L’Artisan Orchidee Blanche : Perfume Review

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Whiteorchid

L’Artisan Parfumeur is a quintessential niche line, with the fragrances possessing quirky compositions, whimsical names and a flair for elegant simplicity. Under the direction of Jean-François Laporte, it has produced the classic like Mûre et Musc (1978) and the maltol overdosed Vanilia (1978). It was the first to introduce a fig accord in Premier Figuier (1994), to use coffee notes in L’Eau du Navigateur (1978), to make an animalic composition like Dzing! (1999) appear ethereal. That being said, a number of perfumes in the line are disappointingly thin, especially the florals, some of which strike me as so dainty that I feel like walking on tip toes when wearing them.

Orchidée Blanche is one of the few exceptions that make a bold floral statement. Created under the direction of Laporte in 1985, it presents a stunning white flower wrapped in a delicious layer of sweet iris and a subtle accent of spice. Its voluptuous arrangement shares more lineages with the soft floral-aldehydic fragrances of 1970s than with the rest of the L’Artisan florals. Perhaps, the now unpopular powderiness is one of the reasons for Orchidée Blanche being a relatively obscure L’Artisan perfume. Yet, the glamorous character and vintage elegance make it worth exploring, especially for those with the penchant for classics. …

If flowers were made of cashmere, Orchidée Blanche would be their fragrance, with its sensual softness being simultaneously soothing and alluring. The composition presents an intriguing contrast between the starched aldehydic top notes and the gourmand base of vanilla and honey. Harmonizing the two olfactory extremes is the iris, a frosty whisper of which tempers the meltingly sweet indulgence of ylang ylang and jasmine. The classical interplay of floral notes modulated by the coumarin sweetness is the loveliest aspect, however despite its retro allusions, the compositions retains a modern panoramic quality. Wearing Orchidée Blanche is like being embraced gently, and the pleasure of losing oneself in that feeling is what lends magic to this exotic floral bouquet.

Two other L’Artisan florals deserve more attention. One is the hyacinth and oakmoss ensemble of La Haie Fleurie de Hameau and another is the sinfully creamy Tubéreuse. Orchidée Blanche contains notes of bergamot, magnolia, nectarine, iris, honey, vanilla.

Photo of white orchids is from a fascinating website Photographicdreams.com [website is no longer active].

Update: this fragrance has  been discontinued.

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

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20 Comments

  • Diane: Just lovely. You conveyed so completely, widely, and precisely the pleasure of your experience. I love iris and I remember liking it here very much, cloaked as it is in a powdery, soft interplay of florals and vanilla. I passed the sample along, but now I wish I still had it. Drat! April 27, 2006 at 2:52am Reply

  • Laura: ‘some of which strike me as so dainty that I feel like walking on tip toes when wearing them.’ Wonderfully put, V. I can’t remember if I ever actually tried this at l’Artisan in NYC. Now I’ll try it at l’Artisan in Paris, since you’ve re-piqued my interest! I do have a fear of the powdery part, I have to admit. April 27, 2006 at 5:33am Reply

  • Judith: I cannot believe I haven’t tried this! It sounds beautiful, and I must do soon. I will look for it at Barney’s; if it’s not there, I’m going to NY again very soon. . . . April 27, 2006 at 8:18am Reply

  • Marina: My preciousss! 🙂 It is all rich, sweet iris on me, and is, believe it or not, reminiscent of Attrape-Coeur, which is also all iris on me. I am smitten with Orchidee Blanche. April 27, 2006 at 8:32am Reply

  • Christina H.: This one of my favorites from this line besides the Fleur d’Oranger!So very pretty and feminine.I am starting to become worried that I can now only find it at the boutique in Soho.I hope they’re not planning to discontinue this beauty.Thank you for a wonderful review of such a lovely fragrance! April 27, 2006 at 8:43am Reply

  • Ina: I’ll have to revisit this one. You make it sounds so gorgeous! Looks like Lusciouscargo has it, too. April 27, 2006 at 9:33am Reply

  • Tania: You know I am in complete agreement on L’Artisan, its aesthetic, its charm and drawbacks, and its tiptoe florals (nice way to put it!), and so I will now take your advice and try this the next time I am near a L’Artisan counter (since the only floral they put out that I really enjoyed before was La Haie Fleurie du Hameau). I am especially interested now that I’ve developed that recent fondness for powdery irises (see: Iris Poudre, Heure Exquise).

    I forget, are you a fan of La Chasse aux Papillons? I always found the name pink and overprecious, and the fragrance too, but I keep thinking I ought to go back to it, since it has so many fans. And now that it has an Extreme version (why do they call it Extreme instead of EDP? I don’t get it, perhaps because “extreme” is associated more in my mind with the skateboard/snowboard/dirtbike daredevil youth culture) I really ought to give it another test drive.

    Good luck with the rest of your exams! April 27, 2006 at 9:54am Reply

  • Victoria O: I relly need to check this one out. Sounds lovely. I’m really on a floral kick. :O) April 27, 2006 at 12:13pm Reply

  • violetnoir: I passed on this one, but I know that it and la haie fleurie have many discerning fans. (The latter smells like suntan lotion on me!)

    On the other hand, I love L’Artisan’s Tubereuse! It is my favorite springtime tuberose, as it smells so creamy/buttery and is easy to just throw on and go!

    Hugs! April 27, 2006 at 12:33pm Reply

  • Robin: Lovely review V, although I will stick with my dainty & disappointingly thin favorites, LOL…Orchidee is too much sweet powder for me. April 27, 2006 at 1:03pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Diane, I love its classical aura, even though the interpretation is rather modern and streamlined. It has become my L’Artisan favourite, along with Fleur d’Oranger. April 27, 2006 at 2:49pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, you might find it more powdery than what you usually enjoy, but I think that it is wonderfully made. The drydown has a facet that makes me think of classical florals. As for dainty florals, many are pretty, but I get bored with them very quickly. April 27, 2006 at 2:54pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, I definitely recommend trying it. I do not know if Barneys has it (even the one in NYC does not), but the boutique does for sure. April 27, 2006 at 2:55pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Marina, I actually thought that its combination of iris, rose and coumarin reminded me of Guerlinade accord. I cannot believe I only discovered it last year. April 27, 2006 at 2:56pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Christina, I certainly hope that it will not be discontinued, but as far as my experience goes (ie Annick Goutal’s obscure Eau du Fier), it is always a danger. I will have to enjoy what I have. April 27, 2006 at 2:58pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ina, I can see you enjoying it very much. I actually do remember seeing it at Barneys, but it was ages ago, when I still lived in the city. April 27, 2006 at 3:07pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Tania, I think that a number of fragrances are very lovely as far as takes on a specific theme goes, but often I just get tired of them. For instance, wearing Mimosa Pour Moi makes me feel as if I am hearing the same tune over and over again. It gets too much, but their mimosa candle is excellent.

    I do like La Chasse, although I wear it less frequently now than I used to in the past. Then again, you can say this about almost everything I own. It is just a function of the collection size. It is definitely not a pink floral, but rather an airy composition of orange blossom, tuberose and jasmine. I do recommend revisiting it (and overlooking the silly name). April 27, 2006 at 3:10pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: V, if you are on a floral kick, you will definitely appreciate Orchidee Blanche. I am quite smitten with it at the moment. April 27, 2006 at 3:13pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R (violetnoir), I also like Tubereuse very much. It has a mineral edge which I find a bit overwhelming at times, but in general, it is one of the creamiest, butteriest tuberoses I have encountered. Yet, it lacks the cloying note that ruins some of tuberose soliflores for me. April 27, 2006 at 3:15pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I can see how you may not care for Orchidee Blanche. It is definitely too sweet and powdery for your tastes. At any rate, the beauty of L’Artisan line is that it has something for almost everyone. April 27, 2006 at 3:16pm Reply

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