Coty L'Origan was introduce in 1906, an oriental.
Notes: Top notes of bergamot, mandarin, coriander, pepper and peach; middle notes of clove bud, ylang-ylang, violet, orchid, rose, jasmine, nutmeg, cinnamon, carnation and orris; and base notes of bourbon vetiver, labdanum, opoponax, cedar, Mexican vanilla, Mysore sandalwood, tonka bean, civet, musk, musk ambrette, frankincense, Virginia cedar, benzoin and ambergris.
French Perfume Legend by Michael Edwards pick
An excerpt from Arcadi Boix Camps:
L'Origan by Coty was a fabulous creation with the help of the first great Firmenich materials like the extraordinary Dianthine and its unsurpassed Iralia. It contains a lot of Neroli Bigarade of supreme quality. Then, the distinguished Opoponax Doux which includes all the fabulous resins of orient, opoponax, myrrh and frankincense. It also contains a lot of the eternal “Jasmin Blanc” and an extraordinary compound of a fabulous and not well known Rose d'Orient (containing Bulgarian rose oil, Orris concrete 15% Irones from Italian Iris Pallida). It contains around 20% of Dianthine base that contains more Bulgarian rose oil and smells as a dream carnation flower never improved up to date. The fragrance has a top quality Vetiver Bourbon oil with its smoky top note, Comores ylang-ylang, coriander, civet absolute, estragon oil, coumarin and the lovely Ambreine Samuelson also used by Guerlain in most of their perfumes (I would say that the accord between Ambreine Samuelson and Opoponax Doux it is a masterpiece of synergism, a really moving spiritual blend. The fragrance has a lot of Heliotropin, 100% pure and natural Bergamot Oil from a company based in Reggio di Calabria. Traces of Black Pepper oil from Madagascar and the lovely Fleurs d’Oranger absolute from France, lots of Castoreum Absolute and I say lots, some nitro musks and a trace of Violet leaves Absolute from France.
An excerpt from Grain de Musc:
In 1905, Coty launches L’Origan, a carnation-orange blossom-heliotrope cocktail set in ambery vanilla. Seven years later, Guerlain takes the same idea and turns it into a masterpiece, L’Heure Bleue, by adding an anisic note and the elegance of Paris at nightfall.
But the Corsican self-made-man had no reason to envy the scion of the most aristocratic family in perfumery: he was, by then, one of the richest men in the world. Coty wasn’t aiming to seduce the great ladies of the faubourg Saint-Honoré: he wanted the working girl to whom he sold his scented powders when she couldn’t afford his fragrances; he wanted to conquer the American women. And to found the first perfume empire. He succeeded. If you want to have any idea of the astounding creativity of the Napoleon of perfumery, you need to buy vintage or get yourself to the Versailles Osmotheque. That’s where I smelled the original formula of L'Origan for the first time. It was an olfactory punch in the stomach – just utterly beautiful – then a strange, déjà-vu (or rather, déjà-smelled) sensation. And not only because those bergamot top notes, the hot-and-cold gush of carnation/clove piercing a cloud of orange blossom and powdery heliotrope, softened by a bed of vanilla and coumarin, reminded me of L'Heure Bleue without the blues. Tone down the flowers, pile on the spices and resins (myrrh, benzoin, opoponax, labdanum), and you get Opium (1997). Turn on the tuberose and Christian Dior’s Poison (1985) pops up.
François Coty’s greatest compositions are the matrix of modern perfumery. Not only by their structures, which gave birth to whole families of fragrances, but also by their innovative use of synthetic materials, which tended to scare off traditional perfumers.
Like all of Coty’s first fragrances, L'Origan innovated by introducing synthetic notes, often dressed up in bases (mini-perfumes composed by the labs), which gave a bone structure to heavy, oily natural essences of traditional perfumery, as well as a greater stability. Unlike the smooth, fleshed-out fragrances of Guerlain, Coty’s intuitive compositions – “slightly heterogeneous assemblages” miraculously transformed in masterpieces, according to Roudnitska – leave this bone structure in view.
Thus, in L’Origan, the almost medicinal whiff of Chuit Naef’s Dianthine base, strongly dosed in eugenol (the odorant principle of clove), paired off with tarragon, possibly coriander and/or cardamom, bursts out of the bottle with an almost shocking intensity. The licorice-y, powdery sweetness of heliotrope barely tames it; the round smokiness of resins, benzoin or opoponax, and of the amber-vanilla base notes, finally smooths it out by bathing it in sunshine.
But by then, you’re already reeling on your feet: you’ve been worked over by one of the oldest modern perfumes in history. And you’re coming back for more.
An excerpt from Bois de Jasmin:
L’Origan (1905) cannot be mistaken for anything but a child of its times. Its soft powdery veil embellished with carnation, violet and heliotrope calls to mind gloves and Edwardian silhouettes. A precursor of Guerlain L’Heure Bleue (1912), L’Origan reveals the same bittersweet anisic top notes that sparkle like diamond dust in its powdery cloud. …
The voluptuous richness of the sweet floral heart underscored by the woody spiciness of clove flows into the sensual darkness of the musky base. Like honey dissolving in hot tea, orange blossom and jasmine lose their radiant form amid the vanillic sweetness of coumarin and the leathery duskiness of musk.
While the first decade of the twentieth century saw the introduction of numerous new aroma-chemicals to the perfumer’s palette as well as the readymade floral bases, perfumers were cautious in using them, given their strong and aggressive odor profiles. However, Coty saw great potential in the new materials. The originality of L’Origan indeed resides in its combination of traditional essences such as bergamot, orange, neroli and ylang ylang with new floral bases and synthetics such as methyl ionone, heliotropin, vanillin, coumarin, civet, vetiveryl acetate, and nitromusks.
Neither floral nor oriental, L'Origan can claim fragrances like Oscar de la Renta (1976), Vanderbilt (1981), Poison (1985), and Cacharel Loulou (1987) as its offspring.
L'Origan was discontinued around 2005. We are decanting from a vintage eau de cologne version of the fragrance - the bottle is pictured.