Another of the things that bother me about all the spring rose perfumes is they are so myopic. It seems like all they can imagine as representing spring is a dewy rose garden. There is so much more than that to the season. My favorite part is to get out in my hiking boots and go squelching through the local fields. By the time, the poodles and I get home we have shared grins from being back outdoors. The burgeoning green is also a typical scent for this time of year. Oriza L. Legrand Scotch Lavander goes out on a vernal walkabout without a rose in sight.
Hugo Lambert (l.) and Franck Belaiche
Oriza L. Legrand is a perfume brand I need to remind myself to pay more attention to. Back in 2012 Franck Belaiche and Hugo Lambert resurrected the brand. Through a lot of research they recreated the original perfumes. Where my admiration grew was their ability to find modern equivalents to ingredients in those recipes that were unavailable. It remains one of the best heritage house collections to date. As they have moved through the intervening years, they have found a fascinating way of adding a contemporary component to the classical construction. In Scotch Lavander it takes us to the heaths of Scotland where the lavender is in bloom.
I want greener from my spring perfumes. The top accord is as close to that desire as I can imagine. It is a simple combination of lavender, thyme, and bergamot. The lavender in the early moments is that herbal version which I like. The thyme keeps it to that side of things. The bergamot acts like sunlight through the water droplets on the spears of lavender. Just a hint of citric sparkle. It moves greener for a moment as vetiver and geranium pick up the top accord. Then a powderier lavender begins to cover things. This is a beautifully realized transition as the keynote floral completely changes faces. It evolves further into a warm base of tonka, amber, and benzoin. This slightly sweet ambery accord combines with the lavender in a comfortable embrace.
Scotch Lavander has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
I have never been to Scotland nor trod a heath. It does fit my imagination of what I think it might smell like. It is close enough to my spring squelches through the farm fields which is my kind of seasonal perfume.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.
The heritage brand Oriza L. Legrand has done a pretty good job of recreating some early 20th century recipes nearly one hundred years later. The creative team of Franck Belaiche and Hugo Lambert have resurrected this brand by understanding the history of perfume from that time while allowing for modern tastes. The original collection of ten, released in 2014, carried their vintage pedigree beautifully.
It was with some surprise that I received my press release for the latest release Villa Lympia. It spoke of casting “an air of summer over the Riviera for the first swims of the season.” It also carried packaging with a woman in an old-fashioned bathing costume. The whole aquatic/beach style of perfume didn’t come into being until the late 1980’s. This meant Messrs Belaiche and Lambert weren’t working off of a previous recipe. As soon as I sniffed Villa Lympia I realized we had taken a detour. This is a member of the category of beachy perfumes. It is done in a way that felt very 1970’s to me.
Hugo Lambert (l.) and Franck Belaiche
The 1970’s were a very plastic time. It seemed anything that could be extruded from polymers was turned into a product. The first moments I smelled Villa Lympia the top notes created that very scent of fresh plastic. It does evolve into a more traditional marine perfume but at first it felt like I had to peel the cellophane off of it.
Villa Lympia opens with that plastic accord. I am guessing it is composed of some of the traditional ozonic and aldehydic components usually employed to produce a sea spray effect. This time it goes sideways into this cellophane wrapping. After nearly an hour the plastic eventually does blow away leaving the mineralic smell of hot sand which is sweetened a bit by immortelle. It eventually ends on a desiccated woody accord meant to evoke driftwood.
Villa Lympia has 8-10 hour longevity and has moderate sillage.
If you have enjoyed the previous Oriza L. Legrand fragrances for their ability to reclaim the past Villa Lympia will be unlikely to impress you. On the other hand if you take it as a member of the “day at the beach” style of perfumes Villa Lympia does that really nicely. I actually found the cellophane accord worked as a functional way to sort of mentally unwrap the perfume on the days I wore it. I was happy to jump ahead fifty years to the 1970’s and spend a day at the plastic beach.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Oriza L. Legrand.