Ormonde Jayne is a house that I am finally starting to appreciate. This was the first summer that I was able to appreciate Sampaquita, and got my hands on a bottle of Frangipani Parfum. The latter was a transformative experience. My newfound admiration for Ormonde Jayne coupled with my recent desire for good quality green tea perfumes that don't smell like lemonade let to my curiosity about Qi. I recently purchased a bottle of Guerlain's Tokyo, which, though it doesn't seem to get much recognition other than an occasional 'meh', leads me to believe that any fragrance with green tea is typically immediately viewed with suspicion after the great Green Tea Market Saturation of 2000-2010.
When I brew a cup of green tea at home, I am always fascinated by the scent. Green tea, in its basic form, is green, somewhat mossy, dry, woody, and slightly toast-scented. It's the addition of jasmine, lemon or mint that skews the scent, and most perfumers have played on that theme. What I love about Qi (and, by extension, Tokyo) is that it plays with the green tea scent. Granted, it does open with that lemony blast that most green tea scents have, but it's immediately made more interesting by the sweetness of freesia and the (to me) jarring vibration of violet. It's enough to make me hold out to see if Qi is more that just another citrus green tea.
About 10 minutes in, I start getting more fascinated. The scent becomes a light, citrus tinged velvety floral. Osmanthus adds some energy to the violet and it's all smoothed out by rose. The green tea is now that green tea that I recognize from my cup. It's hovering in the background and for the first time I feel like it's a grounding, solid base. Very wearable, and with strength that I usually find lacking, again, in a green tea fragrance.
The dry down is where I am truly impressed by this fragrance, and what I tend to see in most Ormonde Jaynes......the scent does a complete turnaround. What has started bright has become very filtered, like a forest right when the sun is starting to go down. The shadows become deeper, but the light is still apparent. Myrrh starts peeking its head out, and there is moss! Lovely, deep dark green moss. At this point, I am reminded strongly of Les Exclusifs Sycomore without the vetiver. The scent becomes smoky and lingers for hours on my skin.
I like this because it conjures up images of the Far East as a place where simplicity is presented, but there are many complex, stratified layers beneath the surface that must be discovered to be appreciated. Definitely one that I will keep around, with my lovely Tokyo, as my favorite green tea fragrances.