A pleasant and surprising side effect of my third trimester of pregnancy is an embracing love of scents I normally would not like. I tried Ormonde Jayne Woman years ago, due to the generosity of a friend who owned it, and quickly dismissed it as "not me" moving on to explore other scents from the London Perfumery. How exciting that as I have fully experienced all ten scents from the lovely house in the last month (thank you Samantha and Sarah!), I have fallen completely for the one scent I thought I never would. It even qualifies as an amber scent with a resonating amber base note so I am keeping my promise to review amber fragrances this month.
Before I describe the fragrance, I must reference the philosophy of the house that created it. Ormonde Jayne's creator, Linda Pilkington, opened her doors on November 30, 2002 in London's old Bond Street after a lifelong love affair with scent. In creating the house, her goal was to "combine elements which [she considers] define true elegance: The quality of English craftsmanship, the art of French perfumery and the sensuality and natural harmony of the Orient." In addition to this brilliant philosophy Ormonde Jayne uses only the finest quality oils and essences, sought throughout the world, in their perfumes, candles, bath oils and body treatments. This truly is a luxury fragrance line and I long for the day I can shop in the store.
Ormonde Woman is a stately fragrance, exceptionally unique, unexpectedly warm and woodsy ... and seductively violet. Its development is textbook marked by a definite personality to each stage. A seductive and warm scent, I am charmed by its curious and exceptional foundation: Black Hemlock absolute. In researching this note, I am surprised to find it is simply an evergreen tree indigenous to the western United States, with "wood much harder than Canadian hemlock." Well, that puts it into perspective. Not really. I know nothing about evergreens other than how their scent mesmerizes me during the holiday season. Using this rare note speaks volumes for the originality of its creator.
With a spicy and green opening that lasts several minutes, the senses are awakened and primed for a fragrant voyage. When I first tested, I wanted the opening to define the fragrance and to last forever. The combination of cardamom, coriander and grass oil was simply heavenly to my nose - unlike most any other scent I had experienced. However, in experiencing this exhilarating stage, I was not aware of the beautiful base to come that would enthrall me even more. The heart of the fragrance dances on the skin featuring that gorgeous hemlock and the introduction of violet with jasmine. Woodsy and slightly masculine describes this phase and it is not my favorite, but pleasing enough. The hemlock outshines the flowers making the heart more resinous than one would expect. It is the dark, mysterious yet delicately sweet base that truly sets this fragrance apart as a gorgeous creation. Here, the violet note truly shines! Yet this violet differs from the many violets that have come before, lacking the candied quality of Guerlain L'Heure Bleue and others like it. This is grown-up and sophisticated violet, deep mahogany in color and Lauren Becall in character. For those with a green thumb, this scent reminds me of the color of angelface dark violet. No nonsense and stately, the amber and sandalwood that surround this violet give it depth. And I am in love.
I highly recommend Ormonde Jayne's sample program. All eleven perfumes come housed in a velvet and satin pouch, with free shipping worldwide. Available online at www.ormondejayne.com.
Ormonde Woman is available as Perfume, 50 mL for £112.00 or Eau de Parfum, 50 mL for £58.00. Be sure to investigate bath products and home scents as well, all at www.ormondejayne.com.