Perfume Giveaway: Oriza L. Legrand & 10 Travel Sprays!

Oriza logo.

Oriza logo.

I’m incredibly excited to announce that Oriza L. Legrand (“Oriza“) has generously offered a really huge giveaway of ten (10!) prizes. Ten winners will each get one 10 ml travel spray of their choice of Oriza eau de parfum. There are no geographic restrictions, either, so you can be anywhere in the world.

Oriza is an ancient, once-renowned perfume house whose history goes back to Louis XV and 1720. 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, they are true gentlemen, and, for them, Oriza is a labour of love. They want to return Oriza 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.

One of the ancient Oriza bottles, in baccarat crystal as many used to be. This one seems to be for "Violets Prince Albert" and the winner of the First Place prize at the 1900 World Fair winner. Source: with the original on Flickr.

One of the ancient Oriza bottles, in baccarat crystal as many used to be. This one seems to be for “Violets Prince Albert” and the winner of the First Place prize at the 1900 World Fair winner. Source: with the original on Flickr.

Each of the fragrances is sophisticated, unusual, and smells like absolutely nothing else on the market. One of them — Chypre Mousse — stopped me in my tracks on my way to Serge Lutens, made me turn back, and buy it then and there without any further testing. Those of you who know me (and my feelings about Serge Lutens) will understand just how remarkable that is. Chypre Mousse is one of my absolute favorite chypres, an otherworldly foresty, leafy, damp, green, mushroomy fragrance that feels like a homage to Nature itself.



The rest of the fragrances in the line range from an Oriental patchouli-cognac-amber, to a Serge Lutens-like twist on white lilies, to incense-y High Church fragrances, to a delicate green floral that evokes Spring, and more. All of them are unusual, and all of them have a long history going back to their original release date in the early 1900s. Oriza’s modern fans include Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Adjani, and, hopefully, now, some of you as well.


Ten (10) readers will each get ONE (1) purse spray of 10 ml/0.33 oz of the Oriza perfume of their choice. Just to be crystal clear, the prize is not a full bottle, but a travel spray of 10 ml.

Reve d'Ossian bottle. Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

Reve d’Ossian bottle. Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

If you’re unfamiliar with Oriza L. Legrand, you can read my three-part series on the house and its perfumes. The reviews include other people’s impressions of the fragrances as well:

Part I – Oriza, its Paris store, and the return of its fragrances;

Part II – Reviews for Chypre Mousse, Horizon & Reve d’Ossian; and

Part III – Reviews for Relique d’Amour, Oeillet Louis XV, Jardins d’Armide & Deja Le Printemps.

You will find below a cursory, nutshell synopsis of my thoughts on the seven Oriza fragrances. You should be aware that my very brief description doesn’t cover the full (and very lengthy) list of notes in each perfume, or any possible issues of sillage and longevity:



Chypre Mousse: This one is almost impossible for me to describe, a perfume that isn’t really a “chypre” in the way that we usually understand it. It has notes of wet leaves, damp earth, mushrooms on the forest floor, moss, violet leaves, and dark resins. That description still doesn’t really convey just how unusual the fragrance is, or its haunting beauty. It’s truly spectacular. Some of its many notes include: violet leaves, galbanum, oakmoss, pine needles, vetiver, fern, clary sage, chestnut leather, green shoots, wild fennel, wild clover, resins, and labdanum.

Horizon. Source: Oriza L. Legrand.

Horizon. Source: Oriza L. Legrand.

Horizon: a patchouli fragrance with aged brandy and cognac, candied mandarin, spices, smoke, hints of leather, tobacco, ambergris, and vanilla. This is my second favorite from the line and the fragrance that I had originally intended to buy before Chypre Mousse swept me off my feet. Horizon is a beauty, a true patchouli oriental with discreet sillage after an opening burst of aged cognac. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t last a huge amount of time on my skin, but I find it really beautiful.

Reve d'Ossian label. Source: Oriza L. Legrand.

Reve d’Ossian label. Source: Oriza L. Legrand.

Reve d’Ossian: Frankincense, pine woods, dust, myrrh, resins, cinnamon, leather and amber. For me, this started out as a High Church fragrance in the vein of Bertrand Duchaufour’s Dzongkha before turning into a warm, ambered, cinnamon fragrance centered around myrrh.

Isabelle Adjani.

Isabelle Adjani.

Relique d’Amour: a very twisted lily that feels like something Serge Lutens would do. Another fragrance that starts out feeling like an old monastery infused with cold white smoke and dust, it soon turns into a sweet white lily fragrance infused with pollen, incense, myrrh, wax, woods, a touch of soap and powder, and green notes. It’s as though a ray of light shone through a monastery window to light on a vase of lilies, release their aroma, and have it mix with the other notes in a complete paradox. This is a another favorite of mine. It is also Isabelle Adjani’s perfume.

Relique d'Amour poster. Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

Relique d’Amour poster. Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

Oeillet Louis XV: Oriza’s homage to their original patron, King Louis XV, this fragrance is centered around white carnation with rose, powder, cloves, iris, and many other notes. On me, it opened sharply like Serge Lutens’ carnation fragrance (Vitroil d’Oeillet) before turning into something much more powdery, in the vein of a very old Guerlain creation, atop some mysterious green, fresh parts and a light, woody musk. You have to like carnations and powder for this one, but it’s very well done.

Source: Oriza L. Legrand.

Source: Oriza L. Legrand.

Jardins d’Armide: hardcore powder and floral soap. Too much so for me, though the fragrance has its fans in Ida Meister of Fragrantica. This one is the most dated of the seven, in my opinion, and feels very much like something from the 1800s. I had to scrub it, but I have no tolerance for intense powder or soap. The notes include: iris, iris powder, old rose, violet wild, glycine, carnation, almond, tonka, musk, and more.

Catherine Deneuve.

Catherine Deneuve.

Deja Le Printemps: a green floral with galbanum, mint, fig, vetiver, cedar, moss, orange blossom, clover, grass and more. On me, it opened exactly like Serge Lutens’ Iris Silver Mist. I can’t explain it, especially as the fragrance contains no iris (let alone that funky iris nitrile that Serge Lutens used), but it was shockingly alike on my skin. Then, the galbanum and other green parts take over, creating very much a Spring bouquet that people say evokes a walk in the countryside. This one is Catherine Deneuve’s fragrance.

If you’re interested in trying the whole line, Oriza offers a very affordable sample set of all seven perfumes. I have further details at the end of the post.


Vintage Oriza poster. Via Oriza Facebook.

Vintage Oriza poster. Via Oriza Facebook.

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment about what you found interesting or appealing about Oriza L. Legrand, its history, and its new mission — or — a comment about whichever one of the perfumes struck your fancy thus far. You won’t be tied into your perfume choice. If you win, you can always change your mind, and choose something different for what you want as your 10 ml travel spray. 


The entry period starts today, Friday November 8th, 2013 and lasts until the end of Wednesday November 13th, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST) in the U.S. which is -6:00 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).


The 10 winners will be chosen by, and will be announced sometime the next day on Thursday, November 14th.

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 Saturday November 16th. Please send an email to Akafkaesquelife @ gmail . com  (all one word, scrunched together) with your shipping details and your choice of perfume. 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.


Oriza L. Legrand will send the prizes directly to the winners, and pay for all shipping costs. Given that Oriza is located in the 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.

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.


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 fantastic gifts. Some companies may give away a small sample, but travel sprays of such a wonderful size and to TEN readers all around the world without restriction?! Amazing! I cannot thank Oriza enough. My real excitement, however, stems from the fact that more people will get the chance to experience a really unique perfume house whose high-quality creations are done with elegance, finesse, and sophistication. 

Good luck to everyone! May the perfumed winds take you back in time to the very heart of French history and to Oriza’s royal European courts. 

Cost & Availability: All Oriza L. Legrand fragrances are eau de parfums with about 18% concentration. They come in a single size, 100 ml or 3.4 oz, and cost €120. You can buy them directly from Oriza’s e-Store that also offers perfume samples. All 7 fragrances in the range are offered in a single Sample Set for you to try. Each fragrance comes in 2 ml spray vials, and the whole thing costs a low €9. Shipping is listed as €9 extra, but a friend said he was charged only €7. Oriza ships globally, as I’ve had readers order the sample set from all over. Other vendors in Europe: Oriza’s perfumes are also sold at Marie-Antoinette (which was my favorite perfume shop in Paris), as well as one store in Sweden and one in the Netherlands. For details on the Swedish store, you can check Oriza Points of Sale page. The Netherlands retailer is Parfumaria.

Oriza L. Legrand: Relique d’Amour, Oeillet Louis XV, Jardins d’Armide & Deja Le Printemps

Yesterday, we looked at three fragrances from Oriza L. Legrand, starting with their mossy masterpiece, Chypre Mousse. Today, I thought we’d take a look at some of their more traditional floral scents. I should confess at the outset that pure florals aren’t generally my preferred fragrance group, so I responded much less to these than to Oriza L. Legrand chypre and orientals. However, they’re all very well done, with elegance and sophistication, and they have that unusual Oriza character that makes all the fragrances stand out as something very different from the rest of the things currently on the market.


Relique d'Amour poster. Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

The fragrance of an old chapel of a Cistercian abbey. Cold stone walls covered with damp moss. Waxed wood of the altar and old pews ornate with carvings. Linseed oil in lamps. Air smelling of incense and myrrh. But how fresh and spicy the smell of white royal lilies on this background! Subtle floral scent with green accents of leaves and powdery touches of yellow pollen. The beam of light breaks through the stained glass and illuminates this olfactory tumult of feelings varying from exaltation to humility and back. The silence which creates a sense of the divine call.

Top notes: Fresh Herbs, Pine.
Middle notes: Powdery Notes, White Lily, Pepper, Oak, Incense, Myrrh, Elemi.
Base notes: Musk, Moss, Waxed Wood, Woody Notes, Pepper.

The Relique d'Amour.  Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

The Relique d’Amour. Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

I’ve changed my mind on the accuracy of Oriza’s description for Relique d’Amour, a fragrance that, for me, is really a lily scent first and foremost. I now think there is quite a bit of truth to the backstory, especially that ray of light illuminating the white flowers. I’ve also changed my order of favorites for the Oriza Legrand fragrances, moving Relique d’Amour up to third place in lieu of Reve d’Ossian. The simple reason is that Relique d’Amour has the oddest, and most Lutens-like, twist on white lilies, and I find it fascinating.

In a nutshell, if Serge Lutens took an enormous armful of white lilies to an old, dusty French church, accidentally dropped them along with a bottle of black pepper, and got on his knees on the waxed wooden floor to pick them all up, he would probably have been inspired to make Relique d’Amour, a completely different take on an Avignon church scent.



My mental categorization of Relique d’Amour as a “lily” scent means that I’m consistently and continuously startled by its opening, to the point that I have to sometimes pick up the vial to ensure I haven’t sprayed on the wrong perfume. I’m not a fan of the opening, but then I’m not a huge fan in general of olibanum, white incense fragrances with their dusty, aloof, very High Church feel. And the opening 5 minutes of Relique d’Amour are tough for me. It begins with a veritable explosion of black pepper that is so intense, you could sneeze. On its heels, other notes soon follow: herbs, freshly crushed pine needles, floral powder, and something almost aldehydic.

The Gegherd Monastery. Source:

The Gegherd Monastery. Source:

The troop’s rear guard is quickly brought up by a tidal wave of dust and white incense, in a combination that feels very similar to the early notes in Reve d’Ossian. It’s the olibanum-opoponax duo of myrrh cousins, infused with the dust of ages in a very old monastery filled with parchment scrolls. Black pepper is sprinkled all over the top of this ancient, olfactory tapestry, while underneath lurks the slow start of something floral. Oriza L. Legrand is completely accurate in describing the overall combination in those early moments as “the smell of an old chapel of Cistercian abbey.”



Thankfully, it’s a very brief thing. Five minutes into that sharp, difficult start, Relique d’Amour changes. It’s as if a ray of light beamed through the heavy particles of dust in the old monastry, shining a tunnel of white on a single vase filled with while lilies. It stands in the corner, its stamen heavy with yellow pollen, and the beam of light releases its sweet fragrance into the air. Suddenly, a wave of sweet, dewy, pollen-laden white lilies rolls over the intense cocktail of black pepper, dust motes, and dry, cold, white, slightly soapy High Church incense.

Relique d’Amour is suddenly transformed into something very different, centered on a dewy, sometimes dry, sometimes metallic, lily infused with incense. To me, it’s unusual the way the traditionally indolent white flowers have had their syrupy sweetness and narcotic opulence dried out by cold incense. There is more to the scent and flowers than that, however. There is a also drop of what feels like honey (undoubtedly from the wax element), alongside sweetened woods and a touch of floral powder. Lurking underneath are flickers of bright, fresh grassiness, evocative of summer and contrasting sharply with the feel of very old wood that has been cleaned with a gentle film of soap before being waxed to a high shine. It’s an odd mix but it is also oddly appealing, though it takes a few tries to get used to it.

Close-up of the pollen on a lily's stamen. Source:

Close-up of the pollen on a lily’s stamen. Source:

The combination of lilies blended with dust, sweet pollen, old wood, slightly honeyed, waxed wood, and undertones of soapiness feels like a complex set of contradictions. That’s probably why I repeatedly think that Relique d’Amour is the sort of startling paradox that Serge Lutens would do. The difference is that this twisted lily feels very old in nature, though that is probably a result of the dust and myrrh combination. Then again, Bertrand Duchaufour used that to great success in his (overly praised) Dzonghka, so perhaps Relique d’Amour isn’t actually so dated after all. 

Relique d’Amour’s sillage starts off as moderate, then turns soft. The fragrance is airy in weight, but initially potent and strong when smelled up close. Like a number of the Oriza fragrances, the sillage is far too intimate, polite, and low for my personal tastes. It also doesn’t last forever on my wonky, perfume-consuming skin. At the start of the second hour, Relique d’Amour hovers a bare inch above the skin, as soft as a nun’s white veil. It’s a bouquet of lilies infused by white church incense, the thinnest veneer of floral soap, green grass, and sweet pollen. An hour later, it’s a skin scent that is a blur of lily and sweet pollen.  All in all, Relique d’Amour lasted around 6.5 hours on me with 2 small sprays, and just barely over 7.75 with 4 large squirts. Something about all the Oriza L. Legrand perfumes — with the exception of the outstanding Chypre Mousse — doesn’t seem to work well with my personal skin chemistry. Others, however, seem to have much better luck, with a few consistently averaging between 10-12 hours from the same scents.



Mark Behnke of CaFleureBon tried four of Oriza’s floral fragrances at the start of the year, and Relique d’Amour was his favorite. (He concedes that they all have average longevity. In my opinion, Mr. Behnke’s skin normally retains scent like glue, at least as compared to my own, so I think that his estimate says something.) I largely agree with his review of Relique d’Amour which reads:

Relique d’Amour is my favorite of these first four releases but I think this will probably not be the most popular. My reasoning is that Relique d’Amour is that rare fragrance which seeks to paint a picture with olfactory notes. There is less of a pyramid in place and more of a sense of a specific place. I love poking around in old stone churches. When I have the opportunity to do this the smell of the stones covered in moss and the aged wood of the supporting timbers is a singular smell to me. Relique d’Amour is that moment of standing in an old abbey surrounded by the layers of residue from the oil lamps and censers. As I said Relique d’Amour really paints a singular picture and doesn’t really devlop so much as rise fully formed off of my skin. There is the raw pine of the timbers, a strong stony mineral aspect, a bit of lily, wisps of myrrh, elemi, and frankincense. All together they impart a weight of history and place upon Relique d’Amour and it is a place and time I want to visit often.

I don’t agree that Relique d’Amour would be the most difficult Oriza Legrand fragrance for people to like. (That would be Jardins d’Armide, in my opinion, but he didn’t test that one.) People actually seem to like Relique d’Amour a lot. For one thing, it is the fragrance that the famous beauty and French actress, Isabella Adjani, fell in love with and bought for herself. For another, there is enormous enthusiasm for the fragrance in the early comments on Fragrantica. One commentator who tested the perfume wrote:

The very first sniff is green, a freshly cut evergreen, not piney, not at all pine disinfectant-esque, second scent is a dusty old book, bookmarked with a love letter, left in an old church, it’s beautiful, incredibly atmospheric. You can see the daylight filtering through dust motes onto pews. It’s maybe not something you would wear on a first date, it is not the type of fragrance just anyone will understand. If you appreciate fragrance as an art form and not something you just splash on day after day, just because, then you may love to smell this for the pictures you will get from it.

The lilies come into the forefront soon after, enhancing the very church-y feel, but not sharp, as lilies can be, these are dominant but soft.

ETA, I reviewed before reading the description above, deliberately. I realise now after reading it looks like I just copied it! It is incredibly evocative and clearly does what the perfumer intended!

There are many similar descriptions of Relique d’Amour, all positive. I think the reviewer above is completely right in finding the fragrance to be more like an evocative mood than something easy that you can easily just spray on before you go to the supermarket. It’s not an every day perfume. It is not even the most approachable perfume. It is, however, very Serge Lutens-like in its twists and turns. I think it’s very original, and stands out a mile away.


Oeillet Louis XV.

Oeillet Louis XV.

Oriza L. Legrand’s roots go back to 1720 with the patronage and admiration of King Louis XV. So, in 1900, the house paid him homage with a carnation scent called Oeillet Louis XV. (The word for “carnation” in French is oeillet.)

Powdery and peppery, silky and spicy, Oeillet Louis XV soothes yet confuses with its paradoxes. Reminiscences of an ancient time, powder fades and gives way to spicy notes of clove. […]

White carnation is at the heart of this fragrance and is the source of its dichotomy. Symbol of true love under the monarchy, the flower embodied the fire of French Revolution. As a scent, white carnation is as intoxicating as the most subtle poison; a delicate blend of mandarin, monarchical iris and light wood chords, which cannot resist the violence of pepper and spicy clove. Pink carnation brings a note of bitterness, symbol of Mary’s sorrow. Legend has it the flower sprang where Mary’s tears fell as she saw Jesus carry the cross. […]

Top notes: Pink Pepper, Mandarin.

Heart notes: White Carnation, Carnation Absolute, White Orchid, Iris, Rose, Spicy Clove.

Base notes: Rice Powder, White Musk, White Honey, Woody Notes.



Oeillet Louis XV opens with sharpness. Great sharpness that feels as cold as ice. Like a blade that cuts through you, the fragrance bursts with the pungent, peppered, spicy, and metallic coolness of carnation. It seems simple and limited, perhaps deceptively so. The peppered carnation is infused with dewy floral elements, a light touch of powdered iris, and a damp greenness like young shoots. Something, somewhere feels like the tender sweetness of violets. Underneath the sharpness of the carnation and the bite of pepper, there is the subtle spiciness of cloves and the bitter sweetness of a neroli-like orange.

It all feels as cutting as a sharp crystal but, at the same time, there are glimpses of a spicy orange-brown, a peppered black, a tender violet, a powdery rose, and vistas of fresh, clean, crisp, grassy green. Soon, the iciness is softened and tamed by the floral powder which I think smells dated and old-fashioned. Actually, I find it to be a strange contrast with the pungency of the carnation, bitter cloves, spiced orange, and pepper. It pains me a little, but then my threshold tolerance for powder in perfumery is very low.

On my skin, Oeillet Louis XV doesn’t get much more complicated than that. In fact, from a distance, it eventually turns into something that is merely a cloud of carnation. Like many of the other Oriza L. Legrand florals, Oeillet Louis XV has weak longevity and average sillage on my skin. The fragrance is initially very potent up close, but there is only an small cloud around me, maybe about 3 inches. It soon turns soft and weak on my neurotic skin, a blur of carnation with a touch of floral (iris?) powder. It’s all very hazy, and fades away after 6.5 hours. As I’ve mentioned, my skin is not the norm. On Oeillet Louis XV’s Fragrantica page, the two votes thus far for longevity are split between “long lasting” and “very long lasting.” Sillage is put at “moderate” and “heavy,” though Mark Behnke found that Oeillet Louis XV … has sillage to burn.”

Mr. Behnke had a very different experience with Oeillet Louis XV than I did. Frankly, it sounds rather terrible to me, a plethora of powder that I’m glad I was spared. In his review, he wrote how it felt something suited to Madame de Pompadour, the King’s favorite mistress:

… Oeillet Louis XV is a very powdery focused fragrance and it feels in keeping with the famous hairstyle which bears her name as the powder keeps rising and rising until it is neatly arranged around clove and musk. Oeillet Louis XV begins with a double dose of carnation and then adds iris and rose. If you still don’t have enough powdery facets a heaping dose of rice powder is added. I’m not the biggest fan of powdery fragrances and I have to admit the early exuberance always took me right to the edge of my personal tolerance. Just as I thought it was too much the clove cleaved through all of the powder along with a sheer white musk and the powdery façade was laid bare. Now these two notes carry the development and the final stage is coated in a light bit of honey and balsam. If you love powdery fragrances Oeillet Louis XV should be on the top of your list to sample.

The only comment on Fragrantica for Oeillet Louis XV seems to convey an experience a wee bit closer to my own:

The carnation is treated here in the purest transparency and purest nature. The flower is like windswept, through the wild grasses, with large gray clouds in the sky. Really beautiful.    

The most detailed assessment I’ve seen for Oeillet Louis XV thus far comes from a commentator on Parfumo, “Drseid,” who seems to have had the best experience of all of us:

Oeillet Louis XV opens with a fruity orange and dewy rose tandem with a slight carnation undertone. As the fragrance enters the early heart the orange dissipates as the carnation takes the fore, building in intensity with the rose hanging around in the background bolstered by traces of additional clove spice and powdery iris support. As the composition reaches the late dry-down the slightly powdery iris dies but the now diminished carnation remains, joining prominent white musk with a vague natural woody undertone fading in and out through the end. Projection is average and longevity is very good at 9-11 hours on skin.

[…] The late dry-down is quite pleasant with the fragrance turning slightly sweet and just a tad woody, though the woods are quite subtle and at times elusive. The bottom line is the 120 euro per 100ml Oeillet Louis XV represents a mostly successful spiced carnation and rose presentation with just a touch of powder in the heart and a skillfully executed gentle light woody musk finish, earning a “very good” rating of 3.5 stars out of 5. Fans of fragrances like JHL by Aramis in particular will most likely enjoy this. [Emphasis in font to names added by me.]

I see very different perfume comparisons for Oeillet Louis XV. Something about its cold, cutting opening calls to mind the passing sniff I gave to Serge Lutens‘ icy carnation scent, Vitriol d’Oeillet which Fragrantica says has some similar notes in common: nutmeg, clove, pink pepper, pepper, paprika, carnation, wallflower, lily and ylang-ylang. For most people on Fragrantica, the Lutens fragrance is mostly a bouquet of carnation, pepper, and cloves, and Oeillet Louis XV can be that, too. The real similarity to me is in the iciness, the sharp coolness of the flower. Oeillet Louis XV, however, has significantly more powder, along with iris, rose and orange at its base, and subtle hints of some mysterious, grassy greenness that I can’t explain. For some inexplicable reason, for me, Vitriol d’Oeillet actually has the feel of some very old, vintage Guerlains in its floral powderiness, but without the latter’s Tonka vanillic signature and rounded warmth. As a whole, I think Oeillet Louis XV is well done, but it’s far from my personal tastes.


Source: Oriza L. Legrand.

Oriza L. Legrand says that Jardins d’Armide is a floral tribute to legendary gardens. Their description reads, in part, as follows:

Les Jardins d’Armide was the symbol of beauty, lush and beautiful, full of fragrant flowers and the rarest species. […] The Queen of Flowers, Rose, is at the heart of this enchanting bouquet picked in the Garden of Armida.

Iris from Florence and Violet Wild powder their glycine and eyelets India, while Honey, Almond and musk bring this tempting elixir incomparable strength. [¶] Jardins D’Armide, unparalleled powdery fragrance of Oriza L. Legrand.

Top notes: Old Rose, Orange Blossom and Iris Powder.

Heart notes: Florentine iris, Violet Wild, Glycine and Carnation India.

Base notes: Honey, Almond, Tonka and Musk

Jardins d'Armide. Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

Jardins d’Armide. Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

They weren’t kidding about the powder. Jardins d’Armide was a scrubber on me after just one hour. In fact, the mere memory of it pains me, and not even for you, dear readers, will I relive the experience by testing it again in full.

So, I’ll merely share with you my early impressions that I wrote to a friend who was interested in the scent, along with bits of my notes. On me, Jardins d’Armide opens with a massive burst of spicy pepperiness from geranium, followed by rose. Then, 2 minutes later, there is a soapy note that is like really expensive floral soap, along with a touch of floral powder. Initially, both elements are minor, but they increase significantly with every passing moment.

For a minute or two, before they completely overwhelmed me, there was something to Jardins d’Armide’s pungently piquant, spicy geranium that brought to mind Grossmith Phul-Nana with its geranium fougère opening. However, that fragrance has a very heavy neroli start, while Jardins d’Armide is primarily rose geranium fragrance with a LOT of powder and floral soapiness. Something about that last part, with its almost artificial, synthetic element, hurts my head when smelled deeply up close and right on the skin.

There is an old-time, very dated feel to the scent. Normally, I don’t mind that, but, here, the forcefulness of that floral synthetic soapiness with its tinge of floral powder and its underlying sweetness feels claustrophobic and cloying to me. I think my problem is that there is a sharpness to the floral powderiness of Jardins d’Armide, perhaps due to the impact of the geranium’s pungency. Whatever the reason, I couldn’t bear the fragrance, and had to get it off my skin.

Ida Meister of Fragrantica liked Jardins d’Armide much more than I did, though she confesses that those who don’t like powder “must flee.” (They really should! And I’d add floral soap to that list, too!) In her Scented Snippets, she writes:

This is languishing perfume. Very old-school, living, breathing swooning powder.  […][¶]

Did Jean Laporte of L’Artisan Parfumeur glean inspiration from the 1905-vintage Jardins? His 1985 Orchidée Blanche has long since been discontinued, but the similarity in feel is remarkable. Orchidée’s silvery iris/honey volupté is sorely missed by die-hard perfumistas everywhere [notes: bergamot, magnolia, nectarine, iris, honey, vanilla]. I have two bottles tucked away with which to compare: eerie! And absolutely wonderful.

Jardins d’Armide is possibly among the most tenacious perfumes I have ever had the pleasure to experience; it goes on and on, chock-a-block with exquisite components. Lavishly sensual with elegant manners, we can discern every individual element, and yet the sum is so round, so perfectly pleasing and harmonious. Jardins d’Armide does not apologize for its “old-fashioned” goodness—it revels in it. If you are not fond of powdery scents, then you must flee. If, however, you long to be cloaked in fin de siècle fragrant generosity wantonly larger than life—then I think you really ought to sample this. Other powdery florals appear anemic—pale and wan, anorectic in her wake. She is a Grande Dame, a Gibson Girl among waifs.

All I can say is that, if Mark Behnke thought Oeillet Louis XV had powder, he should never try Jardins d’Armide. He would need therapy afterwards. I told you at the start of this series that Jardins d’Armide was the one Oriza L. Legrand fragrance that I had an extremely negative reaction to, and I meant it. There is old-fashioned, there is old-fashioned powder, and then there is the hell-on-earth powder and soapiness that is this fragrance. I can’t even bear to talk about it any more, so onto the last one.


Oriza Deja Le PrintempsOriza L. Legrand describes this fragrance as the essence of Spring:

A promenade in the woods awakening from a long winter sleep. Morning dew is glistening like beads on wild grasses which exude fresh flavor. The sun rises and its rays awaken wet flowers and the fragrant leaves of fig trees swaying by wind. Tree buds swollen with young leaves, flower buds ready to bloom, and the earth, with its smell of turf and twisted roots, full of vitality. The first lilies of the valley reveal themselves. It’s spring awakening. Spring has come.

Fragrance notes: Top notes: Mint, Orange Blossom, Chamomile. Middle notes: Fig Leaves, Clover, Mown Grass, Lily of the Valley, Galbanum. Base notes: Musk, Vetiver, Cedar, Moss.

Call me crazy, but the opening of Deja Le Printemps smells like Serge LutensIris Silver Mist to me. My notes are littered with “ISM??!!” notations, especially with regard to the first five minutes. On me, Deja Le Printemps exploded with a sharp, icy, alcohol-like blast that was just like frozen vodka, and just like that of the Lutens fragrance with its huge amounts of futuristic iris nitrile. That sharp, metallic, cold note is soon followed by sharp, pungent greenness from the galbanum, then by an oddly dewy, wet floral that must be the muguet or lily-of-the-valley. Greenness fills the base, with plushly soft oakmoss and the feeling of green sprouts pushing through the snow with Spring’s arrival. Flitting all about is a floral powder with a tinge of soapiness, and the slightest whisper of a pale, watery rose.

Despite the spring bouquet, there continues to be something that makes me think of iris. For whatever reason, Deja Le Printemps on my skin produced a very cold, rooty, almost carroty iris aroma, complete with its earthy, damp, icy feel and its touch of floral powder. I can’t account for it, and surely it’s the effect of the other accords, but I’m telling you…. Iris Silver Mist! That is only a part of Deja Le Printemps, however, as the pungent galbanum, delicate white florals, powder and green notes are equally significant.

Rex Preston, "Spring flowers, Bramley Wood" at

Rex Preston, “Spring flowers, Bramley Wood” at

At its heart, Deja Le Printemps is very much a Spring bouquet mixed with floral powder, and quite true to its description. Alas, it had low sillage on me, and poor longevity, clocking in just shy of 5 hours. In its final moments, it was nothing more than an abstract floral blur. I am not a huge fan of either green florals or many of the notes in Deja Le Printemps, particularly galbanum and iris, so I’m afraid I wasn’t enamoured by the scent. I’m not the target audience, however, and the fragrance is well-done as a whole. It’s also the Oriza L. Legrand scent that a famous fashion icon fell in love with and bought for herself, so clearly it’s something that appeals to those with sophisticated tastes who enjoy green florals.

English countryside. Source: Pinterest.

English countryside. Source: Pinterest.

That conclusion is supported by the lone two reviews on Fragrantica. The first raves about the “retro” delicacy of the green florals, and how Deja Le Printemps is “the best Naturalist ‘pure green'” perfume, epitomizing a walk in the countryside between Spring showers. The second review is even more positive:

 This got my attention immediately! Probably because I’m in a phase of my life when I really enjoy green scents, and I love Nature. […] I fell in love with it after the first sniff. 🙂

The opening is very green and very fresh. I can smell grass, (fig) leaves, and clover. I don’t get much of mint. And I get no lily of the valley at all, but I really don’t mind. It’s probably somewhere there with the orange blossom making sure this green scent isn’t too green or sharp. But it doesn’t smell flowery or sweet at all. […]

This perfume is indeed like a walk through the countryside that’s awakening after a long winter. It’s very green, almost herbal, slightly woody, and actually quite subtle, yet very powerful. I adore it.

The fig note was much more prominent for the lone Parfumo review, as were the vetiver and a eucalyptus-like mint. “Drseid” writes:

Deja Le Printemps opens with what best can be described as a slightly aromatic eucalyptus-like mint and fig tandem with a fresh green grass undertone. As the fragrance enters the early heart the mint slowly fades, leaving the fig to directly mesh with the remaining green grass supported by resinous musky woody galbanum. As the composition progresses to the late dry-down a slightly sharp vetiver driven natural woody accord joins the remnants of the greens with a very faint tree moss undertone from the base adding weight to the relatively airy composition. Projection is on the low side of average, with average longevity at 6-8 hours on skin.

Deja Le Printemps did not exactly wow me when I first sprayed it on, but its eucalyptus-like fig and mint really does gain appeal as it gradually couples with the green grass and galbanum in the heart. That aside, it is the late dry-down with its welcome addition of vetiver and woods, however, that turns the composition into something special as they combine extremely well with the remaining greens and the aromatic fig. This whole effect indeed conjures visions of a spring countryside with fig trees in the background, green grassy fields and wild aromatic herbs growing within. The bottom line is the 120 euro per 100ml bottle Deja Le Printemps delivers what its name promises, earning a “very good” 3.5 stars out of 5 and a solid recommendation especially to lovers of fragrances like Eau de Campagne by Sisley. 

If you like green florals, then I think you’ll very much enjoy Deja Le Printemps. It’s not my personal style, but I can see the finesse and elegance. It’s a fresh, sophisticated scent that succeeds in its goal of encapsulating the essence of Spring.

Cost & Availability: All Oriza L. Legrand fragrances are eau de parfums with about 18% concentration. They come in a single size, 100 ml or 3.4 oz, and cost €120. You can buy them directly from Oriza’s e-Store that also offers perfume samples. All 7 fragrances in the range are offered in 2 ml spray vials for €9. Shipping is listed as €9 extra, but a friend said he was charged only €7. Oriza L. Legrand ships globally, as I’ve had readers order the sample set from all over. Other vendors in Europe: Oriza L. Legrand’s perfumes are also sold at Marie-Antoinette (which was my favorite perfume shop in Paris), as well as one store in Sweden and one in the Netherlands. For details on the Swedish store, you can check Oriza L. Legrand Points of Sale page. The Netherlands retailer is Parfumaria.

Oriza L. Legrand: The History, The Store & The Perfumes

When perfumistas with vast, expensive fragrance collections and tastes similar to yours urge you repeatedly to do something because “you’ll love it,” a person tends to listen. Again and again, before my Paris trip, I was told that I had to go to Oriza L. Legrand, not because I am a history fanatic, but because of the sophistication, complexity, depth and elegant luxuriousness of their perfumes.

Chypre Mousse. Source: Oriza L. Legrand.

Chypre Mousse. Source: Oriza L. Legrand.

I’m glad I listened, because I was utterly entranced. The history is fantastic, the boutique utterly adorable and filled with quirky personality, and the perfumes are lovely. In one case, so absolutely incredible that it stopped me in my tracks while on my way to buy my precious bell-jar from Serge Lutens. Those of you who know me (and my feelings about Serge Lutens) will realise that it takes a hell of a lot to make me turn around in my set journey to my perfume mecca — let alone to get distracted enough from Serge Lutens to buy another perfume, then and there, and after a mere 15 minutes!

But that is precisely what happened with Oriza L. Legrand‘s Chypre Mousse, a fragrance that I will review (along with some others from the line) in another post. The funny thing is that I had actually gone to Oriza with plans to investigate a completely different perfume, a patchouli-cognac-amber fragrance called Horizon whose lengthy list of notes had called to me like a siren song. It’s a beautiful patchouli-amber, but, in the end, it could not compare to the utterly haunting, unique loveliness that is Chypre Mousse. To me, Chypre Mousse is the damp, mossy, forest, leafy version of Serge Lutens‘ delicate floral triumph, De Profundis. My fellow blogging friend, Undina, once described De Profundis as a “homage to life,” and I think that beautiful phrase is also the ideal way to describe Chypre Mousse. I mean it quite seriously when I say that I think the perfume is a masterpiece.

Oriza logo. Source: the Oriza L. Legrand website.

Oriza logo. Source: the Oriza L. Legrand website.

I was impressed enough by Oriza L. Legrand (hereinafter just “Oriza“) that I decided to begin my coverage with a little overview of the brand. So this post will address Oriza’s history, its return to the perfume scene, and, at the very end, some of the fragrances that stood out for me. It will also focus on how the perfumes may have changed from their very original formulation. I was lucky to stumble across a superb interview with one of Oriza’s new owners in which he explains how he’s dealt with perfume formulas that go back to 1899 and the early 1900s, the tweaks he’s made in order to offer a slightly modernized version, some very famous fans of the new fragrances, and more.

In addition, I have to include some photos from my own time in the boutique. I loved the time-capsule feel of the store with its vintage posters or adverts from the early 1900s, its quirky collection of bow-ties made from vintage silk, and its brightly coloured window displays. As usual for this trip, my tiny camera wasn’t very cooperative. Nonetheless, I hope it gives you a little sense of what the Oriza boutique is like, especially if you are planning a visit to Paris. At the very end will be a discussion of some of my favorite Oriza perfumes thus far, along with their notes, and an explanation of how you can try the line for yourself.


1720, King Louis XV, and famous beauties. Far before Guerlain, Grossmith, Creed or the like, there was Oriza L. Legrand. The brand originated with Fargeon the Elder who set up his first shop in the Louvre Palace’s central court, and who made a fragrance for the young king. It probably helped Oriza even more that Fargeon’s potions and creams were rumoured to be the secret of Ninon de Lenclosa great courtesan known for her beauty and eternal youth.

Composite of old Oriza photos and adverts, created by .

Composite of old Oriza photos and adverts, created by .

In a 2012 interview with the French blog, Flair Flair, one of Oriza’s current owners, Franck Belaiche, explains both the company’s name and what happened next:

As for the name of the house, it derives from Oryza Sativa, the latin name for rice, which was part of the cosmetics’ ingredients.

Then in 1811, Louis Legrand took over the house as he understood all the potential prestige it had. With its fragrant creations, he pushed it to its full extent. It is him who introduced the perfumes in the house although Fargeon, in his time, had created a fragrance for Louis XV, the young king.

He created the most refined, the most exquisite, the most complex things. Legrand was a true fragrance artist, like the perfumers one encounters in [Patrick Suskind’s book] Le Parfum. […][¶]

[Eventually] Oriza was one of the rare houses that provided the Courts of Russia, England, Italy and France. In France, it lasted until Napoleon 3. The house was also one of the firsts to turn its fragrances into lines of products. It has become the most natural thing now, but it wasn’t back at that time. For Déjà le Printemps, you had a perfume, a powder, make-up, soaps… You see, when I saw the industrial, powerful and innovative aspects of the house, I fell in love right away. I wanted to give it a second birth and give it its prestige back.

At the start of the 1900s, Oriza continued to enjoy success. It participated in the World Fairs, which were very big things back then and one of the rare occasions when the very best artisans, merchants, and luxury lines could present all their wares in one place. In essence, it was a sort of prestigious Olympics.In 1889, Oriza took home the Gold Medal for its perfumes but, in 1900, it received the very top honours with the Grand Prize. I’ve found a photo of the perfume which may have won and which may have been named after Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort.

One of the ancient Oriza baccarat bottles, as many used to be. This one seems to be for "Violets Prince Albert" and the winner of the First Place prize at the 1900 World Fair winner. Source: with the original on Flickr.

One of the ancient Oriza bottles, in baccarat crystal as many used to be. The name of this one translates to “Violets Prince Albert” and it seems to be the Grand Prize winner at the 1900 World Fair. Source: with the photo originally from Flickr.

Then, alas, things came to a crashing halt in the 1930s, and obviously WWII didn’t help matters. The house completely died.


Franck Belaiche. Source: Flair Flair.

Franck Belaiche. Source: Flair Flair.

Decades later, a perfume lover stumbled across the Oriza name while doing research in a library. It was Franck Belaiche. As he told Flair Flair in the interview linked above, his background was in the movie and television industry, but he loved perfumes. So, he bought the brand with the goal of putting it back on its feet:

I’d spotted Oriza Legrand while doing some research and reading in libraries. Soon, I was fascinated by its story and how it was a precursor of so many things. The house seemed to me like it was one of the creating actors of today’s perfumery.  […]

What did you think when you bought it? What did you want to do with it?
I wanted to make it modern while keeping its essence and soul intact. I first had to select, among the 80 fragrances that had been created, which ones were likely to be adapted, reworked from their original formulas, and still be appealing. A good number of them are not easy to wear, especially since Raynaud and the steam extraction technique gave birth to many florals. But there were also a few synthetic molecules which allowed the creation of what we would call today “orientals”. I’ve had to work with the labs to see what we could do based on the formulas and also on the juices, since I have managed to get hold of some old, full bottles. I wanted to get close to the old perfumes while making them modern, without betraying them.

So from the beginning you wanted to make these formulas contemporary? It was never about saying “This is exactly what perfume smelled like back then”?
No, and let’s face it, that would have been impossible. First because of the raw materials that we can no longer use, and also because it would have mean making sent-bon (French for smell good). Besides, although these fragrances were high quality, they correspond to a time that is not necessarily ours. With Déjà le Printemps, just like the three others, we are very close to the original, but there is this little something that makes it modern. Careful though, reworking a fragrance does not mean making it attractive to a majority. Right now, I am working on the next two perfumes, which will come out at the end of January.

The whole 2012 interview is fascinating, excellent, and really informative. I urge any of you who may be interested in the technical aspects of how ancient fragrances are brought back to life, to read it in full. It addresses everything from the work process with the laboratory in Grasse and its chemists and perfumers, to the way that perfumes have changed since the time of Louis XV, and the company’s future plans. You can also learn more about Oriza, its current ownership, and the reconstruction of its scents from the lovely Caro of Te de Violetas who interviewed Mr. Belaiche back in September of this year.

One part I found interesting in the Flair Flair interview was Mr. Belaiche’s explanation for why all the new “re-edits” of the original Oriza line pertained to its 1900-era fragrances, instead of the 1720s one. As he explains, it would not have been easy to do a tweaked version of something like Violette du Tsar, a perfume created for the Tsar of Russia. Moreover, “not a lot of people would have enjoyed it, and then starting with old perfumes didn’t seem to me like a relevant way of bringing the house back to life.” (But aren’t you dying to know what that may have smelled like?!) Clearly, Mr. Belaiche is not trying to recreate fragrances merely for the sake of nostalgia and historical curiosity. Instead, he wants to do the house proper justice by making Oriza a viable, current, commercially successful brand with a long-term future. In other words, he’s not trying to create a museum, but a living and breathing house that has a chance of success beyond just the initial curiosity factor.

The Relique d'Amour.  Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

The Relique d’Amour. Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

I met Mr. Belaiche when I went to the Oriza boutique, along with his business partner and fellow Oriza owner, Hugo Lambert. They were both charming and very kind, though Mr. Belaiche seemed to blink a little at the extent of my enthusiastic outbursts over the fragrances and their quality. I don’t think he’s used to someone babbling a thousand words of English a minute, mixed in with French, while sniffing everything, taking photos from every angle, suddenly stopping in their tracks to announce “Aha! Armagnac! This has aged cognac in it!” in response to one fragrance, and being the sort of whirlwind that is rather uncommon to the very restrained French. I hope he took it as the compliment that it is — there are many niche perfume houses these days, I’m extremely hard to please, and I rarely find a brand to have impressively sophisticated, high-quality, original, creative or luxurious offerings almost across the entire line.

Relique d'Amour poster. Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

Relique d’Amour poster and perfume label. Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

I’d like to thank Mr. Belaiche for letting me take photos of the boutique, and I can only apologise to him for my camera taking such poor photos. While I’m at it, I’d also like to thank Mr. Lambert for providing me with a small decant of the beautiful patchouli scent, Horizon, to go with my purchase, even though he had to dig up a long vial from the back. As a side note, I wish I had managed to take photos of all the vintage Oriza posters and adverts framed under glass in the store. They were fascinating, and I’m so glad the new owners have kept the brand’s aesthetic, both in terms of the feel of their boutique and their perfume’s packaging. I’m a complete sucker for Art Deco, so I love Oriza’s brightly coloured labels with the old-style, vintage fonts.

Without further ado, here are a few photos of the Oriza store on rue Saint-Augustin:

The exterior of the colourful store.

The exterior of the colourful store.

Oriza 4-B

One Oriza store window, featuring Chypre Mousse and some of its collection of vintage bowties.

One Oriza store window, featuring Chypre Mousse and some of its collection of vintage bowties.

Some of the soaps from the Oriza line.

Some of the soaps from the Oriza line, along with boxed perfumes wrapped in wonderfully old-fashioned, patterned paper.

Oriza 5 B

Part of the Oriza collection of bowties made out of vintage silk fabric.

Part of the Oriza collection of bowties made out of vintage silk fabric.

One of the bowties up close.

One of the bowties up close.

Some of the original 1900s posters and adverts for Oriza fragrances, now framed and under glass.

Some of the original 1900s posters and adverts for Oriza fragrances, now framed and under glass.


I think Oriza is going to go places simply because the majority of its perfumes really don’t smell like anything else that I’ve encountered. (Chypre Mousse…. oh, Chypre Mousse!!!) They have the classique feel of fragrances created in decades gone by, much like the very old Guerlains legends. It is a feel that — somehow, I don’t know how — seems miraculously untouched by the impact of IFRA. Like Sleeping Beauties put to sleep in 1900 and awakened today, the Oriza fragrances have body, layers of notes, a very rich, concentrated feel, and the elegant signature of something that is both very French and very “perfume.”

That said, I don’t think the perfumes are generally something that a novice perfumista with commercial tastes would relate to very well. These are not scents that someone used to Estée Lauder‘s Beautiful or Viktor & Rolf‘s Flowerbomb would understand. I think that perfumistas whose tastes skew towards uncomplicated, light, clean, and wispy scents would also struggle a little. None of the Oriza fragrances that I’ve tried thus far would qualify as “wispy” or simple — thank God. They’re nothing like the By Kilian‘s with their largely straightforward, basic nature, or sometimes gourmand fruitiness. They’re too purely French to be like an Amouage or a Neela Vermeire, though they sometimes share both those house’s opulent sophistication. They’re full-bodied and with a vintage feel in terms of both their potent richness, their complexity, and their sophistication. If you like the early Guerlains, the complicated originality of some Serge Lutens creations, or the sophisticated weight of Roja Dove’s fragrances, then Oriza L. Legrand will be for you.

Oriza's list of perfumes with their original date of production.

Oriza’s list of perfumes with their original date of production.

Thus far, Oriza has seven “returned” fragrances. The list of the eau de parfums with their original date of creation:

  • Relique D’Amour (1900)
  • Rêve d’Ossian (1900) -(Fragrantica gives a different debut date for Reve d’Ossian which it lists as a 1905 creation, but I’m going by what was listed in Oriza’s own shop window in Paris.)
  • Oeillet Louis XV (1909)
  • Jardins d’Armide (1909)
  • Chypre Mousse (1914) (Fragrantica incorrectly states that this one is from 1920.)
  • Déjà Le Printemps (1920)
  • Horizon (1925).
Jardins d'Armide. Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

Jardins d’Armide. Source: Oriza L. Legrand website.

Though I haven’t finished testing the whole line yet, the ones I have loved the most thus far have been three. Chypre Mousse wins, hands down and by a landslide, as one of the most fascinating, haunting, evocative chypres I’ve smelled in ages. It is then followed with Horizon and Reve d’Ossian in a neck-and-neck position. The florals that I’ve briefly and cursorily tested thus far have sometimes smelled dated to me, though generally not in a bad way. Only one of those triggered a strongly negative reaction: Jardins d’Armide, which felt too painfully difficult and old-fashioned with its heavy powder and its soapy feel. However, my perception has to be put in the context of one who dislikes powdery scents, and who loathes anything soapy, even expensive floral soap!

So, what are the notes in some of my favorites? Oriza provides the following details for my top 3:


    • Top Notes tonic & balsamic: Wild mint, clary sage, wild fennel & green shoots.
    • Heart notes aromatic & flowing properties: Oakmoss, Galbanum, Angelica, fern, wild clover, Mastic & Violet leaves.
    • Backgrounds Notes mossy  & leathery: Vetiver, Pine Needles, Oak Moss, Mushroom fresh Humus, Roasted Chestnut Leather, labdanum & Balms.
Reve d'Ossian label. Source: Oriza L. Legrand.

Reve d’Ossian label. Source: Oriza L. Legrand.


    • Top Notes: Frankincense and Pine woods.
    • Heart Notes: Cinnamon, Benzoin, Tonka Bean and Opopanax [sweet myrrh].
    • Base Notes: Tolu Balm, Sandalwood, Leather, Labdanum, Amber and Musks.
Horizon. Source: Oriza L. Legrand.

Horizon. Source: Oriza L. Legrand.


    • Top Notes: Bitter orange, Tangerine Confit & Dried Rose.
    • Heart Notes: Cognac Amber, Aromatic Tobacco Leaves, Cocoa, Roasted Almonds, Old Oak & Patchouli.
    • Base Notes: Benzoin, Amber Gray [ambergris], Peat, Tabac Blond, Vanilla, Honey & Soft Leather.
Chypre Mousse. Source: Oriza L. Legrand.

Chypre Mousse. Source: Oriza L. Legrand.

One thing that I need to emphasize about many of these note lists is that I don’t think they accurately convey the real nature of the fragrances. One reason is that the perfumes are superbly blended and a bit linear, so that you often get an overall effect, rather than a detailed, distinctive sense of each of their parts. For another, something about many of these fragrances is… well, for lack of a better term, other-worldly. I’ll be honest and say that one reason why I’ve put off reviewing Chypre Mousse is that I’m not sure I could even BEGIN to describe it properly and in-depth. I’m not one who is usually at a loss for descriptors or olfactory adjectives, but Chypre Mousse may be beyond my abilities. The smell is simply like nothing I’ve encountered.

Given how many of the perfumes really are a “sum total” effect due to their seamless, fluid, often linear structure, I fear I’m merely going to have to give descriptive snippets of each. At times, my account may amount to instinctive abstractions, as in the case of Relique d’Amour:


    • Top notes: Fresh Herbs, Pine.
    • Middle notes: Powdery Notes, White Lily, Pepper, Oak, Incense, Myrrh, Elemi.
    • Base notes: Musk, Moss, Waxed Wood, Woody Notes, Pepper.

Oriza describes it as “the smell of an old chapel of Cistercian abbey.” I think that gives a misleading impression of the perfume, as do the notes themselves. It is far from a dusty, cold, dark, foresty, woody, High Church olibanum/myrrh scent. To me, it’s a very complex, unusual, quite twisted take on a lily scent that actually feels like a Serge Lutens, only very old in nature. Relique d’Amour is different, original, and stands out a mile away — and it won’t be easy to summarize it in the upcoming review. [UPDATE 11/6 — You can find my reviews of the full Oriza line at the following links: Chypre Mousse, Horizon and Reve d’Ossian in one post; and the 4 remaining, largely floral fragrances in this second post.]

All in all, I think Oriza L. Legrand is a line that is definitely worth exploring. Though there are no U.S. retailers (yet), it’s easy to order directly from the company. In addition to the full bottles of the perfumes, they offer a sample set of the complete line. It’s quite inexpensive at €9 for 7 fragrances that come in 2 ml vials, thereby giving you quite a few test wearings. I think it’s well worth the minimal cost, and I believe Oriza ships the samples world-wide. If you’d like to sniff very elegant, very French, perfumed Sleeping Beauties, brought back to life after more than a century and in a largely unchanged form, give Oriza a try.  

WebsiteOriza L. Legrand. There is an actual e-Store that offers perfume samples. All 7 fragrances in the range are offered in 2 ml spray vials for €9. Shipping is listed as €9 extra, but a friend said he was charged only €7. The perfumes themselves are all eau de parfum in concentration, and cost €120 for 100 ml/3.4 oz. Store address: 18 rue Saint-Augustin, 75002 Paris, France. Hours: Monday – Friday: 10:00 am to 7:30 pm; Saturday: 1:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Metro: Opéra ou 4 Septembre. Phone: 01 71 93 02 34. Other vendors in Europe: For a few other French vendors, as well as one store in Sweden and one in the Netherlands, you can check Oriza Points of Sale page. The Netherlands retailer is Parfumaria.