During a memorable visit to Grasse, colleague and good friends Christopher Yu and Laurent Delafon discovered the Cenftifolia Rose in all of its natural glory. Experiencing its green, dewy and fruity nuances first-hand ignited a newfound appreciation for this ingredient and sparked an immediate vehemence to showcase the abundance of other precious ingredients that nature has to offer. With this in mind and a lustrous career in perfumery behind them, Christopher and Laurent combined their expertise to create an exciting new fragrance house and from this Ostens was born. Inspired by the Latin verb Ostens ‘to show or exhibit’ they sought out five of the best noses from around the world, each of them tapping into their olfactory capabilities. With no brief constraints or limits in the budget, the founder’s vision finally materialised in 2018 with the release of six fragrances that perfectly exhibited those precious ingredients. These included; Rose Oil Isparta, Cashmeran Velvet, Jasmin Absolute, Patchouli Heart No. I, Patchouli Heart No. II and Cedarwood Heart.
After perusing Osten’s discovery collection, I was immediately drawn to their Jasmin Absolute perfume. Surprisingly, if you had asked me ten years ago the mere mention of a floral fragrance would have had me running in the opposite direction. But over the years of writing about fragrances, I have learned how important and prevalent they are in perfumery. No matter what fragrance you choose I can guarantee that there is probably a floral note fluttering in the background, even in well-known ‘masculine’ fragrances. Just like Chris and Laurent, I too experienced the rose harvest in Grasse and ever since I have had an increased admiration for the intricate process of perfumery and the ingredients used. On opening Jasmine Absolute, the packaging is relatively understated but elegant, the contemporary light grey box embossed with gold Ostens branding. Lifting the lid you are greeted with a splash of colour, and artistic cards detailing the fragrance inside. Nestled in a black inlay is the Jasmine Absolute perfume, along with a small bottle of preparation oil and glass applicator but more on that later. The star of the show of course is the beautifully created elixir harnessed within the clear glass vessel.
Spritzing the precious mist onto the skin you can feel the skill and creativity ooze from every spray. I was astonished by just how uplifting it was, like the snap of a green flower stem an array of natural freshness swiftly fills the nostrils. It exudes a cool dewiness and I almost imagine brushing past rain-speckled foliage, its delicately perfumed droplets falling onto the skin. For me, it has a cologne-like opening without the barrage of usual effervescent citrus notes. Instead, a pure and crisp cloud billows in the air, all the while laced with a delicate spice that only adds to its welcoming vivacity. The smile-inducing blend proceeds to dazzle as not before long an array of exceptional florals bloom into life. I’m immediately transported back to my trip to the south of France in the spring. Everywhere you walked, white waterfalls of Jasmine scattered with yellow would cascade down the side of walls and balconies. Whilst taking a wander it wouldn’t take long to sense its presence as the delicate summer breeze carried their scent through the maze of cobbled streets towards your nose. Those usual heady notes that can sometimes be headache-inducing seem to be cast behind a delicate veil, allowing you to fully enjoy the essence of the flower without it being overbearing or cloying.
Tantalising fruit nuances begin to reveal themselves from within the florals, beautifully subtle and discreet with just enough presence which is a testament to just how well the fragrance is composed. I almost envisage glistening slices of peach floating gleefully in ice tea, their fruitiness evident yet slightly subdued underneath the invigorating liquid. As it dries down, that initial energy subsides yet the perpetuating freshness that makes this fragrance so captivating is never too far away. Its bright, clean and crisp characteristics never falter, acting as a breath of fresh air every time it extends from the skin. Like freshly laundered cotton swaying in the evening breeze, soft fuzzy musks and vanilla entwine in a beautiful dance of comforting nuances. As if the last of the summer days sun is spreading its golden rays across the land, the fragrance finally embraces the skin in a creamy blanket of sweetness. As I mentioned previously, included with the fragrance is a small bottle of preparation oil of Jasminum Grandiflora with a beautiful glass applicator. Smeared onto the skin it not only increases the longevity of the fragrance but takes the fragrance to whole another level. It is almost as if you’re able to experience both the flower from afar and pressed against your very nose. Whether you choose to wear the fragrance together or alone it is a great addition that I haven’t seen before with any other brand.
I love my country, but living in Scotland during the cold dark winters I often wish I was somewhere bright and warm. Luckily when I spray this fragrance, it instantly transports me to those sunnier climbs in the South of France. Impressions Jasmine Absolute is one of the most beautiful Jasmine scents I have discovered in a while, a true floral gem that encapsulates the freshest part of the flower. There are some misconceptions when it comes to Jasmine fragrances, such that it is old fashioned, too feminine or simply too overwhelming. So if you have tended to sway away from jasmine fragrances in the past because of this, please give Ostens Jasmine Absolute a chance. Ostens has created a new contemporary version that transcends these misconceptions, providing a light, contemporary and unisex rendition. With this in mind, along with its impressive longevity, this is a fragrance in your collection that will be sure to turn heads.