Once you get into perfume, there seem to be some scents that are almost universally respected even if not everyone would wear them. Shalimar. No 5. Jicky. Joy. Often referred to as 'classics' or icons,' these scents don't even need house names attached. There will only every be one scent by that singular name that matters. Most of these scents will play hell with newbie perfumistas because they are almost uniformly difficult to discern...and also, if I'm honest, difficult to like. So frequently they smell like nothing else you've smelled before, and that makes them either instantly lovable or loathsome, sometimes in equal measure. Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman is one of those scents.
Every review I've seen has been in praise of it, even if the person reviewing it admits it's not a scent they could imagine wearing themselves. Tania describes it in Perfumes: The Guide as "the haunting, outdoors witchiness of tall pines leaning into the night -- a bitter oakmoss inkiness, a dry cedar crackle, and a low, delicious, leading sweet amber, like the call of a faraway candy house." Other reviewers describe it as follows a "modern chypre;" "ivy, cedar, pine;" "meaty earthy greenness - black hemlock;" "warm woodsy violet;" and "sandalwood, cedary, spicy, truffles." That's a lot of different thoughts about a single scent. It's also a lot to take in in preparation for smelling something that is supposed to be wonderful. As a newbie, part of you just prays you won't be repulsed by it, in the same way -- despite everything we say about loving the scents you love regardless of what other think of them -- that you don't discover that GAP So Pink! is your favorite scent EVVVVVAH.
Ormonde Woman was created in 2002 by Linda Pilkington. The Ormonde Jayne website describes Ormonde Woman as follows:
Beginning and ending with the unique scent of Black Hemlock absolute - rarely used in such luscious quality and quantity - this utterly hypnotic, unconventional and mysterious woody essence is combined with jasmine and violet absolute to create a dusky, seductive perfume.Immediately it's very sweet, then a few minutes in it turns spicy. Lots of cardamom and coriander, which for me meant lots of weird sneezing. Despite me know that it was those to notes taking over the scent was very salt and pepper-y. I also get some amber in there. Over time it gets sweeter like powder but without getting powdery, which is a pretty wonderful smell.
Notes: Cardamom, Coriander, Grass Oil, Black hemlock, Violet and Jasmine Absolute, Vetiver, Cedar Wood, Amber and Sandalwood
And remember a few weeks ago when I went all gaga for Bvlgari BLV Pour Homme? Remember how I talked about how it was really unique and like nothing I'd smelled before? It's the male first cousin of Ormonde Woman. I'd be really interested in trying Ormonde Man next to the Bvlgari; I suspect the Bvlgari might be a knock-off. If it's not, though, then Bvlgari has made a pretty great tribute to Ormonde Woman in the form of a masculine. If anyone has tried Ormonde Man, I'd love to hear what you think.
It's nice to have tried this well-respected scent and make my own impressions. Personally, I don't get witch or violet; I do get meaty, earthy and woodsy. And I more or less enjoyed it, which is always nice when one takes on an iconic scent. After over two year writing this blog, I think I'm finally getting a broad enough scent palette to appreciate some of the more difficult scents. That pleases me so. It's nice to think that, like the language of love, I'm finally achieving some functional fluency in the language of scent.
Ormonde Woman is available in a parfum (50ml for £180.00) and an EdP (50ml for £68.00), as well as a hydrating bath shower creme, essential bathing oil, replenishing body lotion, and scented candle. You can also get gift sets of the scent in various forms, and it is included in a "Discovery Set" that contains One sample of each fragrance in a 2ml mini spray for only £35.00 (shipping included) and allows you to sample the entire line. If you're feeling EXTRA fancy, you can get a bottle of the parfum that comes with an engraved cap.
"You gotta spend some time, Love.
You gotta spend some time with me.
And I know that you'll find, Love,
I will possess your heart."
- "I Will Possess Your Heart," Death Cab for Cutie
(You can listen to the song here)
Want more reviews? Try...
~ a review from The Left Coast Nose
~ a review from Robin at Now Smell This!
~ a review from Perfume-Smellin' Things
~ a review from For the Love of Perfume
~ a review from Scents & Sensibility
~ a review from Bois de Jasmin
~ a review from Confessions of a Perfume Nerd
~ a review from Perfume Shrine
~ a review from Perfume Queen
~ a review from Pere de Pierre
~ a review from Signature Scent
~ a review from Octavian from 1000 Fragrances
~ a review from One Thousands Scents
~ a review from Eiderdown Press