by Jardins d’Ecrivains

-month of the gourmand- 


This scent tugs you in two opposite directions. It’s dark with facets of orange peel, candid fruits, spicey clove, dark chocolate powder, smoke, and later, piss, sweat & skin combined which are ultimately lifted by dry woods and musk.

The fragrance was launched in 2013, and based on Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando: A Biography. If you are unfamiliar with the story, here is a very rough and quick summary:

The main character Lord Orlando, who lives during the Elizabethan court, lives well into the 1920s where somewhere along the line (I believe this actually happens whilst he is in Constantinople as acting Ambassador for King Charles II) he wakes one morning to discover that he has become Lady Orlando. Chuck in some gender studies, the feel of Tudor England, Constantinople with its oranges and spices, oh and a predominant theme of transition. With all of this, you now have the ground work to understand Jardin d’Ecrivains’ Orlando.

Though I’ve not read the story, I was listening to Louis Armstrong’s St James Infirmary when I first sampled the perfume. If there is any song that best suits this fragrance, Louis’ nocked it on its head. Its dark, raspy and veering on gravel notes, but then there’s the chocolate – smooth cocoa powder brushed against skin- and clove, and we’re back to those slow horns. The trumpets are the orange peel and ginger- like candid fruit and liquor pounding down on the midday sun. What’s not surprising is that the opening sequence of the fragrance is wrapped in darkness. It’s the slow tempo that the pefume explores (afterall, Orlando did live for more than one century), that makes this the ultimate lazy gourmand. I say lazy- not because of its composition (on the contrary, it’s a feast), but lazy because it lulls you into a false sense of timelessness. There’s something rather magical when insence and edible notes meet.

And then, as if all too quickly, the moment has vanished. Yes, the drydown has wiped open those curtains and let sunlight flood indoors. We are Orlando no more. Lady Orlando is awoken and left all those delicious gourmand notes behind. With her the dry woods take hold, incense dips in and out before deciding that no, they’d rather stay, and just as the trumpets guide us out of the song, and Louis has left the building, Lady Orlando emerges to a hot, dry afternoon.

Of all the reasons that make this perfume noteworthy, it is the truly transformative quality that makes it so undeniably intriguing. And I don’t mean that in a bland everyday way. Personally, I prefer perfumes to stay the same from start to finish on my skin, often shying away from fragrances that are inconsistent. But then there’s Orlando- and I’m slightly in awe.


A 100ml bottle of EDP will set you back €85 online from Jardin d’Ecrivains, www.jardinsdecrivains.com.