Origins Ginger Essence : Perfume Review

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If you were to open my fridge and avoid having some unidentified jar fall onto your foot, you will always find fresh ginger. I’m addicted to its vibrant flavor. The twisted rhizomes covered with pearly, beige skin taste less of the earth from which they are dug out than of citrus zest, crushed lemongrass and green orange flowers. Ginger shares aromatics with all of these ingredients, and although the first impression when you pop a sliver in your mouth is an explosive freshness, the flavor soon becomes more complex. I add ginger coins to sauteed greens and fish soups. A few pieces also end up in my tea. Since I love the scent so much, any perfume promising a blast of ginger piques my curiosity.

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One of my ginger favorites is Origins Ginger Essence. Introduced in 2000, it can even be called a classic, especially in comparison to so many launches that vanish after a couple of seasons. Ginger Essence is not a perfume masterpiece, and if you want the perfume equivalent of an epic novel, then don’t waste your time on it. It’s simply a ginger cologne that feels refreshing and uncomplicated. Since one can’t read only Dostoevsky nor wear only Guerlain (at least, I can’t), its happy simplicity is a pleasure.

Ginger Essence smells very much like a cup of gingery tea with a slice of lemon. The effervescent bite of ginger is lifted up with a bright melange of different citrus notes, from bitter grapefruit to peppery bergamot, and when you first apply it, it feels exhilarating. The fragrance then becomes warmer and sweeter, but still sharp and bright. On a hot summer day, its cool, spicy freshness is a respite.

The oomph of Ginger Essence is front loaded, so savor the first thirty minutes fully. Like many colognes, it explodes and then fades to a pale musky softness with a dash of vanilla. You might as well wear some other perfume at this point. But I reach for Ginger Essence as a delicious pick me up, especially when I go to my dance class, travel or just feel out of sorts. A discreet spritz won’t bother anyone, while the gingery sparkle gives me an immediate boost. For this alone, I’m happy to reapply it as often as needed.

My Ginger Essence review is based on what Origins calls a Sensuous Skin Scent, but there is also an Intensified Fragrance Spray. It’s richer, warmer, somewhat more tenacious, but not worth the doubled price. If you’re prepared to spend that much, first consider the superior Eau de Sisley 3, a ginger champagne.

Origins Ginger Essences (Sensuous Skin Scent) includes notes of bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, jasmine, violet, cardamom, clove, ginger, nutmeg, coriander, sandalwood, amber, and vanilla.  100 ml/$57.00

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58 Comments

  • Elizabeth: Lovely review! Have you tried Ginger Essence Body Souffle? I love the scent but wondering if it’s moisturing enough. August 29, 2013 at 9:08am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve tried it only at the store and I liked it. It seemed very emollient and rich, but the finish was not greasy. August 29, 2013 at 10:45am Reply

    • Figuier: I’ve never tried the scent, but I did try the souffle a while back when I was shopping for a birthday present for my sister. The shop assistant gave me a lovely hand massage with it, and it felt beautifully smooth and non-sticky. I promptly purchased it, and my sister has since reported that it’s brilliant on her (dry) skin. The scent to me is exactly that of twinings lemon and ginger tea; very comforting. August 30, 2013 at 5:25am Reply

  • Margie Armour: I used to save Ginger Essences for fall. I have just decided why wait?I think I will put some on today! I just love it.It is so refreshing. August 29, 2013 at 9:11am Reply

    • Victoria: I agree; it’s a perfect pick me up on days when I feel a bit under the weather. August 29, 2013 at 10:46am Reply

  • HemlockSillage: I’m so glad to read this! I’ve loved Ginger Essence for years. You are right, its pleasure is short, but wonderfully spicy while it lasts. I just made a ginger scent sampler for a friend, and this was first on my list. Simple pleasures are often overlooked, but this never fails to make me smile. Be well. August 29, 2013 at 9:17am Reply

    • Victoria: It really does make me smile. I like having some of these simple scents on hand, because, let’s face it, one can’t live by grand and dramatic perfumes alone. 🙂 August 29, 2013 at 10:49am Reply

  • Jillie: You are so right (as always). Ginger Essence is a lovely refreshing pickme-up, and perfect for wearing when you think it might be a headachy day. I have always actually preferred the Sensuous Skin Scent.

    I was in heaven one Christmas (seven or eight years ago I think), when I walked into the Origins shop and was met with air perfumed by a special edition Ginger pot-pourri. It was expensive, but I bought it any way, and our house smelt lovely that year. August 29, 2013 at 9:28am Reply

    • Victoria: The potpourri sounds wonderful. I wonder if they are going to reissue it again one of these holiday seasons.

      I liked the richer version of Ginger Essence, but for the price it’s not that impressive. The Sensuous Skin Scent, on the other hand, is just right–sparkly, happy and uplifting. And very gingery. August 29, 2013 at 10:52am Reply

  • fleurdelys: Love the smell and taste of ginger, but I’ve avoided buying the fresh root when recipes call for it. They all require about 1 teaspoon of grated root, and there you are left with a whole knob of it. How long does it last for you when stored in the refrigerator? August 29, 2013 at 9:59am Reply

    • Ann: it lasts for a month, maybe even longer. August 29, 2013 at 10:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Like Ann said, it lasts for ages. I keep it in the fridge door, where it stays fresh for at least 5-6 weeks. Is it not possible to break off a little piece at the store near you? Since it’s usually sold by weight, it shouldn’t be a problem just to buy a small portion.

      Another idea is to freeze it. My mother-in-law grates it, adds salt to the paste and then freezes it. You can also just freeze the root whole. August 29, 2013 at 10:55am Reply

      • Tomate Farcie: Tip from Asian cooking guru, Nina Simonds, is to place the cut end in sand…it keeps forever! August 29, 2013 at 10:44pm Reply

        • Victoria: A great tip! I love Nina Simonds’s books. August 30, 2013 at 12:49pm Reply

      • Maggie: Yes, or just peel the whole root and store in the freezer in a plastic bag. When you want to use some, just grate the required amount from the end and put rest of the root back in the freezer till next time. Simple. August 29, 2013 at 11:27pm Reply

        • Victoria: True, it’s one of the best ingredients to freeze. August 30, 2013 at 12:49pm Reply

    • Carlisle: Ginger lasts practically forever in a plastic bag in the freezer August 29, 2013 at 12:46pm Reply

      • Rina: This is very true. I’ve had ginger in he freezer for longer than I can remember! August 29, 2013 at 2:39pm Reply

        • Victoria: You’ve reminded me that I had a piece of ginger in my freezer too. It’s been 5 months. I checked it and apart from a minor freezer burn, it still has a nice scent. August 29, 2013 at 3:10pm Reply

  • silverdust: I routinely freeze fresh ginger. Wrap it tightly in foil and label it. I had one huge piece of it for more than a year, and it was still as fragrant and strong as the day I bought it.

    I always make sure I have it going into the fall and winter months because of a no-fail recipe I have for Hot Ginger-Lemon Tea, used for colds, flu and the blahs. August 29, 2013 at 12:00pm Reply

    • Andy: I drink this same remedy whenever I have a cold or sore throat. It’s certainly a zippy, zingy beverage, and even if I’m not sick, the effect is so uplifting. For extra healing oomph, I sometimes also add a few pinches of Matcha green tea as well. August 29, 2013 at 12:39pm Reply

      • Victoria: What a great idea to combine ginger and green tea, Andy! I will have to try it. August 29, 2013 at 3:27pm Reply

      • Annikky: Ginger and (pepper)mint infusion is great, too. August 29, 2013 at 4:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s my favorite anti-cold remedy. Also great as an after dinner drink, especially after a rich meal.

      I read in one Chinese book from the 1970s that you can even preserve ginger in sherry. At the time, ginger must have been a rarity in supermarkets. I haven’t tried it, but the idea of ginger flavored sherry is intriguing. August 29, 2013 at 2:57pm Reply

  • benvenuta: I always spray this one on my wrist at airports. Unfortunately, the low tenacity of the ginger sparkle kept me from buying it so far. August 29, 2013 at 3:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: I often carry a little bottle when I travel. Or like you, I spray it on at the duty free store. 🙂 August 29, 2013 at 3:26pm Reply

  • Natalia: There is always ginger in my fridge, too 🙂 I’ll be honest, I could probably live without it but my husband keeps replenishing the supplies.

    I used to wear Ginger Essence around 2005-2006 when I was a student at UCLA. It was perfect for the time and occupation. I loved it. Simple and very naturally smelling. Perhaps I should go back to it sometime.

    And it’s a lovely bottle! August 29, 2013 at 3:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: Please let me know what you think of it this time around. I often have ambivalent feelings towards perfumes that marked some periods of my life, but a few of the revisits have turned out great. Well, it doesn’t help that nearly everything smells completely different now.

      I like the bottle too. The curvy shape feels so great! August 30, 2013 at 12:06pm Reply

  • george: There should be a different name for these perfumes that don’t really perfume, and which are just refreshing spritzy fun. Ive smelled this; it makes for a nice peppy interlude. But if I think ginger, I’m more likely to want to order it with beef and spring onions than wear it. August 29, 2013 at 4:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: Have you tried Eau de Sisley 3? I would be curious what you think of it. August 30, 2013 at 12:06pm Reply

      • george: I am near a stockist on Thursday: if that stockist’s particular branch has it, I’ll try, and let you know…….. August 30, 2013 at 4:52pm Reply

  • Aisha: I have a similar relationship with L’Occitane’s now discontinued Miel & Citron (Honey & Lemon). It’s the scent I reach for when I just want a little pick-me-up. It’s also now my “transition” scent between summer and fall.

    Love, love, love the smell of ginger, by the way — both the flower and its root. This fragrance does sound like a nice one to have around. Too bad it won’t cure the common cold. 😉 August 29, 2013 at 4:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: It probably won’t cure the cold, but it might make you feel more upbeat. 🙂

      And why does L’Occitane discontinue their nicest scents? The fast turnover of their collection is so frustrating. August 30, 2013 at 12:13pm Reply

  • Katie: I’ve been wearing this scent for years, and it is (strangely?) the scent for which I get the most compliments. Even after the “oomph” wears off after the first half hour or so, people still seem to detect it.

    It is simple. It’s not a masterpiece. But it is lovely and sweet and clean. And somehow very relaxing! Thank you for the great review, as always. August 29, 2013 at 6:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree with you. One needs such simple and bubbly (and nicely done!) blends to keep things fun. It’s a mood booster and works perfectly all year round. August 30, 2013 at 12:31pm Reply

  • Sulin: Hi Victoria! If you enjoy ginger, you’ll love ginger flowers. I simply plop a few bits of ginger root into flower pots and wait for the shoots and buds. Their flavour is milder than that of the root. However, the zesty heat is still quite present, along with more lemongrass, and finally wrapped up in floral sweetness.

    They are such a joy to eat, either in curries, a garnish in seafood salads, or just to nibble on. Please do try! August 29, 2013 at 7:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: I have planted ginger, but my plants have never flowered so far. They did produce beautiful (and beautifully scented) leaves. I will have to try it again. Thank you, Sulin. August 30, 2013 at 12:33pm Reply

  • Kandice: I’m so glad to see your review of this. I have loved Ginger Essence since I first tried it. It’s refreshing, warm and comforting, and uplifting all at the same time. I’ve never tried Eau de Sisley 3, but now I’ll have to look for it. Thanks for the review! August 29, 2013 at 10:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m glad to meet other Ginger Essence fans. I don’t see it mentioned all that often, but it’s one of the best citrusy splashes. And it happens to be reasonably priced too. August 30, 2013 at 12:37pm Reply

  • Lavanya: “Since one can’t read only Dostoevsky or wear only Guerlain”- this made me laugh..I remember trying to read Brothers Karamazov towards the end of my PhD and couldn’t handle the high energy. It was all I could do to handle my own neuroticism and high energy without witnessing his high frequency characters.. But I think now the time has come to resume the reading..:)

    I usually use ginger only as an accent in cooking but it is such a versatile and interesting ..thing? I also love sweet and spicy candied ginger.

    This does sound like a fun scent! August 29, 2013 at 10:09pm Reply

    • Victoria: Reading Dostoevsky in a wrong mindset can be rough. I had a very similar experience with Crime and Punishment.

      I just made a raw chutney with ginger and amla, and the gingery punch feels addictive. Normally, I use it as an accent too. August 30, 2013 at 12:48pm Reply

      • Lavanya: Oh ginger and amla sounds yummy!. Which reminds me of my MIL’s allam pacchadi or ginger chutney that i love to eat with pesarettu and dosas..:). By alma- you mean gooseberry right? Is it available in the U.S? August 30, 2013 at 2:44pm Reply

        • Lavanya: i meant amla not alma..:) August 30, 2013 at 2:58pm Reply

        • Victoria: Yes, that’s the one. I have never seen amla in the US, but the Indian stores here in Brussels carry it on regular basis. When my MIL was visiting, she felt very envious, because they can’t get amla. As I was cooking amla, I was thinking that making chutney with sour apples, tart plums or even regular green gooseberries would work too.

          Of course, now I’m curious about your MIL’s allam pacchadi. If you have it, I would love a recipe. August 30, 2013 at 3:31pm Reply

  • fleurdelys: Thanks everyone for your ginger-preserving recommendations! I think there will be much more fresh ginger used in my cooking from now on. August 30, 2013 at 9:44am Reply

    • Victoria: 🙂 You will never look back once you start using fresh ginger! August 30, 2013 at 1:00pm Reply

  • Emma M: I really must try this; I love to eat ginger too, in both savory and sweet incarnations. And I wish I’d had some of the recipes in the comments above whilst suffering with a cold earlier this week!

    I will look out for Eau de Sisley 3 as well – ginger champagne = yum! (though the notion of ginger champagne makes me think of ginger beer. But that’s also yum.) August 30, 2013 at 10:51am Reply

    • Victoria: Or ginger lemonade! That’s another gingery treat I love.

      Hope that your cold doesn’t return, but in case it does, you have a good remedy. It’s also a great preventative drink. The moment I feel a cold coming on, I start making ginger tea, and even if doesn’t make it go away immediately, the recovery time speeds up. August 30, 2013 at 1:10pm Reply

  • julia: ginger is one of my absolute favorite flavorings and scents.. and quite essential in the asian kitchen. (cantonese style steamed fish with ginger and scallion is one of the most delicious things on earth.) thank you so much for this recommendation! August 30, 2013 at 11:13am Reply

    • Victoria: If I didn’t have dinner plans already, I would be rushing to the store to buy fish and steam it with ginger and scallions. 🙂 August 30, 2013 at 1:11pm Reply

  • martha24: Welcome to the ginger club!
    I am a ginger lover too. Ginger essence is great, the Body Souffle is enriched with spices, a real treat on gloomy winter days. Eau de Sisley is nice too but quite expensive. Gingembre by Roger&Gallet suits me better. Interesting that the body products are without any refreshing notes. Some of my family members are very fond of the soap, but I miss the special ginger kick here. A few years ago I was in love with Purple Water by Asprey but it seems to be discontinued now.
    My husband and I like to prepare meals with fresh ginger. But our son is not ready yet. He says tastes like dishwasher detergent… August 30, 2013 at 3:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: He will get around to it sooner or later, but it’s great that you’re at least exposing him to different flavors. It must be interesting to observe how his preferences are forming.

      As for Sisley, yes, it’s on the expensive side. If it were about $40-50 less expensive, it would be more reasonable. But it’s still a very good perfume. August 30, 2013 at 5:38pm Reply

  • Erika: “100 ml/$57.00” – well this is nice to see after lusting for Ormonde Jaynes, Hermessences and what-have-you… and I love me some ginger, I will have to look into this! Thanks Victoria!

    P.S. Victoria, I am curious – what did you study at university prior to undergoing perfumery training? Do you work in the laboratory now, or do you mainly write about fragrance? August 30, 2013 at 4:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: Exactly! It’s refreshing to find something nice, easy to find and affordable. 🙂

      I studied nothing related to perfumery or chemistry; my degree was in political science/economic development. I now write and do lab work, which is probably my favorite combination. August 30, 2013 at 5:43pm Reply

  • Anne of Green Gables: As I have cold hands and feet, I drink ginger tea (ginger boiled with cinnamon and dried red dates) with honey everyday to warm myself up. I also freeze sliced ginger in a resealable bag for storing. 🙂 I haven’t tried Origins Ginger Essences but I can imagine it being an invigorating scent that will make me feel healthy. I also love gingerbread cookies so since reading somewhere that Chanel Bois Des Iles has a ‘gingerbread’ accord, I’ve been dying to try it but I still haven’t got around to it. August 30, 2013 at 4:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: I wrote down this tea idea, which is great because 1) I’m often cold, 2) I bought a big bag of red dates and I’m trying to find ways to use them. 🙂 Originally I got these dates, because in Korea I tried the most delicious red bean and red date pudding/soup. It was a perfect snack, because at the time of my visit Seoul was around 6F (-14C), and the soup warmed me up instantly. I’ve had been trying to recreate it.

      The gingerbread note in Bois des Iles is quite subtle, but if you would like something richer, Serge Lutens’s Five O`Clock Au Gingembre might be a good option. August 30, 2013 at 5:51pm Reply

      • Anne of Green Gables: Hi Victoria,
        I just found the following tea recipe in English:
        http://eugeniekitchen.com/korean-ginger-jujubes-tea/
        I don’t think you need to use a pressure cooker but you need to simmer all the ingredients for a long time. Besides sweetening the tea (if you use high quality dates then you usually don’t need to sweeten your tea a lot with sugar, I usually add only a little bit of honey before drinking), the red dates also give very nice colour to the tea.
        I hope that it helps.

        I tested Five O`Clock Au Gingembre today as you suggested and wow! Actually, it was the first time for me to try Serge Lutens and a few of the fragrances I tested were absolutely amazing! I was blown away. They are nothing like what I’ve tried so far. Now I can understand why everyone is raving about Serge Lutens. August 31, 2013 at 3:57pm Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you very much! Sounds perfect. We’re promised 30C this week, so I will not need anything to keep me warm for now, but once it starts to cool down, I will make this tea.

          Your reaction to SL is very much like my own was when I first tried his perfumes. They were not weird or overly avant-garde, but they were so different from everything else I’ve tried that I couldn’t stay indifferent. Plus, the quality of his blends is superb. September 2, 2013 at 3:40am Reply

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