Thursday, July 9, 2020

Olibere Les Insoumines Collection: Le Jardin De La Reine

Paris perfume house Olibere introduced four perfumes in 2018 entitled the Les Insoumises Collection, all of which pay homage to some of the cinema's greatest leading ladies. Brand founder Marjorie Olibere and Perfumer Luca Maffei are the creators behind all four scents. Le Jardin De La Reine is the third of the four I have reviewed, and in the course of testing it went from being my least favorite to my most favorite!

This would probably be the most devisive of the four perfumes in popularity, as it is of a certain style. It has what I think  of as that French perfume essence which I love, but to those used to the fruity florals of the last decade it might smell decidedly different than what they are accustomed to wearing. Both the Olibere website and Fragrantica call this a fresh floral, but for me it is what I call a modern chypre. It is a lighter and younger interpretation of this genre, but it gives that warm rush of scent, laced with a slight bitterness, that identify a chypre. A classic chypre opens with citrus, moves on to a mossy/oakmoss element, then closes with patchouli or labdanum. Le Jardin De La Reine has two of these elements, bergamot in the opening and patchouli in the base. This perfume was created to represent Marie Antoinette as played by Kirsten Dunst in the namesake 2006 movie, Marie Antoinette. The film is a kaleidoscope of fantastic sets and costumes, all done in a gorgeous pastel palette, rich and opulent. The more formal feel to this perfume and its strong reference to historical French perfumery is a good reflection of the ill-fated Queen.

Le Jardin De La Reine contains a litchi note in the opening, as well as the bergamot. The litchi gives a bit of sourness and a bitter twist to the florals which are in the heart of the perfume: lily of the valley, peony, and jasmine. Like a true French perfume these florals are blended into a whole so that not one distinctly stands out. But the litchi keeps the florals from becoming too sweet or romantic. Chypre-esque perfumes always have a certain stateliness. Base notes are patchouli, amber, and musk but it is definitely the patchouli which has the biggest influence on the scent. I can smell it throughout most of the life of the perfume. I love patchouli so for me this is a good thing.

If you are a fan of French-style perfumes but in a lighter and easily wearable style, then you may enjoy Le Jardin De La Reine. I definitely appreciated its formal, yet fun, appeal.

My sample is labeled Le Jardin De Marie-Antoinette, so I don't know if there was a later name change or if this is in error.

You can read about Le Jardin De Madame Chan here and Le Jardin D'Amélie here

Photos are from an Annie Leibovitz photo shoot for Vogue at the time of the movie release. I purchased the sample from Olibere website.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Olibere Paris Les Insoumises Le Jardin D'Amélie

 Le Jardin D'Amélie is the second of the four perfumes in the Les Insoumises collection by Olibere Paris that I am reviewing. I picked this photo from the Olibere Instagram site because it perfectly encapsulates the opening of the perfume, a berry-wine scent. I recently wrote a post on perfumes that smell like rosé wine, and it is a shame I had not already sampled this perfume as it is a perfect fit for the story. 

This series of Olibere perfumes is based on heroines from iconic movies, as picked by brand founder Marjorie Olibere, who has a passion for cinema as well as perfume. Le Jardin D'Amélie is based on the 2001 movie Amélie, or as it was known in France, Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain. The plot is about a shy waitress who does a good deed, and is so inspired by the positive results that she begins to look for ways to change the lives of those who surround her for the better. The film is quirky and uplifting, and was an unexpected worldwide success that made French film more accessible to non-French speakers. It also helped make famous the Montmartre area of France where the film takes place. 

France is celebrated for its cuisine, and in Amélie the food is an integral part of the story. When my husband and I traveled through France a couple of years ago, one of the greatest pleasures was the daily ritual of lunch. In France sitting down to dine is a ceremony of sorts, not to be rushed but to be savored and appreciated. In the movie, food is used as a means to bring some of the lonely characters together. Amélie's zest for life is illustrated in her enjoyment of food, such as breaking the glassy crust atop the crème brûlée or eating the raspberries, as seen below.

Zesty, fruity berries are the entrance to Le Jardin D'Amélie, but the berries continue throughout the wear of the perfume. This makes the fragrance feel young and carefree, and if you are influenced by seasons as I am, this certainly speaks of spring and summer. Heart notes are rose, honeysuckle, and violet. I believe it is the rose that makes me think of wine, as it gives the perfume that vino feel. Honeysuckle is such a carefree and sweet note, just like our heroine Amélie, and it gives the fragrance lift and frivolity, referencing the sweetness of jasmine without the indoles. Base notes are woods, amber, and musk but for me the rose and berry note was very prevalent until it started fading away. This is a pretty and feminine scent to me, but anyone who likes the scent of raspberry may enjoy it. This was a light, uplifting, and cheerful fragrance to wear, just like the movie that inspired it.

If you would like to read about another Les Insoumises fragrance by Olibere Paris, go here to read about Le Jardin De Madame Chan

Top photo from website. Other photos Google images and YouTube images. I purchased my sample. 

Friday, July 3, 2020

Olibere Les Insoumises Collection: Le Jardin De Madame Chan

The house of Olibere Paris introduced the Les Insoumises Collection in 2018, four eau de parfums based on iconic movie heroines. It was the lovely graphics on the box and bottle that first attracted me to these scents. Yes, I am one of those people swayed by the label on the wine bottle. Today I am  reviewing  Le Jardin De Madame Chan, and it references, of course, the movie In The Mood For Love from the year 2000. This was a much lauded film, and not since the scene in The Age of Innocence where Daniel Day-Lewis unbuttons Countess Olenska's glove (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) and kisses the pale sliver of revealed skin, have we seen such furtive glances, accidental touches, and restrained longing.

Marjorie Olibere is the brand founder and she is inspired by films, be it their fantastic locations, iconic heroines, or revered movies. "Cinema and perfume feed my life with equal passion," she states on the Olibere website. Luca Maffei is the perfumer for all the fragrances in this collection. 

Photo, Les Insoumises Collection

In The Mood For Love is based in 1960s Hong Kong. Two couples, the Chows and the Chans, move into a crowded boarding house. Mr. Chow and Madame Chan become friends as their spouses are often away, and in their loneliness they turn to each other. They discover their spouses betrayal but vow to fight their growing attraction, as they don't want to be like their unfaithful mates. Madame Chan is played by Maggie Cheung, and an unattributed star of the movie are the gorgeous cheongsams she wears throughout the film. I lived in Singapore for over a decade and would see these dresses hanging in designer shops, where they would be carefully fitted to hug the wearer's figure, which had better be good because cheongsams are not forgiving! I longed to buy one, but it is a truth universally acknowledged that a blonde firangi is never going to look as beautifully at home in this outfit as our Asian sisters. They are made for swan like necks, willowy-boned bodies, and dark hair to contrast with the beautiful floral patterns. 
Maggie Cheung in In the Mood for Love, Google image.

The opening notes of Le Jardin De Madame Chan are bergamot, coriander, and geranium. I smell the sharp bergamot and the dry geranium briefly, but the ylang ylang comes in quickly on my skin. The heart notes are ylang ylang, rose, and jasmine. Here the ylang ylang with its exotic and sligtly fruity scent is the star. On my skin its most overwhelming characteristic is a powder note. I always find ylang ylang to be powdery, but it is not the scent of baby powder or makeup-like rice powder. It is more akin to the powder aspects of a carnation but without the scent of carnation itself, although I do find the clove note often found in carnation-based perfumes to be present. It is heady and slightly sweet and blends well with a very subdued jasmine note. The rose note is very light and drifts in and out during the wear of the perfume, as if on a breeze. It adds a lilt and delicacy.

Base notes are patchouli, peru balsam, sandalwood, vanilla, and musk. The powdery ylang ylang is the most prominent note on me, and then eventually light vanilla, balsam, and musk. Le Jardin De Madame Chan is lighter than I first expected, but after wearing it a couple of times and thinking about the character of Madame Chan, I think it is a good representation. 

In The Mood For Love, Google image.

This is not a big perfume on me; it is muted and plays out in soft sepia tones. This fits the reflective and soft spirit of Madame Chan and the gentle yet passionate nature of this love story as it plays out. In this pandemic era I have discovered a new found appreciation for softer, non-demanding scents that surround me with lovely gentle fragrance but don't command too much attention. Olibere states it as a mission to represent French perfumery traditions and this fragrance is an example of that attitude. I enjoyed wearing Le Jardin De Madame Chan, and as an added bonus I found that when it came time to go to sleep, the powder-soft florals and fuzzy musk were the perfect accompaniment to my rest.

I will look at the rest of the perfumes from this line in the next few days.


In the spirit of acknowledging the cinematic origins and inspirations of Olibere's Les Insoumises Collection, I am providing a couple of links that I found interesting in regard to dissecting In The Mood For Love from a film critic's aspect. It appealed to the inner nerd in me who took film appreciation courses at university.

Here is "frames within frames". 

And here is a study of all the beautiful cheonsams that Madame Chan wears in the film.

Top photo from Olibere website. Thanks to for videos. I purchased the sample myself from Olibere Paris.