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I have always loved the designer Orla Kiely and have several of her designs on products in my house, including my duvet set, mugs and storage jars. I was therefore really excited last year when I found out that she had a perfume range out and I couldn't wait to try it.
The first thing that attracted me to the perfume was the beautiful bottle which comes in a typical retro Orla Kiely design. I was lucky to get a mini trial version of the perfume which has an exact replica of the larger perfume bottle but in a really cute tiny size. The bottle is made of heavy glass embossed with leaves and shaped a bit like a flower with a retro kitsch orange top to it. It has a bit of an autumnal look about it and I really love it on my dressing table next to my larger designer perfume bottles such as my Dior. When you buy a full size version of the perfume it comes in a cream cardboard box with orange Orla Kiely flower printed on it with green leaves in retro style which also looks very stylish.
Orla Kiely states that the perfume and her designs are all inspired by nature and the perfume is meant to be a mixture of fruity and woody notes that uses natural extracts. It includes the following ingredients:
Top notes of green tea, fig and bergamot
Middle notes of rose, white flowers and geranium
Base notes of musks, chocolate, cedarwood and sandalwood.
On spraying this perfume the first impression was that it was quite light and fresh on my skin and I could smell the floral notes. However then the more woody and musky scent comes through and the perfume becomes a bit heavier. I must admit that for some reason once the perfume has settled I really don't like the smell that much. There is something about it that is quite peppery (I'm not sure why - it might be the musk and wood scents) and it almost irritates my nose and makes me want to sneeze all of time. I also often don't really like heavier types of perfume and the floral element of this perfume does not stay for long. It is very hard to describe the actual scent on your skin and it is certainly unique but sadly it doesn't really suit me.
The perfume lasts well once applied and tends to last for most of the day on me as it is quite strong. I am sure this is great if you like the scent but having just tried it again this morning just in case I had changed my mind about it I now wish the strong smell would go away!
The perfume can be bought from most department stores such as Debenhams and House of Fraser for £32 for 25ml and larger sizes are also available. I don't regret buying my trial version as the bottle is so cute, but I would recommend testing it and leaving it on your skin for a few hours before deciding whether the scent is right for you and buying a full size version.
I've long been an admirer of Irish designer Orla Kiely's stylish retro inspired homewares and soft furnishings but I had no idea she'd launched a fragrance (in fact now two) until I read a review on Dooyoo. It sounded like something I would like and I was able to bag myself a very good online deal; I hoped the actual scent would be as pleasing as the price.
Named simply 'Orla Kiely' this is a stylishly presented fragrance and the bottle and box echo motifs common in her designs - namely stylised flowers which hark back to the bold designs of the 1960s and early 1970s. Even the lid of the chunky flower shaped bottle has a round lid, representing the centre of the flower as you look at the bottle from above, and in a decidedly retro orangey-brown colour. My 100ml bottle feels rather satisfying in the hand but is really too big and cumbersome to be carried around in anything but the roomiest of handbags. The lid also has a habit of becoming separated from the bottle in my bag which can be quite tedious when you're travelling and have to remove everything from the bag to find the lid. The eau de parfum also comes in 25 and 60ml bottles which would be more suitable for carrying in a handbag.
The bottle comes in a sturdy box which also bears the familiar Orla Kiely motif of a stylised flower and leaves. When you lift the larger part of the box, the bottle of perfume is standing on a little plinth and fits into a slight recess. I often throw perfume boxes away due to lack of space but this is one that feels as if you ought to keep it.
'Orla Kiely' is an unusual scent and I can't think of another that I own or have tried that is remotely similar. It fits most comfortably into the 'florals' classification but it is the non-floral notes that are the most interesting. It opens with a slightly too harsh burst of green tea and grassiness, perhaps a hint of bergamot too, but this gives way to a rich fruitiness. This isn't a sugary fruitiness, it's the scent of rich, flavoursome figs and it reminds too of when black grapes are left as long as possible on the vine until they have absorbed all of the sun's warmth. In the background there's the faint whiff of peaches but it's not the aroma of juicy peach flesh, more the warm, dry scent of the skin of a peach before you bite into it. There are a lot of fruity scents around these days but I like that this smells very natural and doesn't have that almost sherbet-like sugariness that many of them have.
At the heart of this fragrance are the florals, easily identifiable as rose and geranium, though I've read that there's also osmanthus which I'm not really familiar with. There's something quite old-fashioned about this blend of florals but I quite like it and the opening with the figs makes me more disposed to love the florals. There's also chocolate allegedly though I don't get this at all though I do really like the basenotes of tonka bean, musk and sandalwood which add to the idea of depth that starts with those succulent figs.
Although some of the notes in this combination suggest autumnal scents, I actually find this very wearable in summer, even on very hot days. It has incredible staying power and hardly diminishes in strength over seven hours. If applied in the morning it fades to a slightly sweet muskiness by the evening. The sillage is average; it doesn't project brilliantly but that's perhaps no bad thing as I think that some of the elements in this scent are ones that won't be universally popular.
Prices vary a lot online; I bought mine a few months back and actually paid a only a couple of Pounds more for the 100ml than the same retailer was offering the 60ml for and paid less than £30. Sadly that offer from halfpriceperfumes.com is no longer available and the price has reverted to £55.00 for the 100ml bottle. However, Debenhams is currently offering the 100ml Orla Kiely gift set for £55.00 and this comprises 100ml eau de parfum, 250ml shower gel and 150ml body lotion (plus you can get your Debenhams Beautycard points if you have one); as Debenhams sell the 100ml bottle on its own for a shade over £56 this is good value. However, the best offer online is from cheapsmells.com which is currently offering it (as of July 18th 2013) for £36.76 for 100ml (delivery is free).
Orla Kiely Eau de Parfum / Purse Spray is a light fragrance spray with floral notes and natural extracts of rose, geranium and bergamot / All subtly balanced with a scent of fresh fig and a hint of chocolate / '