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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Brand Spotlight - The Organic Pharmacy

I was lucky enough recently to receive generous samples of four of the five perfumes of the Organic Glam line the all-natural brand The Organic Pharmacy offers. There is a lovely boutique in Vienna that carries the line. I will write more about this boutique on Olfactoria’s Travels next week.

The inspiration behind our fragrances was to create a 100% natural and organic fragrance line that matched the strict ethos of the organic pharmacy: No artificial fragrances, No artificial colours, No phalates, No animal ingredients. But at the same time gave the sophisticated woman a range of luxury fine fragrances in beautiful packaging that she would wear firstly as a fragrance she loved and secondly as an organic fragrance. Three years in the making our five fragrances use the finest and rarest extracts, expertly blended to create unique scents that are modern classics.- from the website of The Organic Pharmacy

All five perfumes are available in 100ml bottles of Eau de Parfum for 220$. I wish they would make smaller sizes. I don’t need 100ml of anything. Give me a 30ml bottle or even smaller and I will be way more interested. That particular rant bears repeating, maybe some day it’ll go through.

This is my least favorite of the four I got to test. It is said to be inspired by the Southern Italian Riviera. Unfortunately it reminds me more of air freshener, insect repellent and Citronella candles. Notes include Sicilian Lemon and Bergamot, Moroccan Orange Blossom, Ylang Ylang, Patchouli and Neroli. From the start there is a very artificial (ironic in a 100% natural fragrance) and sharp lemon note that dominates everything else into the ground. It relents a little later in the development and the orange blossom makes a short, sweet and rather lovely appearance, but the fragrance soon veers off again into a metallic and grating patchouli base that – again – smells strangely artificial. I know natural fragrances like Aftelier, DSH and Anya’s Garden, so I am really perplexed at the artifice of this one. But maybe that is just my perception.

Oriental Blossom:
The second scent I tested was more to my liking. Oriental Blossom is touted as a journey through the Orient. Notes of Sicilian Bergamot, Lemon and Mandarin, Cinnamon, Clove, Rose, Neroli, Oakmoss, Vetiver, Pepper, Vanilla and Ylang Ylang. After a few minutes the dense citrus top notes give way to a heart of spicy rose. The cinnamon and clove give a lot of heat to the rose-ylang-ylang accord that dominates the perfume. It finally gives way to a softly sweet and mossy dry down. It smells more like a chypre than an oriental. This is not a light fragrance; it seems rather dense and opaque. It would be well suited for the cold season and would certainly be too much in the heat of summer. Also a little goes a loooong way with these. One more point in case for smaller bottles!

The name says it all – Jasmin smells of jasmine. A fairly naturalistic rendition too, this soliflore segues from the freshly dew covered blossoms to the fully opened flowers at night. Notes include Egyptian Jasmine and Ylang Ylang, Sicilian Bergamot and Sandalwood. The fresh top notes are lovely and depict the not yet fully opened jasmine blossoms nicely. The perfume moves on to open up to a heady, a little indolic jasmine in full bloom and settles into a comfortable sandalwood base. It has greater than average sillage and impressive staying power. For jasmine lovers this is as close as you get to the actual flower. For me it is a bit overwhelming, since I am not a huge jasmine fan on the best of days, and this makes me feel like I am wearing a whole tree full of it on my back.

Saved the best for last…wait a minute: Oud turns out to be my favorite? Sign and miracles! I had yet to find an oud I like and the proliferation of that note to appearing in every second new release did nothing to endear it to me.
Oud depicts the “journey through the Arabian Souk”. Notes include Moroccan Cedarwood, Indian Oud , Black Pepper, Cardamon, Rose, Sandalwood,Vetiver and Tonka Bean. What I love about this fragrance is its mildness. The oud note is clearly there, but it is soft, balanced, smooth, round and has a wonderful depth and multi-faceted richness. Neither harsh nor sharp, not medicinal or screechy, this oud is singing in lovely harmony with the other spices present (I smell cardamom, pepper and a teeny bit of saffron). The woody backdrop is there from the beginning to provide solid scaffolding upon which the rose can climb safely and shine. The late dry down is warm and sweet thanks to the tonka bean. Oud is the most balanced and interesting perfume of the four. It is perfectly gender neutral, lasts for six hours on me and projects well, without being intimidating.

The bottles the Organic Glam scents come in look very well-made and beautiful. The perfumes are available from the Organic Pharmacy website and several brick and mortar stores, a list of which can be found here.

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Blogger Carrie Meredith said...

Birgit, I am laughing so hard right now because your favored scent is Oud. :) I never thought I'd see the day. Seriously though, it really does sound lovely. Might need to pick up a sample of this.

12:16 AM EDT  
Blogger Ines said...

You found an oud to like?! I love that! :D
Because you know, I learned when it comes to perfume never to say there is a note I don't like because sooner or later, one comes to belly that statement.
BUt I'm glad you like it - the thing is, it's probably going to be downhill into oud teritorry for you now. ;)
I have to say, I like the sound of Oriental Blossom (and oud of course).

P.S. I'm with you on smaller bottles, both because they are easier to use up and they are easier on the wallet too (so you can buy more for the price of one). I'll never save any money... :)

9:34 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I've been seeing this line get some coverage in Marie Claire, and have been curious about them. Although, they sure are pricey for an out-of-nowhere brand!

They sound nice, especially the Oud and the Oriental Blossom, but is it just me, or were you not "Wowed" by any of them?

I'm glad you found an oud you can like! Oud is to oud as Nuit de Tubereuse is to tuberose???

1:21 PM EDT  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

Your post has me wondering how big the market is for organic fine fragrances and cosmetics versus non-organic. Most grocery stores where I live have greatly expanded the amount of organic fresh produce they carry and have even dedicated a number of aisles in their stores to organic products. (And most major cities here now have a Whole Foods grocery store entirely dedicated to natural and organic foods.) Given that, I would think that organic fine fragrances would be poised to do well, yet I don't hear a lot of buzz about them even on the perfume blogosphere. (A little buzz, but not a lot.) Wonder if that will change over the next ten years or so...whether it will become a trend?

1:39 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear you laughing from here. And I deserve that. ;)
Never say never...

2:51 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

incredibly, yes, here is an oud I like. One should really never discount a note. :)
It would be ideal if every brand made 15ml bottles, they would probably make more money that way, if they only saw that!!!

2:53 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you know me well of course, no I was not wowed by any of them, but maybe because I found two extraordinary great perfumes recently (Memoir and 1697), it takes a lot to wow me now, so maybe it is not the fault of the poor Organic Glams. ;)

Yes, maybe this is the non-oud oud. ;)

2:56 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

these are interesting questions you ponder. I could imagine that natural perfumes, organic lines get more attention in the years to come, hopefully also in a quest of the public for higher quality, when the fourteenth flanker of an inconsequential-to-begin-with-perfume no longer satisfies.
We will see.

3:00 PM EDT  
Blogger axum said...

I am sooooo with you on the bottle size issue. My preference would be for 10 ml 'trial size' followed by 30ml (like the scent) and 50ml (_love_ the scent) bottles. You have piqued my interest in the Jasmine and the Oud, but I doubt that I'd buy 100mls of any of these, no matter how great they were.

3:09 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

exactly, the 100ml size is truly prohibitive. I must really, really adore something to contemplate that size. For 10ml I would go in a blink. :)

4:05 PM EDT  
Blogger Tammy said...

Oriental Blossom sounds lovely, but most likely not lovely enough to need 100mls of it.

I love the idea of a 20 mls size. I do have larger sizes of my Go-To scents, but I doubt I'm ever going to need 100mls of anything else.

Why won't they listen to us???

4:31 PM EDT  
Blogger taffynfontana said...

The Oud does sound yummy

4:44 PM EDT  
Blogger Carrie Meredith said...

I am so lucky that my favorite perfume house offers 15ml bottles (Le Labo). They're about $50, not crazy. Not to toot their horn even more, but their transparency of operations along with their desire to educate their customers AND offering small bottles, well that all adds up to brilliance in my book.

6:10 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed, Tammy,
Why won't they listen? But maybe if we keep harping on, maybe we are heard...:)

3:23 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is yummy, sadly I am not the ideal person to compare it to other ouds, since I don't like or know many. But it is a goo thing I found this one to like. :)

3:25 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are so right, Le Labo is a great brand in that respect. I am looking forward to test more of this line in London, since I have no access to it here. Labdanum is one of your favorites, right? I have my eye on that one.

3:26 AM EDT  
Anonymous Marian said...

I really wonder about companies that say their perfumes contain real oud because of the price of oud, how few plantations there are, and how variable each distillation is. Unless the fragrance contains only the tiniest bit of oud it's hard to imagine they will be able to reproduce it over many bottles and many years. I really wonder what the explanation is.

10:09 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was asking myself the same thing. Upon contacting the company I was assured only 100% natural ingredients are used, which includes the Oud. There is not a very large distribution, but still...I don't know.

10:23 AM EDT  
Blogger Carrie Meredith said...

Birgit: My favorite of the Le Labos are Oud and Patchouli, although there isn't a single one that I don't like. I will be very interested in hearing your thoughts on the scents!

1:16 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so far I only know Iris 39, but I am curious to get to know the others. :)

3:22 PM EDT  
Anonymous Sheri said...

Hi, I am into everything organic. However, I am sick n tired of going into poky, little organic health shops with not much room to move about while trying cosmetics. I am thinking of opening a brick and mortar organic shop specialising in cosmetic, skin and personal care that has ambience and plenty of room to move about and most importantly, it is inviting. A shop that women can feel comfortable trying organic cosmetic & skin care. Do you think there is a market for it? The thing about online is that you cannot smell the perfume you want to buy and you can't feel the texture of a cream you want to buy as there are limitations. Hence, my idea of this brick and mortar shop. Please give me your feedback.


3:27 AM EDT  

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