Olympic Orchids, part I

As I announced the other day, I want to finally put to words my thoughts on some of the less known perfumes out there made by people who obviously have a perfume vision unique to themselves.

One of those people is Ellen Covey aka Doc Elly of Olympic Orchids.

I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been sitting on the samples she sent for months now, not even getting around to smelling all of them, but now my vacation is over, and I feel I should be rested even though the heat here won’t let me feel rested, I can finally start reviewing perfumes that I ought long time ago.

So, I’ll go through them in batches, which means they’ll be a bit shorter and here is the first. 🙂

Olympic Amber

Notes: labdanum, vanilla, benzoin, incense, resins, patchouli, and woods

Being a fan of labdanum, you’d think I’d recognize it when featured in a perfume. 🙂
For me, this is a raspy, lightly fruity, green-spicy amber. Not sweet and actually rather serious.
And in the beginning, amber is sort of hidden under that bold opening.

Which brings me, almost Ellen’s perfumes seem bold to me. She has a signature of her own that you can recognize after smelling several of her creations and it’s like nothing I ever smelled before. Can’t say if it’s in any way connected with orchids because the only ones here don’t have any kind of smell.
Out of all the notes listes, the only one I can smell on its own is patchouli in these little, cute whiffs while the amber feel broadens.

Although as I said, this isn’t a cuddly amber. Quite an achievement if you ask me.


Notes: longleaf pine, hay, tobacco, lavender, green grass, magnolia, kudzu flower, honeysuckle, star jasmine, and tonka

Sometimes I wonder why I even review perfumes when there seem to be a lot of notes in there that I have no idea what they smell like.
I think for me, one of the easiest ways to know if a perfume is great is when I can’t tease out the notes. Which seems to happen a lot with Olympic Orchids.

The best I could come up with for Carolina is that it’s a flowery sweet, sunny and refreshing as a spring day with barest fruity whisps in the air.

I don’t appreciate sugary sweetness in perfumes, but when the sweetness in there is from blossoming flowers, well, I’m on my knees. It’s one of the best smells in the world if you ask me. I honestly couldn’t figure out the notes I was smelling – they were combined into a perfectly lovely experience.
And here is the description Ellen wrote which seems more appropriate than my words:

“A dreamy scent of the American South that takes you from a day spent among sun-warmed longleaf pines, grassy fields, magnolias, and kudzu flowers through a warm, humid night sweetened with the scent of honeysuckle and star jasmine, always with an undercurrent of tonka-rich tobacco curing in the wooden barns and historic red brick factories.”


Notes: saffron, tulsi, lime, tagetes, jasmine, rose, cardamom, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, curry leaf, turmeric, mango, spikenard, olibanum, vetiver, patchouli, choya loban, black agar, and sandalwood

Gujarat is among my favorites from the line. But that one is not for the weak hearted (or cumin-phobic). Not that you get a lot of cumin, just the underlying musky warmth of it but I still need to warn people as I can tell it’s cumin, so I’m sure other people would too.
I hate it that my starting line is about cumin because that’s such a minor player in this. This is a spice fest of the most luscious kind.
As you can see from the list of notes, there is no lack of spices in there. Which again brings me to the fact that I have no idea how most of those spices smell like. I do know though that they combine into a powerfully attractive mix to me.

The perfume starts for me slightly menthol-like with warm spices (here is where I detect cumin underneath) and lightly fruity as well. It practically emits warmth from where you apply it.
Again, I can smell the floral sweetness and the idea of what I come to call Ellen’s signature.

By the time I can detect mango and oudishness, I am thouroughly glued to my wrist.
Which brings me back to the fact that I saw black agar listed here and oud listed on one other of Olympic Orchids perfume together with black agar, and I somehow thought it was the same…? Obviously, I need to learn a lot more. 🙂

Olympic Rainforest

Notes:cedar leaves, green sword ferns, rhododendron, forest mushrooms, beebalm, myrtle, oakmoss, black spruce, balsam fir, and Port Orford Cedar wood

This is my last Olympic Orchid for today.
This is the one that smells of lavender, and pine needles, of woods and fern. The whole deal.
It starts refreshingly and invigoratingly, it makes you breathe in fully and then lets you enter the underbrush of the rainforest, as it smells grassy and ferny to me (again barest fruity whisps, I seem to amplify sweetness in these perfumes).

One of the best things about perfume is that you learn a lot. I kept smelling this menthol-like freshness (many things piney smell menthol-like to me) and it turns out cedar leaves come from an evergreen, coniferous tree. And as I’ve never seen a cedar tree in my life (there aren’t any here), of course I didn’t know that.
The perfume then goes on to smell like you’ve entered the rainforest, lightly sweet fungi smell, slight dampness and rottiness of leaves and underneath all that, the smell of fern.

It gets less and less sweet until you are left with flowery cedar woods (I really don’t know where am I getting all this floweriness from).

Pics taken from http://www.fragrantica.com/

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7 thoughts on “Olympic Orchids, part I

  1. Asali August 26, 2011 at 22:16 Reply

    Ines, great to have you back blogging. OOP sounds great, though I must say I've never heard of them before. You completely sold those first three to me. must investigate 😉


  2. Michael August 26, 2011 at 23:38 Reply

    These sound interesting Ines. I haven't heard about this line before, so perhaps I'll check it out.


  3. Ines August 27, 2011 at 12:57 Reply

    Asali, my point exactly. This is a hidden gem with such different perfumes, I think more people should be aware of it. I'll be sure to send some samples your way next time. 🙂 I wonder what you will think.


  4. Ines August 27, 2011 at 13:00 Reply

    Michael, like I said to Asali, I really feel this line deserves more attention. I wonder what you would think of them. I wish there were more reviews out there because I think these behave differently on people.


  5. tarleisio August 28, 2011 at 09:16 Reply

    Yay! Ines…you finally got around to discovering the wonders of Olympic Orchids! Doc Elly is amazing – and her perfumes are no less so! Can't wait to see what you think of some of the others in her line!


  6. Ines August 28, 2011 at 12:33 Reply

    Tarleisio, I have high opinion of Doc Elly's work and I can hardly wait to smell what comes out of your collaboration. 😉


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