Ode to Oddity

This project started as an idea to build a scent around some rich, beautiful, natural materials—one of which was osmanthus—and ended as my olfactory farewell to 2020 (finalizing the latest mod on New Year’s Eve). It was, in a way, an attempt to curl up with cozy “favorite things” to escape the stress of the environment, similar to when I concepted Anecdotal Antidote at the beginning of the pandemic. This one worked out better.

My recent acquaintance with Jeroboam Vespero and acquisition of a small amount of Suederal both catalyzed my taking this experiment in a leathery direction. I know it’s a typical play with osmanthus, but for good reason. It’s so warm and supple.

  • Top notes: aldehyde C12 MNA, bitter yuzu EO
  • Heart notes: litsea cubeba EO, osmanthus absolute, Sampaquita Givco, Cashmeran
  • Base notes: ambergris, methyl laitone, patchouli EO, Suederal, Bourbon-type vetiver, Orbitone, Ysamber

The aldehyde and yuzu top notes give it lift and brightness, and litsea cubeba bridges from yellow citrus to floral, where osmanthus claims the spotlight. Ambergris and methyl laitone ensure a creaminess throughout, as well as durability, while woody aromachemicals give it supporting structure and body. A tinge of jasmine by way of Sampaquita Givco isn’t perceptible on its own to me, but is meant to be a highlighter for the osmanthus. The heft of this scent comes from the Suederal-enhanced Bourbon-type vetiver, which surpasses other samples of vetiver with its sweetly smoky roundness and depth.

I sprayed this on for a proper trial and was delighted that it lasted all day (and was detectable on my sleeve the next day, too). It is quite linear, a constant hum of osmanthus and leathery vetiver. A bit heavy with the coating of ambergris.

I couldn’t help myself with the alliteration, so it’s an ode to the oddity that was 2020. Hopefully, Ode to Oddity will withstand the passage of time, at least on my shelf.

8 thoughts on “Ode to Oddity

  1. I was wondering: does smelling these ingredients and running your own experiments affect how you perceive other perfumes that you wear or test?

    I’m asking because, on one hand, sometimes I think that I would love to know what exactly I smell, especially if it’s something I cannot place in my mental picture of aromas. On the other hand, especially when it comes to artificial ingredients, once I recognize that scent, I don’t “value” it high in perfumes I smell, and it makes me to perceive those to smell “cheap.”


    1. It does to a degree. For example, yesterday I wore a sample of The New Paradise by Ramon Monegal, which has a strong fig note, and wasn’t particularly impressed to get a blast of Stemone later in the day. I prefer the intrigue of a blend that becomes its own thing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a dried “devil’s claw,” a seed pod that can be found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. I chose the picture as an “oddity” before reading that the fresh ones can smell like dirty socks, which thankfully my perfume experiment does not.


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