Monday, 17 September 2018

GENTRY JOCKEY CLUB by Oriza L. Legrand

When a new company is formed it gets to choose the style and direction that its customers will hopefully come to love. However, when a company is revived, regardless of how well known it may have been in recent years, there is an expectation that it will remain faithful to its history. One such company is Oriza L. Legrand, and the way that they have approached the reconstruction of their catalogue is refreshingly honest. With an impressive selection of archive fragrances, and also their first new release for over eighty years, it’s time to rediscover Oriza L. Legrand and, in particular, the fantastic 1937 Gentry Jockey Club.

Oriza was founded in 1720 by Fargeon Elder, but it truly entered the perfume industry under the ownership of Louis Legrand in 1858. During the remainder of the nineteenth century, Oriza L. Legrand as it was now known was well respected in the French perfume industry, which is shown by the continued importance placed on their 1914 fragrance Chypre Mousse. However, it fell into administration around 1930 after being heavily affected by the war. Jump forward to 2009 and it was a chance observation of the company’s name by Frank Belaiche that set him on a course to buy and eventually reopen the historic house.

When Frank Belaiche purchased the name of Oriza L. Legrand there were unfortunately no archives that came with it. They had been split up and sold when the original company was liquidated and so Frank set about tracking down as much material as he could find. Some formulas were located, rare perfume samples were found for analysis, and even period descriptions of the original fragrances. Add to this a wealth of imagery and advertising and you can see just how much detective work was carried out before the first fragrance was reissued in 2012.

In some instances the company took an advertising description as a source, placed it in an historical context with ingredients that were available or fashionable at the time, and even took inspiration from period reviews and imagery. Some of the scents simply don’t exist anymore as a sample or formula, so it is the company’s perfumers that truly deserve the credit. Using educated guesswork alongside the research, they have recreated modern interpretations that are still very firmly anchored in the time that they were originally created. They will never be described as “commercial” which is why niche lovers are in for a real treat.

Gentry Jockey Club is described as “a day at the racetrack” and it absolutely delivers. The fragrance opens with a refreshing burst of bergamot before a saffron and clove enriched rose literally gallops straight at you. The birch-heavy leather notes arrive next and are given an added darkness with a very strident patchouli and vetiver, before sandalwood and tonka bean provide a wonderfully traditional shaving cream smoothness to the scent. With a mix of waxed leather saddles, hot skin and unisex florals, Gentry Jockey Club really is “the perfume of victors” and I cannot recommend it enough.

Gentry Jockey Club is priced at 120€ for 100ml and a full list of stockists can be found on their website at orizaparfums.com

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