Ormonde Jayne Tiare

Ormonde Jayne

I would include Ormonde Jayne on the short list of must-smells for any budding perfumista.  They’re interesting and different and often quite lovely.  You don’t run across them everywhere, so it can be a bit of a challenge, but they have one of the best sample deals going, in my opinion – 35 pounds for a sample pack of all their perfumes, here’s a link, the sample set’s at the bottom of the page.  I also like sniffing a new house that way, because then you can cross-reference and get a feel for their style.

I was a little late to the OJ party.  Ormonde Woman can take some getting used to, and several of the fragrances are pretty dense, although Ta’if is a saffron-rose that even I the rose-hater can get behind.   Any number of people are fans of the lighter/linear floral scents – Frangipani, Sampaquita, Osmanthus, and the ethereally lovely Champaca, with its notes of champaca flower, basmati rice and green tea, which is probably the one I’d ask for if a friend offered me anything I wanted from the line.   To my nose, the denser fragrances share an aesthetic, if not an actual base, that approaches an OJ signature.

The newest Ormonde Jayne, Tiare, has notes of mandarin, orange flower, Sicilian lime, Tiare (Tahitian gardenia), freesia, water lilies, jasmine, orris, ylang, cedar, vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli, moss and musk.

One of the fun things about perfumage is you can read the marketing materials and the notes and discover that – whammo! – whatever preconceived notions you had about the scent ate completely wrong.  This was one of those times.  I was expecting Tiare to fall in the lighter-floral-simpler (which is not to suggest uninteresting) camp of Frangipani, Osmanthus, etc., and indeed it’s grouped with them on the OJ website.  I also – sue me – was imagining some sort of tropical vibe, which I guess is a result of being subliminally influenced by the last 85 things that said “Tiare” on the label, which is somebody’s shorthand for “tanning oil.”

Tiare falls right between the heavier, rich OJs and the lighter ones.  But the most surprising aspect to me, which is there right from the top, is the mossy, musky base.  While Tiare develops along its own lines, it invokes scents like Estee Lauder Jasmine White Moss along the way.

In their marketing materials emphasis is made on the transition from the citrusy top to the tiare, so I was expecting the top notes, which are, indeed, quite citrusy.  Then we go through a slightly sweeter floral interlude that carries a faint echo of fruit for me, I’m not sure why – maybe it’s the citrusy top meeting up in that moment with the florals.  It’s not especially sweet, but there’s something a bit jarring about the transition, at least on my skin.  By the way (admitting ignorance here) I’m not sure whether Tahitian gardenia is supposed to smell like the gardenia we’re all familiar with, but you won’t find any of the ripeness/mushroomy/cheesy bits that some of us love in other gardenia frags.

It isn’t until well into the drydown that Tiare begins to take on some of an Ormonde Jayne feel.  As the citrus notes fade and the sandalwood, cedar and musk emerge, the entire pitch of the fragrance creeps in the direction of the woody-herbal astringency of Woman, although never becoming as deep or as strangely compelling as the latter.

While browsing other OJ reviews in contemplating this one, I ran across the following (in a review of Champaca), from Robin on Now Smell This:  “One of the things I adore about the Ormonde Jayne line, and Champaca is no exception, is that while the fragrances are composed of modern materials, the individual notes maintain an old-fashioned, pre-aldehydic kind of distinctness. These are perfumes for people who really like to smell things, and they don’t appear to have been influenced by modern test marketing practices.”

First off, I couldn’t agree with Robin’s sentiments more.  Which brings me in a roundabout way to my persistent, nagging, possibly completely unfair unhappiness with this fragrance.  This is the first time I have ever smelled an OJ and had it immediately remind me of something else – and not just a particular perfume(s) but an entire trend.  We’ve been cross-blog joking already that perfume houses must be bustin’ out their post-IFRA new chemistry-set faux-mosses now that oakmoss has been blacklisted.  Off the top of my head, Tiare is somewhat similar to the EL Jasmine White Moss, Miyake A Scent, and Cristalle/Eau Verte.  Okay, three perfumes is hardly a glut, and I’d rather have that than another gourmand, or fruitchouli.  But still.  OJs in the past have reminded me of nothing except what a freaking genius I think Linda Pilkington is.  I dug out some random samples to resniff while preparing this post.  While smelling Woman for the umpteenth time I am still struck by how compelling and original it is, and Ta’if is gorgeous and vibrant rather than cloying, as it might have been.

So … this one I am not entirely loving, although I think it’s beautifully done and the lasting power is excellent.  However, I am also not the queen of the mossy greens, and I’d certainly say that fans of Cristalle and the Estee would want to smell this.

  • I am late to the party but putting my 2 cents anyway.

    Tiare was an instant love for me, because exactly I like those green cool chypres. Perfectly unexpected in relation to the name of course, as you state and I wonder if this will contibute to the scent’s success/failure commercially (People work on preconceptions so often…) However from all the light green chypres I have tried in the last few months (Miyake, Chanel, Lauder) this one was the one which elicited spontaneous compliments and which smells “rounder”: the Miyake was too light, the Chanel too sour, the Lauder quite loud (except for the parfum). It mostly reminded me of Cristalle EDP. Now, if only it was named accordingly…

    • March says:

      I think you make a fair point here that I should have explored more in my post. Reconsidering … I certainly like it more than any of the other fragrances you (or I) name, with the exception of the original Cristalle EDT. However, Cristalle EDT doesn’t last very well on me, so Tiare would probably be a better choice. There are already comments from people on here who, like me, expected something more tropical — and I don’t think it would be an outrageous assumption if you’ve smelled her other florals.

  • Sharon2 says:

    Now I don’t know what to think. I assumed, by the name, that this would be tropical but obviously not. No matter, I have one of the 10 ml purse sprays winging its way to me as I type. If I don’t like it, it’ll serve me right for buying unsniffed!

    The only other OJ I’ve tried was Woman and my skin ate that up in record time. Too bad because I thought it smelled great when I first sprayed it.

    • March says:

      Hahaha, your skin ate Woman? People complain that Woman eats them… I’ll be curious as to your reaction. I would definitely not describe it as tropical.

      • Sharon2 says:

        Maybe I’m anosmic to something in Woman 😕 Or maybe I need to moisturize more! I definitely notice that fragrance doesn’t like to stick around on me when its cold out and my skin is dry.

  • Robin says:

    Very late (long crappy day) but chiming in to say my OJs, oddly enough, improved with age…they deepened & got smokier. Some of them (esp. Osmanthus) I liked much more after a year or two in the bottle. But obviously that doesn’t speak well for their stability.

    Tiare I did not love, and still figuring out why. In style it reminded me of Sampaquita, which I also did not love.

    • March says:

      That’s funny, I know nothing about perfume production, I wonder what the issue is? Sampaquita is not my favorite either, but mostly I found it very light and not especially interesting. Tiare … intially I think the issue was it was so different from what I expected based on the name. But I still think it could have been more unusual. That’s where my bar is set for the OJs.

  • Joe says:

    OK, I’m still very very late to the OJ party. I’ve smelled Orris Noir (didn’t do it for me but I need to sniff it again) and have a small decant of Isfarkand (it’s really nice, but nothing to make my toes curl). I do need to sample some of the rest, but in my head all those OJ white flower scents just kind of blur together and I haven’t “gotten around to” them.

    This sounds interesting. I really liked EL-JWM, and then liked Cristalle Eau Verte even better. ‘asbim’ is where the trend started to seem a little “screechy” to me. This may very well be nice, but it’s funny how there’s a pattern playing out in these recent launches. It’s a trend I don’t mind, but — being the manly man I am [/sarcasm] — I only need so many high-pitched Nouvelle-Mousse green florals.

  • dissed says:

    I purchased Champaca a few months after it became available. Have about 1/2″ in the bottom of the bottle, and it’s as good as ever — I wore it today. I’m on my third bottle of Ormonde Woman, and I’ve had Orris Noir for a couple of years. No problem with aging, not that the Woman has much of a chance to age around here. Thanks for the review, I’ll have to sample.

  • anna says:

    i love Champaca and Osmanthus, with Osmanthus being my big favorite- love the citrus perfumes.

  • March, I just have to say…. I fell asleep Saturday night, with Courtesan still on my arm, and still reeked of it the next morning, a good 10 hours later. I have never had that happen before. Hahahahaha.

    So good to see you <3

  • aubrey says:

    I am a HUGE fan of OJ frags– they are just pure art. I won a Ta’if Bath Oil which arrived last week, and let me tell you: that bath oil is the most luxuriously scented non-perfume item I’ve ever owned. I took a bath one night and the next morning I could smell the many notes of Ta’if on my skin (from the bath the night before). Simply amazing. I’ve applied it to skin and it makes a great perfume oil; it’s not as sparkly and sharp as the EdP, which is sort of nice– a second version of the perfume in a way.

    I also swapped for the 1/3ml remains of a Chamapaca sample and was blown away. The first two hours are thrilling, and the dry down is lovely, too.

    So what’s this about the EdPs turning? Is it only in the older ones? I am highly considering buying a bottle of Ta’if or Champaca during the sale, but this is a HUGE extravagance to me, and I worry about the loss. I really have to buy for a lifetime, since I can only afford 2 or 3 full bottles per year, max.

  • Melissa says:

    I’m in the “admire, but rarely wear” OJ camp. The (almost signature) base just doesn’t work for me, although I do happily wear OJ Woman occasionally for the quirky black hemlock note.

    Tiare seemed different, but my nose was pretty fatigued by the time I gave it a try. I did get a nice whiff of a tropical flower note-not exactly ripe cheese gardenia, but pretty and distinctive. Beyond that, it was all guesswork. Wicked Louise spritzed me with a dose of Dior Jules to the neck, so any moss notes that I could detect the rest of the evening wafted up from my cleavage. 😮

    • March says:

      Hahaha, yeah, Jules in the cleavage might tend to choke everything else out. But you smelled great, didn’t you? And I think we all reached nose fatigue at almost the same time.

  • Silviafunkly says:

    I am such a big OJ fan that I am surprised I haven’t made my way into the shop to try it yet. While I was reading your review there were few “yessss” and as many “nononono”, so have no clue if I’ll like Tiare or not.

    I find the biggest drawback with the OJs is the fact they don’t age well: of 4 FBs I own, 2 (Woman and Taif) have turned (admittedly after a few years). I don’t mean going vintage and losing the top notes, I mean a structural collapse into some sort of olfactive blob.8-x

    Having said this, lots of longevity in their beautiful bath oils which are a real treat.

    • March says:

      Now that’s disconcerting to hear about the OJs… I wonder if that’s a common complaint? I’ve never owned a bottle, so I wouldn’t know. That would really annoy me though.

      • I’ve found that the samples turn as well…
        In fact, when I emailed OJ to order Woman, I asked for the parfum and Linda wrote back saying that the parfum was from an older batch that she’d rather not sell me, and suggested the edp instead. This was four years ago, but clearly it’s an issue that she is aware of.

        • March says:

          Well, that doesn’t fill one with confidence, does it? Although it would hardly be the first bottle that turned … wonder what the issue is?

  • Christine L. says:

    Wow. When I read the title of today’s piece I said to my daughter, “Oh…I wouldn’t like this one. I don’t dig tropical fragrances.” After reading your review ,however, I can’t wait to buy a sample. I shouldn’t judge a fragrance by it’s cover. Thank you!

  • Frenchie says:

    I’ve been planning to order the sample pack for ages now. OJ normally gets very good reviews. Your post has encouraged me to actually go ad do it. Great review, thanks!

    • March says:

      Oh, I hope you like them! Honestly, I find them well worth smelling, and assuming there isn’t something in the base that drives you nuts, I’d be surprised if you didn’t like at least one of them.

  • Louise says:

    Interesting where following the Gremlins name takes you…John Hardy:-?

    I’m in the admire-but-can’t-wear OJ camp. The lighter scents are charming, and fleeting, and just not me. The heavier go wrong on me-I bought Tolu this summer, am turning it plastic, not balsam 🙁

    I so love smelling many of them on others :d/

    Happy Monday ~o)

    • March says:

      Spammed by John Hardy. Is that the tackiest thing ever? [-( They ought to be ashamed.

      Urgh, that plastic thing is so aggravating. What drives me nuts about it is it often doesn’t happen right away. So I’ll buy something, wear it a few times, and voila. Sounds like that happened to you?

      Happy Monday to you too, doll. The np was a HUGE hit btw.

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Although I admire Linda Pilkington and her work, her fragrances have never quite somehow been “me.” They’re always interesting to sniff, though.

    I am now frightened of this one if it is reminiscent of Cristalle. Maybe I will stop by the shop anyway this week. I am very fond of the Frangipani shower gel!

    Thank you for the review and have a good week.

    • March says:

      Lots of people love their gels, which I have never tried. And some of them are more me than others. I am wild for Champaca, as I said.

  • Ditto-ing Lee, and that gremlin’s native language must be Chinese…

    I had a huge love affair with Ormonde Woman about four years ago but find it a little difficult to wear nowadays. The thing to me about a lot of the OJs is that the Iso-E Super base tends to take over in the dry-down in most of them, which makes them feel a little bottom-heavy and sometimes hard to tell apart (except Tolu and Ta’if which don’t seem to share that base). Or maybe the decants/samples age badly? I’ll have to smell them again, fresh, when I’m in London.

    There’s definitely a trend towards Cristalle-type greens, isn’t there? I was kind of hoping Tiaré would be a quirky tropical (I can never smell too many quirky tropicals) though.

    • March says:

      I think bottom-heavy is an accurate assessment. Interesting, several people on here are complaining about the fragrances turning.

      I had the same reaction to the IDEA of Tiare — I’m not a huge fan, but I thought, well, whatever they do with it will be interesting for sure. To smell it and immediately think of those other scents was a bit of a letdown, no matter how nice it is.

  • Klara says:

    Great review, March! I hope I get to try the Tiare soon and see what I think of it.
    Ormonde Woman and Tiare are (currently) my favourite OJs. Based on the reviews of the Woman I didn’t think that I would like it as much (it just sounded so overwhelming) but I’m loving it. And now the OJ are having this 10% discount and I would really like both of them, but the Wallet thinks that I can wait.
    Oh, yesterday when I was unpacking there was this gorgeous smell coming from one of my cardigans-and it was Gold by La Prairie. But this one at 100€ is even more expensive than the OJs. Oh, what to do, what to do?

    • March says:

      I really think Woman is one of those scents that wears differently on different people. It can be smotheringly pervasive, and I thought it would be on me, but it’s not — although I apply with a fairly light hand.

      Oh, I love that sweater smell! I wonder if I’d like Gold better on my sweater than I did on mu skin. And I’d assume it would show up eventually at the discounters?

      • Klara says:

        I agree that Woman can probably be a little tricky for some.
        Regarding Gold: 100€ is of course way too expensive for a sweater fragrance (but it doesn’t mean that I won’t go to my perfume store every once in a while just to eyperience the day-after-omg-this-pullover-smells-wonderful!).
        Oh, and Carnal Flower is so long-lasting I can’t believe it. When I wear it everything smells tuberose-y afterwards. And that I love.

        • March says:

          Carnal Flower is just magnificent, isn’t it? Probably my favorite tuberose. And I don’t know about yours, but the Saks and Bergdorfs here were unusually generous with the La Prairie sample sprays, so you might be able to snag some that way.

          • Klara says:

            Yes, Carnal Flower is wonderful. Tuberose-wise I also like La chasse aux papillons, but the longevity… well, there is none. However, my mum loves it and it’s currently the only scent she uses. On the other side of the spectrum is Fracas, but that one can be too much too often. So, I guess the Carnal Flower manages to strike the perfect balance.
            Well, here where I live we do not have stores like Saks (and no, it’s not the Moon). And the SAs in the stores that carry LaPrairie scents are anything but friendly or generous.
            Also, there are no niche stores or boutiques here. Which can be both a pro and a con.

      • Musette says:

        I got samps of all 3 (for me and Mistress Shelley) from my baby girl at Bloomingdale’s – I love Silver best but can def see Gold as a sweater scent!

        btw – I had the weirdest experience with Mistress S – so we’re standing on the corner of Michigan and Ontario, yakking away, when suddenly I hear all this clip-clopping. I turn around, expecting to see horses….

        ….and find it’s nothing more than the normal! sound of men and women in hard-soled shoes (and lots of heels) crossing a paved street!

        Stick a straw in my teeth and call me Bessie! My world has been turned completely inside-out! How humiliatin’ Mistress S was kind enough not to laugh directly in my cornpone face, bless her heart..

        xo your >-) from Green Acres

  • Lee says:

    A computer gremlin has invaded our posts.

    I think it’s a good perfume that I can apply this for my body. I adore it, so considerately. Thanks.

    Actually, I ain’t sniffed it. Y’know, other than a couple of high end dept store fellas, I don’t think I’ve smelled anything new for 3 months, other than Serges…

    • March says:

      It’s ED HARDY spam! f’ing Ed Hardy, it’s the only way they can hook you in. I’d rather read the erectile dysfunction spam … if you’d ever like to freak yourself out go wander around in our spam filter. Doesn’t anyone want vanilla sex any more? Geez, the stuff in there ….

      Serge. You could do worse.

    • carter says:

      Smell the Cartiers, baby (*)