Reminds me of sipping floral green tea in lounge after a spa treatment. The sweeter, honeyed, and cream notes like many manicure lotions and creams. Eventually the light florals give way to a warm myrrh. Lovely, but at this price point I'd rather go with the more affordable manicure hand lotion.
Champaca is a scent whose appeal eludes many. But you know what? Half the time it eludes me too. On its bad days, many of the slurs thrown its way worm their way into my head and nag persistently at me with the worry that they might be true that Champaca is nothing special, that it's too champaca or not champaca enough, that it's nondescript, that it's a dowdy green floral that Calvin Klein's Truth did better and cheaper. Then there's its musky loudness, which I always forget until I get called out on it by a colleague who is never backward about coming forward on the subject of my perfume.
But on good days, Champaca is the gently starched air from a bowl of Chinese greens and the damp, permeating nuttiness of brown basmati rice. It makes me think of stepping in from a cold, rainy afternoon in Cork or Limerick into the wood-lined hush of a traditional Japanese restaurant, slightly steamy from condensation and humming with low conversations.
I don't understand the accusations of tropical yellow flowers or heady ambers in relation to Champaca. It is not even a particularly floral experience. To me, Champaca smells more like the fresh green peel of a Granny Smith apple rinsed with rainwater than a flower. Yes, technically, this all might be unexciting. The scent of an upscale Japanese onsen or spa is never really going to raise the barometer on anyone's passion. But when I am feeling delicate, or in need of a friendly hand at the small of my back, then Champaca, with its gossamer-light bloom of starchy musks, rice steam, apple peel, watery bamboo, maybe mint, and the environmental exhalations of clean, blond wood, is what I find myself reaching for.
This has an awesome scent like true to life daffodils. I suppose champaca smells like that. It smells like you're smelling the flower itself. However, sillage is weak while longevity is only moderate. Also, it leans very feminine.
Ormonde Jayne Champaca brings a lovely little breath of spring, with a wispy and transparent quality that suggests instead of making a grand statement. I have no idea what champaca smells like in the wild, but it has become quite fashionable in perfumery as of late, and I've found that most treatments of this flower accentuate its lush tropicality. This rendition differs from those in its distinctive hint of greenness, which it pulls off without any hint of aggressive freshness--no obvious aldehydes or sharp citrus edges here, just a pretty neroli limned with freesia (a note that I can't say I love, having encountered it in Chanel's Beige with mixed personal results) and a vaguely Asiatic aura, with a note pyramid featuring "bamboo" on the top and "green tea" in the base.
I wish I could smell green tea in here. I suppose it's a plausible component of this blend, because I smell a somewhat bitter kinda jasminey thing happening that reminds me of the marvelously fresh-smelling Pu-Erh that I used to buy from an amazing Chinese merchant when I lived in San Francisco--just the smell of the canister was intoxicating--replete with the most, soft tannins that imparted just enough bitterness to give tea its structure. However, the note pyramid also promises some myrrh, which I love and unfortunately can't smell in here; it's either too subtle, or too well blended (or perhaps both) for me to pick up.
Or--and this is a strong possibility--the difficulty I have with the composition comes down to the same problems that I have with Ormonde Woman. Both perfumes are fabulous, but they are famously dosed with a ton of Iso-E Super, which (for me anyway) creates the illusion of a perfume that smells stronger at a short distance than right next to skin; this means wrist-sniffing can be tricky, because one must carefully gauge exactly where to smell, and even then the scent can be elusive. Still, Geza Schoen knows how to use the stuff--instead of piling too much business on the top of such a radiant substance, he uses an impressionist's touch and paints with delicate washes that give the perfume an airy quality that also feels contemporary--no aldehydes and no obvious musks, powdery or otherwise, buttress these delicate florals, so the whole thing feels transparent without being wimpy.
In the hands of a less skillful perfumer, Champaca could have been a real bludgeoner, one of those screechy floral orientals that doesn't know when to quit--or a little bit of nothing that disappears on skin in 10 minutes. Instead, this perfume comes off as subtle and smart, not so sweet that it's falling all over itself to please you, but not so greenishly tart as to say "don't bother." It seems specifically designed to go with a flowered frock, open toed shoes, and bare shoulders in the early days of the new season, just as we're shaking off the chill of winter and ready for something that feels lively and fresh but still has elegance and poise--a suitable perfume for anyone of any age who needs their spirits lifted, or who wants to spread a little warm-weather cheer. Or both--the two are certainly not mutually exclusive.
A beautiful note, champaca, and I believe this fragrance does a fair job in bringing this forward. But I personally find this a little too sweet, a lit too straight-forward, and there for a little too simplistic. A pleasant wear that comes with a steep price.