Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Olympic Orchids - Mardi Gras (perfume review)

As promised (to Vanessa in comments), my review of Olympic Orchids Mardi Gras perfume is finally ready. Although I wouldn't consider Mardi Gras particularly complex or challenging on the whole, it is definitely a perfume that pushes my personal boundaries, as I tend to like light, easy to wear scents that one might generally associate with spring and summer. Nothing too sweet, loud, screechy, raunchy, dark.. etc. I love the baby food of the perfume world.

Fortunately I was lucky enough to win some Mardi Gras from the lovely folks at CaFleureBon (check out their review of it here) and expand my comfort zone. Although this is a pretty linear scent with little in the way of evolution, it's definitely an interesting one. It's fruitily sweet, warm and just a touch skanky - in the best post-coital kind of way.

photo from French Quarter Guest Houses
While most scents garner associations or ideas, very few paint vivid pictures for me. Mardi Gras, however, is one of those special few. When I wear it, I feel immediately transported to another world - a mysteriously dark and sensual one. Perhaps the name helps. :)

I get a dimly lit room in the French Quarter, adorned with opulent crystal chandeliers and loveseats upholstered in silky dark velvets, tinged with mustiness. The room is humid, saturated with the heat of intertwined lovers and the thick sultry air is lightly sweetened by a veil of fruity incense. And beignets. Definitely some beignets.

The first thing I notice when I apply Mardi Gras is the orange blossom. The very first seconds have a spicy edge, but that kick softens quickly into a fluffily and plushly sweet orange blossom that's reminiscent of fruit loops and powdered sugar. On the side there's a touch of honey. Normally honey is a note that I don't deal well with in perfume (it typically induces feelings of nausea), but in Mardi Gras the syrupy honey blends so seamlessly into the fruity sweetness that I actually don't mind it. In fact, more than don't mind it, I rather like it - and that's a first. 

Also to note, despite describing the sweetness with images of fruit loops and powdered sugar, Mardi Gras isn't a particularly light fragrance. It carries a certain heft to it, like the weight of thick, humid summer air.

After a short while the initial burst of fruit loop sweetness fades a bit, and the creamier vanilla and benzoin heart comes out to play. While still sweet, the vanilla and benzoin add a darkness to the composition, luring us out of kiddy land and into the adult realms. Finally the musk emerges, wrapping the fragrance in the warmth of human skin - without ever being overbearing or reeking of B.O. (I know some people appreciate the BO stink factor in their fragrances, but that is a taste I personally have yet to acquire!)

Mardi Gras is a sweet, gourmandy lover, but not a promiscuous one. If you like a heavy dose of skanky musk, I think Mardi Gras may fall short of your desires. But if you want a fairly safe and wearable scent that will still get the juices of your imagination flowing, Mardi Gras may be a good fit.


My rating of Mardi Gras: 3.75

1  -  - -  -  2  -  -  -  -  3  -  -  - X -  4  -  -  -  -  5
   Nausea/Gagging         Meh        Decent          Great         Olfactory Elation    


Mardi Gras as described by the Olympic Orchids website:

Notes:  Orange blossom, neroli, cistus, benzoin, vanilla, civet, special musk blend

Perfumer: Ellen Covey


Have you tried Mardi Gras? What are some of your favorite Olympic Orchids scents?


  1. Hi Sun Mi,
    I love your beautiful review!
    Azar xx

    1. Thanks Azar - that means a lot to me, especially since I know you've tried Mardi Gras :)

  2. Whoo! Finally catching up with some blog reading - thanks for reviewing this one with me in mind. ;) I love your moody description of Mardi Gras - the added beignets are a nice touch, hehe. While reading it I was reminded a little of Esprit d'Oscar, but maybe plusher and a bit skanky, which that isn't at all. Certainly well and truly curious now, thanks to you!

    1. I haven't tried Esprit d'Oscar, so I'm not sure if they're similar at all, but now in curious too! Is OO a line you can get easily where you are? If not, I can make you a little sample if this seems like a scene you may like!

  3. Civet is the main note I get, especially in the opening, and I love it! That furry little monster runs the entire course of this perfume and it is magnificent! Thanks for the review....not many people seem to know about this gorgeous fume, which is a shame. It's one of the most interesting modern perfumes I've found.

    1. Hi Celeste! Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I'll be honest, I'm not sure that I could identify civet, I'm still learning a lot (particularly with animalics and musks) - but I believe you that it's there! I'm glad to hear that you enjoy this one so much, I love it too!


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