There’s something ever so charming about old(- fashioned) soliflores. I enjoy them in a way that perhaps can compare somewhat to an office fragrance in terms of the simplicity of the structure, even if not the degree of inoffensiveness.
I normally prefer my perfume to be complicated and of structural finesse, but sometimes a soliflore is truly all I need, particularly in regard to notes I love. However, even if there are many new soliflore releases, there’s a different vibe to the new ones compared to those you find from old and long gone brands named simply: Muguet, oeillet, iris etc. I have tried quite a few of this category, and they are nearly always great uncomplicated single note inspired fragrances. So, for instance Coty Iris, simply a really great full on iris, would stand more than its ground around the milestones of iris soliflores; Iris Silver Mist and Xerjoffs Irisss.
I like my carnations spicy, like pepper and mischief, not dainty and fluffy. When I tried the first carnation fragrance from Oriza L. Legrand ‘Oeillet Louis XV’, I found it a bit too much in the second category, and so it was more of a coincidence that I ordered the sample of Oriza’s new carnation offering ‘Royal Œillet’.
The first sniff of Royal Œillet is peppery and has an orange peel waxiness about it. It feels a bit weird until it blends properly on the skin with a great and unexpected myrrh note. This opening is not a quickie, it lasts a good while and took me some getting used to. Every time I reapply, I keep wondering if it will ever turn into a carnation fragrance. It does, eventually, and when it does it makes me truly appreciate that coy opener. In fact it turns into exactly that luxuriously spicy fragrance which reminds me of all the great single notes of yore. It feels deep red, almost burgundy, with serrated petals. It’s peppery but cosy and sweet from the sandalwood, and the overall character is of velvet and candlelight.
I think it’s great that Oriza chooses to bring out soliflores in a way that reminds me of those old perfumes. Obviously, even if this might have been a real vintage composition, there would still have been a lot of updating to do I imagine, in terms of IFRA regulations, but also availability of ingredients… However, perhaps apart from the somewhat strong myrrh in the start, I truly feel that emphasis has been put on recreating, not to accommodate for modern times and modern tastes, but in the spirit of the old. Here it fits superbly; to the house, the design, and most importantly it fits the fragrance, it wants to be this exact way, no berries to make it go down easier, no disguising the old fashioned carnation behind other flowers, but letting it properly strut its old-fashioned-stuff with humble pride.
While we’re mourning many gorgeous discontinued carnation fragrances, we can rejoice ‘L’Œillet est mort’ ‘Vive le Royal Œillet’
*Main pic by me and the Legrand is from ebay seller Guenzone.