Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Osmanthus, the tiny blossoms of a shrub native to Asia, have the scent of ripe apricots and jasmine soap, with osmanthus absolutes also possessing a pronounced leathery note that lends an alluring twist to the already fascinating aroma. By allowing osmanthus to dominate a composition and unravel its many beautiful layers, the perfumer can take a number of approaches. One would be to accent the leathery warmth of the note, as the perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena has done in Hermès Osmanthe Yunnan. Another is to highlight its citrusy top notes. Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus and The Different Company Osmanthus represent the latter treatment. …
Osmanthus (2001) has always struck me as marked with a familiar element, a certain transparent softness that I found both soothing and refreshing. In fact, it seems to be a more avant-garde cousin of Ellena’s Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert (1993). However, instead of using spicy notes to provide an interesting leitmotif as in Thé Vert, Osmanthus sets the soapy floral in the center of the arrangement. Although florals tend to be associated with feminine scents, the osmanthus in this composition has an almost masculine dryness. This effect comes as a surprise after the citrusy top notes dissolve into the rounded floral heart, which bears Ellena’s characteristic signature of transparency layered over velvety woodiness. One expects to see a pretty sylph, and instead one glimpses Michelangelo’s David.
Although I will admit that The Different Company’s unique, soapy composition is not my favorite rendition of osmanthus , one cannot deny its beautiful sunlit quality. Its lack of sweetness is rather uncommon among florals, while its transparency and its faintly animalic drydown further make it surprising and memorable. I find myself reaching far more often for Osmanthe Yunnan with its irresistible warm apricot skin effect, but for those days when I am feeling contemplative, the slightly more serious Osmanthus is more appropriate. In addition, the unconventional floral accord makes The Different Company Osmanthus an excellent choice for men who like being adventurous when it comes to fragrance.
Osmanthus features notes of bergamot, mandarin, orange leaves, pink pepper, osmanthus, rose, hay, castoreum, musk. The Different Company fragrances are available directly from The Different Company website, First-in-Fragrance and Senteurs d’Ailleurs. In the States, they will be available from Takashimaya, Neiman Marcus stores located in Bocca Raton, Beverly Hills and Newport Beach.