Under the Radar: Jardins D’Ecrivains Orlando- Shoulder Season Staple

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For most people their perfume choices are split into warm-weather and cold-weather fragrances. A perfume dork like me has to create more categories than that. One part of the year I look forward to is what I call “shoulder season”. This comprises the transition between summer-fall and winter-spring. More practically it means days which start out cool become pleasantly warm at midday to return to cool after sunset. I have a group of perfumes which have a dynamic evolution on my skin which makes them ideal shoulder season perfumes. One of those is Jardins D’Ecrivains Orlando.

In 2013 Anais Biguine debuted her new brand Jardins D’Ecrivains, garden of writers, with five singular perfumes based on famous authors, or their works. The original debut collection of five is exceptional in the way Mme Biguine successfully realized her vision. This wasn’t a brand which played it safe as each fragrance had a few twists and turns to them which made them stand out. Orlando was perhaps the twistiest of the original releases.

Anais Biguine

Based on the novel by Virginia Woolf and further made familiar by the 1992 movie starring Tilda Swinton it tells a story of gender roles. Elizabethan Lord Orlando falls asleep only to wake up as Lady Orlando a century later. Book and movie have lots to say about the fluidity of gender which seems particularly apt today. Mme Biguine produced a perfume which captures her subject matter in three accords.

The top accord is a vibrant concoction of ginger, baie rose, and orange. This is an unsettled opening much like the protagonist it is meant to portray. The perfume leans into its inspiration as each ingredient pinballs off the other not finding a harmony. It is something I find unusually beautiful when I wear Orlando. The heart is amber and patchouli containing a touch of clove which represents our Elizabethan Lord in act two. The final act of lighter woods transforms it into something more contemporary with gaiac, musk, and peru balsam. As our heroine wakes up in a new time.

Orlando has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.

Orlando is a bit of an acquired taste, but it is my favorite of the Jardins D’Ecrivains perfumes. Especially in my shoulder season. If Orlando sounds a bit too challenging for you there are others within the collection worth exploring that are less experimental. In any case this is a brand that deserves to be on any perfume fan’s radar.

Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle I purchased.

Mark Behnke

One thought on “Under the Radar: Jardins D’Ecrivains Orlando- Shoulder Season Staple

  1. Definitely an under-the-radar house well worth exploring. Thanks for drawing attention to it! I'd like to support that.

    I have never really come to terms with Orlando. The sweet gaiac musk combo at the end makes a rather too feminine impression on me to wear it (although artistically this transition is so very fitting to the story of Orlando!) And from somewhere I get an unfortunate mothball association. But it is fascinating.

    My personal favorite from Jardins d'Ecrivains is George, which is dedicated to Gerorge Sand, and is also part of the original 2013 collection. To me it evokes a library room, a bit woody-dusty, but with some dried flowers and leaves blown in through an open window, and heliotrope wafting in and out. Disadvantage with many of their perfumes is you've got to apply rather liberally (with George, for a full day's wear I have to apply 5 to 6 sprays).

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