Perfume has to be one of the most peculiar products as you aren’t purchasing what you see, but are buying an invisible, ephemeral ‘mood’. You buy alcohol, perfume oils and water in a stylish bottle but what your heart and mind are buying into is a feeling. Clearly, the scent must appeal to you, but how the choosing and wearing of that fragrance makes you feel is equally valued. All cosmetics, even those promising age-defying properties, lever on our feelings. But scent has to be the most elusive cosmetic of all.
Perfume buying is therefore immensely difficult as so much comes into play. First, there is the immediate visual appeal of the flacon and packaging. If the brand is unknown to you, its design and look are likely the first aspects that draw you to it. Then, in store or with a tester vial at home, you spray a little, wait a second for the alcohol to evaporate and then eagerly sniff your wrist. But, there is more at play in peaking your interest than smell alone.
The perfume design
Many contemporary fragrances from the 1990s onwards are designed as linear constructs with almost a ‘what-you-smell-first-is-what-you-get-later’ approach. Those later notes in fact deviate little from that first impression. Any declared top, heart and base notes merge to give an overall picture of the scent.
The so-called and traditional fragrance pyramid of notes peeling off over time (usually within less than an hour) to reveal different scent facets is designed out. The linear fragrance was in tune with our frenetic lives as we liked to spritz and go, knowing when we purchased a new fragrance that we got what had just about time to sniff in the perfumery, drugstore or duty free.
Slow perfume, slower notes
Olentium Le Parfum takes a slow-perfume approach and has that three-tiered peel of notes designed in. As perfume lovers will know, notes listed may not in fact correspond to an actual raw material in the fragrance, but are mentioned as the perfumer has created the impression of them – often using other ingredients.
This is less the case with Olentium Le Parfum as you will find all the notes we list present, even if fleetingly and not in a form that is instantly recognisable to the nose. The jasmine and orange blossom heart, for example, may not correspond to those notes in other perfumes claiming them. Our floral heart is a more earthy narcotic and less white floral perhaps, tempered as it is by the basil, myrtle and cypress.
Le Parfum notes:
Top: Italian citrus of bergamot, mandarin, lemon and herbs of basil and myrtle.
Heart: jasmine, orange blossom.
Base: ambers and musks.
The Le Parfum backstory is explained in our other post: A Mediterranean fragrance story.
Intangibles of scent
Apart from the actual fragrance notes and the process of testing a perfume on blotter and wrist, there are many other facets of scent that go into how we make up our minds to buy, or reject a fragrance. The ‘je ne sais quoi’ perhaps; its invisible, non-scent qualities that we deconstruct by making analogies – even by personifying the scent.
These intangibles are made tangible in mainstream fragrance advertising with, for example, the choice of celebrity face to front a new-launch or the location for the filming and photoshoots. Then, come the fashion and beauty media’s interpretation of it – along with the web awash with perfume reviewers. As always, these days, there is more information on a single perfume launch than we care to bother with.
As a new, niche, small perfume house and with, for now, an online rather than retail store presence (and with little budget for glitzy film shoots), Olentium too must flesh out the intangible, invisible facets of our signature, launch scent Le Parfum to help guide our customers, reviewers and followers.
The aura of fragrance
How can we give the mood of Olentium Le Parfum? If you have ever landed on the popular perfume review site Fragrantica, you will know just how diverse the views are on the selfsame fragrance. The scent will always be in the nose of the beholder, but we’ll at least attempt to map out the mood of Olentium Le Parfum to flesh out the parts the nose can’t smell over the internet – the aura of the scent.
Aura in fact is something the metaverse is taking on; expect to see brands offering you experiences of their products in virtual worlds. Perhaps, perfume got there before the metaverse! I love to think that one of the oldest forms of human creative endeavour – perfumery, and its rituals – is ‘of the moment’. We use fragrance to envelop ourselves in an experiential aura, don’t we?
The Mood of Olentium Le Parfum (in not so many words)
Le Parfum evokes:
- A walk through garrigue bushes and herbs down to a small sea inlet in the Mediterranean.
- Lemons hanging heavy in a Capri citrus grove.
- White linen shirts, worn lightly crumpled – genderless summer fashion.
An all-season citrus-aromatic scent. Inspired by spring through to early autumn as its notes evoke plants of those seasons (flowering jasmine and citrus). A bright blue winter day when the sun has warmth and the shadow is chill – winter being the season those citrus ripen.
Colour: White, lemon yellow, and the mellow, bleached honey-white of limestone.
Person who embodies it:
Isabella Rossellini: for her eternal style, classic chic and grace, as well as her slightly androgenous look. Le Parfum is designed to be genderless. Rossellini, Italian and Swedish, blends the two seasonal personalities of Le Parfum; its vivacious lively summer notes of citrus and florals, with its warm amber, soft enveloping hygge drydown.
The nearest fragrances we can think of are: Io Capri (Carthusia) although that has a more bitter herbal top. There is also a nod to Annick Goutal’s Eau d’Hadrien for the sheer delight of its citrus, its ‘agrume’ facets and its Mediterranean inspiration. Others,we might compare to in mood are Gucci Mémoire d’une Odeur for its universal, aromatic scent; as well as Miller Harris Rêverie de Bergamote.
Olentium Le Parfum is available as: Eau de Parfum, 50ml atomisers and as Parfum, 15ml in French flacons.