Where do I begin…
Ok, so, the extremely helpful and friendly Anna at Pleasure Factory gifted me with the most wonderfully presented and exciting sample pack I have ever recieved.
Envelope after envelope fell out of my huge parcel, all with the fragrance sample inside handwritten on the front. Each envelope opened with a carded image and description of the sample attached to it, and a feather – a lovely touch!
I’ve heard great things about this brand, but have never really read any reviews, they seem mysterious, and I wanted them to remain that way when I try them.
So as I have done with other sample batches, I am going to write my thoughts as I sniff these rather than live with them for a while. My thoughts later down the line will be posted in an update, but to be honest I just can’t wait! With a huge selection of the fragrances for me to try also, these will be broken into numerous posts over the coming days. For now I will start with LEVA and LADAMO.
Before I start, let me just say this:
By the look of the note pyramids (which I’m trying to slyly avoid), these have some crazy notes which to be honest, I have no familiarity with, I won’t pretend like I do. So, my reviews may be quite visual, but I will give you the best impression of them I can without sounding too amateur!
Leva opens beautifully dark. First comes a lemongrass note – blindingly green and tangy, as well as a deep black vanilla. Some piercing grapefruit keeps dashing up to the surface and attacking your nose. On top of all this, a really oily olive note seems to spring off the skin, more green than that in Sienne L’Hiver and much more prominent. Up close, some spicy black pepper, and the whole feel is extremely herbal yet sweetened by the vanilla and woods.
The lemongrass is probably the most prominent note right now. I say probably as this whole concoction morphs around on the skin so much I’m trying to tame it and keep track. Prickled up with the pepper, the herbal woodiness and vanilla underneath is intensely potent and almost too strong to sniff up close. The olive note remains the most present in the air space. This is a shapeshifter of a perfume and literally smells different from every angle.
After ten minutes or so, the dense dryness of the lemongrass is much less nose burning and the warm blanket of benzoin and vanilla bean melts into the skin. It softens up the fragrance just enough to make it smell more of a perfume, and less like an expensive candle.
Leva is a pretty hardcore “feminine”, although it is marketed as I feminine (I presume), it opens extremely masculine. I’m sorry for categorizing so much, I realise it’s something I rarely do, but named after Eve from the story of Genesis, I was expecting something much more serene and “pretty”. I’m pleasantly surprised! It opens with a punch and doesn’t let you forget it.
The herbal notes do calm down over time and it becomes what is basically a citrus/woody fragrance, but that would be a very general categorization and it sounds like a big understatement.
There remains a big mustard coloured stain of lemon, some dusty pepper, dry earth, woods and vanilla.
Hours later, I come to realise this is one of the best vanilla fragrances I have smelt. The surrounding notes are extremely clever – Wonderful.
Whilst I’m not sure if I would want to wear Leva, it is a remarkable introduction for me into this brand…
I can’t quite get my head around the opening of Ladamo, the green notes are huge and complex. Let me try break this down…
There’s an almost over brewed tea like smell to the herbs, they smell physically hot, almost nose piercing. It’s extremely medicinal, then at times not at all.
There’s a deep black liqourice note that I can only really detect from a distance, up close it is all too dark and enveloping. There’s a tobacco note also which smells extremely bitter sweet, and it is probably the only thing providing any sweetness to Ladamo.
Similar to Leva, there is a deep smell of earth, only here it is rugged and completely unforgiving. It is like being completely smouldered by bitter roots and soil, but it doesn’t smell like soil… I’m guessing this is some pretty potent vetiver, and it has just a tiny touch of salt.
Looking at the notes list, I’ve just managed to pick up that tiny bit of ginger, it’s like an earthy root of it, nothing foody, or even particularly spicy, but it creates a slight warmth to Ladamo.
The astringent herbal notes are burning off now, ten minutes later or so. I’m managing to bring my nose in close to sniff properly. It now smells familiar, and it is becoming warmer. Both of these fragrances have opened completely devoid of anything embracing and comforting, instead you have to work hard for the fragrance to accept you.
There is a strong tea leaf note now, and it almost smells Chinese medicine shop-y. Any moisture that there was at the beginning has dried out and some wood notes become more prominant. There are some florals which are now only just showing up, but to me they are quite un-definable, they simply provide a more fragrant haze over Ladamo.
The ginger becomes a little more prominant again and actually smells a bit like curried immortelle. I don’t have that much experience with it, but after smelling Fareb by Huitieme Art (which I detested) the other day, the same spicy heat is being radiated off of this fragrance. It seems to be providing the dryness that I am mistaking as tea. Very interesting!
I’m starting to enjoy it more and more now, the longer it has been on. It’s becoming bizarrely comforting and familiar, yet nothing like anything I would normally choose to wear or enjoy.
However, the immortelle now I’ve discovered it is one of the most prominent features. I don’t like the curried, almost body odour like scent this can give off, but it is just about tamed by the green earth underneath. It’s certainly a challenge.
Both Ladamo and Leva on individual hands are much more wearable, but I still feel like they are in control of me rather than the other way round. I have never experienced this with a fragrance before and I’m fascinated by it.
They actually go together wonderfully, if I bring both hands to my nose, the creamy, green lemon of Leva mixed with the dried herbal tea notes of Ladamo completely counter-balance each other.
Excellent, exciting fragrances. I really cannot wait to try more from O’Driu!
Ladamo and Leva 50ml – 180 Euros www.odriu.it