Living in a place where some days the air is too difficult to breathe and in the summer the streets smell like rotting garbage, it’s hard not to view an island in the Caribbean covered in rain forests and sandy beaches as anything but paradise. Because if we measure paradise by fruits and fauna, Puerto Rico could be paradise¹. The Exotic Island Perfumer is an indie perfume brand based in Puerto Rico. This delights me because I want more perfumes in my life with a Puerto Rican perspective. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when it comes to florals, Juan (the perfumer) is some sort of floral genius. The brand has just launched two new floral-centric perfumes, Orquídea Absoluta and Gardenia Absoluta. I couldn’t wait to try them since I can’t really think of a brand that does “HUGE florals” better than Exotic Island Perfumer and these have been the first new releases from this brand in years.
Orquídea Absoluta opens as this bouquet of the headiest lilies with a cherry cough syrup. There’s also a faint spicy, smokiness that almost smells like cinnamon incense (like Egyptian kyphi) smoke trailing into the room. The lilies smell like indolic white florals with a cool, camphorous stem. The heart is like a spicy lily, a heady floral with nutmeg and sour lemon zest. Hours after wearing this, I smelled a dry, woodsy and musky fragrance that I couldn’t place. It occurred to me that I was wearing Orquídea Absoluta. This huge, hothouse of lilies turned into a fragrance that reminded me of being lost in the depths of a deep, dark forest. If I had to describe this fragrance in one word, I’d say it’s “sultry”.
Orquídea Absoluta has not disappointed me. It’s a spicy lily with a narcotic quality that keeps me wanting more. On a daily basis, I don’t wear huge florals like this because frankly, they feel too “special” for my mundane, daily life. This is a ridiculous thought process because if I feel like smelling like acres and acres of orchids growing in paradise, then I should just go for it. What I love about this brand is that it goes there. They’re huge, realistic florals that aren’t for the floral-shy. Wearing these really does make any mundane situation feel more special!
Notes listed include four types of Cattleya lilies, lichen, moss and Tonquin musk. Launched in 2016. PERFUMER – Juan Perez
Give Orquidea Absoluta a try if you like heady florals or Asiatic lily perfumes. Or perfumes like Serge Lutens Un Lys, Donna Karan Gold, Yosh Stargazer, Tom Ford Shanghai Lily and/or Dolce & Gabbana Anthology La Lune.
Projection and longevity are above average.
The 1/4 oz travel size retails for $40 at Exotic Island Perfumer. Samples are also available for purchase.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Spicy, indolic lilies. It’s another great floral from this brand!
¹Listen, I’m not totally naive, I’m aware of the problems but let’s just say so many of our world’s problems are man-made, right? The Caribbean is a gorgeous place.
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Fragrantica – Ida’s review