Photography: ©Gustavo Pellizzon
Sometimes, you come across a fragrance that you like and admire, but are also perfectly happy to live without – for me, Ombre Indigo by Olfactive Studio is one such fragrance.
A fairly unusual take on the well-trodden leather theme, Ombre Indigo sets a syrupy yet tart plum note against an intensely resinous background (benzoin and frankincense) and a rather butch leather note. The petitgrain opening is so sharply green it almost comes off as mentholated, and lends an attractive cold air vibe to the first half hour. The startlingly turquoise color of the liquid itself also adds to the impression of froideur.
But it’s the plum note that really dominates the front end of this fragrance. It smells a bit unnatural, a bit removed from the original fruit, in that way that cherry juice smells more like the amped-up smell of cherry pits than the flesh itself, or the way purple grape juice smells more like the skin of the grape rather than the crisp, translucent insides. So, the plum note comes off as a bit syrupy sweet but also tart and tannic, as if the whole fruit has been boiled down into a fruit cordial or syrup, bearing merely a passing resemblance to the original flesh. The mixture of the high-pitched resins, plasticky fruit note, and butch leather almost conjures up a phantom accord of gasoline, making me think – briefly – of Knize Ten’s fuel-soaked leather note, which is also ushered into being by a juicy fruit opening (strawberry in the case of Knize Ten). It is an unusual and striking opening, and one that sustains interest well into a full wearing of Ombre Indigo.
As time wears on, Ombre Indigo’s resins, frankincense and benzoin, really come to the fore, making the fragrance feel increasingly high-pitched, woody, dry and a little bit powdery. In particular, the frankincense has a burned lemon peel aspect to it that keeps things rolling along in the high, thin-ish tone the fragrance first set out in. The fake plum note recedes a bit, and interestingly, a hidden tuberose begins to reveal itself in the dry down – not so much as a white floral note in and of itself but as a rubbery texture. The saffron-built leather note becomes increasingly sweet and rubbery, therefore, as the fragrance enters its final hours.
I like Ombre Indigo a lot, and think it’s an interesting take on the leather theme. But I wouldn’t buy a bottle of it, or if I did, I know that I wouldn’t find myself wearing it enough to justify the purchase. Funnily enough, the very things that I think make this a striking fragrance – the plasticky, fuel-like plum/grape note, the high-pitched resins, the rubbery (p)leather note – would probably prove to be deal breakers for me when it comes to long-term wear and enjoyment of Ombre Indigo.
In a way, the bright blue color of the juice in the bottle foretells of the perfume’s overall grab towards artistic and deliberate artificiality – it is blue in the way that the raspberry syrup at the Slushee Bar is always (for some reason) bright blue. It’s a deliberate artistic choice by the perfume makers, and I respect that. But I think that the artificiality of some of the notes would begin to grate on me after a while, and the high-pitched, resinous feel to the amber and leather would tire my nose out. Therefore, I will just have to be content to admire Ombre Indigo from afar, and in a muted fashion. But I can perfectly understand why Ombre Indigo might be someone else’s Holy Grail fruit leather – it makes a big statement. It is also, for a niche fragrance, quite nicely priced. Recommended!