Red Cattleyea by Ellen Covey for Olympic Orchids 2010


Post by Poodle


When I was first married my in-laws told me I’d have a hard time cooking for my husband because he was so picky. I knew this but since I had persuaded him to try different foods while we were dating I knew I’d come up with a plan so I could cook what I wanted and not have him go hungry. I figured out that it was almost like cooking for a child (no offense, my love, if you’re reading this).

If he knew a dish had certain ingredients he wouldn’t try it. He was convinced he didn’t like certain things, even things I knew he’d eaten in the past and loved. The catch was that those times he hadn’t seen what was going into the pot. He came home and it was already prepared and waiting for him. I stopped telling him the ingredients or I told him what was in a dish after it was in his stomach. It worked, and cooking is much easier.

How does this relate to perfume? There are times when I think too much information is a bad thing. Sometimes I think knowing the notes before smelling can alter one’s opinion of it. If something smelled awful on me before or has a lot of notes I dislike I shouldn’t waste my time with it…or so I thought.

Red Cattleyea by Olympic Orchids 2010

Red Cattleya box smallPhoto Stolen Olympic Orchids

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Citrus, peach, apricot, melon, hyacinth, gardenia, violets, lilac, musk, woods, vanilla

I asked for the Olympic Orchids Just Orchids sampler set for Christmas. I didn’t see many reviews and I didn’t really study the note lists prior to trying the perfumes.

When I tried Red Cattleyea it was juicy and tropical and a great counterpoint to the chill in the air at the time. Since it is named after a flower I was expecting it to be a floral, but there was more, something sweet yet wonderful…then it hit me. Fruit! Yes, the dreaded fruity floral. This was nothing like the mainstream fruity scents, this was a fruity floral with personality. My first impression was favorable so I just kept enjoying my perfume, sniffing happily at my wrist now and then.


When I looked at the notes I was horrified. This has multiple notes that usually turn ugly on me. Citrus, peach, and melon can make me run from the fragrance counter. Had I read the notes first I may have never sprayed but Ellen Covey worked some magic here.

Red Cattleyea opens sweet and fruity, more candied citrus than kitchen cleaner. Then there’s peach, on my skin peach usually smells like, well, let’s just say it’s not how I want to smell. But not this time. The peach is blended with apricot and it’s more jammy and sun warmed than fresh. Alongside this is a bouquet of gardenia and lilac. Hints of wood and vanilla keep peeking through and there’s an undercurrent of spice to my nose. As the fruit subsides the gardenia becomes fleshy and rich before fading. I don’t find the musk very strong, rather it holds everything together and gives the perfume warmth as well. On my extreme scent eating skin I could smell it easily for hours and ended up with the most wonderfully warm vanilla base.

Red Cattleyea Peaches Flickr Brett SpanglerPhoto Stolen Flickr Brett Spangler

This isn’t a light skin scent, it’s got some kick to it, I’d say that if applied with a light touch it would be office friendly. I’ve worn Red Cattleyea to work and gotten compliments. If you work with fragrance-phobes, perhaps it might be a little too bold.

Further reading: The Alembicated Genie and Hortus Conclusus
Olympic Orchids has $40/30ml EdP, isn’t that the best deal EVER?
Olympic Orchids $15/5ml Parfum

So Red Cattleyea’s fruity and sweet and peachy. On paper I shouldn’t like it yet I absolutely love wearing Red Cattleyea and there aren’t many fruity florals I can say that about.
Have you tried it?

Poodle. x

34 thoughts on “Red Cattleyea by Ellen Covey for Olympic Orchids 2010

  1. I love the peach scent in Patite Cheri, i’m going to give this a try. Thanks for the review, i would missed this scent i’m sure.Thanks so much


    • Petite Cherie is more pear than peach on me. I wonder if you’d get the peach in this or perhaps one of the other notes would be more pronounced on your skin. I’d love to know what you think if you try it.


    • Thanks! I’m becoming a big fan of Ellen’s. Anyone that makes perfumes that I actually like and that actually last on me is pretty fabulous in my book.


  2. Dear Poodle
    Isn’t it great to have one’s preconceptions exploded every once in a while.
    I’m with you generally where fruit are concerned (the peach in Mitsouko excepted) but then I found out how much blackcurrant was in Balmain de Balmain and that I could even be persuaded to like the black cherry in Petite Robe Noire.
    So I guess it’s good for the soul to eat some humble (fruit) pie now and again.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy
    Post script Lovely to see you at the writer’s desk too!


    • Dearest Dandy, it is nice when one is pleasantly surprised like that. I must admit I’m happy to find some fruits that work for me and don’t make me smell like a fruit salad.


  3. I’m hearing so many good things about Olympic Orchids lately, and now this is another one I want to try. And I agree that ignoring the list of notes is sometimes a very good idea!


    • There does seem to be a bit of a buzz lately doesn’t there? The sample sets are quite nice to get acquainted with the line. If it weren’t for getting this in the orchid sampler, I never would have tried it.


  4. Great analogy you used to introduce this post – that’s exactly right! Sometimes I read a note list and think “eww” but the fragrance ends up just working.


    • In this case I just got the sampler and started testing. Ignorance is bliss sometimes. If I’m picking the samples myself it’s hard but this was a set. The sets force you to try things you might not otherwise try.
      Thanks for reading! On a side note, I found a crochet pattern for an armadillo and I made it. It is too darn cute! It made me think of your armadillo pic.


  5. Oh, I hear you about a husband who’s a picky eater. I tease him that his gustatory maturation stopped at about the age of four, he’s like my younger children in his love for pop, chips, hot dogs and crappy candy. I also learned the trick of Don’t-Tell-Him-What’s-In-It-and-He’ll-Be-Fine; sometimes it works, but it’s more effective with my children, as The Engineer is very much a creature of habit. I think half of his pickiness is because he simply doesn’t want to eat anything unfamiliar.

    When it comes to sampling, my frugal side is the thing that trumps all other concerns. If I’ve paid for a sample, I’m determined to try it, even if it’s 99% likely it won’t work on me – roses, anyone? I keep hoping that maybe, this one will be the exception. I got the OO sampler pack last fall and quite enjoyed it, with Golden Cattleya being my favorite. You’re making me want to revisit the rest.


    • Golden Cattleyea is wonderful. I really like Little Stars too.
      It sounds like are husbands are very similar. Mine is very much a creature of habit too. I try to never take him grocery shopping because he loads the cart with Doritos, bacon, gummy candies, and roasted peanuts.


  6. I can relate. Not to the picky-eater husband (I have one that loves to cook just as much I love sniffing perfume…this is why I’m the size I am, lol) but to the perfume.
    I love it! It’s delicious. But, if I went by the note list alone I would have thought my skin would have hated it. I bought the sampler and grabbed RC one day and fell in love. I went home and looked at the notes and was shocked. We should stop being such creatures of habit 😉


    • So we had exactly the same experience with this! I’m so happy I’m not the only one. You’re right, it is delicious and I’m glad we accidentally discovered it.
      Part of me is jealous you have a husband that can cook, part of me doesn’t want my husband in the kitchen ruining my good knives.


    • Thanks for reading! 🙂 I’m flattered. It really is a wonderful perfume so you’re the one who deserves the thanks. I bet the fact that you’re not big on fruity florals is why it’s so good.


  7. Poodle, thanks for a great review. I have the sample set from Olympic Orchids but i only tried Red Cattleya once and it wasn’t quite right. Now I need to try it again in the heat so I can smell what you smell.


  8. What a convincing review! I’ll have to find a sample of it and try.

    I do not mind well-made fruity perfumes (though those won’t be my first go-to choice) but peach note in perfumes works for me, probably, one out of ten times so I would be really cautious about a perfume had I known in advance that note was in there. So maybe ignorance is a bliss in some cases. 🙂

    [rant on]
    On a separate note, I turn green every time I hear about picky eaters. I have the only response: they are big boys, they can either earn enough money to eat out at those restaurants where they like the food or they can cook themselves. As long as mothers will be catering for their spoiled sons, there will be women dancing in the kitchen after a full work day trying to pleasure their hard-to-please “breadwinners” who aren’t those in reality any longer.
    [rant off]


  9. Pingback: Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes: Which ones to try | Dear Scent Diary,

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