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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Perfume Review: Scent Systems Oeillet

Continuing on the topic of carnation fragrances I love...Scent Systems Oeillet is the newest addition to the very short list. Scent Systems was first founded by Hiram Green in 2003 and started as a perfume store in London, which carried the off-the-beaten track lines like Aftelier and CB I Hate Perfume; in 2005 Scent Systems developed a bespoke perfume service and recently it launched its first ready-to-wear fragrance collection created by perfumer George Dodd. Scent System's philosophy is to produce entirely natural perfumes, without restrictions on creativity and cost. Other scents in the collection include Jasmine, Rose, Tuberose and Wild Violet. I was lucky to get to sample all six scents, and it was Oeillet that, surprisingly, stood out to me the most.

According to Scent Systems:
"Generations have grown-up without realizing that carnation flowers, or oeillet, are supposed to have a heart-meltingly beautiful spicy floral scent."
I certainly belong to such a generation. I am sure there are superior flowers out there that might melt my heart, but the carnations I am familiar with have a faint, pale, powdery smell inexorably related in my mind to Soviet military parades and funerals. A lot of carnation perfumes, if they don't have a twist of some sort, an oomph, a pizzazz, an exceptional lushness, bring those associations. A recent example of a carnation scent that is completely wrong for me would be Etro's dainty and timid Dianthus. I also have trouble with very powdery carnation scents, like Caron's classic Bellodgia. The list of carnations done to my taste up till now consisted of Patou's creamy Adieu Sagesse, Prada's creamy-and-spicy Iris parfum, and Sara Horowitz-Thran's warm Love.

What makes Scent System's rendition right for me? The sumptuousness, the lack of aggressive clove note, the almost complete lack of powder, the multi-faceted quality of the composition. I love the fact that one of facets is green, and not just any boring green but the elegant, deep green of galbanum. The sweeter herbal verdancy of clary sage compliments it wonderfully and highlights a wilder, rustic side of carnation. The creamy facet that becomes apparent in the heart of the fragrance is also incredibly appealing to me. I love when the naturally piquant carnation is contrasted with smooth, fluffy softness, and the velvety, enveloping heliotrope-vanilla accord is delightful here, paired with the spicy star note. Subtle patchouli finishes the development of the scent on an earthy note. The fragrance is sharp and velvety-soft, urbane and bucolic, untamed; complex and certainly fit for the connoisseurs of carnation scents but extremely wearable and approachable for the carnation-wary like me.

Oeillet is avaialble at, £229.00 for 17ml of perfume.

The image is courtesy of Scent Systems.


Blogger tmp00 said...

actually, I have never smelled a perfume that really got carnation, a flower that in the states is used as stock: cruelly forced to suck up dyes for holidays as far rangeing as Easter and St.Patrick's day. Friends of my parents ran a florists, and one of the memories of that place was masses of carnations: the clean peppery mauve scent of them bright in the hothouse coming in from the winter chill. (golly, he's gone all purple again...)

Well, back from the trip to never land; this reads wonderful and I would love to try, but ooof- that is dear! Can I get all Chris Rock in "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" and offer you 3 quid for a hefty spritz?

11:42 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dianthus (to grow) can have wonderful fragrances, but you have to choose the varieties carefully. When you do, they're spicy wonders.

This sounds like a carnation scent I would love. Its galbanum top is intriguing. Its price less so.

I agree with you about Etro Dianthus--inexplicably weak.

1:20 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


*seals wallet*

4:25 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I *adore* George Dodd. Such a brilliant and incredibly nice man. I'm sure this carnation truly is divine. But, like Lee, I really have to seal my wallet. Tightly.

7:24 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Oh, no! I really like carnations--and this sounds just wonderful! *joining the wallet-sealers*

7:50 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M,

I recently sampled this and had a very different reaction. My overall impression was that here was a muddled recipe put on the stove to cook for hours. (I felt similarly about all the scents in this line.) I was *so* relieved, given the cost of the scents.

8:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

And I have never smelled a cranation the smell of which I would have wanted bottled, you know? They were all bland, boring-smelling little things. :-(

9:04 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Dianthus was...I don't know, my first thought was, why did they bother making it. So, so dull on me.

9:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Mine's been sealed and put in a vault guarded by a dragon weeks ago. I may never see it again :-(

9:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I keep trying to figure out where I know the name of George Dodd from. It's a strange feeling that I know (of) him, yet forgot why.

9:07 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I know you do like carnations! How do you feel about greenness in them?

9:08 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Well, all of them with sealed wallets will breathe a sigh of relief now :-)
You didn't like Jasmine either? I thought it was quite sublime too.

9:09 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Hmmm. . .I can't think of another carnation scent I know that is very green; it does sound interesting (although N.'s comment gives me pause--and hope). But I think I am much fonder than you of aggressive clove--and probably of powder as well. I completely agree, however, that Dianthus is one of the most "meh" scents I have ever smelled.

9:21 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I will send you my sample so you can decide for yourself. Hopefully, you won't like it :-D

9:25 AM EDT  
Blogger Gail S said...

Holy c**p that's expensive! I'll have to wait for my fairy godmother for this one! And I adore carnation! I have some planted outside my front door and when they're blooming, the smell is heavenly. Bright, floral and spicy! I haven't found a perfume that got it just right yet either, but I keep trying....

9:51 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Thank you--I guess:)

9:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I need to find real, great-smelling carnations to smell somewhere, just to know what they can be like.

10:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You are so welcome :-P

10:06 AM EDT  
Blogger heather said...

Hi Marina,

This one has finally forced me to de-lurk. I had no interest in carnations whatsoever until I tried Caron's Bellodgia in the New York boutique. Then Poivre - two very different carnations indeed. Also, the Comme des Garcons Red Series: Carnation is fascinating. I'd be interested in your opinion of the two Carons especially. Thank you for this very enticing review of Scent Systems Oeillet.

12:58 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Dear Heather,
Thank you for unlurking :-) and welcome! I admire Bellodgia theoretical, i.e. as a masterpiece that it definitely is, but it is too powdery for my taste. I do love Poivre, but it is a glorious pepper scent for me first and foremost and only secondly- a carnation scent. But I do love it! I know I tried CdeG Carnation a long time, but I have no memory of it, unfortunately.

1:02 PM EDT  
Blogger heather said...

I agree with your opinion on Poivre. The spicy/peppery note, however, is exactly what makes it carnation for me. In Austria, I had the good fortune to work closely with a landscape nursery that grew wild carnations and to me, the scent is much closer to clove and spice than to powder. Even the german word for carnation, Nelke is the same word they use for clove (Nelke or Gewuertznelke) though the two plants are unrelated. My understanding is that the flower is named after the spice (in German).

1:36 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

M, you know me so well! Of all of the samples, the Jasmine was the only one I found appealing. It had an opening that was almost mentholated and a nice dirty drydown. But it also had that quality that I can only describe as "over cooked," which undercut the aspects that I did like.

1:36 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It's the same in Russian. Gvozdika (carnation) means both the flower and the spice. I seriously need to find some proper, spicy-peppery carnations (flowers) to sniff.

1:39 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I strangely only didn't love one of the six, Tuberose, which was too timid and sort of soapy on me. I thought Wild Violet was very interesting too. Go figure.

1:40 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Y'know, another name in English for the truly fragrant carnations is clove pink. :-) (JenniferR, whom blogger insists on identifying as Jennifer ... delurking again!)
Sealed wallet or no, I must must must find a way to try this! I've always had a passion for the real spicy carnations. Like Gail, I love them in my garden ...

3:41 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I don't find this one really-really spicy, but it is spicy for sure.

3:43 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful review my dear. I am sure that my dear friend Hiram will be so pleased with your review. I must get my act together and order the sample pack.

As for George Dodd, I am sure that you have come across his name in 'The Emperor of Scent'. It was suspected that he was one of the anonymous referees who read Luca Turin's scientific paper on smell.

I have one of George's other compositions that is available from his own shop, and it is really beautiful.

I am a big fan of caron's Bellodgia, but in the edp version, not the edt.

4:12 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Prince Barry,
Lovely to see you here! That must be it, about The Emperor of Scent. I'll look for that part later tonight.

4:26 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Columbina. It's good to be reading your masterpieces on fragrance again. I had forgotten just how good your blog was.

BTW, George Dodd is mentioned on page 144 of EoS.

4:33 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Prince Barry,
You are too kind! Thank you so much!

4:41 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woof, this is me joining the wallet sealers! That said, Scent Systems sounds fascinating.
Re: Prada Iris - tried it today, can't smell it! My bf swears he smells it on me but me? Nothing. Weird.
Also want to try Caron Poivre. Wondering if the spice note that put me a bit off Tabac Blond is carnation? Now that I think on it, it does seem kind of vaguely "clove". Same note is bothering me in Prada Cuir Ambre (which yes, is def out of production.)

6:52 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

There are some scents that I just cannot smell, like Flower by Kenzo. Strange.
There is definitely carnation in Tabac Blond, I bet there is some in Cuir Ambre too.

7:32 PM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

[I wonder WHO I have to blow , to afford this preciousssssss....]

8:26 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

LOL! Someone very rich.

8:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Gaia said...

I wasn't into carnation until I got to smell Golconda. That was love at first sniff and converted me into a carnation lover (or JAR lover. I also get lots of this note from Diamond Water). Talk about sealing one's wallet...

10:03 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I like Golconda too, but the one JAR that would make me spend the kind of money (if I had them :-)) is Jardenia.

10:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you for de-lurking and welcome! Unfortunately, I am not familiar with Garofano. I did see bottles of Oeillet Sauvage in L'Artisan boutique on Madinson Ave., NYC. Maybe try giving them a call, see if they have it. There was also a sale going on there recently, maybe it's still on.

1:34 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding George Dodd, who Columbina was trying to remember. I know this guy, he works in Scotland and is best known for his pioneering research work on the aroma sciences. His CV is on his website,

12:50 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Welcome and thank you very much for the information!

3:29 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just FYI Columbina, I have recently reviewed all 5 of the Scent Systems perfumes over on POL.


5:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, Prince Barry! I will go look for them.

5:11 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone on here remember Roger and Gallet's Blue Carnation? Discontinued (except for the hard-milled soaps) for many years now, but will always remain my favorite in the mists of time. Floris Malmaison is much closer than Bellodgia, but I've never tried the Poivre. Must go smell that somewhere!

4:36 PM EST  

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