Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Jitterbug perfume oil from Opus Oils: fragrance review

"Plants that wake when others sleep. Timid jasmine buds that keep their fragrance to themselves all day, but when the sunlight dies away let the delicious secret out to every breeze that roams about." It is in those enraptured words that Thomas More spoke of jasmine, the king of flowers, the narcotic essence emitted under the cloak of night seizing the senses and the imagination. For me it is the blossom of utter surrender, the very essence of feminity. It was not accidental that I devoted the Jasmine Series to an in-depth appreciation of this small white flower. Jasmine is the memory of summer evenings in the Mediterranean under a lush trellis, its sweetly intense, heady aroma putting a spell on me, filling the air with longing and the deep yet melancholic satiation that comes from realising that this is our one and only life and there won't be another...

We had announced the opening of Jitterbug Perfume Parlours by Opus Oils some time ago and it has indeed opened its doors a few days ago. Their Signature Fragrance is "Jitterbug" and if you are even marginally interested in jasmine, it is a must-try. At first I was rather sceptical: could an oil blend really capture jasmine the way I know it from the quality essential oils I collect and alternatively the jasmine fragrances I adore such as the indolic A la Nuit, the purple-hued Sarrasins with its civet whiff, the individual, spicy Jasmin de Nuit or the Venus flytrap that circulates under the name Jasmin Full by Montale? Yet, Jitterbug, without being as animalic as the above, weaves its own sweet web of seduction.
Lush, full-bodied, with the sweet interlay of what reminds me of exotic ylang ylang and a round sweetish finish of the gingerbread goodness of sandalwood, it is predomintantly about the king of flowers: jasmine in its heady glory.

"Jitterbug" the name can be used as a noun to refer to a swing dancer or various types of swing dances but also as a verb to refer to a dancer of swing. It comes from an early 20th-century slang term used to describe alcoholics who suffered from the "jitters". Cab Calloway's 1935 lyrics to “Call of the Jitter Bug” clearly demonstrate the association between the word jitterbug and the consumption of alcohol.
Kedra Hart, the perfumer responsible for the Opus Oils fragrances, must have been inspired by concepts of euphoric consumption of heady liquor that puts your mind in a spin and excites passions, but also of the novel by Tim Robbins Jitterbug Perfume in which jasmine plays an essential part in the creation of a perfume fit for the bucolic (and animalistic goat-shaped) Greek god Pan. Whatever it was, it made for a successful fragrance.

Jitterbug perfume, a rejoice for jasmine lovers, includes notes of jasmine, honeysuckle, lemon essence, orange blossom, beach found ambergris, blond tobacco and sandalwood.
The sample I got was in oil form (essences mixed in fractionated coconut oil) which lasts rather well and has average projection ~certainly better than most oils. It also doesn't stain which is a plus. Although I am not generally an oils type (I prefer the refreshing "swoosh" of a sprayer) oil lovers should definitely give it a try! It also comes as an Eau de Parfum spray which is tempting me as we speak for autumn and winter days when I want to recapture that summer evenings feeling.
Jitterbug is available online at (click the picture under the "new release Jitterbug" on the home page), or at Opus Oils’ Jitterbug Perfume Parlour located at 4959 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90027.
The signature fragrance retails for $30 - $120 & comes in various sizes: 1 Dram airport travel size roll-on, 0.5oz/15ml roll-on, 1oz/30ml & 2oz/60ml Eau de Parfum sprays, 3.3oz Bath & Body Oil, 6.7oz Body Lotion, 8.5oz Dead Sea Bath Salts & 8.5oz Body Butter.

Just because I was so pleasantly surprised by Jitterbug, I plan to review some of the other naughtily-named lines (Burlesque, Fetish, Absinthe) of fragrances by Opus Oils very soon!

Clip of Nina Simore singing Screaming Jay Hawking's hit "I put a spell on you" originally uploaded by Jamyginga on Youtube. There is also an interesting (and totally different) interpretation by Marilyn Manson too: click here to listen!
Pic of Eva Green courtesy of Makeherup.


  1. I am so looking forward to receiving my sample of this!I've recently become obsessed by jasmine and now I need to go back and read your linked jasmine series!

  2. Gail,
    thanks for stoping by and commenting :-)
    It's a very pleasant fragrance, I was taken by surprise!
    Hope you find interesting things in the Jasmine Series (things appear in reverse from top to bottom, but you might read in any order really).

  3. Hi, E. I'm obsessed with jasmine, too (as you might have guessed). I'll have to check this out. Thanks for reviewing it.

  4. Anonymous15:40

    Hi E!

    Great timing for your Jitterbug blog entry.

    I ordered the oil the other day after reading about this line in the Sniffapalooza ezine.

    Since I am a jasmine junkie, I couldn't pass it up.

    Thanks for your review.


  5. Hello Helg, this is my first comment on your wonderful blog. I went to the opening day at Jitterbug in Hollywood, and was very intrigued by a few of her scents -- Starlet, Voodoo and Toro, as well as a special one called Rouge Beauty with very interesting notes. I just tested the Jitterbug I have here (not yours Gail, it's in the mail!) on your advice, as jasmine is usually not for me, and I find that the oil base plus perhaps non-animilic notes make it much more wearable for me than other jasmines! I'm glad you got to try a small local house wherever you are, I know it's far far away from LA!

  6. J,

    it's very wearable, give it a go!

  7. Dawn,

    but of course! I should know you would have ordered a sample :-)
    It's quite nice, I would be very interested in your take on it!

  8. QWendy,

    awww, you're very sweet! I am very pleased you decided to comment, thank you.
    Jitterbug as you say doesn't have the animalic aspects of the other die-hard jasmines, but it smells quite true and very pleasing (I was surprised!).
    I am now going to rummage through my sample drawers to see which ones of them I have and see if they're some of those you mention and report back with my impressions (the names are FUN! btw, I think Starlet is a whole line? have to check!)

  9. Starlet is interestingly "all natural," and smells a bit like an old Hollywood movie to me, like Gilda perhaps (who I mentioned wanting to smell like in my latest post coincidentally!). It's part of the Burlesque line, and I'll get the interesting notes of the New Orleans Rouge Beauty scent, you might be intrigued too......

  10. Oh, thank you very much for all the info and the wonderful impressions. Rouge Beauty sounds intriguing, especially if tied to New Orleans ;-)

  11. Jasmine has led to my present perfume madness. Last March as we were remodeling our bathroom and putting in a beautiful soaking tub with a tiled deck, I began to look for items to make the room feel like the spa it was becoming.

    I ordered an Archipelago Botanical Savannah candle and when I opened the box the room began to swirl, and I was time tunneled back to my youth in South Florida and I was overcome by the memory of the only thing I truly liked about living there, the scent of night blooming jasmine.

    Wow! If they can make a candle that smells like that I have to see in what other forms I might obtain it. So my journey to recapture this fragrance that lifts my very soul began. And it has been a lot of fun discovering today's world of scent online. Finding blogs like perfumeshrine and places like MUA and the people who inhabit them all on the same 'hunt' for their special scents :)

    So of course after reading about jitterbug I HAD to get some! You ought to mention that a sample can be had from Opus for a mere $2 and that includes shipping! Guess what is even now winging its way to me? :)

    I've had a terrible time finding a great jasmine fragrance that doesn't disappear on me in minutes and I'm hoping that the oil base may be the missing link for me.

    I'll let you know when it arrives.

  12. Beautifully written... I have a jasmine vine right outside my bedroom window and the scent is divine and lulls me to sleep. I must try this one!

  13. Hi Helg,
    Here's my message from Kedra with some of the notes of Rouge Beauty: "to name a few: Sweet Orange, Pink Lotus, Stargazer Lili, Honeysuckle, Choya Loban (that's what gives it that great Smokey edge), Labdanum & Cocoa...

    It's the Choya Loban that gives this scent a quality I've never smelled before, which is apparently Benzoin distilled using clay vessels which give it a smoky resinous character.

    Let me know if you want a sample!

  14. Hi Wendy!
    Sounds intriguing! (I have heard of Choya Nak which is sea shells tincture, but not this: very interesting!)
    Yes, I think I would, thank you very much for your kind offer. Please mail me so I can send you a reply! :-)
    (and let me know what you're interested in return)

  15. FG,

    thank you for recounting your experience. Isn't jasmine completely hypnotising? It makes us crave it.
    Thanks for including the sample info too, I forgot to post it, thanks!

  16. DC,

    thank you for your compliment :-)
    Jasmine vine under the bedroom window of all things is heaven!

  17. I received my Jitterbug sample, very quickly I might add, and it is truly a beautiful jasmine. Lightly indolic and with a lot of depth in the scent.

    Definitely a keeper.

  18. Now isn't that just great!! Couldn't be happier :-))

  19. in the book by Tom Robbins , the secret ingredient the protagonist is looking for is beetroot powder . The bad guys will kill her in order to find out .( She wins )
    I just don't see how they can call it Jitterbug without that !! LOL!!

  20. WBC,

    welcome! You're of course right! LOL And I'm overjoyed to see fellow fans of the book (wasn't it fun?)
    My understanding is that the beetroot remains elusive as ever (contrary to jasmine of which she also makes experiments), so this might account for why.
    But don't let me make assumptions on their part! :-)


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