Fragrant oncidiums revisited
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  #21  
Old 11-23-2014, 07:18 PM
gngrhill gngrhill is offline
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I think I will have to wait for warmer weather now. Most places will not ship to the north east until it stays above freezing at night.
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  #22  
Old 11-28-2020, 03:57 PM
katsucats katsucats is offline
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I don't know what are the rules for bumping threads from 2014, but I've revisited this thread time and time again from the search engine while looking for fragrance information, and I feel like the other posts in this thread are still relevant.

My journey started when I picked up an Onc. Sharry Baby 'Sweet Fragrance' from Norman's. Like most others who have experienced it, I fell in love with its profuse chocolate candy bar scent. Perhaps unlike most others, being a bit of a nerd, I fell in love with the idea of novel fragrances in general, and thus my pursuit for what makes up the components of these fragrances. I have since bought the Onc. sotoanum (from Andy's), and just recently the Onc. anthocrene (from Tropical Orchid Farm) and Onc. leucochilum (from Ecuagenera), making up 3 of the 4 parents of the Sharry Baby.

Out of these, I've so far only experienced the blooms of the Onc. sotoanum, which began very disappointing but developed into a scent far more complex than the Sharry Baby, and is now among my favorite. Specifically, it started out with a blood, sweat, and make up smell that honestly smelled like, and I apologize for the imagery in advance, a woman's laundry after a sweaty day dancing at the clubs. I wasn't sure whether I liked this or not, but it gave me a funny mood throughout the day. In fact, there is a hybrid between Onc. sotoanum x fuscatum called Onc. Ruffles 'Scent of a Woman', and I can see exactly where that's coming from. After weeks, it developed into an intense powdery, a little bit nutty fragrance that carried further than the Phal. belina hybrid I have, and probably nearly as far as the Sharry Baby itself. It distinctly made up the musky nutty component of the 'chocolate' in the Sharry Baby.

My second report is the Burr. Nelly Isler 'Swiss Beauty', which I picked up at Norman's (I'm not sure it is what it is in terms of the clonal variety, to be honest). This one, I think sets up what I think is a trend here. Again, for a week or two, the Nelly Isler had no fragrance at all, which was very disappointing. I questioned it when Norman listed it as having no fragrance and even questioned them at the counter. But only after weeks did it develop a faint scent, at first of sweet brown sugar with a black pepper undertone, then into a more fruity scent, almost like mixed fruits from a can, or a sweeter bellina-type -- like the Phal. bellina, but with the citrus part toned down a bit, and the sweet part turned up, and add in a little spicy undertone that comes in and out. The fruity scent doesn't overpower like the Sharry Baby or the Onc. sotoanum does, it's gentle, but ever-present in the mornings, but almost completely fades by 1 after noon.

Now I can't wait to get and compare the rest, but I'd like to make some inferences based on my experiences and what I've read:
  • When people say that certain Oncidiums have no fragrance, they might just need to wait a couple of weeks.
  • I'm guessing that the blood part of the sotoanum and the camphor part of the cheirophorum may combine into 'cat pee' in the Onc. Twinkle, and that waiting a couple weeks might bring out its true fragrance.
  • I'm guessing, based on an earlier post here, that the Onc. maculatum imparts a honey scent to its offspring, since the Onc. Jungle Monarch (mentioned after after that post) is composed of the maculatum and Onc. Debutante.
  • There is a study that found that the intensity of a Sharry Baby is strongest above 70 degrees F, but the complexity increases as the temperature goes up toward 90. From what I've read and in some of my own experiences, it seems that Oncidiums like bright morning light, but maybe we should also experiment with turning on the heater in the morning to see whether there's an effect.
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  #23  
Old 11-28-2020, 04:57 PM
Ispahan48 Ispahan48 is offline
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Katsucats, thank you for posting your input to this thread! I love reading opinions of other fragrance junkies.

I too have always loved the scent of Oncidium Sharry Baby ‘Sweet Fragrance’. My nose detects pure milk chocolate and vanilla, and it develops a distinctly powerful, spicy, almost resinous quality in warm temperatures. It is this unusual resinous quality which I believe leads some people to think Sharry Baby is “overwhelming.” I love it, but my partner can’t stand it, saying smells like melted plastic and bathroom cleaner. Love it or hate it, it can definitely fill a room.

I am also a fan of Oncidium Heaven Scent. The clone ‘Redolence’ is like pure sweet vanilla with touches of gourmet cocoa powder. ‘Sweet Baby’ is like freshly baked, rich chocolate brownies with a splash of vanilla. Both are cleaner and sweeter fragrances than Sharry Baby. A lot of people think these plants are less strongly scented than Sharry Baby. When the plants are young, that might be true. But mature plants (and they grow very fast!) with multiple spikes can easily fill up a room during morning/early afternoon hours.

I have grown Oncidium Aka Baby ‘Raspberry Chocolate’ (or is it ‘Chocolate Raspberry’?) and HATED it. The blooms lasted an incredibly long time but it reeked of dark chocolate mixed with mothballs. Not very pleasant.

Oncidium Twinkle can be pleasant but it is not my favorite smell. On a good day it smells like a mix of vanilla and sandalwood with a hint of chocolate. On a bad day it does have an unfortunate cat pee quality.

Perhaps my nose is defective but I detected no fragrance whatsoever from my Oncidium Ruffles ‘Scent of a Woman’.

I once found a plant called Oncidium Kerfluffle which had a distinct fragrance of chocolate-covered cherries and anise. Sadly, I lost this plant.

I am in the camp that finds Oncidium sotoanum unpleasant. It smells like Fruity Pebbles cereal with an overtone of uncomfortably heavy, syrupy sweetness. However, because a lot of these plants might be seed grown, there is probably some variation in tone, character and quality of scent between clones.

A lot of people love it and swear by it, but I have never been able to detect much from Burr. Nelly Isler ‘Swiss Beauty’. At times I thought I perceived a mixture of lemon and body odor. But probably my nose is defective in this case.

Last edited by Ispahan48; 11-28-2020 at 05:03 PM..
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  #24  
Old 11-28-2020, 06:50 PM
katsucats katsucats is offline
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Ispahan48, thank you for the observations. It'll be very helpful to compare when I get around to acquiring these plants in the future. I love it when people describe these scents in detail. Also, I think you're right that there is some natural variation.

What's interesting is that Heaven Scent and Aka Baby has 75% the same genetics, each being Sharry Baby crossed with another hybrid, where the other hybrid is 50% fuscatum. The other grandparent, for Heaven Scent is interestingly the sotoanum, which you found unpleasant, and for Aka Baby a rather complex hybrid containing 5 different species.

I could totally see your description of the sotoanum if the scent hits my nose slightly different. The intense powder smell I observed might as well be syrupy if my mind combined it with some of the nutty note, and conversely, if I imagine a nutty dominant note with a bit of that powdery sweetness, it could conceivably be some kind of cereal.

The Kerfluffle brings me to another species on the list of species I want, the Odontoglossum harryanum.

I'm not sure I'd say your nose is defective with regard to the Nelly Isler, or maybe mine is too. I went way out of my way to hunt one down because I see everyone here raving about how fragrant it is. It doesn't really live up to its reputation in my opinion. It's practically scentless for weeks, and then finally when it puts it out, it's unstable. I could only reliably detect it if I put it right next to a window in the morning, and even then while it wafts a good few meters, it's not very strong.

I think, if you haven't tried, putting it by an east-facing window would help.

Anyways, this is all very interesting. Thank you again for chiming in!
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  #25  
Old 11-28-2020, 10:14 PM
Diane56Victor Diane56Victor is offline
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I have an Aka Baby Raspberry Chocolate with 5 spikes, I hope mine smells better than dark chocolate with mothballs! Very happy to hear the blooms lasted for a long time, at least I have the option of putting it outside if the smell is not pleasant.

I'm growing a Odontocidium Cherry Fudge 'Carmela'. It hasnt flowered for me yet. It looks big enough, 4 pbulbs and a new growth. Information that was on the tag said it flowers in October, so probably not this year.

The Twinkles I have all seemed to have a light flower shop smell, but last year was their first blooming.

I also have a cross between Bratonia Sadie Lou x Miltonidium 'Christmas Tree' that had a slight peppery fragance when I was up close.
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  #26  
Old 11-29-2020, 08:41 PM
Diane56Victor Diane56Victor is offline
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Nearly forgot!
I also have an Oncidium Heaven Scent 'Rainbow' in spike so I should be able to say what that fragance is like soon.
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