Tag Archives: Olympic Orchids perfumes

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/

A walk through Arizona high-country and a possible mango grove

I love it when perfumes manage to surprise me and one by Olympic Orchids did that splendidly. More on that one later, for now, I want to start with Arizona. And a huge thank you to Ellen who sent some of her creations for me to try. 🙂


Notes: pine, juniper, sage, chaparral, high desert wildflowers

My geographical knowledge is well, limited to put it mildly, so when I first read the name of this, I imagined it was supposed to connote desert. Then I read the description on Olympic Orchids site and realized it was supposed to give you the following – “Experience a walk through the pine forests and clearings of the Arizona high country on a sun-warmed summer day.”

So, it’s not just desert but forests as well (and a quick google search helped clear all my misunderstandings).
Actually, it must be quite an interesting part of the US and it sure smells great when depicted by Ellen Covey.

To me, it starts dry and warm, like you’re smelling the dirt  on a path you’re walking along through shrubbery – wouldn’t really call it a forest at this point. Eventually the herbaceousness of the notes is more prominent and though it reminded me somewhat of lavender, I can imagine the trees giving off their scent lighty in the summer heat. The pine and juniper spiciness (for the lack of a better word), that at one point smell almost menthol-like (that’s quickly gone), are most of the time held in check by those wild flowers mentioned in the notes and even though I can’t really say I smell the flowers, I can smell those notes sort of floating on a cloud of something that makes them feel warm and subdued.
I thought I could smell both some cedarwood and sandalwood in the drydown as it starts to acquire a more creamy woody quality. It smells refreshing for the spirit as I’m sure a walk through a forest on a summer day must feel like.

And now onto my incredible discovery.

A Midsummer’s Day Dream

I cannot give you any notes as I couldn’t find any but what this smells on me is the most vivid mango you could imagine. I’m pretty sure that is not what this is supposed to smell like, I mean if you read Tarleisio’s review you’ll see what I mean, but I just can’t get past it. Not that I would want to, I love mango and I love the way it smells. I just wish I knew what notes are in there that conspired to make such a vivid mango picture for me.

It starts with that sweet juiciness typical of peaches and mangoes but never does it smell peachy to me, straight away there is this raspiness to it – if you ever tried mango, you’ll recognize the smell of it and the feel of it on your tongue. Ok, I understand that people might not want to smell like mango (but I sure do) – it is such a live image of it, cut for eating on a bright, warm, sunny day. The perfume is actually sparkling in its fruity exuberance.
Eventually, the juiciness subsides but the raspiness can still be felt and there is something else in there I can’t put my nose on but for me, the mango idea never goes away.

Pic of mango grove by: http://www.indianetzone.com/

Arizona pic and notes by: http://www.orchidscents.com/
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