Olympic Orchids: A Midsummer Day’s Dream

Do you wear summer fragrances in the summer and winter fragrances in winter? Or do you dream your way through dull winter by inhaling deeply of your favourite summer fragrance? Where I live, it is midsummer, so allow me to tell you that Olympic Orchid’s A Midsummer Day’s Dream is the most beautiful summer fragrance I have ever smelled.

This fragrance is not one of the ones described in detail in Olympic Orchid’s website. I bought an OO sample set, and it was one of the ‘surprise’ inclusions. I emailed OO for a list of the notes for AMDD (how horrid of me to reduce this lovely fragrance to an acronym) and perfumer Ellen Covey replied that they are: benzoin, vanilla, frankincense, atlas cedar, cistus, cypress, orange flower, blackcurrant, and fig.

The fragrance opens with an amazing mix of sweet-sour notes. I have never smelled another fig fragrance* but I’m imagining that I’m getting fig and blackcurrant in perfect balance. Hortus Conclusus also thought that there is lemon there too. About 15 minutes later both the honeyed sweetness and the tartness ease off to introduce softer notes, the jasmine I guess, and orange flower.

I can believe that the whole thing is anchored by cedar, cistus and frankincense but I am hopeless at discerning fragrance notes so I take the perfumer’s word for it. (So why am I writing perfume reviews you ask? Good question.) I wore AMDD the other day to work and entertained myself all morning by keeping my wrist surreptitiously near my nose for the full two-and-a-quarter hours of a meeting.

I got a deep, intensely green a dry-down, still tangy, but made sunshiny by a sweet dustiness that I adore. Tarleisio calls it ‘bottled sunshine’. Everyone else had furrowed brows but I was off with the naked nymphs.

So many summer fragrances are the cologne types that blast you with citrus notes but have little more to say after that. AMDD is not one one of those. Having said that, it is probably not a fragrance I could wear every day, even if I did wear the same fragrance on successive days which I don’t. I find it rather complex, and by the end of the day have had enough. Still, I love it, have to have it, and have scheduled it in for a March purchase. It is available on the OO website by choosing the wild card option and specifying what you want in the comment box.

I am still playing with my lovely OO sample set and hope to add a post of quick impressions of the other fragrances I have. Many thanks to dee for introducing me to Olympic Orchids! But AMDD is for me an outstanding fragrance by any measure. Even if this one is not to your taste, a fragrance of this quality suggests that there will be something in the OO line for you to love.

* What other good fig fragrances are there? I want to know.

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24 thoughts on “Olympic Orchids: A Midsummer Day’s Dream

  1. I love the figgy smell in Estée Lauder lipsticks, but have not found a fig perfume that I love. I like Philosykos, but it’s not love, and the L’Artisan figs are scrubbers for me!

    However, I do very much like AMDD! I don’t specifically detect the fig, but now knowing that it’s there, I’ll have to try it again.

    Warm, ambery scents are the thing for me in cold weather—unless they’re not. 😉 I’ve been alternating between cashmere comfort and spritely greens. It works!

    Another great review Anne-Marie! Thank you!

    1. Thanks dee, fun to write. Crikey, I’d better be careful then with those L’Artisan figs; they were to be the next step in my fig journey, if I embark on one. I’m wondering, now, having read Luca Turin’s review of the L’A’s intense fig, if fig as a perfume note is derived from the fruit or the leaf? Sometimes one, sometimes the other? (Like iris flower and iris root, perhaps they differ substantially?) Hmm … clearly more research is needed …

      1. I’ll see if I can dig out Premier Figuier to send along to you. That way, if it’s awful, you won’t have had to pay for it! 🙂

        RE: fig
        Both—or as you say, one or the other. The green aspect seems to be popular with perfumistas in general, although I think that I like the fruity/ripe aspect. Which I have not found! (but hope to)

        1. Gosh, me too, I love the smell the Estee Lauder lipsticks, which smell exactly like dried, jammy figs. Not the typical powdery violet or rose.
          Have you tried Slatkin Black Fig & Absinthe? Also Thierry Mugler Womanity has a nice, ripe sweet fig note.

          1. I did get a fig note from Womanity, if I concentrated hard, and I was only game to smell it on paper. But I hated the fragrance overall. Hope it works for other people; would be a mess on me.

  2. I’m so glad to see OO perfumes are getting so much love. 🙂
    I love AMDD but I just can’t help it – to me it smells like the most delicious juicy mango ever and not figgy.
    And I’m a lover of figs in perfume – I have several decants of many different figs.
    Favourites: L’Artisan’s PF which I see already mentioned up there, Dyptique Phylosikos, Figue Amere by Miller Harris and Molinard Fleur de Figuier.

    1. Mango? How interesting! I’ll give myself another dab and see if I get mango, thanks. I love mangoes and my young daughter adores them. They don’t grow in my part of Australia but the ones brought down from Queensland are beautiful. Sadly, the floods and cyclone there this summer have devastated most of Queensland’s fruit farms. I’m wondering now how the mango season will go next spring …

      1. I can’t wait now to hear if you’ll find mango in it as well. 🙂 let us know.

        Btw, one more fig I forgot – Bois Naufrage by Parfumerie Generale.

        I was really sorry to hear all about the devastation going on in Australia, I hope everyone recovers soon.

    2. Ines, I’m wearing this today, in an effort to find fig… and what do I find? MANGO! I didn’t smell mango in it before, but now, having mango on the brain, I totally see what you mean! LOL. It’s really a faaaan-tastic scent—and I love this “mango” note that you’ve lead me to in it 😉

      1. Yeey! Finally someone else who found mango in it. 🙂

        And I agree, it is truly fantastic – an instant mood-lifter for me. 🙂

  3. Here’s another AMDD fan-gal. I get fig, but mostly, I get summer-in-a-bottle, happy-happy-joy, and really, that’s all that matters to me!

    Anne Marie, that was a great review! And really – I’m SO glad that it seems many more of us are spreading the word about Doc Elly and Olympic Orchids. So far, there are five bottles with my name on them…;-)

    1. Glad you liked the review, and thanks for your inspirational review too. And me too – I will be spending quite a bit of time around Olympic Orchids fragrances as well!

  4. Lovely review, Anne Marie! I am stuck in limbo unable to decide which of my Olympic Orchids samples to tackle first, sometimes such a wealth of choice can be too much 🙂
    Figs: I love the Artisan figs, Philosykos and PG Jardins de Kerylos are pretty good, and I recently got a sample of Nez a Nez Figuer et Garcons which is also interesting.

    1. Thanks Olfactoria, yes, I have the same dilemma, so I am taking my time. I get a lot out of the 1 ml samples tho’, so I can live with the fragrances for a while before choosing.

  5. Thanks for the figgy suggestions everyone! I can give that Womanity a spritz today while I’m at the mall. And I detect a Greek theme, too, in fig fragrances. They would grow well there, of course. They probably grow well here too but I don’t see them much, for some reason. At a place I used to work years ago the cleaning lady would every year bring in huge bowls of figs from her garden and they were unbelievably delicious, very dark, almost black. The tree at the house we lived in gave fruit that was paler in colour and much blander. Different variety I suppose.

  6. Anne-Marie, Thank you so much for the wonderful review! It’s fascinating to me to hear how so many people are smelling mango in AMDD. Sometimes we perfumers get so caught up in what we are trying to create that that’s all we smell, even though other notes, like the mango, magically emerge out of nowhere.

    A a lot of the fig scents that I’ve sampled are based on the scent of the dried fruit, since that’s what most people are familiar with. However, in AMDD I tried to use the scent of the fresh fruit, which is sweet, honey-like, and very green all at the same time.

    I’m glad people are enjoying this one!

    1. Ah, doing a little dance, because I thought I was getting the fruit – the fresh fruit – but was not confident enough to really believe it. It’s wonderful the way the perfume keeps the fruit and the green so harmonised all the way through. Thanks for your comment Ellen.

      Still, I am intrigued by the idea of a mango scent. Perhaps I should have another go at Un Jardin Sur le Nil (green mangoes). I didn’t like it when I tried it, but you never know!

  7. So in the interests of completeness I dug out these links from NST to info about Figgy Fragrances, for anyone who interested.

    On Philosykos:
    http://www.nstperfume.com/2005/02/12/a-love-song-to-diptyque-philosykos/

    And two great (tho’ now slightly out of date) lists of many Little Figgies:
    http://www.nstperfume.com/2005/02/13/more-fig-fragrances-worth-trying/
    and
    http://www.nstperfume.com/2005/02/25/a-few-more-words-on-fig-fragrances/

    Typing ‘fig’ into the NST search engine and confining the results to NST only brings out lots of other fig related results. Robin has a particular interest in fig fragrances!

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