Olympic Orchids by Ellen Covey
Pristine white orchids bloom in the forests of East Africa, filling the night with a mysterious current of primeval attraction that promises moist white flowers, a hidden cache of luscious nectar, and an experience of pure enjoyment for all of the senses. African Orchid is based on the scent of Angraecum and Aerangis orchids that only release their fragrance after dark, and are pollinated by sphinx moths whose tongue has evolved to reach to the depths of the flower’s extraordinarily long nectar spur. Not your usual white flower scent, African Orchid will evolve as you wear it, revealing new facets over the course of its drydown, but always staying true to the fragrance of the flower that inspired it. Released 2014. Notes: Orchid, jasmine grandiflorum, ylang-ylang, nectar, birch, clove, passionfruit, light woody musks, New Caledonian sandalwood, Madagascar vanilla.
Ballets Rouges is for all those who have been craving a full-bodied, updated vintage-type rose perfume complete with natural oakmoss. It’s a thickly layered, jewel-toned classic chypre in the grand style, perfect for those occasions when only a boldly sensuous statement and the romance of a dozen fragrant, musky roses will do. Ballets Rouges was winner of Cafleurebon’s 2012 “best bang for the buck” award. Released 2012. Notes: Bergamot, aldehydes, red mandarin, fresh rose accord, rose de mai absolute, ylang-ylang, red thyme, oakmoss, patchouli labdanum, and musks. 3
Originally made in response to a request for “a bay rum fragrance with strength and lasting power”, this version takes the classic formula of Jamaican bay essential oil, adds a boozy rum accord specially developed for this fragrance, spices it up and boosts it to maximum volume with a long-lasting woody base. Not for the faint of heart, this bold fragrance will definitely be noticed. Released 2012. Notes: Jamaican bay, laurel, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, allspice berry, orange blossom, citrus notes, javanol and balsams.
This fragrance celebrates the dry season and the warm, peaceful days of summer in the Pacific Northwest, when walking anywhere from a country road to a city greenspace brings the powerful scent of tawny dry grass, fir and cedar trees baking in the sun releasing their sharp, incense-like resins, and juicy ripe blackberries tempting us and the blackbirds with their jammy, musky sweetness. Inspired by nature, Ellen Covey’s Blackbird is weaves the notes of summer into a fine fragrance that is very wearable by anyone who enjoys the juxtaposition of dry ambery-woody notes with just a touch of juicy fruit. Blackbird was a finalist for the 2014 Art and Olfaction Awards. Released 2013. Notes: Himalayan blackberry fruit, dry grass and leaves, elemi, cedar wood and resin, woody-amber accord, fir balsam absolute, musk.
A spicy fragrance inspired by one of Seattle’s many cozy neighborhood cafes with its dark décor, warm fireplace, leather chairs, and espresso bar. It’s not quite gourmand, and not quite a fragrance of place, but something in between with the expected coffee, chai, biscotti and pastries, against a background of old woods and traces of all of the rain-drenched artists and actors who have over the years congregated in this little café in Seattle’s Capitol Hill. Released 2013. Notes: espresso-roast coffee, dark cacao, vanilla, cream, spicy chai, cardamom, leather, and well-worn wood.
A special edition made in honor of the 2013 San Francisco Chocolate and Fragrance Salon, it’s a luscious and seductive gourmand scent that reflects the bright, sunny atmosphere of California. You can’t help smiling when you smell it! Released 2013. Notes: wild orange, grapefruit, yuzu, white cognac, neroli, dark chocolate, patchouli, gourmand musk, and Bourbon vanilla.
A sweet floral-gourmand fougere-type scent reminiscent of the American South takes you from a day spent among sun-warmed pine woods, grassy fields, and roadsides sprinkled with wildflowers through lunch in a diner that serves iced sweet tea and fresh-baked banana bread, into a warm, humid night sweetened with the scent of night-fragrant flowers and the persistent undercurrent of tonka-rich tobacco curing in the wooden barns and historic red brick factories. Released 2010. Notes: longleaf pine, hay absolute, magnolia, kudzu flower, tea, honeysuckle, star jasmine, vanilla, tonka, and tobacco leaf.
When I was a kid living in Italy, we didn’t have a TV, so the neighbors would always invite the whole family to come watch evening TV shows at their place. The entertaining advertising segment that came on regularly was called Carosello. While everyone was intent on watching TV, the family would drink lots of cheap white Moscato wine and discuss the meaning of life and the fine details of the TV shows. This tradition created an indelible association between white wine, carousels, and old Italian TV shows. The carousel also symbolizes the cycle of life, starting out slow and easy, with large circles, then ramping up over the years, as events, responsibilities, and annoyances pile on. The circles start narrowing and going faster, spriralling into the center, with each year slipping by more quickly than the previous one. It seems society in general has also reached that point, where there are so many distractions and frustrations that we all need to sit down with a nice glass of Moscato, forget about life, and let the spiral of events take us where it will. Notes: Moscato wine, nutmeg, geranium, floral notes, benzoin, clearwood.
This rhubarb-themed scent started out as a bespoke perfume made for a customer who has been kind enough to give permission to release it into my line. It is inspired by the "Green Knight" of Arthurian legend, a sort of ambivalently magical chivalrous hero intermixed with an ancient Celtic god, the "Green Man". The scent contains the green, slightly melancholy notes of a spring garden. Released May, 2017. Notes: citrus, rhubarb, tomato leaf, armoise, violet leaf, violet, orris, peony, Sichuan pepper, and soft woods.
Inspired by the 1968 Grateful Dead composition "Cryptical Envelopment/The Other One", this special edition fragrance is a psychedelic ramble from brightly blooming surreal flower garden to a mystical death and reawakening on the "bus to never ever land". In the end, though, you can't help but be "busted for smiling on a cloudy day". Notes: Rose, aromatic tobacco, lily, patchouli, davana, ginger, champaca, civet, dark musk, tolu balsam.
DEV #1: FOREPLAY
The lightest and happiest of the Devil Scent series, it represents the early phase of the story when the female protagonist is being tempted and seduced into a neo-Faustian deal with the devil. It’s the scent of falling in love despite misgivings and against one’s better judgment, a scenario in which bright top notes play against a dark and foreboding base. Released 2012. Notes: three kinds of synthetic oud, woody accord, black vanilla, tolu balsam, clear labdanum absolute, synthetic musk deer accord, Africa stone tincture, ambergris tincture, synthetic civet, beeswax absolute, frankincense, African bluegrass, giant arborvitae wood from the Pacific Northwest, and cinnamon leaf.
DEV #2: THE MAIN ACT
This smoky, dense, and rich composition is a big, insistent fragrance that represents the romantic phase when the tempestuous love affair between the protagonist and Dev is proceeding in all of its ups and downs. It’s the fundamental seductive scent of Dev, without the darkest and most sinister of the base notes, a spicy, woody, animalic scent that stuns the senses and renders the lover oblivious to any of the horrors and dangers that might lie in wait. It combines the spiritual with the carnal in a rising plume of incense accompanied by the riff of a heavy metal bass played by an entity in a black leather jacket. Released 2012. Notes: three different kinds of labdanum, tolu balsam, black agar, woody accord, musks, synthetic castoreum, synthetic civet, cistus oil, incense, rose, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, cinnamon leaf, immortelle absolute, cade, davana, and leather accord.
DEV #3: THE INEVITABLE
This muted, dark, melancholy fragrance is made using 100% natural materials. It represents the stage at which all secrets have been revealed, after the inevitable destruction of people, things, and relationships has occurred, when the two lovers recognize that they have to part ways forever. It is a meditative scent of loneliness and resignation to fate, but one that promotes meditation and strange dreams. Released 2012. Notes: New Caledonian sandalwood absolute, dark labdanum, clear labdanum, red spikenard, ancient fossilized amber, ambergris tincture, black truffle tincture (the fungus, not the chocolate), cistus oil, cassie absolute, frankincense, davana, African bluegrass, myrrh tincture, motia attar, and cinnamon leaf.
DEV #4: REPRISE
This is the bare-bones version of all the incarnations of Dev, paring them down to their unifying essence and clearing the way for the labdanum to shine through. It’s the scent of coming back full circle to where one started, but with new eyes, as if the world had been tumbled smooth and worn down by events to reveal the clear, shining gemstone at its center. It is the scent of transcendence and triumph after great loss, the calm vision that comes after having weathered a disaster. It is a simple reprise of the original theme, stripped down to its soul, with no more illusions. It is the aura of readiness to move on to a new and higher level in the infinite spiral of life. Released 2012.Notes: clear labdanum absolute, tolu balsam, dark labdanum, woods, frankincense, and giant arborvitae.
A green, deamy oriental-gourmand fragrance inspired by the idea of a wild outdoor spirit taking a nap under a shady fruit-laden bush on a hot summer day. Released 2010. Notes: black currant, ripe fruit, green fig leaves, amber.
A floral oriental fragrance inspired by a golden yellow Cattleya. The scent of this orchid is pure gold, creating a warm and long-lasting aura like late afternoon sunshine. This is not your usual sweet flowery orchid scent! Released 2010. Notes: narcissus, daffodil, orange fruit, orange blossoms, honey, pollen, cream soda, New Caledonian sandalwood, amber-tinged resins, labdanum, and musks.
A spicy, smoky oriental like a full-scale Bollywood extravaganza for the nose, Gujarat is made with just about every spice you can name and some you probably never even heard of, softened and sweetened with tropical flowers, presented on a platter of smoky woods, resins, and balms, and garnished with a dash of chili and a twist of lime. Don’t worry - it doesn’t smell like curry. Gujarat is like nothing you’ve ever smelled before. You may love it, you may hate it, but either way you’ll have a unique and exotic perfume experience. Released 2011. Notes: saffron, tulsi, lime, tagetes, jasmine, rose, cardamom, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, curry leaf, turmeric, mango, spikenard, olibanum, vetiver, patchouli, choya loban, black agar, and sandalwood.
Created as part of the Cafleurebon Talisman multiperfumer project, Hamsa is a scent of protection that reminds us of our own tangible and intangible powers. The hamsa is a stylized hand-shaped symbol with obscure origins in the Middle East. It serves as a sign of protection in both Islam and Judaism, and often has an eye positioned in the center of the palm to deflect the evil eye. The Hamsa, with its four right and left fingers, can be conceived of as a depiction of four virtual qualities and the related actual qualities. The center finger symbolizes the origin and the realization of everything.
The first overarching idea, is symbolized as an invisible veil of olibanum smoke and the tenth, the unification and channel for worldly manifestation, as a solid block of sandalwood. The four pairs of contrasting properties are symbolized by contrasting pairs of materials. The first is palo santo and cognac, an ethereal woody incense paired with ceremonial wine to symbolize the celebration of spiritual ideas; the second is mastic paired with liquidambar, bitter incense and honey-sweetness to symbolize strength and justice tempered with love and kindness; the third is myrrh paired with citron, earthy incense and an aromatic fruit of the earth to celebrate inspiration and the resulting human creations of beauty and utility; the fourth pair is oud and apricot, a resinous material produced by agarwood trees to protect them, paired with a fleshy, sweet fruit to stand for resistance to physical and emotional attack and the fruits of physical and intellectual bonding. The end result is a combination of the hard and the soft, the bitter and the sweet, tangible and the intangible.
The perfume is not intended so much as a “magic potion”, but rather as a reminder of the amazing powers that we have within us, powers that we can use to repel evil from ourselves at the same time we use them to help other individuals and the world. Released 2017.Notes: olibanum, sandalwood, palo santo, cognac, mastic, liquidambar, myrrh, citron, oud and apricot.
A sweet, spicy, floral scent inspired by a moth orchid, Phalaenopsis javanica, whose tiny red-striped flowers hide underneath the huge, shiny, umbrella-like leaves and produce a uniquely seductive fragrance. Released 2010. Notes: bergamot, orange, green tea, nutmeg, lily-of-the-valley, rosewood, olibanum, and vanilla.
In May of 2018, the East Rift Zone of Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii began a major eruption that lasted for months. It started in a quiet residential neighborhood when a little bit of hot lava tentatively oozed up from cracks in the road, but it rapidly escalated when a string of major fissures opened up, some turning into lava fountains that projected molten lava more than 50 meters into the air and created a glowing lava river that ran all the way into the ocean, destroying houses and farms, jungles, beaches, and tide pools, all the while creating new land. The process of destruction and creation happened against a backdrop of lush tropical vegetation, blooming with lightly-scented flowers of pikake, plumeria, and yellow ginger. The vog was so thick that you could smell it all the way on the other side of the island. This scent mixes the smell of smoke, lava, live flowers, green and burning vegetation, and the unpredictable earth that gives rise to it all. After the eruption is over and the lava has dried and crumbled, there will sooner or later be the sweet, resinous scent of the seeds that will sprout and bring life back to the black desert. Notes: Plumeria, pikake, ginger lily, mimosa, bergamot, sandalwood, myrrh, vanilla, styrax, benzoin, lava accord.
An aromatic, aquatic, and woody fragrance inspired by the scents from land, beach, and water at a Pacific Northwest ferry dock. It’s the scent of a sunny morning when the fog is still hanging over the water, the tide’s going out, and there’s the promise of a great adventure by water. Notes: salt air, rhododendron, lavender, tarragon, chamomile, heather, cedar leaves, the sea-weathered wood pilings, diesel fuel (a botanical accord), seaweed, sun-dried driftwood, charred firewood. Released 2010.
Based on the common themes that run throughout various ancient formulas for the Egyptian incense that was burned to welcome the night, this version of Kyphi is a 100% natural mix of resins, essential oils, and absolutes, a liquid version of the incense formula that can be worn as an uplifting and offbeat perfume and is especially well suited for meditation, yoga, or other activities that require concentration. 100% natural. Released 2011. Notes: frankincense, myrrh, benzoin, labdanum, beeswax, spikenard, henna, lemongrass, wild orange, calamus, cassia, cyperus, saffron, juniper berry, and spices.
The fragrance of Lilith, the original Eve and wife of the Devil. It is floral and fruity in a green, slightly sinister way, more sharp-edged and intimidating than soft, sweet, or cuddly. It is the enthralling scent of a woman with perfect confidence in her powers, a swirling, almost chameleon-like veil of fragrance that is ethereal and nearly transparent, but still vividly and unquestionably present and compelling. This is the fragrance of a female warrior who not only fights and wins, but seduces everyone in her path. Released 2012. Notes: woody accord, cashmeran, musk, patchouli; passion-fruit, angel’s trumpet, lily-of-the-valley, geranium, cyclamen, rose, davana, kewda, and kaffir lime leaf.
Every year in late winter New Orleans puts on a grand party like no other. It’s a rainbow-hued, glittering, skanky, riotous, celebration of everything there is to celebrate, flowing in and out like a shiny snake amidst the flower-strewn, humidity-drenched, decaying streets of the French Quarter. Mardi Gras may present a polite, rich veneer of real orange blossom and vanilla, like a southern belle delicately munching on a beignet dusted with powdered sugar, but behind the pretty, festive costume are dark undercurrents of voodoo and hoodoo, midnight rituals and outrageous secrets that can only be unleashed under the protective camouflage of the innocent-looking mask. Released 2015. Notes: Orange blossom, neroli, cistus, benzoin, vanilla, civet, special musk blend.
This oriental amber was originally formulated as a base for other perfumes, but it stands beautifully on its own. A rich golden scent that will transport you on a jeweled magic carpet of olfactory delights. Released 2011. Notes: labdanum, vanilla, benzoin, incense, resins, cypress, patchouli, and woods.
A green, aromatic fragrance inspired by the mysterious, lush, mist-shrouded rainforest of the Pacific Northwest where everything is constantly green, and every surface dripping with water and covered with life in the eternal cycle of growth, decay and rebirth, all rising from the wet, leafy cradle of the forest floor. Released 2010. Notes: cedar leaves, green sword ferns, rhododendron, forest mushrooms, beebalm, myrtle, wildflowers, oakmoss, black spruce, balsam fir, Port Orford Cedar, earthy accord.
A delicate, summery scent inspired by a dainty miniature Japanese orchid, Dendrobium moniliforme, a species highly prized for its variegated foliage and lovely, delicate flowers. Released 2011. Notes: anise, magnolia heliotrope, vanilla, airy notes, and white musk.
A soft, sumptuous fruity-floral blend inspired by the scent of a dark, velvety-red Cattleya orchid, It’s like walking into a warm, moist, Victorian hothouse packed with the most exotic orchid species brought back by explorers from jungles all over the world. Not your usual fruity-floral. Released 2010. Notes: citrus, peach, apricot, melon, hyacinth, gardenia, violets lilac, dark musk, exotic woods and vanilla.
The ethereal scent of cherry blossoms on a cold, damp day just before winter turns to spring. Not sweet or floral, just a cool, elusive hint of the summer fruit that will come. Sakura captures the soft, humid, airy, earthy, and almost mineral-like scent of living cherry blossoms. Because the scent is meant to be light, it is offered in EdP concentration rather than parfum. Released 2014. Notes: Cherry blossom, airy notes, light musk.
Salamanca is a Spanish university town halfway between Madrid and the Portuguese border, an island of culture in the middle of “charro” (cowboy) country, the part of Spain where bulls are raised for the ring, and acorn-fed pigs are raised for the famous air-cured jamon (ham). To capture the midsummer atmosphere of dusty, sweet fields of dry grass and weeds, old stone buildings and the leather goods sold in the shops on the Rua Mayor, Salamanca is for all lovers of leather, hay, hot sun beating on dry grass, and water evaporating from wet stones by the trickling river. Most of all, it’s for those who love old stone cities, hot sun, and wide-open spaces basking under a crystalline blue sky. Released 2012. Notes: hay absolute, tonka, mitti (an attar made in India by distilling the scent of clay), vetiver, immortelle absolute, African helichrysum oil, labdanum absolute, opoponax, a leather accord created especially for use in this fragrance, and yellow mimosa absolute.
Created in honor of the Seattle Artisan Fragrance Salon in 2013, this is a novel pairing of dark chocolate with notes of evergreen wood, moss, and sap, softened with sweet gourmand notes. Released 2013. Notes: dark cacao, black Bourbon vanilla, sweet poplar bud, evergreen wood, oakmoss, gourmand musk, silver fir, and fir balsam absolute.
Winner of one of CaFleureBon’s Best of 2011 awards, the name of this aromatic oriental scent means, “we are sufficient” in Provençal. It is named for the villa in Provence where the perfumer spent part of her early years, and was originally intended as a present for her mother. Notes: amber, orange blossom, bergamot mint, lavender, rosemary, thyme, heather, and yuzu. Released 2011.
Based on the famous poem by Pablo Neruda, Sonnet XVII is a collaboration between perfumer Ellen Covey and Michelyn Camen, Editor of Cafleurebon. This is an earthy but soft and ethereal fragrance that almost turns in upon itself. A fragrance that breathes in as it breathes out. The heart of the perfume starts with an accord that represents the archetype of a Chilean mountain orchid that blooms quietly without the showy flowers of its more tropical relatives. It’s a concave scent rather than a convex one, not sweet and fruity, but subtle, primitive and introverted. The result is a fragrance that is floral but not floral, the scent of the flower that does not bloom but sends its fragrance up from the earth so that we sense it almost unconsciously. Released 2012. Notes: orchid 17 accord, osmanthus absolute, spikenard, Bourbon vanilla, dark labdanum, oakmoss, earthy accord, vetiver, citron, white champa flower, cubeb, synthetic deer musk, ambergris tincture, musks, and mastic.
TROPIC OF CAPRICORN
This tropical fragrance avoids all the clichés of piña coladas, sunny beaches, and coconut-scented suntan oil. Instead, it’s a dark, night-time, jungle tropical. It’s called “Tropic of Capricorn” in honor of the theme, the winter season when it was created, and Henry Miller’s work in which he writes about “the dark fecundity of nature, … a night so frighteningly silent, utterly incomprehensible and eloquent at the same time”. The perfume creates the aura of a still, humid tropical night redolent with the scent of exuberant, blooming life, quick death, and the almost immediate rebirth that springs out of the dead flowers, something sensed at a level below conscious thought. It is 100% natural. Released 2013. Notes: mango fruit, jasmine, frangipani, tuberose, magnolia, osmanthus, maile vine, Bourbon vanilla, Africa stone, ambergris, benzoin, and New Caledonian sandalwood.
A dry, woody fragrance inspired by the mountain pines and and the sagebrush and chaparral of the Southwest deserts on a sun-warmed summer day. Notes: ponderosa pine, Southwest juniper, acacia, sagebrush, and chaparral. Originally named Arizona, Re-released 2016.
Sometimes the end of autumn brings delightful surprises - the first white dusting of snow on colored leaves, the low sun peeking out horizontally from a silver break in the clouds, the translucent white filigree of ice crystals on a window, or the white orchid that suddenly bursts into bloom as fall transitions into winter and fills the greenhouse with an unforgettable fragrance. It’s not the bright-colored, blowsy, bubble-gum fruity-floral orchids of summer. Instead, it has a crispness to it that’s like a bride’s white lace dress, suspended from a network of tulle. Like the dress, the bright citrus coating is slowly peeled away to reveal the soft, sensuous, sweet and musky layers beneath. White cattleya orchids are the prototypical wedding flower. They typically are strongly fragrant, with a scent that combines a characteristic mix of gourmand citrus with an undercurrent of moist petals, vanilla, and musky sexiness. Olympic Orchids White Cattleya perfume captures this scent in wearable form. Released 2016. Notes: Citron, lemon, neroli, jasmine, heliotrope, orchid accord, light vanilla and musks.
Winner of the 2015 Art and Olfaction Award in the artisan category, Woodcut links our contemporary, technology-based society to raw nature. Strong lines and delicate tracery combine to tell an archetypal tale of man’s rape of the earth. Woodcut conjures up dark images of ancient trees inhabited by spirits from a time when the earth was new, the flowing sap of felled trees, and the burnt sugar of the trees’ blood when it is heated by the saws of lumbermen and builders. The inspiration for this fragrance came from passing by a building site where old trees had been newly cut for a development and lumber was being sawed for a fence. The scent of cut wood was intoxicatingly beautiful and primitive, like a fleeting glimpse of the invisible essence of life spilled carelessly on the ground and burned as an offering to human greed.
Released 2014. Notes: Fractional distillations of pine and cedar, oakwood absolute, tolu balsam, olibanum, caramel, burnt sugar, vanilla.
All Olympic Orchids fragrances are handcrafted from pure essential oils, absolutes, extracts, high-end synthetic fragrance molecules, tinctures of natural materials, or some combination thereof in a carrier of perfumer’s alcohol. When natural oakmoss is used it is the IFRA-compliant low-atranol type. To the best of our knowledge, Olympic Orchids fragrances never contain phthalates, artificial colors, or artificial preservatives, and they are not tested on animals. With the exception of a few that contain natural ambergris or Africa stone, they would be considered vegan. A number of fragrances in this line are 100% free of synthetic musks. For anyone with allergies or other sensitivities, information on specific ingredients is available on request.