The First Days Of Spring – Review: Olfactive Studio Flash Back

Olfactive Studio released a new – their fifth – perfume this spring and while I’m sure it works well year-round, it feels ideally suited for the season.

Flash Back is paired with a photograph by Laurent Segretier. For the other four perfumes I could see or rather smell the connection between photo and perfume very clearly, here I was a bit at a loss as to how and why to two were connected. I blamed my woefully underdeveloped artistic side. Anyway, the lack of insight into the visual did not detract me from enjoying the scent.

flashback bottleFlash Back was created by Olivier Cresp and includes notes of rhubarb, grapefruit, orange, pink pepper, Granny Smith apple, vetiver, cedar, amber and musks.

Flash Back opens with a flash (pun intended) of tart green rhubarb surrounded by citrus notes and a leafy green aspect. It is refreshing, it wakes me up and it invariably makes me smile. There is something so carefree and uplifting about that note. It reminds me of childhood days in my Grandmother’s garden, crawling though the bushes, gathering rhubarb to be made into dessert later (having a Christopher Brosius moment here, only sans tomatoes 😉 ).

The perfume becomes warmer over time, the freshly picked rhubarb is made into a compote, with a little apple and some sugar added, served in a wooden bowl.

Before you think Flash Back is too edible – it is not. I wouldn’t even call it a gourmand scent, but it is undoubtedly delicious.

The main idea – green, no GREEN – is evident throughout the perfume’s lifetime on my skin, which is very good. I get at least eight hours of weartime and while the perfume mellows over time after the sharpish green start, it keeps on emanating its fresh, green theme that is kept alive by a wonderful vetiver note (20% Haitian vetiver went into the formula) and the cool wooden clarity of cedar.

I was thinking about perfumes to compare Flash Back to, and I only come up with Guerlain’s Un Ville, Un Parfum London for it’s rhubarb note (this is a sweeter, warmer version though) and Hermès Rose Ikebana, that also plays with a tart rhubarb opening to highlight a fresh and airy rose.

I mentioned my Grandmother’s garden above, and this is actually not the only flash back Flash Back provided me over the week that I have tested it. Slowly but surely I began to realise how appropriate its name is. Thinking about it, the pixellated woman in the photo is actually a very good representation of something or someone you remember. It is never a clear picture, never a complete one that your mind provides, it is distorted, subjective, incomplete and blurry. But the essence of the memory, the emotion, is always very clear, sometimes harsh, sometimes tender, but always clear.

I am no longer confused about the connection between the two works of art.

Sometimes all it takes is a deep breath to bring back the things or the people we have feared were long gone.

flashbackMore Olfactive Studio reviews: Autoportrait :: Still Life :: Chambre Noire :: Lumière Blanche

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50 Responses to The First Days Of Spring – Review: Olfactive Studio Flash Back

  1. Wow..I can actually smell the fragrance through out the post!!

  2. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Sounds very much like made for LJG !!! (Available for sniffing in Vienna somewhere ?)

  3. Jordan River says:

    Can’t wait. Remarkable output coming from this house. I spent an entire month with Autoportrait and I would love to have a Flashback month.

  4. Vanessa says:

    I get a very clear idea of this perfume from your review – not fuzzy or pixellated at all, but pin sharp! : – ) – and think this may be a tad too tart for me, as both Rose Ikebana and London were.

  5. andreawilko says:

    Yay it is so nice to read a review from you.
    I have tried all the previous olfactive studios perfumes and think they are very well done although I have not sprung for a bottle yet. Maybe this one could be the one.

  6. brie says:

    agreed with Psp….(won’t even attempt to type the full name at 5 in the morning :)) I can smell it right now!
    I love rhubarb…it was prevalent in the limited edition Burberry Britt Red which I adored…
    I have heard so many great things about this line….as I said before I really need to purchase some samples!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Glad you enjoyed the review too, Brie.

      (Nosy aside: when do you sleep? I need my eight hours or I get grumpy.) (Addendum to the aside: I never get those eight hours. 😉 )

    • brie says:

      Sleep? What’s that? I lost that luxury when I was pregnant with Britt many years ago :)!!
      All kidding aside I am exhausted when I come home from work every day so unless I have an evening event for the kids I am usually passed out by 7 or 8 pm. Sometime around 4am is when my body naturally awakens- so there is my eight hours of sleep!

  7. poodle says:

    I love rhubarb so I wonder if this would be a love for me too. I have yet to try any of the Olfactive Studio perfumes but this and Lumiere Blanche are on my list.

  8. Civava says:

    I have to try this on skin. On a blotter I didn’t get any special impression at all. I don’t even remember how it smelled like. Horrible.

  9. lucasai says:

    I haven’t tried it yet but I intend to do so as soon as it’ll be possible for me. I just want to try it, no matter how short-lived the other OS fragrances were on me.

  10. Dionne says:

    I’ve enjoyed this line so much that I made a rare unsniffed purchase of 10ml of Flashback, and now I’m even more excited to try it. My most rhubarb-ish fragrance is Pulp, but this sounds more tart than that. Great review, Birgit. 🙂

  11. Tatiana says:

    How does this one compare to Aedes de Venustas Eau de Parfum? The AdV opens with a tart explosion (no burst here) of rhubarb. I couldn’t get over that sharpness on blotter, so I never tried it on skin. Not sure I could stand eight hours of it. Ah well, I love my Chambre Noire. Thanks for the evocative review.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Aedes de Venustas is more masculine to my mind, less sweet, less rounded, but more angular and stark. I liked it but I wouldn’t wear it and I can only tolerate it for a while before it starts getting on my nerves. AdV is a sugar-free (and rather fun-free) version of rhubarb. 😉

  12. I love OS’s fragrances and very much look forward to smelling this one. Speaking of rhubarb, have you tried Jul et Mad’s Terrasse à St. Germain? I’m sure you have but my congested sinuses are interfering with my ability to remember! In any case, that is my favorite rhubarb fragrance so far.

  13. hajusuuri says:

    I agree this is absolutely perfect for spring! I was at the launch party for the U.S. debut of the 5 perfumes held on April 2nd at an art gallery in New York City. The image that was paired with Flash Back was not a photograph but a slowly pulsating highly-pixilated video.

    Before the venue got too crowded, I had a conversation with one of the sales reps and he said that these perfumes can be layered although he did not share which combinations worked best for him. Alas there were no samples for the taking nor for sale, so I brought home 4 cards I sprayed with perfume. It is now 3 days later and I can still smell the perfumes AND since I kept the cards together, the resulting mix smelled great!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh lucky you, the launch looked like a lot of fun and Céline seems to be a very nice person.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the perfumes and good to hear they seem to harmonize with each other too.

  14. Undina says:

    I still haven’t tried any perfumes from this line but I’ll get there eventually. I think I rather do not like rhubarb but I have at least a couple perfumes with this note (including RoseIkebana mentioned by you) and Ilike them. So anything might happen.

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