Fire Island

Underwater Love, originally uploaded by Mareen Fischinger.

There are very few sun tan oils or sunscreen lotions that I like; yet, there is something immediately captivating about scents that bring to mind that sun-and-and-soaked feel of sunbathing products – the feeling of freedom and carefree, both peaceful and wild.

Fire Island is not so much fiery as it is bottled water-fun. It is suggestive of both watery breezes and sun-tan lotion: the scent that emanates from my skin when I climb out of the pool, dripping chlorinated water that washed away some of that gardenia and lily scented sunscreen. The late afternoon breeze is blowing, slightly chilling the skin into pleasurable goose bumps that glitter in the diagonal rays of sun that is just about to set in the horizon.

The Bond No. 9 line was designed to conjure memorable locations in New York. I have only been to New York once, so I cannot comment on the connection between the locations and the scents. Fire Island is named after a dune-y beach in the city, and the scent is one of the most likeable and easy to wear beach scents I know. The perfumer, Michel Almairac, also created the similarly innocent Secret Wish (Anna Sui), the sweet Casmir by Chopard, and many more.

The notes, according to Briana from Bond No. 9 are:

Top notes: Cardamom, Ozone
Heart notes: Neroli, White Musk

Base notes: Skin Musk, Tuberose, Patchouli

Personally, I smell mostly the ozone note, and notes of gardenia and lily and a slightly creamy musk, and a hint of neroli.

Memorial Wreaths and Mille by Patou

Memorial metal garland on tomb, originally uploaded by Monceau.

1000 is such a strange bird, and I have postponed trying it for a long time, expecting a floral explosion in the manners of Joy. Since it was mentioned as an exemplary osmanthus scent, I had to try it seriously this time. It uses top notes that are quite medicinal, but surprisingly, they all manage to go through some mysterious transformation, get rid of the white gowns and change into classy, lady-like vintage outfits instead. The opening is aldehydic and at the same time campohoreous, green and spicy, emanating from a prescription of eucalyptus and angelica and some stray coriander seeds for a good measure of ambivalent pleasure.

As I walk away from the eucalyptus forest and the dry vaporous leaves crushing under my feet are fewer, dirty, dark florals start to emerge, like the scent of a memorial wreaths of roses lying in the sun long after the memorial ceremony is over.

The floral heart of dark dry roses has also a green powderiness from violet and osmanthus and the indole characteristics of jasmine are swallowed in the dirty and earthy base of civet, patchouli, oakmoss and vetiver, like the decaying floor of the eucalyptus-grove. The osmanthus presence is there only as a suggestion for leathery, animalistic, peach-skin texture of suede … Osmanthus adds a fuzzy softness to 1000, which is otherwise a ladylike, aldehidic chypre floral. But it is truly the eucalyptus that maintains the character of this perfume as its presence floras as an ethereal spirit above all things.

Top notes: Bergamot, Coriander, Eucalyptus, Angelica
Heart notes: Osmanthus, Rose, Jasmine, Violet

Base notes: Sandal, Patchouli, Vetiver, Civet, Oakmoss

Hermessence’s Osmanthe Yunnan

Osmanthe Yunnan is another citrusy osmanthus, much in the same vein as Ormonde Jayne’s rendition of the flower. The osmanthus note here is buried gently under myriads of sheer veils of citrus and tea. It is subtly floral and complemented by the green floral notes of freesia, which also lends it a somewhat peppery accent – an interesting counterpoint to the apricot-skin top notes of the osmanthus flower. I like the way the tea, with its acrid and peppery personality is mingled with the greenness of osmanthus. Osmanthe Yunnan is a subtle, well done scent – but whatever amount of osmanthus there is in Osmanthe Yunnan – I still find it very under-satisfying.

Notes: Yunnan Tea, Orange, Freesia, Osmanthus, Apricot, Leather.

Keiko Mecheri’s Osmanthus

Of all the recent Osmanthus themed scents I have smelled, this is the most floral. Yet, it does not make me think of osmanthus in particular. What I get at first is a creamy reminiscent of aVasline Intensive Care Body Lotion embrace – soft and clean. This is tinged with peach and apricot skins, which is the part where the osmanthus makes its modest entry, but the overall impression is of a peachy, slightly coconuty suntan lotion. The floral heart is very appealing and has a somewhat Victorian feel to it, like a powdery violet scent, along with soapy jasmine and tuberose greenness.

Keiko Mecheri’s Osmanthus is my favourite of all the scents I tried so far from her line. But as an osmanthus scent, it is still not the one I would pick for someone to try in order to get a good idea of what osmanthus is suppose to smell like. It’s a fun, comfort scent that makes me think of summer and gardenias.

Notes: Peach, Apricot, Osmanthus, Datura, Tuberose, Violet, Jasmine, Musk, Powder

Image is from
Neiman Marcus website.

Ormonde Jayne's Osmanthus

Ormonde Jayne's Osmanthus is my least favourite from this collection of exotic-flower-themed line. The citrus and marine scents that are amongst my favourites are scarce - so it shouldn't surprise you. Ormonde Jayne's Osmanthus is a citrus woody with hints of florals that are hard to detect. I cannot find the osmanthus notes there at all but than again it could be my body chemistry playing tricks on me.

It is very similar to the Creeds in my opinion - something metallic in there. The base is woods with light musk. My favourite part of the perfume is the beginning -though I wished the Pomelo note was more true to the real fruit. I don't find the davana there, nor the osmanthus or jasmine sambac or even a hint of spicy pimento that are listed in the notes. It is mainly a citrus, musk and cedar scent on my skin. When I smell it I miss the originality and mystique of Cahmpaca, Ta'if, and Ormonde.

I found this one quite anemic in comparison to the rest of the Ormonde Jayne line, but it is a fun scent to wear sometimes, when running along the grey-beach-sand early on a chilly morning.

Top notes: Pomelo, Davana, Pimento
Heart notes: Osmanthus absolute, Water Lily, Jasmine Sambac
Base notes: Cedar Wood, Labdanum Resin, Musk, Vetiver
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