Oriza L. Legrand Vetiver Royal Bourbon

Source: Source: hdwallsource.com

Source: Source: hdwallsource.com

The sky was green, swirled with mists of vetiver, mint, and herbs, but blackness hovered just on the horizon. Storm clouds of cade brought tar and campfire smoke, while leather, styrax and resins seeped up from a ground made earthy with brown tobacco absolute. A fine layering of wet leaves and moss lay strewn around, a last lingering sign of fall. A single small tent was visible in the vast expanse of blackened greenness, shining a golden ambered light. None of these things, however, could detract from the Aurora Borealis swirling all around, from the smoky vetiver and mint called Vetiver Royal Bourbon.

Vetiver Royal Bourbon is a newly released fragrance from the ancient house of Oriza L. Legrand (hereinafter just “Oriza“). It originally debuted in 1914, but it very much has the feel of a modern niche fragrance. In fact, it is rather like a lighter, thinner cousin to Profumum Roma‘s Fumidus, though there are definite differences. The similarity to a very bold, edgy, extremely distinctive scent like Fumidus makes Vetiver Royal Bourbon rather an amazing feat, given that the perfume is exactly 100 years old and has been only lightly re-tweaked for the modern era by Hugo Lambert, the nose behind the “new” Oriza fragrances and one of the brand’s two co-owners.

Source: Oriza L. Legrand.

Source: Oriza L. Legrand.

Vetiver Royal Bourbon is an eau de parfum and part of Oriza’s relatively recent Soliflore Collection, a collection where all the fragrances are designed to highlight one specific note. The name in the title should tell you which one is the focus here, but Vetiver Royal Bourbon has a much larger ingredient list than you might expect. The perfume includes:

Top Notes: Peppermint, Thyme & Absolute Vetiver
Heart Notes: Cistus Labdanum [Amber], Iris, Vetiver Bourbon & Sandalwood.
Base Notes: Essence of Cade, Leather, Styrax, Immortelle, Tobacco, & Oakmoss.

Source: hdwallsource.com

Source: hdwallsource.com

Vetiver Royal Bourbon opens on my skin with vetiver, vetiver, and more vetiver. However, it is thoroughly intertwined with mint, aromatic herbs, and a eucalyptus-like mentholated camphor. The very green mix is followed by hints of smoky and phenolic, tarry blackness from the cade, as well as even lighter touches of brown tobacco. The whole thing is sprinkled with a subtle booziness that is quite hard to explain. It’s definitely not the single malt Scotch whisky of Fumidus, but it’s not really like purely ambered warmth, either. It lies somewhere between amber and the “bourbon” in the perfume’s title.

Source: wallpoper.com

Source: wallpoper.com

At times, something about the overall opening combination feels very much like a vetiver and patchouli duet to me. The true, original, black patchouli note that was so common with hippies in the 1970s could be very green, with nuances of both peppermint and camphorated menthol. The really absolute, undiluted versions also have leathery, tobacco, and oily, turpentine nuances, as demonstrated by Farmacia SS. Annunziata Patchouly Indonesiano. In contrast, more ’80s-style patchouli was golden-brown-red, warm, woody, often infused with an ambered touch, and sometimes a little boozy.

Both styles of patchouli with all of their characteristics are reflected here with Vetiver Royal Bourbon’s opening bouquet, though the notes are subtle, and aren’t all equal in terms of their prominence. To be clear, Vetiver Royal Bourbon does not actually contain patchouli — of any kind. But the peppermint, cade, amber, tobacco, styrax all manage to replicate various aspects of the note, even if it is in indirect form. The only thing which is missing is the sweaty dirtiness of black patchouli. That is most certainly not visible in Vetiver Royal Bourbon, not by any means.

Vetiver roots, the primary source of the aroma. Photo:  Herbariasoap.com

Vetiver roots, the primary source of the aroma. Photo: Herbariasoap.com

One of things I find interesting about Vetiver Royal Bourbon is how the vetiver plays off of the other notes. Vetiver can smell like a variety of things, depending on the place from which it is sourced or how it is treated. It can be earthy, dry, grassy, minty, rooty, mineralized, or sometimes a little like lemongrass. On my skin, Haitian vetiver frequently manifests a strong mintiness, something that not everyone else experiences.

Here, Oriza has used actual peppermint to accompany the note, which rather leads to a situation where I’m getting double the dose. It’s a little bit of a problem for me, as minty vetiver is really not my thing and, in fact, even mintiness from patchouli can be a bit difficult for me. With Vetiver Royal Bourbon, each and every time I mention the note, you should assume that it smells of both vetiver and mint. The two things are really inseparable in Vetiver Royal Bourbon, from the very start of the fragrance all the way until its dying breath.

Yet, there is much more going on in the perfume’s opening moments. Under the top layer of green vetiver-mint, there is a subtle touch of earthiness, no doubt from the tobacco, followed by campfire smoke from the cade, burnt resins dominated by the styrax, and tarry, blackened leather. The oakmoss is subtle, but it adds to the story, too, conjuring up images of wet leaves festooning the ground in a damp, very misty, foggy countryside on a fall day. Much more apparent is that streak of boozy amber that I talked about earlier.

Source: Facebook page of "Amazing Landscapes, Nature, Animals and Places." Photographer may be  Nergis İnan.

Source: Facebook page of “Amazing Landscapes, Nature, Animals and Places.” Photographer may be Nergis İnan.

It all reminds me strongly of Profumum‘s famous (or, perhaps, infamous?) Fumidus, though there are sharp differences. There is no Laphroaig whisky here, no saltiness, no diesel touch, and no passing suggestion of a compost heap. The sense of something peaty from the vetiver is more muted, as is the black rubberiness from the cade. As a whole, Vetiver Royal Bourbon feels greener, more herbal, and slightly more medicinal, especially for the first hour. Fumidus doesn’t really have anything comparable to the eucalyptus-like camphorated note that is evident here, and the mint that I experienced is probably limited to my weird skin chemistry and the tricks it plays with vetiver in general. Plus, even then, the mintiness was milder.

Photo: My own.

Photo: My own.

Fumidus feels like a much black scent as a whole. While there is a definite streak of that in Vetiver Royal Bourbon, thanks to the cade and styrax, it feels much less substantial or heavy here. Fumidus  has birch tar conjoined, arm in arm, with the vetiver, but the balance is different in Vetiver Royal Bourbon. I think the cade note trails in 3rd place in the Oriza scent behind the vetiver-mint. Then again, cade is very similar to birch tar. One perfumer told me that he sees cade as a more masculine note than its olfactory cousin, while I think it has a more turpentine-like quality. The thing is, both Fumidus and Vetiver Royal Bourbon demonstrate quite a bit of the latter.

In Oriza’s creation, the cade’s turpentine nuance starts to awaken 20 minutes into the perfume’s development, along with a certain tarriness. Black leather and sticky, smoky, styrax join it, as they seep upwards to coat the pungently green, minty vetiver. The end result is to substantially weaken the impression of patchouli, and it soon fades away entirely. The perfume also becomes much less earthy, though an occasional hint of thick, slightly dirty tobacco absolute lurks at the edges.

"Novemthree" by Olaf Marshall. Source: vitaignescorpuslignum.blogspot.com

“Novemthree” by Olaf Marshall. Source: vitaignescorpuslignum.blogspot.com

From a distance, Vetiver Royal Bourbon’s predominant bouquet now is of a chewy, dense, slightly dirty, minty, smoked vetiver. And, by and large, it remains largely the same way until its very end, with only a few exceptions. As a soliflore, Vetiver Royal Bourbon is never going to be a complex, twisting, morphing creature. It is a very linear scent, but there are changes to the secondary notes, their prominence, and the perfume’s sillage. It’s largely a question of degree.

One of the bigger changes pertains to Vetiver Royal Bourbon’s weight. It opens as an incredibly light fragrance, sheer, and feels quite insubstantial at first. The perfume is miles away from Fumidus in this regard, as the Profumum scent has great opaqueness, heavy oiliness, and density. In contrast, the Oriza scent feels as light as air, even though the actual notes are relatively strong. Vetiver Royal Bourbon doesn’t have Chypre Mousse‘s forcefulness, but it feels more potent than many others from the line, including Muguet Fleuri.

The odd thing is how that wispiness changes. Vetiver Royal Bourbon never gets into Fumidus territory, but it does grow deeper, richer, and fuller over time. The first hint of it arrives after 20 minutes, as the labdanum, tobacco, and styrax stir in the base. An hour and a half into the perfume’s evolution, Vetiver Royal Bourbon’s leathery quality grows more pronounced in the foundation. Up top, the cade’s turpentine and smokiness start to overshadow the aromatic, herbal and mentholated camphor notes. Once in a while, there is almost a burning feeling to the scent, as though a vetiver wildland had been covered with black pitch and tarry asphalt, then set on fire. The perfume now feels much heavier that it did at the start, though Vetiver Royal Bourbon is still a light fragrance as a whole. To put it bluntly, Vetiver Royal Bourbon is no longer anorexic, because the vetiver has been fed a meal of richer notes.

Source: wallpapervortex.com

Source: wallpapervortex.com

By the end of the 4th hour, the labdanum is in full bloom, turning Vetiver Royal Bourbon sweeter and much warmer in feel. The various smoky, tarry, leathered, and turpentine undertones are in slow retreat. Vetiver Royal Bourbon is now primarily a minty vetiver scent cocooned in a warm, golden embrace with milder, increasingly muted smokiness and blackness. There is a slight powdery quality to the fragrance, but it’s really more of a texture than any actual powder. It’s almost as if the labdanum amber is a bit grainy, if that makes any sense.

Source: Source: hqwide.com

Source: Source: hqwide.com

Over time, the ambered glow fades on my skin, and Vetiver Royal Bourbon turns into a minty vetiver duet. It’s as though the vetiver has been purified, set free of both the smoky, blacker, leathery elements and of the labdanum’s warmth. What is left is a scent that very dark green in visual hue, and largely limited to pure vetiver. I’m afraid its mintiness is too much for me, especially as it demonstrates a tiny medicinal touch on my skin with lingering traces of mentholated camphor. In its final moments, the perfume is a mere wisp of vetiver greenness. All in all, Vetiver Royal Bourbon consistently lasted over 9 hours on me: 10 hours with 3 small sprays, and just under 9.5 with 2.

I have worn and tested Vetiver Royal Bourbon four times in total. On all of those occasions, I never detect any immortelle. Not at any point on my skin. The perfume never varied in its core essence or in the structure that I’ve outlined here today, but there were two very minor differences. In one test, the booziness of the amber was significantly less noticeable. In another, the earthy, tobacco, and oakmoss undertones were even more muted and subtle.

I have the very vague, wholly unscientific sense that heat was the deciding factor in the last circumstance. More of Vetiver Royal Bourbon’s subtle nuances came out in the heat, while cooler temperatures (and higher air-conditioning levels) squashed some of the elements. And, as with a number of Oriza fragrances, applying a greater quantity of the fragrance seems to amplify some of its base notes.

There is great purity in Vetiver Royal Bourbon’s vetiver focus, as well as a triumphant celebration of its minty and smokier aspects. All of that makes it a little too much for me personally, but that is merely a question of individual tastes and the fact that I don’t love vetiver in such concentrated amounts. Fumidus was too much for me as well, though I respect it just as much. In both cases, it is the mintiness of the vetiver that is my difficulty, not the blackness, tarriness, or smokiness. I think those things are very well handled in Vetiver Royal Bourbon.

In fact, the Oriza perfume would be a great alternative to those who struggled with the much greater quantity of smoky birch tar in Fumidus, as well as its thick, oily density. I can’t see many people wearing Fumidus in summer, but Vetiver Royal Bourbon’s lightness makes it a fresher alternative that you could definitely pull off in the heat.

Alexander Skarsgård by Ralph Mecke for GQ Style German. Source: iloveromancenovels.blog63.fc2.com

Alexander Skarsgård by Ralph Mecke for GQ Style German. Source: iloveromancenovels.blog63.fc2.com

As a whole, I think the perfume is unapologetically masculine in nature, and the handful of raves that I have seen for the scent on Oriza’s Facebook page all come from men. One chap stated how much he appreciated the vetiver’s darker facets, the lack of earthiness, and the perfume’s overall refinement. Another asked about the eucalyptus-like note, and I have a vague memory of someone else talking about the smoky leatheriness. I mention these comments largely because there are no other reviews for the fragrance that I can share with you. Vetiver Royal Bourbon is too new to have a Fragrantica entry, and no-one has tried it on Basenotes.

Oriza is a house whose creations sometimes have a very vintage feel, but Vetiver Royal Bourbon is a fragrance that could have been launched today by another niche house. It simply does not feel like a fragrance that was released 100 years ago, not by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I’ve spent a good deal of time amusing myself with thoughts of people’s reactions back then to the smoky, leathery, Fumidus-like vetiver in a world where Jicky, L’Heure Bleue, Phul-Nana, powdery florals, and scented waters ruled the day. Vetiver Royal Bourbon must have been completely revolutionary for its time, but it fits in perfectly in today’s modern world.

Vetiver Royal Bourbon is very affordable for a niche scent, especially for 100 ml of eau de parfum. The perfume costs $125 or €90, which is less than the €120 price of its other Oriza siblings outside the Soliflore line. It is currently available on Oriza’s website and at a variety of European retailers. (See the Details section below.) For American readers, I’ve been told that Vetiver Royal Bourbon should be available next week (or at the beginning of June) at Luckyscent, a site which is now carrying the full Oriza L. Legrand line, including the lovely soaps and candles.

So, if you love smoky, minty vetiver, do give Vetiver Royal Bourbon a try. I think it’s very well done.

Disclosure: Sample courtesy of Oriza L. Legrand. That did not influence this review, I do not do paid reviews, and my opinions are my own.

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Vetiver Royal Bourbon is an eau de parfum that comes in a 100 ml or 3.4 oz bottle, and costs $125 or €90. It is available directly from Oriza’s e-store. A great sample set is also available but it does not include the Soliflore range of fragrances, such as Vetiver Royal Bourbon. In the U.S.: Luckyscent now carries the full Oriza L. Legrand line, and should be receiving Vetiver Royal Bourbon this upcoming week or at the start of June 2014. It will cost $125. Oriza is also carried at New York’s JuJu s’amuse. It has two locations, and I’ve provided the number for one, in case you want to check whether they do phone orders: 100 Thompson Street New York, NY 10012, with Ph: (212) 226.1201; but, also, 1220 Lexington Avenue (at 82nd Street), New York, NY 10018. Other vendors in Europe: Oriza’s perfumes are also sold at Paris’ Marie-Antoinette (which was my favorite perfume shop in Paris), as well as one store in Sweden. In the Netherlands, the Oriza line is carried at ParfuMaria, but VRB is not yet listed. Germany’s First in Fragrance also carries the Oriza Legrand line, but it is the same story there. Both stores should eventually get the fragrance. Oriza L. Legrand is also sold at a few places in Japan. For details on those retailers and the Swedish store, you can check Oriza Points of Sale page.

Oriza L. Legrand Foin Fraîchement Coupé

Source: high-definition-wallpaper.com

Source: high-definition-wallpaper.com

Foin Fraîchement Coupé is a limited edition fragrance from the ancient house of Oriza L. Legrand (hereinafter just “Oriza“). It is a very classical, traditional scent that represents not only Oriza’s ancient roots, but also one of the oldest genres of perfumery: the aromatic fougère. In fact, the fragrance was originally released almost 150 years ago, and its full name is Foin Fraîchement Coupé 1866 (hereinafter just “Foin Fraichement“) to reflect the year of its debut. Yet, this is no powdery, dusty scent taken out of a museum; Foin Fraichement has been re-tweaked for the modern era by Hugo Lambert, the nose behind the new Oriza fragrances and one of the brand’s two co-owners.

Source: Oriza L. Legrand

Source: Oriza L. Legrand

The new Foin Fraichement is an eau de parfum that was released in 2013. On its website, Oriza describes Foin Fraichement and its notes as follows:

1886
New-Mown-Hay

“When you walk in the evening, breathing the smell of new-mown hay, listening to the cuckoo in the woods, watching the stars that spin, your heart, indeed, your heart is purer, more penetrated with  air, light, and the peaceful azure horizon, where the earth touches the sky in a quiet kiss. Oh! like the perfume in the air of a women’s hair! like the skin of their soft hands, as their eyes stare at us and penetrate our soul!” Gustave Flaubert

Top Notes: Angelique, Star Anise & Wild Mint.
Heart Notes: Clover, Sainfoin, New-Mown-Hay & Clary Sage.
Base Notes: Hay , White Musk, cockle & Ivy.

Source: josephsevier.org

Source: josephsevier.org

Foin Fraichement opens on my skin as a strongly green, aromatic cologne with green mint, green angelique, sweet grass, and slightly pungent, dried herbs. The bouquet is heavily infused with clary sage which manifests the plant’s soapy herbaceousness, as well as its lavender facets. The very cologne-like vibe is further underscored by clean musk and a lemony aroma. I don’t know where the latter comes from, but the two together add a clean freshness to go along with the very crisp, bright, green bouquet.

Star Anise. Source: perierga.gr

Star Anise. Source: perierga.gr

Minutes later, the star anise arrives, adding a strong spiciness to the notes. It competes with the lavendery clary sage, and the minty herbal accords for dominance, and somewhat overpowers the more delicate grass tonalities on my skin. The overall effect of the aromatic, spicy, herbal, soapy clean, and slightly lemony notes is a scent that is not only very classic in feel, but rather like a vintage barber-shop fragrance.

Clary sage. Source: dreamstime.com

Clary sage. Source: dreamstime.com

In fact, there are times when Foin Fraichement’s opening bouquet rather resembles Old Spice on my skin. The latter was released in 1937/1938, while the Oriza scent launched about 90 years before, but there are definite similarities. One reason why is the two fragrances have an overlap in notes: star anise, clary sage, lemon, musk, and soapiness. Old Spice is soapier (thanks to the inclusion of aldehydes), has other pungent spices like nutmeg and pimento, and far fewer green notes, but the two fragrances have a definite kinship and similar vibe. The difference for me is that Foin Fraichement feels much more refined, deep, and expensive.

"Golden Hay Bales in Green Fields' by Elena Elisseeva on Fine Art America.

“Golden Hay Bales in Green Fields’ by Elena Elisseeva on Fine Art America.

More importantly, though, the similarities don’t last very long. 20 minutes in, small touches of sweetness and hay rise up from the base, softening some of Foin Fraichement’s aromatic crispness. The perfume is now a very spicy, lightly sweetened blend of star anise, citric freshness, and herbal greenness, all lightly dusted with fresh hay. At the 40-minute mark, Foin Fraichement changes further as its base turns creamy, almost as if some soft woods were included. The clary sage’s soapiness recedes a little, as well.

For the first two hours, many of these changes are one of degree. During that time, Foin Fraichement is a very simple fragrance whose core essence remains unchanged. There are tiny fluctuations in the nature or feel of some of the secondary elements, but, by and large, Foin Fraichement is a very classical aromatic green fragrance in the fougère category with spicy, herbal, green, clean, and hay notes. (If you’re interested, you can read more about the aromatic green subcategory for fougères on Fragrantica.)

Source: hqwallpapers4free.com

Source: hqwallpapers4free.com

Foin Fraichement’s opening bouquet is quite airy and light, but also strong. 2 small sprays created quite a concentrated fragrance that initially hovered 3 inches in projection. Both the sillage and the perfume’s strength slowly soften, however, especially once the creamy base puts an end to the Foin Fraichement’s soapiness. It also helps to diffuse the musk and some of the fragrance’s herbal greenness. At the end of the 2nd hour, Foin Fraichement hovers maybe half an inch above my skin.

The biggest and most noticeable change on my skin is that creaminess to which I keep referring. At times, it feels almost vanillic at times; on other occasions, it is like coumarin and creamy hay. It is thoroughly intertwined with Foin Fraichement’s green side which increasingly takes on vetiver-like tonalities in its grassiness. The mint has faded away, but a faintly powdery touch takes its place. The whole thing is infused with star anise’s spicy sharpness, as well as a delicate sweetness. At the start of the third hour, Foin Fraichement’s main bouquet is of star anise spiciness with green vetiver-like notes, a lingering touch of aromatic herbaceouness, and clean, fresh musk, all atop a creamy coumarin and hay base. It no longer bears any resemblance to Old Spice.

Photo: my own.

Photo: my own.

Foin Fraichement’s drydown stage begins at the start of the 4th hour, and consists primarily of beautiful creaminess with star anise spiciness. There is a flicker of greenness that feels like vetiver, but only light touches of aromatic clary sage and musk remain. Taking their place is what I’d swear was a hefty amount of coumarin. As Fragrantica explains, coumarin consists of:

crystals found in tonka beans and other plants, smelling of almonds, vanilla and freshly-mown hay; found in both fragrances and flavorings, extremely versatile and popular, basis of the fougere family of scents.

Tonka beans. Source:  Fragrance-creation.com

Tonka beans. Source: Fragrance-creation.com

Here, the aroma resembles tonka vanilla, with only infrequent, light undertones of sweet hay. The whole spicy, creamy bouquet is lightly dusted by a tiny amount of powder, but it is generally the sweetened variety, thereby underscoring the coumarin-tonka angle even further.

Foin Fraichement turns into a skin scent on me at the 3.5 hour mark, but the perfume lingers on for a while. In its final moments, Foin Fraichement is a blur of creaminess with a touch of something dry and spicy. All in all, it lasted 7.25 hours on me with 2 sprays.

Foin Fraichement label and logo. Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

Foin Fraichement label and logo. Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

Foin Fraichement isn’t a complicated or edgy scent, but then, it’s not meant to be. Fragrances in 1866 weren’t the twisting, morphing creatures that they are today, so one can’t blame Foin Fraichement for its simplicity. Plus, the aromatic fougère category is perhaps the most traditional category of perfumery around. Foin Fraichement comes with those limitations, but it feels like a very refined take on the crisp, green, herbal aromatic genre. It’s also somewhat modern and not wholly vintage in character, as it lacks heavy soapiness or powderiness. In other words, if Foin Fraichement has a retro call-back to the past, it is due primarily to its very traditional genre. Everyone from Guerlain to Profumum Roma makes aromatic fougères, so Foin Fraichement is not old-fashioned so much as classical in nature.

For my personal tastes and style, the fragrance is a little too cologne-like at its start (and you know my personal issues with soapy cleanness), but I found the drydown to be lovely. The mix of star anise and creaminess was wonderful, and so smooth, too. My only real quibble with the fragrance is a small one regarding its moderate longevity, but that may be a question of personal skin chemistry. Foin Fraichement certainly lasted longer on my skin than some of the other scents from the Oriza line.

As a whole, I think Foin Fraichement is a very easy, approachable, good quality, and versatile fragrance. However, it skews into the masculine territory at its start, and I don’t know if some women will find it truly unisex in nature. I suspect it will depend largely on how they feel about herbaceous or aromatic notes like mint, clary sage, and/or lavender, especially all together and in conjunction with star anise.

Foin Fraichement is available on Oriza’s website, and costs €90 for a 100 ml bottle, which is less than the €120 for most of its other siblings. It is also sold at a variety of European retailers, and at a New York boutique called Juju Amuse (see the details section below). Even better, Luckyscent in L.A. just start carrying the full Oriza L. Legrand line (including the lovely soaps and candles) today. It sells Foin Fraichement for $125.

All in all, if you’re looking for a very fresh, spicy aromatic fougère with a refined classicism, you should give Foin Fraichement Coupé a sniff.

Disclosure: Sample courtesy of Oriza L. Legrand. That did not influence this review, I do not do paid reviews, and my opinions are my own.

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Foin Fraichement is an eau de parfum that comes in a 100 ml or 3.4 oz bottle, and costs $125 or €90. Foin Fraichement is available directly from Oriza’s e-store. A great sample set is also available from the e-Store (scroll down midway to the page and it’s on the right.) The set includes 7 fragrances in the range, though not Foin Fraîchement Coupé, with each scent coming in 2 ml spray vials. The whole thing costs a low €9. Separate shipping is listed as €9, but a friend said he was charged only €7. Oriza ships globally, as I’ve had readers order the sample set from all over. In the U.S.: Luckyscent now carries the full Oriza L. Legrand line, including Foin Fraichement which it sells for $125 for a 100 ml bottle. Oriza is also carried at New York’s JuJu s’amuse. It has two locations, and I’ve provided the number for one, in case you want to check whether they do phone orders: 100 Thompson Street New York, NY 10012, with Ph: (212) 226.1201; but, also, 1220 Lexington Avenue (at 82nd Street), New York, NY 10018. Other vendors in Europe: Oriza’s perfumes are also sold at Paris’ Marie-Antoinette (which was my favorite perfume shop in Paris), as well as one store in Sweden. In the Netherlands, the Oriza line is carried at ParfuMaria. Germany’s First in Fragrance also carries the Oriza Legrand line, including Foin Fraichement. Oriza L. Legrand is also sold at a few places in Japan. For details on those retailers and the Swedish store, you can check Oriza Points of Sale page.

Perfume Giveaway: Oriza L. Legrand Muguet Fleuri

I’m really happy to announce that Oriza L. Legrand (“Oriza“) has generously offered a huge giveaway of fifteen (15!) travel sprays of its latest fragrance, Muguet Fleuri. This is an International and U.S. giveaway with no geographic restrictions, either, so you can be anywhere in the world.

Art by Rachel Anderson. Source: zdjecia.nurka.pl

Art by Rachel Anderson. Source: zdjecia.nurka.pl

I’ve just posted my review for Muguet Fleuri which I think is a Spring symphony, with a radiant beginning centered around lilies of the valley, wild violets, peppered violet leaves, and mossy greenness. You can read the review for the full details but, for me, Muguet Fleuri feels like Chypre Mousse‘s more floral, Spring sister. It’s still an enchanted forest, but autumn has been washed away in a spirit of rebirth and new beginnings, and the fairies have come out to play in a sea of green, white, and purple. 

THE PRIZES:

Fifteen (15) readers will each get ONE (1) purse spray of 10 ml/0.33 oz of Muguet Fleuri. Just to be crystal clear, the prize is not a full bottle, but a travel spray of 10 ml.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS & TECHNICAL DETAILS:

Please leave a comment letting me know either your favorite muguet (lily of the valley) fragrance, your favorite scent from Oriza L. Legrand, or the scent that best captures Spring for you.

The entry period lasts until the end of Friday, April 18th at 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST) in the U.S. which is -6:00 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). There is only one entry per person.

The 15 winners will be chosen by Random.org, and will be announced in a separate post sometime the next day on Saturday, April 19th.

As a side note, I usually respond to each comment individually, but I won’t this time due to a rather busy schedule. I’ll merely leave occasional replies, indicating where someone is on the list.

Photo: encreviolette.unblog.fr

Photo: encreviolette.unblog.fr

WINNERS & EMAILS:

Once I post the winners, you have THREE (3) days to contact me with your shipping information. Deadline is end of the day, my time, on Monday, April 21st. Please send an email to Akafkaesquelife @ gmail . com  (all one word, scrunched together) with your shipping details. I will then forward the information onto Oriza L. Legrand.

If you don’t contact me, and if I fail to hear from you within the deadline, I will give your prize to the next person on the list.

SHIPPING:

Oriza L. Legrand will send the prizes directly to the winners. Given that they are located in Paris, it may take some time (up to 2 weeks, depending on your location and Customs processing) for you to receive your gift. It may take even longer if your country has really nightmarish customs issues or is at a greater distance from Paris.

Please be aware that neither Oriza L. Legrand nor I am responsible for items that are destroyed by customs or that are lost in transit for some reason.

Source:  raymichemin.canalblog.com

Source: raymichemin.canalblog.com

FINALLY:

I’d like to express my enormous gratitude to Mr. Hugo Lambert and Mr. Franck Belaiche of Oriza L. Legrand for their generosity, kindness and thoughtfulness in offering so many wonderful gifts. Some companies may give away a small sample, but travel sprays of such a large size and to FIFTEEN readers all around the world, without any restriction at all?!

I’m thrilled, primarily because it means that more people will get the chance to experience a really unique perfume house whose high-quality creations are done with elegance in a respectful nod to the past. My secret hope is that more of you will end up sharing my admiration and respect for the house, as well as for its gentlemanly owners who have put their heart and soul into bringing Oriza not only back to life, but also into the 21st century.

So, good luck to you all! May the perfumed winds take you to the heart of an enchanted forest, covered with muguet and violets, where the fairies dance the Rite of Spring. 

Source: allpolus.com

Source: allpolus.com

GENERAL MUGUET FLEURI & ORIZA DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Muguet Fleuri is an eau de parfum with about 18% concentration that comes in a 100 ml bottle, and costs €90. Muguet Fleuri is available directly from Oriza’s e-store. A great sample set is also available from the e-Store (scroll down midway to the page and it is on the right.) The set includes 7 fragrances in the range, except for Foin Fraîchement Coupé, with each scent coming in 2 ml spray vials. The whole thing costs a low €9. Separate shipping is listed as €9, but a friend said he was charged only €7, so it may depend on your location. Oriza ships globally, as I’ve had readers order the sample set from all over.
In the U.S.: Luckyscent should begin carrying the entire Oriza L. Legrand line, including Muguet Fleuri (as well as the Oriza soaps and candles), starting next week. Currently, you can find Oriza at New York’s JuJu s’amuse. It has two locations, and I’ve provided the number for one, in case you want to check whether they do phone orders: 100 Thompson Street New York, NY 10012, with Ph: (212) 226.1201; but, also, 1220 Lexington Avenue (at 82nd Street), New York, NY 10018. I do not think they will have Muguet Fleuri at this point, since the perfume was released just last week in Paris.
Other vendors in Europe: Oriza’s perfumes are also sold at Paris’ Marie-Antoinette (which was my favorite perfume shop in Paris), as well as one store in Sweden. In the Netherlands, the Oriza line is carried at ParfuMaria. Germany’s First in Fragrance also carries the Oriza Legrand line, but Muguet Fleuri is not shown on their website at this time. Oriza L. Legrand is also sold at a few places in Japan. For details on those retailers and the Swedish store, you can check Oriza Points of Sale page.

Oriza L. Legrand Muguet Fleuri: Spring’s Fairy Forest

Source: Zedge.com

Source: Zedge.com

Spring has arrived, bringing with it Muguet Fleuri in an olfactory symbol of rebirth and freshness that seems like Nature at its best. Delicate lilies of the valley sway in the wind like floral bells, releasing crystal-clear chimes of floral sweetness. Its dewy liquidity parallels April showers that wash the dirt and grime away, leaving a clean, fresh greenness imbued with alpine white in the soft sunlight. Yet, the vista of green and white is also thoroughly infused with imperial purple, as wild violets dance the Rites of Spring alongside the muguet. It’s the enchanted fairy world of Muguet Fleuri, the latest fragrance from the ancient house of Oriza L. Legrand.

Oriza L. Legrand (hereinafter just “Oriza”) is a house for which I have enormous affection and admiration. You can read all about its ancient history (and see the adorable sweetness of the Paris boutique) in a post I did last year on the subject, but to summarize in a nutshell, Oriza goes back to 1720 and the time of Louis XV. It made perfumes for the Tsar of Russia, and numerous European royal families, as well as winning prestigious prizes in World Fairs of the late 1800s and early 1900s. The perfume house died in the 1930s, but it has been brought back to life by its current owners, Franck Belaiche and Hugo Lambert. I’ve met them both, and they are true gentlemen — in every sense of that word.

Photo: Roberto Greco  for Oriza L. Legrand.

Photo: Roberto Greco for Oriza L. Legrand.

For them, Oriza L. Legrand is a labour of love. They want to return the brand to its old glory, while staying true to its heritage and history by offering its original fragrances, only with lightly tweaks to appeal to modern tastes. They work extremely hard, running all aspects of the business almost like an artisanal venture, right down to bottling the perfumes themselves (just as Andy Tauer does for his house). Everything they have is thrown into Oriza, and dedicated to making the house a success in the modern era. As a side note, some sites have said that Elisabeth de Feydeau is the nose responsible for the new Oriza scents, but that is incorrect. Madame de Feydeau assisted in the initial research for the original, historical formulas, but  it is Hugo Lambert who has created the re-invented Oriza fragrances and he deserves the full credit.

Muguet Fleuri. Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

Muguet Fleuri. Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

Muguet Fleuri is their latest release, but I have the impression that the original Muguet Fleuri debuted in 1925. This is obviously a tweaked interpretation suited for modern times. Muguet Fleuri is an eau de parfum centered around lily of the valley which the French call “muguet.” (That is how I am used to calling it, too, so I shall stick with the French name.)

Muguet is a big deal in France in spring time. The first of May is called May Day (La Fête du MuguetLa Fête du Travail) or Labor Day, and is a public holiday to celebrate workers’ rights. But it is also the day on which people give bunches of muguet to their loved ones. When I was growing up in France, especially on the occasions when I lived in Paris, every street corner had a little stand selling bunches of the flowers, often run by a little, wizened, old lady who had come from the country. It is a rite of Spring, and Oriza has marked that with an olfactory version that concentrates the feeling of muguet in a very classical fragrance.

Source: Oriza L. Legrand.

Source: Oriza L. Legrand.

Oriza describes Muguet Fleuri and its notes as follows:

1925
Top Notes: Green Leaves, Wild Grass, Wild Muguet.
Heart Notes: Galbanum, Angelica, Violet Leaves & Muguet des Bois.
Base Notes: Lily of the Valley Bell Fresh, Oakmoss & Lys des Prés … Comme Il Faut.

In applying Muguet Fleuri, I was struck first by impressions and sensations, rather than actual notes. It was a powerful cloud that was peppery, very spicy, fresh, dewy, lightly grassy, a touch herbal, and infinitely green. At a lower dosage, Muguet Fleuri was lightly soapy and clean as well, but the overwhelming impression is of spicy greenness. Dewy flowers and green leaves, concentrated in the epitome of Spring. Water lies everywhere, but it is as much a floral nectar as it is April showers.

Photo: encreviolette.unblog.fr

Photo: encreviolette.unblog.fr

For all that muguet is associated in my mind with Paris, Muguet Fleuri takes me back to England. It is like the smell of a spring morning in the British countryside after the spring rains have wiped everything clean. The wetness is fresh, sweetened, and incredibly crisp, but it’s also not as dainty as it sounds. The peppered spiciness is really remarkable, thanks to the violet leaves that feel positively crunchy and stiff, and they transform the delicate, fragile, little white bells into something with a solid backbone.

Wild wood violets. Photo: visoflora.com

Wild wood violets. Photo: visoflora.com

The violet flowers themselves arrive shortly thereafter, and they’re beautiful. This is a violet note unlike anything that I’ve encountered in  other scents. The degree of cool, radiant clarity is remarkable, and the incredibly concentrated nature of the purple flowers makes them stand head and shoulders above the faded, limp, flaccid violet in Serge Lutens‘ (reformulated) Bois de Violette, Tom Ford‘s Black Violet, and his Violet Blonde. It reminds me of the bunches of pansies (a close relation to violets) that my mother used to buy when we lived in London — only shot up with steroids. On my skin, Muguet Fleuri’s opening phase is almost as much about the violets — in both flower and crunchy leaf form — as it is about the lily of the valley, sometimes more so at the beginning.

Photo: my own.

Photo: my own.

As the minutes pass, Muguet Fleuri loses some of its peppered intensity and turns more floral. The muguet grows sweeter, and the violet’s floralacy becomes stronger than the crunchy, slightly prickly aroma of its leaves. There is a sense of greenness all around, but the momentary burst of grassiness in Muguet Fleuri’s debut has faded away. The visuals are all alpine white with imperial purple in a sea of green, and, yet, what it translates to emotionally for me is sunlight. Clear, bright sunlight.

Source: abstract.desktopnexus.com

Source: abstract.desktopnexus.com

Sometimes, it feels soft; often, it radiates a crystal-sharp whiteness, but primarily it feels comforting and like rebirth. Washing away the grime of Winter, darkness, reality, heartbreak, stress, or mundane trivialities in a flood of cool wetness that is somehow as soothing as being immersed in a liquid cocoon. I can talk to you about the notes, but, for me, Muguet Fleuri’s gorgeous opening bouquet is much more about a feeling, a mood, and symbolism.

Source: it.forwallpaper.com

Source: it.forwallpaper.com

And part of that symbolism is about the passage of Time and Nature away from the autumnal forest so well represented by Oriza‘s Chypre Mousse. For me, Muguet Fleuri is Chypre Mousse’s olfactory counterpart, and they have a lot in common. They are both extremely evocative fragrances that take you to the heart of an enchanted forest, and create the sense of being in Nature after the rains, surrounded by an ethereal greenness. In Chypre Mousse, it was autumnal with darkened mosses, wet leaves, humus, mushrooms, and a rivulet of leathery resins.

With Muguet Fleuri, Oriza takes you to that same forest in Spring. The liquid sweetness of May’s white muguet bells banishes away the remnants of Fall. Instead of dead leaves rendered dark, they are green, bright, and crunchy. Instead of mushrooms growing out of the wet earth or on fallen tree limbs, there are violets peeping out from under the youthful, bright foliage. The bridge between the two seasons and the two fragrances is that same plush, vibrant oakmoss, but, here, it’s significantly more subdued, fresh, and almost sweetened.

Source:  raymichemin.canalblog.com

Source: raymichemin.canalblog.com

The more specific differences between the two scents grow stronger as time passes. 10 minutes in, Muguet Fleuri loses even more of its pepper and spice, and takes on the faintest undertone of something clean instead. At a higher dosage, it’s not really soapy, per se, though it does feel quite fresh. Rather, it’s more like a green sharpness. Galbanum stirs at the edges, though it’s thankfully not the so-green-it’s-black galbanum that is such a part of Robert Piguet‘s Bandit.

Source: Colourbox.com

Source: Colourbox.com

Still, there is a definite sharpness to Muguet Fleuri that Chypre Mousse lacked on my skin. In some ways, it almost feels textural: the coolness borders on iciness at times, like a metallic blade, as if the dewy liquidity has been turned to steel through one of the notes. There is an edge to Muguet Fleuri at a higher dosage, but it was much less apparent when I applied less of the perfume. At the lower dosage, there is still a lot of liquidness to Muguet Fleuri’s opening, but it is joined by freshness that has a soapy cleanness, as if a really expensive French or Victorian floral soap were dancing about the edges.

Source: abstract.desktopnexus.com

Source: abstract.desktopnexus.com

In both cases, regardless of quantity, Muguet Fleuri’s greenness feels extremely crisp. The perfume may be a more purely and predominantly floral counterpart to Chypre Mousse, but it shares its predecessor’s tendency towards a certain mintiness. Yet, on my skin, Muguet Fleuri never feels herbal in the way that Chypre Mousse sometimes may. There is merely a sense of rain-drenched Nature, rather than a walk through a herb garden dominated by mint and its relatives.

Another similarity between the two fragrances is their forcefulness, at least initially in the case of Muguet Fleuri. Chypre Mousse is the strongest and most powerful fragrance in the Oriza line, by a landslide, in terms of its massive sillage and its longevity. Muguet Fleuri really surprised me by having initially excellent sillage as well, though it later became softer. The perfume also shares Chypre Mousse’s excellent longevity. Three small sprays of Muguet Fleuri from my atomizer gave me an opening cloud of about 5 inches, though it dropped down to 4 after 30 minutes, then to 3 after another hour had passed. It is an extremely airy bouquet, but Muguet Fleuri is incredibly potent, especially up close. I suspect that the fragrance is like the rest of the Oriza eau de parfums in having 18% concentration. Muguet Fleuri only became a skin scent on me 5.25 hours into its development, but it lasted over 13.75 hours. I was quite taken aback, since floral soliflores rarely have a chance on my skin, particularly if they’re fresh and green in nature.

Muguet with wild violets. Photo: Brigitte Quelin. Source: periblog.fr

Muguet with wild violets. Photo: Brigitte Quelin. Source: periblog.fr

As a soliflore, the core essence of Muguet Fleuri never dramatically shifts, morphs, and twists. It is always some sort of blend of lily of the valley, trailed by violets and multi-faceted greenness, with sharpness, and fluctuating levels of both cool, dewy liquidity and floral powder. That core essence remains largely unchanged for hours.

All that happens is that different elements wax and wane in terms of their prominence. The initial spiciness fades away, but the crunchy, very peppery violet leaves do a sort of ghostly dance, retreating, seemingly almost vanishing, before suddenly reappearing again in the background. The galbanum departs after 30 minutes, and the initial flicker of soapiness solidifies into something much more prominent at the 40-minute mark. Around the same time, the first vestige of floral power arrives, though it feels more like a sort of sandiness than actual powder. It grows stronger over time, as does the expensive lily of the valley soapiness.

At  the end of the third hour, Muguet Fleuri hovers half an inch above the skin in a potent blend of slightly sharp, lightly powdered muguet with only lingering traces of dewy, nectared sweetness. The crunchy, peppered leaves occasionally pop up in the distance, but the violet flower itself has largely faded away. The light veil of floral powder adds an old-fashioned touch, but it’s not powerful enough to turn Muguet Fleuri into something hardcore vintage and dated in feel. Rather, on my skin, it’s initially just a suggestion of something retro amidst the floral greenness.

Muguet Fleuri continues to soften with the passing hours. It lies right on the skin about 4.25 hours into its development, and turns into a skin scent an hour later. It also feels drier and more powdered, as the beautiful wave of floral liquidity recedes to the sidelines. By the start of the 6th hour, little droplets of dewiness lurk just behind the top notes, but they are increasingly tiny dots. Muguet Fleuri feels less green, though an occasional, subtle, minty freshness still pops up once in a while.

Source: underthemagnifier.wordpress.com

Source: underthemagnifier.wordpress.com

What surprised me was the subtle, abstract woodiness that appears around this time. The muguet feels flecked with a woody undertone that almost verges on cedar. Something about the overall scent reminds me of something Serge Lutens would do in one of his floral-woody combinations, only without the sweet syrupness that marked Bois de Violette, and with a more old-fashioned, clean, powdered touch. Muguet Fleuri’s drydown on my skin really feels like a bouquet of lily of the valley, cedar, violet leaves, and violets, even though the latter is now a mere impression more than a distinctive, powerful, individual note. The whole thing is dusted with floral powder that feels sandier than ever, and a light touch of very expensive floral soap.

Lily of the Valley, or Muguet.

Lily of the Valley, or Muguet.

Muguet Fleuri remains that way largely until its very end. In its final moments, it is a mere blur of something vaguely lily-of-the-valley-ish. As noted earlier, it lasted over 13.75 hours on my perfume consuming skin, closer to 14 actually, with 3 atomizer sprays amounting to 2 tiny sprays from an actual bottle. My skin usually has trouble holding onto floral soliflores, especially if they’re very green or white, so those numbers should tell you something. (One Serge Lutens floral, A La Nuit, lasted less than an hour on me!) I suspect Muguet Fleuri would last even longer on a person with normal skin.

For all that I love the most intense, dark, masculine, heavy orientals, I also love the polar extreme with very pure, crystal-clear, dewy florals. Serge LutensDe Profundis is one example, but so is Oriza’s ethereal Chypre Mousse. It’s not actually a floral, but it has the same spirit and atmospherics as De Profundis: Nature reduced to its purest essence. Muguet Fleuri, too, conveys that mood feel for much of its opening hours. The difference is that Muguet Fleuri is the embodiment of Spring and rebirth — a sunlit, dewy greenness to counter De Profundis’ purple twilight, or Chypre Mousse’s autumnal forest. This time around, Oriza’s enchanted landscape isn’t littered with mushrooms, the focus is not on the damp floor with its dead leaves, and the feeling isn’t of greenness flecked by darkness.

Art by Rachel Anderson. Source: zdjecia.nurka.pl

Art by Rachel Anderson. Source: zdjecia.nurka.pl

Now, instead, the sun has come out, and the fairies have woken up from their winter’s sleep. The crisp, icy air is now softened by a Spring glow; new, bright green shoots are pushing out of the wet earth; white muguet is everywhere, its little bells shaking off the morning dew; and violets nestle at the base of a large cedar tree, its purple delicacy nestled in a sea of fuzzy, peppered, spicy greenness. But, honestly, the absolute best part is that crystal-clear, liquid sweetness of the opening hours, that essence of lily of the valley concentrated down to a thick nectar. It’s truly beautiful. I felt invigorated, fresh, and a little bit free of heavy weight, as if I’d emerged purified from water.

The subsequent middle and final stages are very pretty, but they didn’t move me quite so lyrically and powerfully as Muguet Fleuri’s opening hours. The main reason why is that I’m not particularly enthused by soapy cleanness of any kind — even if it is as subtle as it is here — nor by floral powder. But I’m very finicky about those things — much more than others. Still, I would absolutely wear Muguet Fleuri. In a heartbeat, in fact. I would wear it for the places it transports me to in the first few hours, and for the soothing, almost Zen-like serenity it gave me at one point. I think it would be a lovely fragrance to wear in the summer heat, but I would wear it for the enchanted forest, first and foremost.

Source: pixgood.com

Source: pixgood.com

Muguet Fleuri is too new for any online reviews, so I’m afraid you’re stuck with my impressions for now. All I can tell you is that, to me, it is the Spring-time sister to Chypre Mousse. The latter is very much a “love it/hate it” scent, so I hope that reference can guide you. As to Muguet Fleuri’s gender appeal, I think it skews feminine in nature. I say that primarily because I don’t know any men who wear lily of the valley soliflores, and I don’t know if the peppered, crunchy violet leaves will provide enough of a counterpart to Muguet Fleuri’s main note or to its soapy/powder undertones. On the other hand, I’ve read of some men who buy Guerlain’s annual Muguet scent, so who knows. Speaking of the latter, I haven’t tried any of their lily-of-the-valley soliflores, but I can’t imagine that Guerlain would ever put out something so potent, intense, and different as a Chypre Mousse-like fragrance. I simply can’t imagine it. Moreover, Oriza L. Legrand’s fragrances have a definite signature — and it’s nothing like a Guerlain.

Muguet Fleuri is now available on Oriza’s website, and costs €90 for a 100 ml bottle, which is less than the €120 for most of its other siblings. The fragrance is too new to be carried by other Oriza retailers, like First in Fragrance, at this point, but I’m sure that will change soon. As a side note, the Oriza line is now sold in New York at a boutique called Juju Amuse (see the details section below), but their e-shop only carries clothing, not fragrances. However, Luckyscent in LA will start carrying the Oriza L. Legrand line starting next week, including the lovely soaps. In the meantime, if you want to test Muguet Fleuri, Oriza’s original and very affordable 6-fragrance Sampler Set has now been expanded to 7, to include the new Muguet Fleuri.

All in all, Muguet Fleuri feels like Spring’s floral symphony in a fairy forest, and I highly encourage anyone who loves both lilies of the valley and violets to give it a try.

Disclosure: Sample courtesy of Oriza L. Legrand. That did not influence this review, I do not do paid reviews, and my opinions are my own.

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Muguet Fleuri is an eau de parfum that comes in a 100 ml or 3.4 oz bottle, and costs €90. Muguet Fleuri is available directly from Oriza’s e-store. A great sample set is also available from the e-Store (scroll down midway to the page and it’s on the right.) The set includes 7 fragrances in the range, except for Foin Fraîchement Coupé, with each scent coming in 2 ml spray vials. The whole thing costs a low €9. Separate shipping is listed as €9, but a friend said he was charged only €7. Oriza ships globally, as I’ve had readers order the sample set from all over. In the U.S.: Luckyscent should get the Oriza L. Legrand line next week. Right now, it is carried at New York’s JuJu s’amuse. It has two locations, and I’ve provided the number for one, in case you want to check whether they do phone orders: 100 Thompson Street New York, NY 10012, with Ph: (212) 226.1201; but, also, 1220 Lexington Avenue (at 82nd Street), New York, NY 10018. Other vendors in Europe: Oriza’s perfumes are also sold at Paris’ Marie-Antoinette (which was my favorite perfume shop in Paris), as well as one store in Sweden. In the Netherlands, the Oriza line is carried at ParfuMaria. Germany’s First in Fragrance also carries the Oriza Legrand line, but Muguet Fleuri is not shown on their website at this time. Oriza L. Legrand is also sold at a few places in Japan. For details on those retailers and the Swedish store, you can check Oriza Points of Sale page.