Ormonde Jayne Champaca : Perfume Review

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Champaca

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

Ormonde Jayne Champaca smells like magnolia petals, green tea and basmati rice, a surprising and compelling composition. Although Ormonde Jayne feminines are named after the flowers that inspired them, they are far from being simple soliflores. Sampaquita only delicately weaves jasmine into its fruity-musky body. Ta’if’s gourmand sweetness is only framed by the lush rose petals. Osmanthus hints at its apricot sweetness amidst the sparkle of citrus. Likewise, magnolia champaca is cleverly introduced into the eponymous composition. Set against the milky backdrop of rice, it becomes an exquisite stillife rather than a study of one flower. …

The lucid vibrancy of the floral accord gives Champaca a contemporary feel. As the composition develops, its sunny sweetness swirls gently around the spicy crispness of green notes. The minty chill provides an appealing counterpoint to the floral nectar effect developed in the middle notes, and once the rice note begins to unfold, the composition attains an interesting edge that lends it character.

In Asian cuisines, rice serves as the perfect neutral canvas against which the flavors marry—the saltiness of soy sauce, the metallic sharpness of cilantro, the bite of chili peppers, the pungency of spices. In Champaca, while hardly neutral, the creamy nuttiness of rice foils the flowers, restraining the heady richness of the heart accord. This graceful Asia inspired arrangement rests on a woody-musky base touched by a hint of incense. As if presented in a series of vignettes, Champaca refreshes like a sip of iced drink, veils in a savory breath of rice and then suddenly transforms into a burning joss stock. Although I would not call it a light fragrance, there is nothing convoluted and challenging about this joyful and radiant composition. Indeed, it is impossible to be in a somber mood when wearing Champaca.

Champaca includes neroli, pink pepper and bamboo; champaca and freesia absolutes, basmati notes; myrrh, green tea notes and musk. Ormonde Jayne fragrances can be purchased directly from the London boutique.

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23 Comments

  • Laura: This review reminded me to order The new OJ for men for D this morning! Thanks for providing the link. I’ve been wearing Sampaquita the last couple of days and am in heaven. I bought the bottle summer before last, I think, and either I or the fragrance have matured beautifully in that time ;D. Both of us? I’m halfway through my second bottle of Osmanthus, too. And then there’s Ormonde and Tolu to look forward to when cool weather comes again. Lovely review of Champaca, by the way.It makes me want to revisit it, too. June 6, 2006 at 8:13am Reply

  • Emotenote: I have just been introduced to the Ormonde line via the crew at Perfume Posse, and I have to say, I am in love! The last few days I’ve worn Tolu (it’s rainy here) and tried the Champaca, the Ta’if and the Sampaquita. These really are radiant fragrances with lovely smooth layers. Now I have to start a savings account… June 6, 2006 at 9:12am Reply

  • Ayala: Victoria, I thoroughly enjoyed your review of Champaca. Thank you!
    It is such an original composition. The basmati rice makes it into a comfort scent – but that is not to say that it is too simplixtic at that. It is very much like an Asian desert or slightly sweet Dim Sum acccented by a floral green tea… Champaca is one of my most favourite Ormonde Jayne perfumes, and I am sure to buy a bottle the next time I stop at Linda’s lovely boutique in London. June 6, 2006 at 9:14am Reply

  • Ina: Champaca was my favorite Ormonde Jayne scent when I tested the line for the first time. I love its icy-minty feel combined with the luscious flower. June 6, 2006 at 9:38am Reply

  • Kelley Vandiver: This sounds like it might be more of a unisex scent. What do you think? Could a guy wear this without getting laughed at? June 6, 2006 at 9:52am Reply

  • Marina: What a lovely review. Way more lovely than the scent itself on my skin. 🙂 It was strangely metallic on me. June 6, 2006 at 10:28am Reply

  • Tigs: Thanks for the great review -Champaca is my fave from the line. I think this could easily be carried off by a man. June 6, 2006 at 10:41am Reply

  • Patty: Beautiful review, this is one of my favorites — oh, heck who am I kidding, I like everything in her line, but love quite a few. June 6, 2006 at 1:29pm Reply

  • greeneyes: Thank you for this review. Champaca is one of my favorite Ormonde Jayne scents…I love the green tea note, which lasts on me and is so refreshing in this heat and humidity. June 6, 2006 at 2:42pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Laura, it is an interesting thing about OJ fragrances maturing well. I suspect that the filtering is not done according to the conventional practice, but so far I have been pleased with how mine matured. June 6, 2006 at 5:07pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Emotenote, they are very beautiful fragrances. This morning I smelled Sampaquita on a friend and I was blown away by how perfect it was on her. I am tempted to revisit even the ones I have not worn in a while. June 6, 2006 at 5:08pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ayala, thank you. I love your comparison to a dessert. I think of delicious Japanese sweets made of rice and red beans whenever I wear it. The drydown is unexpected, but great too. June 6, 2006 at 5:09pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ina, I find it to be the most memorable out of the OJ line. That minty sensation is such an interesting counterpoint to the floral radiance. June 6, 2006 at 5:10pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Kelley, I know a couple of men who wear it, and it works great on them. The floralcy is not overly sweet, therefore the effect is not going to be that of quintessential feminine fragrance. June 6, 2006 at 5:11pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Marina, I can imagine how that might be, especially if your bottle/sample was fresh. It was a bit sharp at first, but now, 5 months later, it lost it altogether. June 6, 2006 at 5:12pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Tigs, I am glad that you also agree that it might work beautifully on a man. No doubt, if I had to pick a favourite OJ right now, it would be Champaca. June 6, 2006 at 5:13pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Patty, it is a great line. I am looking forward to what comes out next. June 6, 2006 at 5:14pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Greeneyes, the green tea note is definitely very refreshing. Set against the minty chill, it is indeed perfect for the warm weather. June 6, 2006 at 5:15pm Reply

  • marchlion: Oh, thanks so much for (as usual) giving me a whole new way to think about Champaca! My favorites from the line are Sampaquita (an opinion not shared by many but I think you gave it the thumbs up!) and Ta’if. The OJ line is just such a set of surprises. The more things I smell, the more I’ve grown to appreciate them. June 6, 2006 at 6:49pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, oh, I am glad that I managed to do so. I love both Sampaquita and Ta’if. I agree with you that the line has a number of surprises. Most of the fragrances are well-done and unusual. I cannot wait for more releases. June 9, 2006 at 11:56am Reply

  • Katherine: Aargh, the list of scents I must try is building up so much more quickly that I can try them! I knew it was a mistake to forego an order of samples from Les Scenteurs last month – now I can’t decide between those and the Ormonde Jayne sample set…

    The milky rice note sounds fascinating, I do love the smell of cooked rice. I wasn’t at all sure about it in perfumery when I first came across it in Art of Perfumery 5 – it was too peculiar set against the rich heaviness of oriental spices and flowers – but it’s really grown on me. Like the food itself, it’s very comforting; it works well in an oriental, from my point of view, because along with the narcotic quality that typical oriental fragrance elements have, it’s more calming and soothing. June 12, 2006 at 6:05am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Katherine, this is probably the only fragrance in which I could smell the rice note. It is indeed very interesting, and in combination with other elements of the composition, it provides an unexpected twist–starchy and warm. June 12, 2006 at 4:00pm Reply

  • Joyti: I wanted so much to like this scent. The green tea, basmati, and champaca flower combination seemed so appealing. Yet, on my skin, the neroli is a scream, and the musk lingers. The green tea and basmati are just a quick whisper. I would like this fragrance if the musk wasn’t so pronounced on me… July 18, 2007 at 4:25pm Reply

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