Ormonde Jayne

I've been wanting to sample Ormonde Jayne scents for a while, but acquired some samples with no small degree of trepidation: I am hoping I don't like them, in fact, since you have to order them from the UK and the exchange rate is not exactly favorable right now. The first one I'm testing is Sampaquita. OJ's website describes this one as having a "dusky floral heart" and I find that incredibly apt. Disappointingly, I don't detect any of the lush floral notes that are purported to be in this fragrance. And it's totally linear on my skin. I smell rose, musk, and earthy vetiver (not the crisp green kind). Perhaps a tiny hint of lychee appears on the top notes, but quickly disappears. I've never smelled a real sampaquita flower, but I'm pretty confident I'm not smelling one in this fragrance. In short, I am not impressed. Is it cheap smelling or obnoxious? No. Is it as amazing as Ormonde Jayne is purported to be? No. And I also hate rose, with very few exceptions. Here are the official notes, much good may they do you, as I find them quite elusive here: Lychee, grass oil, bergamot and magnolia, Sampaquita absolute, freesia, muguet, rose and water lilies, Musk, vetiver, moss and ambrette seed.
Like all OJ fragrances, you can obtain Sampaquita from the manufacturer's website: //www.ormondejayne.com/perfume-shop.php

It defies all common sense, and the listed notes, but Ormonde Jayne's Champaca smells exactly like Gucci II eau de parfum to my nose. Champaca's official notes are neroli, pink pepper, bamboo, champaca, freesia, basmati, myrrh, green tea, and musk. Why, then, does it smell like the mandarin, blackberry, jasmine, violet, and cedarwood in Gucci II edp? Well, ok—I can see a few similarities. They both have notes that would lend themselves to a sweet-tart fruity opening, although I don't get the pink pepper in Champaca at ALL. I think if it were more apparent it would help elevate the scent above Gucci II's pleasant but not especially original vibe. They both also have notes that ground them in resinous woods. The cedar in Gucci II is obvious and nicely balances the fruit. Champaca smells like it has cedar in it, but now I realize it's probably the combination of green tea, myrrh, and bamboo giving that effect. I'm enjoying wearing Champaca and the lasting power appears to be very good (although it probably wasn't the best choice for a hot day). The trouble is, I find myself rather aghast at the thought of paying Ormonde Jayne prices and a transatlantic passage for something that smells nearly exactly like a widely accessible (and discounted) fragrance I already own.

Ormonde Jayne's Osmanthus eau de parfum starts out as a good osmanthus perfume should: it's faint, it stays close to the skin, it floats around you in a soft waft of floral apricot goodness. In other words, it had me at hello. Unfortunately, after 10 minutes or so, other notes made themselves known and made me want to say an abrupt goodbye. The problem is the water lily. It has that awful aquatic vibe that turns sour and scratchy. Neither the jasmine nor the labdanum nor the pomello, davana, musk, cedar nor vetiver can save it. I'm sad to say that after testing three OJ fragrances, I remain unimpressed.

Oh….my. Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir has converted me to the OJ cult. Of all the OJ fragrances I've sampled thus far, this is the ONLY one I could envision paying OJ prices for. It is an iris scent, which helps it along in my book quite a bit, seeing as I have a love affair with iris scents. It is remarkably similar to Parfumerie Generale's Iris Taizo, another rich, woodsy iris. This, however, is something you could wear everyday. It is Iris Taizo's softer, quieter twin. There is a dustiness to it that is strangely appealing, and the iris is neither metallic nor vegetal. It is what an iris fragrance really should be. The incense is apparent, but restrained, and the surprising addition of jasmine is surprisingly well blended and not at all out of sync with the scent's subdued personality. The only zesty element is the pink pepper in the top notes, which offer a quiet little kick in the nose, as if to say, "hello! I'm here!" Official notes are: davana, pink pepper, coriander seed, cardamom, bergamot, iris, jasmine sambac absolute, pimento berries, bay, saffron, incense, myrrh, patchouli, cedar and gaiac wood.

Many of us in the perfume world have been dying of anticipation for Ormonde Jayne's Tiare release. I count myself very lucky to have been sent a sample from the brand (full disclosure in case you think it might have biased my review) and rabidly sprayed it on my wrist as soon as I received the package this evening. I think it's certainly an interesting spritz and worth the wait.

My first impression is that this fragrance may have been misnamed. For while there is certainly a beautiful tiare note through the top and middle notes, it is accompanied throughout by more than a splash of lime. The lime is sweetened with mandarin in the top notes and ever so slightly tempered by the floral heart of the fragrance, but in the drydown it becomes a bit of a monster. I must say that I generally don't care for lime in perfume but that this one is very well done overall. It's just that when the scent dries down and a soapy musk and greenish vetiver emerge to pair with the lime, it feels a bit too astringent overall. I was looking for something lush and tropical from a perfume named Tiare. What I'm actually sniffing, however, is more of green citrus. Some may find it very refreshing.

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