Dyptique : Olène



Created by : Serge Kalouguine

Date : 1988

Genre : Jasmine soliflore

Concentration : eau de toilette

I love indole… that is, I love what indole does to white florals.  For me, it gives white florals that poisonous, decadent edge.  It’s like adding a steroid to perfume and for jasmine soliflores, when properly done, it can light up the GALAXY!

Indole occurs naturally in human feces and, supposedly, dead people emit it.  I wouldn’t know.  Contrary to popular belief, us librarians don’t hang around dead people all that much.  But when a perfumer adds just the right amount of indole to a jasmine soliflore, particularly, it gives the perfume a third dimension.  With all the talk of feces and dead people. strangely, the jasmine note comes alive.

Now… I’ve read perfume reviews of Olène claiming that it is so heady that it can suck the oxygen out of an elevator… and if you don’t go lightly, people around you will hate you.  I don’t believe that.  Granted, the first 20 minutes are a little shrill but when Olène morphs into its true character, it’s beyond pretty.  For me, Olène is an interpreted jasmine just like Edmond Roudnitska’s Diorissimo is an interpreted lily of the valley.  Both are better than the actual flower that inspired their creation.  Although Serge Lutens’ ultra-synthetic À la nuit may be a truer jasmine soliflore, I find it difficult to wear and therefore, Olène the better of the two.

I could list the floral notes but it wouldn’t tell you much… narcissus, honeysuckle, wisteria.  See?  Suffice it to say that Olène is the most wearable, prettiest jasmine-centric white-floral bouquet I’ve ever tried.  On a woman, it would be delicious… on a man, it would turn heads.  It doesn’t surprise me in the least the men in India wear jasmine perfume.

While writing this post the understated, tasteful and simplified Ziegfield production of A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody came to mind.


Leave a comment


  1. Tara

     /  June 13, 2013

    I like Olène and don’t find it terribly indolic. My bottle is not accessible right now so I can’t resniff it while commenting, but I don’t ever recall being incommodée by the smell of it.

    • Hi!

      I wouldn’t say terribly indolic… but nicely indolic. Personally, I love it but some reviewers weren’t impressed. Thanks for the comment!


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