Arizona and Gujarat by Olympic Orchids

Olympic Orchids is a perfume house that was founded by Dr Ellen Covey in 2010. Based in Seattle, the house uses Dr. Covey’s years as an orchid grower, scientist and long-time interest in perfume to create artisanal blends that “reflect the mind and soul of the perfumer, not a commodity designed for mass appeal”. I received a bunch of her scents in samples from the perfumer, and I’ve been wearing these two pretty heavily this week.

Gujarat was the first one I tried, and immediately loved. It’s a spice scent they call a “full-scale Bollywood extravaganza”, and it is. But it’s a lot smoother than the description would lead you to believe. The spices (cumin, fenugreek, turmeric, ginger and others) are very soft whispers against the sweetly balsamic woods and softly petalled florals. I don’t think it has massive sillage, and while there’s a touch of Bollywood Technicolor in the number of spices, it never becomes too literal, or too much.

Arizona is a lovely piney scent that’s meant to celebrate the “evergreen forests of the Arizona high country on a sun-warmed summer day”. It has a lovely bright spiky pine opening that’s quickly warmed by chaparral and sage while shaded by the acacia and juniper. It’s lovely and bracing while still managing to have warmth to it, like a summer stroll through the forest.

Arizona & Gujarat are available for $15 for a 5ML travel spray, $25 for a 15ML screw-cap bottle and $40 for a 30ML spray at the perfumer’s website. These days especially it’s really nice to know there are ones out there that are not only this good, but this price-point. My samples were provided by the perfumer.

Image: Wikipedia Commons

  • Sam says:

    Both sound like interesting contradictions: Bollywood Technicolor with restraint, and bracing yet warm. I’m definitely intrigued, will have to give them a try soon. Thanks for the reviews!

  • Gwenyth says:

    Thanks for the review of two perfumes by Olympic Orchids.

    I live close to the Pacific Northwest and stumbled across the OO site when I was searching for perfumes in my geographic region.

    I ordered a sample pack from OO, which are varied and quite reasonable for cost (!) and discovered that I like many of the offerings. I bought a bottle of Ballets Rouge and it quickly has become one of my most favored Rose Chypre perfumes. It is stunning! — somewhat in the style of L’Arte de Gucci, or perhaps Ungaro Diva — but in my opinion, it is smoother, my elegant, and simply perfect.

    I also have a bottle of Golden Cattleya. It is a gorgeous honeyed floral — with the emphasis on honey that is warm and luscious, never ‘skanky’ in that way that honey can sometimes go.

    Arizona is a lovely woody fragrance. When I read the description for Arizona, it sounded very masculine and rugged. However, as I’ve worn my sample it doesn’t turn “after-shavey” at all. My impressions are exactly what I have smelled while standing on a mountain top in the warm sun in a grove of trees. The air is fragrant, of course, but not overwhelming at all. Somehow Ellen Covey has managed to capture the essence of the scent of a place without making it like a scented candle or a bag of potpourri. Wonderful craftsmanship!

    I love discovering independent perfumers who are very talented indeed.!

  • Perfumista8 says:

    Great review, Tom. I think it was one of your reviews or comments that led me to check out Smell Bent and I’ve been enjoying the heck out of my samples. Yeah for independent perfumers!

    These both sound very nice. Would you say they are unisex or more masculine? Either way, I’m ordering samples lol- just curious if me or hubby will wind up with ’em ūüôā

    • Tom says:

      I would call them unisex. Gujarat might lean to femme because of the spices, while Arizona leans slightly more manly because of the pine. But I would happily wear either one and would recommend them to the ladies as well.

  • Aparatchick says:

    Thanks for the reminder, Tom – I’ve been meaning to sample her Kingston Ferry and Olympic Rainforest scents to see how much they resemble the real thing (though if they do, homesickness might overwhelm me!).

    Gujarat sounds very much like my kind of thing, so I’ll have to add that one to the order.

  • Ellen Covey says:

    Tom, Thank you so much for the lovely review!

  • Lisa D says:

    Thanks for the review! I’ve just ordered one of their sample packs, and am looking forward to trying these myself. Like many others here, I’m entirely supportive of perfumers who produce beautiful scents that I can indulge in without cringing at the price.

  • I’m so delighted to hear of new, indie perfumers with affordable pricing, an interesting concept, and well-executed scents.

    • Tom says:

      You and me both! It’s so nice to have someone (like smell bent does as well) doing really nice stuff at such an affordable price point. In addition, I’m not giving money to Monsanto or P&G. So I’m practically a saint, right?

  • Musette says:

    I didn’t even know these existed! I have always wanted to like a piney fragrance and this one sounds promising!

    xoxo :Devil:

    • Tom says:

      I’d love to hear what you think of it! I’d send you some but I’ve used all but a pinprick- I liked it that much..

  • FragrantWitch says:

    Hi Tom,
    First Portia and now you! Gujarat is on my sample list now. I away just on the OO site last. Ivy and I am looking forward to trying the ‘Quantum Demonology’ tie-in scents, especially 2 and 4. Hope to review them on here soon!

    • FragrantWitch says:

      Wth? I meant to say that I was just on the Olympic Orchids site last night!

    • Tom says:

      She kindly sent a bunch of stuff that I am looking forward to trying. But these two were two big and immediate “squee”‘s. When I have a bit more disposable it’s going to her..

  • Portia says:

    Hey Tom,
    lovely reviews. Funnily, i am reviewing Golden Cattleya tomorrow here on the Posse. great minds!
    Portia xx