Today is Lunar New Year’s Eve, and even though I worked as usual for a Monday, I partook in the exchange of image greetings with those of my friends and relatives who are tech savvy. It was most amusing to discover that the tiger to which the coming year is dedicated is no longer a virile, muscular, ferocious creature in artists’ fantasies, but rather a chubby, cute, little cartoon character. Perhaps, like many of us, our hero animal has sat around and put on a few pounds/kilos over the last 2 years?!
In the spirit of celebration, I wore Parfum d’Empire Osmanthus Interdite by perfumer Marc-Antoine Corticchiato. Osmanthus is an important flower in Taiwan and China, scenting teas, jams, and desserts. I have sought this ingredient in perfumery since learning about its apricot- and suede-like fragrance, and found it surprisingly difficult to render well. Most osmanthus perfumes I’ve tried have felt watered down, as though the fruity aspect has been replaced with a dilution of flavored syrup. Osmanthus Interdite, however, strikes a perfect balance of tea, floralcy, fruit, and suede, and is my favorite osmanthus perfume of all that I have encountered so far.
I don’t know about you, but I find it harder to review perfumes that I love and know well. I’ve written more about passing acquaintances than longtime loves, because it’s easier to be objective and pick out physical characteristics of novel scents, especially if they stand out because they feel unfamiliar. So, I’ve mentioned Osmanthus Interdite several times, but never really described it.
It opens like tea and jasmine, with enough promise of deeper, leathery notes to draw me in. It then warms with rose and stone-fruit notes, all ripened and juicy, embedding its succulence in the fine lines of the skin. (If you stretch your skin where you have sprayed this perfume, it rewards you with the scent of the hidden nectar throughout the day.) The suede is implied, never imposing. For me, the totality is how an osmanthus perfume should be. Rich, but not dense. Tea-like, but not soapy. Full-bodied, but not too sweet. Floral, but not flighty. Just right.
Today also concludes my month of wearing a different perfume each day. I took inventory of my bottles and samples and confirmed that I have enough to wear a different rose perfume every day for 2 weeks (without duplicating any from January)—so I will do this next, leading up to Valentine’s Day.
Stay tuned, and happy new Year of the Tiger!