Oriza L. Legrand

I have been deeply impressed by the revival of the Oriza L. Lagrand’s brand and its presence at the Pitti fair in Florence in 2016. The quality of their fragrances is at the same level as their presentation and history, just remarkable. The co-founder of Oriza, Mr. Hugo Lambert, did me the great favor of this interview, third in the section of fragrant inspirations:

[Laurent]  Dear Hugo, thank you very much for having accepted this interview for Scent & Favor. Oriza L. Legrand, as you told me, was in the late XIX century a star of the French perfumery, bigger and more famous than houses such as Guerlain, and supplier of all the Courts and the wealthy of this bygone world. What made this prestigious house fade away from the scene, and how can you revive it to its glory?

An old ad from Oriza L. Legrand, showing their sales office in Paris and their factory in the suburb of the Capital, around 1889. The house was created already in 1720 by the french Court’s perfumer distiller Fargeon Ainé. The name of the House originates from Oriza Sativa, the latin name for rice, which was pulverized and perfumed for use as a make up base. The company supplied the Royal Households of Russia, Italy and England as well as the one of Napoleon III. Oriza won many prizes at various World Fairs, such as the gold medal of the Paris Universal Expo in 1889.

[Hugo Lambert] The House Oriza L. Legrand disappeared at the beginning of World War II, like too many wonderful fragrance houses… This house is a dream for any perfume lover. Its rich history spans over 300 years and perfectly illustrates the French tradition and excellence in luxury craftsmanship. 

We researched Oriza’s catalog for many years and matured the project of reviving the House very carefully. The more we discovered about Oriza, the more we were wooed to its history and tremendous olfactive pallet. Eventually reviving Maison Oriza L. Legrand became a dream and our obsession.

A selection of the large collection of Oriza L. Legrand’s perfumes.

[Laurent]  The fragrance collection includes now 16 creations, 15 of which are from the original blends of Oriza L. Legrand, starting with Violettes du Czar, created in 1862. How could you recreate such treasures? Did you find the recipes in your archives?

[Hugo]  Oriza has a long tradition for innovating both olfactively and technologically. This value remains at the heart of our thinking now and in the future.

Throughout Oriza’s history, the house has learned to please the most delicate and demanding customers by developing subtle and exquisite scents. Louis XV and its court were for instance particularly avid of Oriza’s compositions.The House was also the official supplier of the Imperial Court of Russia.

Today we remain dedicated to creating luxurious and exquisite products. All of them are created by us and crafted here in France using the highest quality raw materials.

That’s for all these reasons that we decided to relaunch Oriza L. Legrand…

Villa Lympia, launched in 2016 is the first new creation of the house after the revival of the old collection. Villa Lympia casts an air of summer over the Riviera for the swims of the season…

[Laurent]  Villa Lympia is the latest creation of Oriza L. Legrand, created in 2016 and shown at Pitti. The superb packaging and style is totally in the tradition of the house, but what about the fragrance itself? Can you tell us all about this new creation?

[Hugo]  The perfume Villa Lympia-French Riviera is not a vintage perfume from 1900 but a tribute to the French Riviera…

In the early 1900s (period called “Belle Époque”) Oriza’s perfumer Antonin Raynault had an incredible house (called “Villa Lympia”) in Nice-Côte d’Azur (called “French Riviera”) with a view on the sea… In this house were created the perfumes for Oriza…

The myriad of flowers around the house (mimosa, immortelle…) and the smell of the sea inspired us to create a tribute to this period… We also found a vintage image in our books, never used for a perfume… This image was created by the office of Oriza in 1900 for a product never launched…

This perfume sounds like a fresh salted breeze from the sea, warm sand, and flowers of the French Riviera that we found around the Villa Lympia’s house…

This is real creation !

The high-quality soaps from Oriza contributed to the fame of the House. There are more than twenty different variations of fragrances, all enriched with organic shea butter.

[Laurent]  Besides fragrances, your hand soaps were the bestsellers of your house. Today, Oriza L. Legrand is proposing a choice of 20 different soaps. Some of them are perfumed with some original scents which are not part of the fragrance line. Please tell us more about what make your soaps unique and what are these original scents.

[Hugo]  We found so many vintage pictures and recipes of soaps from our brand in our archives that we selected different scents to complete the style and artistic creations of our perfumes. We’d like to make the 400 soaps of our catalogs but we think it would be too many varieties for our small shop…

Oriza L. Legrand’s soaps, enriched with organic shea butter, won their universal reputation for their soothing qualities and absolute purity.

Their use gives the skin flexibility and incomparable softness.

Oriza L. Legrand also proposes a hair care perfumed vinegar – Oriza Aciduliné – following a recipe of 1852.

[Laurent]  I found that you still propose some scented vinegar and perfumed candles in your new line. Candles are very appreciated and common in the fragrance house lines nowadays, but what about scented vinegars? How to use them in daily life?

[Hugo]  It was during the 18th century that perfumed vinegars were first used, prepared mainly by steeping of flowers and aromatic herbs in aged cider. By the 19th century, they had become true products of beauty and skin care, renowned for their astringent and softening qualities.

In 1852, based on a formula perfected by Fargeon Aîné, Oriza L. Legrand introduced “Oriza Aciduliné” — a delicately perfumed cosmetic vinegar designed for skin and hair care.

To benefit fully from its positive effects, you should add it to the water used for rinsing your hair after washing so as to give it brilliance and sparkle. A few drops in one’s bath water will also envelop one with a sensation of well-being and relaxation while also imparting a delicate fragrance to one’s skin. 

For men, used as an after-shave, Oriza Aciduliné will calm razor irritation, while softening and toning the skin.

As a vaporizer, released in rooms around the house. it cleans, purifies and perfumes pleasantly.

Currently my favorite in the Oriza fragrance line – Chypre Mousse. Photo taken in my garden

[Laurent]  To conclude, what is the direction you want to give to Oriza L. Legrand from now? Do you have any plans for a worldwide distribution or even the opening of some flagship stores outside France?

[Hugo]  We have recorded more than 300 perfumes in the history of Oriza. Our current focus is on selecting the next perfumes we want to revive. It was important for us to relaunch the formulas of the perfumes we had in our archives and to present a complete range of 18 different perfumes, to begin with.

Our next fragrance, “Gentry Jockey Club-1937“, will be launched in May 2017.  Imagine a festive day at the racetrack: hats and ribbons catching the wind, the “beau monde” watching the spirited horses that will lead them to victory… The air is vibrant with the scent of horse leather trampling the hot sand and the pleasant aroma of blond tobaccos.

Jockey Club, the perfume of victors!”

Our plans for worldwide distribution is to open our own stores… First of all a new one in Paris and then maybe London or New York… We are otherwise always searching for more archives, old perfumes and lots of anecdotes and stories about Oriza L. Legrand. It’s amazing us every day and we learn new information regularly. But we try to keep top-secret what we are going to develop …

Oriza L. Legrand perfumes are treasures coming straight from the golden years of the early Twentieth Century.

[Laurent]  Thank you so much for your time, Hugo. It was a great pleasure to get inspired from Oriza L. Legrand. I totally fell in love with your brand and the quality of your products. I wish that the readers of Scent & Flavor will also be excited to try your line very soon. We can only wish you another three-hundred years of success in fine perfumery.

I hope this interview of Hugo Lambert of Oriza has raised your interest in this wonderful House. Knowing the Japanese consumers’ search for excellence at all levels, the fact that I found their line of fragrances in Isetan Tokyo is for me a proof that the history and the beauty of the presentation, on the top of the quality of the juices, will make this brand great again.

See you next week, my friends!

Laurent

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