a friend or colleague that prefers you go unscented? Or are you a give me 10 spritzes no matter what kind of person?
Portia xxx

 

Olympic Amber by Ellen Covey for Olympic Orchids 2011

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Post by Portia

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Hey there Fabulously Fragrant Fumies,

One of the fragrances that I come back to again and again in my fragrant journey is from the Indie Perfumer Ellen Covey. Her fragrances are usually very compatible with my chemistry and this one in particular gets a lot of skin time. It’s the easiest and most likeable amber in my collection, wearable all year round but especially nice in the cool of evening.

Olympic Amber by Olympic Orchids 2011

Olympic Amber by Ellen Covey

Olympic Amber Olympic OrchidsFragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Labdanum, vanilla, benzoin, incense, resins, patchouli, woods

Originally this glorious, burnished beauty was made to be the base of other fragrances but once created Ellen decided it needed to be a fragrance all its own. Olympic Amber was born.

Vanilla, patchouli and lovely smooth resins waft straight out of the gate. It’s a dry sweetness, slightly bakery but more balmy. A crunchy toffee or caramelised sugar effect very reminiscent of the first crackling spoonful of creme brûlée. Crunchy and creamy, yes perfect analogy. Olympic Amber is hefty and I am fully fragrant but it manages to covey an air of spaciousness, not sheer but less dense somehow. Fragrant but not ferocious.

olympic-amber-olympic-orchids family washing-dog PDI

I could imagine this being the signature scent choice of a parent and this smell being part of what the children run to, a scent of comfort and safety. It’s as if Olympic Amber reminds me of something or someone who I felt safe around, there is no memory attached though or person.

Fairly linear, I enjoy the stability of knowing I’ll smell this good all day and evening. Perfect for extra long work, drinks, dinner days because longevity is out of this world. Spray Olympic Amber on your clothes and they will stay fragrant till the next wash. Even in the laundry basket, when I grab the clothes out I can tell if I had it on this past week from the delicious waft I get while putting stuff in the machine.

olympic-amber-olympic-orchids Anvar_saifutdinov_The_girl_in_a_gold_kokoshnik WikiMediaWikiMedia

Further reading: Perfume Posse and BOTO
Olympic Orchids has $18/5ml Travel Spray
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $3/0.5ml

What is your amber?
Portia xx

 

White Cattleya by Ellen Covey for Olympic Orchids 2015 + GIVEAWAY

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Post by Azar

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Happy New Year APJ!

I am a citrus junkie. I love eating and smelling the new crops of grapefruits, pomelos, lemons, limes, oranges and tangerines that come into our local markets in November through early December. I also adore the flowers of the early winter blooming (Northern hemisphere) Cattleya orchid hybrids that, coincidentally, often smell like citrus fruits or flowers. On December 15th Ellen Covey introduced her new White Cattleya fragrance happily coinciding with the arrival of fresh citrus in the stores and the opening of cattleya blossoms in greenhouses everywhere.

White Cattleya by Olympic Orchids 2015

White Cattleya by Ellen Covey

White_Cattleya Olympic OrchidsOlympic Orchids

Olympic Orchids give these featured accords:
Citron, lemon, neroli, jasmine, heliotrope, orchid accord, light vanilla, musk.

White Cattleya was created as a wedding fragrance but to me it is the ultimate semi-gourmand citrus perfume opening with an oily-sweet lemon zest. Imagine the pores of a yellow lemon rind exuding droplets of fragrance and you have an idea what I smell right off the top. There are almost fifty varieties of lemons grown commercially these days. In our local stores we see a lot of “Meyers” lemons (a lemon x orange hybrid), “Villafranca”, Florida’s leading lemon and “Eureka”, the top US commercial variety. For me the zesty, sweet opening of White Cattleya is very close to the fragrance and flavor of the sweet Persian lemon “Limoo Shirin” (C. limetta). This mildly sweet, slightly bitter, low acid fruit has a smooth, thin skin and is about the size and shape of a tennis ball.

White_Cattleya Olympic Orchids Citrus_limetta WikipediaWikipedia

As we all know certain citrus top notes are flighty and evaporate within moments of application. Not so in White Cattleya. What I perceive as Persian lemon zest stays in place on my skin for at least 30 minutes before its starts to shift to the scent of one of my favorite Italian liqueurs – Limoncello. As Limoncello comes to the fore I begin to detect one of my least favorite florals, the dreaded heliotrope. Fortunately for me, the gooey sweet marzipan aspect of heliotrope is tempered with jasmine and the tenacious citron. The floral/citrus heart of White Cattleya stays in place for hours, eventually morphing (but not fading) to an ethereal vanilla and musk. White Cattleya is a powerful fragrance with strong to moderate sillage, easily lasting for 14 to 16 hours. Also, on my skin, it does not wash off even after a hot shower. If you are not a lemon lover, be careful how you apply this fragrance! That being said, lemon and jasmine scents are both known to sharpen our wits and help us feel better about ourselves

Further reading:
Olympic Orchids has $65/30ml + Samples

Azar X

Giveaway myprettypaintsmyprettypaints

White Cattleya GIVEAWAY

WHAT CAN YOU WIN?

This week we will have 1 winner who will receive:
1 x 5ml refillable purse spray of White Cattleya
P&H Worldwide

HOW DO YOU WIN?

Yes, you can start following to enter, in fact it’s encouraged. Open to everyone worldwide who follows AustralianPerfumeJunkies via eMail, WordPress, Bloglovin or RSS. Please leave how you follow in the comments to be eligible. I must be able to check that you follow so if you have an email address on your gravatar that’s different to your follow address then please email me (portia underscore turbo @ yahoo dot com dot au) so I know.

You must tell me how you follow APJ

and

Please tell us if you love or hate lemons. BTW – have you tried the new White Cattleya?

HOUSEKEEPING

Entries Close Thursday 14th January 2016 10pm Australian EST and winners will be announced in a separate post.
Winner will be chosen by random.org
The winner will have till Sunday 17th January 2016 to get in touch (portia underscore turbo at yahoo dot com dot au) with their address or the prize will go to someone else.
No responsibility taken for lost or damaged goods in transit.

 

Bat by Ellen Covey for Zoologist Perfumes 2015

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Post by Azar

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Hello APJ,

There has been a lot of buzz about bats on perfume blogs of late directly related to the new Bat fragrance created by Ellen Covey for Victor Wong of Zoologist Perfumes, Toronto. Ellen has an uncanny ability to recreate the ambient fragrance of places where she has lived, worked and visited. On her Olympic Orchids website, there is an entire category devoted to “Scents of Place”. The Bat fragrance, to my nose, is definitely about a place (a cave) and does not, thankfully, smell like its namesake. On the perfume bottle, the portrait of the bat created by Victor Wong’s colleague Daisy Chan, appears to be some kind of leaf nosed fruit bat (Dermanura sp.), While a few bats are reported to have pleasant odors most do not, at least as far as we humans are concerned.

Over the years, as part of her university work on bat hearing and echolocation, Ellen has visited bat habitats throughout the Americas. If any perfumer on the planet is qualified to create a fragrance for a bat cave it is Dr. Ellen Covey!

Bat by Zoologist Perfumes 2015

Bat by Ellen Covey

Bat Zoologist Perfumes FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Banana, fruity notes, soil tincture
Heart: Fig, tropical fruits, myrrh, resins, green notes
Base: Musk, leather, vetiver, sandalwood, tonka bean

My first impression of Bat recalls the smell of parched earth moistened by rain, the fragrance of roots, vetiver, lime and a breath of banana (a la Todd Oldham). There is something about this combination of fruit, dirt, wet stone and vetiver that evokes not only the damp darkness of a cave but the magical lore surrounding the creature itself. As the fragrance dries the smell of petrichor changes as Bat takes on the scent of raw beets, decomposing leaves, friable humus, peat moss, musk, figs and myrrh. This description sounds a bit heavy but, like the smell of peat moss, it is vegetal and light. To me the heart of Bat is a scent for gardeners and people who love the smell of cool, rich earth and green growing things. As time passes the fragrance becomes progressively lighter and cooler with a kind of effervescent quality that suggests the airborne grace of bats in flight. At about 40 minutes sandalwood and tonka bean lift Bat into a woody, vanilla realm that, combined with earth elements, musk and banana, create a comfortingly sweet, fuzzy effect lasting for hours.

Bat Zoologist Perfumes Teacher Traveler Flying Foxes (aka Fruit Bats) FlickrFlickr

With the exception of the initial impression of petrichor, Bat is really quite shy. Sillage is, at the most, moderate and the fragrance remains relatively intimate for hours.

Have you tried Bat or any of the Zoologist perfumes? Tell us what you think. Also stay tuned for more about Bat. In March I will be doing a Mega-Draw for all the fragrances I’ve reviewed in January and February 2016.

Zoologist Perfumes has $125/60ml

Azar xx

 

Ballets Rouges by Ellen Covey for Olympic Orchids 2012

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Post by Portia

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Hi there Independent Perfume Lovers,

It’s no secret how much I love Ellen Covey’s work as a perfumer. There are numerous full bottles of her work around here but only 2 have made it to the 30ml Parfum strength spray; they are Olympic Amber and Ballets Rouges. So it’s weird for me to discover that I have only briefly mentioned Ballets Rouges and never done a complete post on it. TBH I thought I had done one.

EllenCovey HeadshotEllen Covey wears a lot of hats. She is a perfumer, scientist, runner, loving partner and general great girl who lives in the USAs Pacific North-West, near APJs Azar (they are great friends). I think I’ve missed a few of her astounding talents too, yes overachiever dot com. Her range of fragrances is one of the broadest, from very pretty florals through to the beastly Dev series, and so many of them speak to me. They are 100% original, even something as ubiquitous as amber becomes an intriguing and marvellous new genre once Ellen gets her teeth into it.

Ballets Rouges by Olympic Orchids 2012

Ballets Rouges by Ellen Covey

 

Ballet Rouges FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Aldehydes, bergamot, mandarin orange, red thyme
Heart: May rose, rose, ylang ylang
Base: Musk, oakmoss, patchouli, labdanum

Ballets Rouges is the ultimate rose soliflor for me. Yes it has the smell of roses on the bush, it also has the smell of the earth that the roses grew in, the humus, fertilisers, mulch, add to that the smell of the cut stem and the torn leaf and on top of all that it has the smell of life and living to my nose. There is something of the uneasiness of finding yourself alone in the dusk dark swampy forest and yet it has all the joyful pleasure of a sunny summer meadow. Bright and dark simultaneously, Ballets Rouges is everything I love about Independent Perfumery: it has not followed a formula, never been panel tested, is full of gorgeous ingredients that are probably banned in 27 languages and it has a wonderful big voluptuousness and scent story.

Ballets Rouges by Olympic Orchids ballet_by_pakyuka76 DeviantArtPhoto Stolen DeviantArt

There was much talk around the release of Penhaligon’s Iris Prima and how it was lovely and floaty yet completely failed to capture the agony beneath the facade that ballerinas project. It was all about the pastel glamour that 6 year old girls dream of when they want to be dancers. In Ballets Rouges Ellen has captured the stark beauty of a rose, the glittering deep plum sparkle of the dream and also managed to capture the gruelling and monotonous solo hours of perfecting the art, the heartache of watching your feet turn to pain wracked bleeding caricatures of themselves, the relentless drive and dark heart of ballet. Ballets Rouges is a little insight into The Black Swan.

Ringaren i Notre-Dame Koreografi: PŠr Isberg Libretto efter Victor Hugos roman Notre-Dame de Paris Musik: Stefan Nilsson Orkesterarrangemang: Olov Helge Scenografi: Bo-Ruben Hedwall Kostym: Jerome Kaplan Ljus: Torkel Blomkvist Medverkande Quasimodo Oscar Salomonsson / Jens RosŽn Esmeralda Marie Lindqvist / Nadja Sellrup Claude Frollo Brendan Collins / Anders Nordstršm Phoebus de Ch‰uteupers Pascal Jansson / Dragos Mihalcea Pierre Gringoire Nikolaus Fotiadis / Olof Westring Phoebus trolovade Anna Valev / Katja Bjšrner Clopin Trouillesfou Aleksander Nikolaev / Olaf Kollmannsperger Clopins fru Nathalie Perriraz / Kristina Oom En domare Christian Rambe En bšdel Christian Rambe Dirigent David Bjšrkman Ensemble Kungliga HovkapelletPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

It’s open of green and scintillating herbaceous citrus which quickly morphs into a dark plum and citrus scented rose, still on the bush and planted in a freshly turned and fertilised bed, you have excised some of the dead heads so there is a brittle green of torn leaf and the wet/dry oxymoron of cut stem. I am fully and divinely fragrant, Ballets Rouge is not the scent for close quarters it’s a prima and needs its space to shine. As we progress the dark heart warms through considerably. While we never lose sight of the starring rose the oakmoss, amber and musks come in and form a magnificent corps, dancing around and through till full dry down around a day later.

Orchidscents has parfum travel $18/5ml
Olympic Orchids has samples and EdP $120/100ml

Have you tried Ballets Rouges? What is your rose?
Portia xx

Elektra by Ellen Covey for Olympic Orchids 2010

Hey hey APJ,

I hope life is treating you all well. You may know we have moved house and that we have been in the middle of a renovation for months. The kitchen man offered us a very nice benchtop in Caesar Stone that he had on the cheap because the colour is being discontinued. Well, he sent off the measurements, they ordered the stone and then found they needed another piece but there was NONE LEFT! Drama ensued and it’s already at the 5 week mark but fortunately the call came through and we are hoping with all out hearts that there will be benchtop in the very near future. Why am I telling you this? Well the move has brought to light some lovely forgotten treasures and I am loving finding them and spritzing.

Today’s offering got a bit lost in the excitement of my love for Olympic Amber, Ballets Rouges and Golden Cattleya but I have grabbed it out and spritzed with gay abandon.

Elektra by Ellen Covey for Olympic Orchids 2010

Elektra Olympic OrchidsPhoto Stolen Olympic Orchids

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Black currant, ripe fig, green fig leaves, amber

You may remember this fragrance as A Midsummer Day’s Dream, that’s how it was originally marketed but it didn’t fit on the new packaging so Ellen changed it. The juice in the bottle is exactly the same.

Sweet green but bitter-sweet green. Elektra is a high octane green fragrance that is so fabulously unusual and of itself that it’s hard to find a broad descriptive reference that can really apply. Forget every other fig or berry fragrance you have ever smelled because Elektra is nothing like any of them. Somehow Ellen Covey manages to create scents that are so far beyond my expectations and into the deep realms of fragrant art pieces. Yes, there are fig and black current but they are reimagined here as stark green and spiky sweets, like I am smelling what a crystaline Swarovski fig and black currant would smell like if you could go through the looking glass and smell the unsmellable.

Elektra Olympic Orchids Crystal Cave GeographPhoto Stolen GeographUK

Elektra does not smell earthly or earthy, it bypasses all your 21st century fruity expectations and lands in this otherworldly, weird and super saturated cyber garden. Could this be what Elphaba smells like? Can it be that Ellen Covey has discovered the scent of a green witch?

Actress Idina Menzel ofPhoto Stolen Flickr

One of the marvellous things about being an Independent Perfumer is that you get to experiment and build your dreams. It’s very easy to build my own fragrant dreams on Ellen Coveys beautiful fragrant gems because they are so magical, every drop a dreamers elixir.

Olympic Orchids has samples from only $3 and $65/30ml
Surrender To Chance has samples under the old name $4/ml

Are you an Ellen Covey convert yet? Which Olympic Orchids have you tried?
Portia xx