Sniffer Report: Lisa Hoffman Madagascar Orchid

Lisa Hoffman has a doctorate degree in law, is married to actor Dustin Hoffman and is raising six kids. Somehow in all of this she managed to design and develop a luxury line of bath products, skincare and fragrances that have done nothing but garner praise and awards since being released in 2007. Two of her unique fragrances, Madagascar Orchid and Japanese Agarwood, were selected as finalists for the prestigious Fragrance of the Year Award 2009.

When a sample of Madagascar Orchid ($95) showed up on my doorstep, I couldn't wait to get sniffing! Each of Hoffman's fragrances come as a four piece set with variations on the core fragrance theme. The variations are intended for different times during the day: morning, daytime, evening, bedtime. They are all packaged in an elegant leather case with individual pockets and the whole thing comes in a classy embossed box. The entire package is exquisite.

But the presentation is only a small part of this beautiful, beautiful fragrance. As mentioned, the four variations can be used alone or layered throughout the day. As Hoffman describes,
The Morning Variant is light and refreshing, subtly scented so as not to overwhelm the morning nose. The Daytime Variant is rich and dimensional for when women are art their peak activity. The Evening Variant is deep and sensual to accompany a night out on the town or a romantic evening at home. And, the Bedtime Variant is gentle, powdery and softly subliminal when the nose is at rest."
In Madagascar Orchid, the flowery and powdery notes evoke the gentle sensuality of the orchid flower. With base notes of sheer jasmine, ylang dew, mimosa and pink peony, each variant builds on the next as the scents gently evolve, becoming richer and more complex as the day progresses. The morning variant is very soft, inoffensive and is the most powdery to my nose. The daytime variant features more pronounced floral notes. The evening version turns more sweetly sensual and adds a hint of spiciness. The bedtime version I happen to particularly enjoy because I love putting on a little perfume before bed. This one is especially suitable because it is mellow and comforting, recalling the entire olfactory journey of that day.

Each variant comes in an oily solution and is applied by a roller ball mechanism. The staying power is actually above average for me (I think my skin "eats" fragrance in some weird way) and remnants of the prior scent are still present when it is time to apply the next.

Overall, I am pretty much in love with Lisa Hoffman and Madagascar Orchid. I love the idea, the execution and the evolving fragrance itself. The whole thing is just incredibly sophisticated, chic and yet fun at the same time. I would not hesitate to try any of Hoffman's other scents. Although Madagascar Orchid and the others run a bit on the expensive side, it would make a truly elegant gift for someone this coming holiday season. Or for oneself during any season!



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