eyeliner on a cat

eyeliner on a cat
beauty, scent & style scrutinized for pleasure

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Embracing Original Sin: Ormonde Woman

When I think about London perfumery Ormonde Jayne's Woman, the imagery I keep coming back to is that of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. I imagine Eve, reclining and languorous, scented to an intoxicating degree, sans fig leaves.

                                                     "Adam and Eve" by Gustav Klimt

Here is the notes list from the Ormonde Jayne website:
Top: Cardamom, coriander, grass oil
Heart: Black hemlock, violet, jasmine absolute
Base: Vetiver, cedarwood, amber, sandalwood

This blend instantly drew me in with the sharp verdancy of the grass oil, but it is not so uplifting that it sends you careening into the sky without care; the rich notes of black hemlock and spices immediately ground you once again. If that were not enough travel, you are dragged swiftly beneath the soil to be immersed in salty vetiver, powdered violet, dry woods and slightly sweet amber. What makes you want to stay there forever, ensconced within the earth's breast is the complexity of the overall effect of these notes together. Can something be emotionally unsettling, yet comforting at the same time? I did not think so until I tried Ormonde Woman, many, many times over. I am magnetically pulled towards this perfume like a moth to a flame. It feels almost forbidden to identify myself with it so closely, it's like one's hidden nature being discovered accidentally.

Ormonde Woman is a fragrance that is sensually emboldening. It's as if the primal essence of woman has been captured in a bottle to be used either wisely or foolishly, depending on the personality of the wearer. To me, it is more of an artful potion than a perfume, and on the right person, creates pure alchemical magic. This is a scent suitable for Complicated Women (you all know who you are), and while I am not proud nor ashamed that I count myself among them, I am thrilled that I have come across a scent that I am so clearly meant to wear.

Each time I wear Ormonde Woman, I look for more clarification as to why the scent works so well, but it gives the impression of a hazy collection of emotions without explanation. It is a scent that just IS, like the idea of love or death; its truth rocks the soul.

A 50ml bottle of Ormonde Woman EDP is available for 70 GBP, also available in Pure Parfum concentration, candles, EDP travel sprays and bath & body products. The Discovery Set (highly recommended to try all Ormonde Jayne blends) is available for 44 GBP, which includes shipping to anywhere in the world. You get a 2ml spray glass vial of each of their 12 scents.

[Discovery Set was sent to me for review by Ormonde Jayne. My opinions are my own and I was not financially compensated by the company]


  1. One of my all time favourites! This is one of the most unique and beautiful perfumes ever. When one thinks of perfume for a woman, one usually thinks flowers. I love that this Woman is green and dark. The garden of Eden is a nice image, and there's something mysterious and seductive in those trees!

  2. I am so with you on that, it is extremely feminine without having any heady florals to dominate the blend. It's wonderful, because not all women love florals like that! (me)

  3. This is, I think, one of the most unusual perfumes I think I've ever come across. Unsettling, unnerving, unlike anything else. So compelling was it, I put it in my book...for the antagonist to wear! ;) I can't wear it myself, strange things happen on my skin and I don't like what happens there. All the same, this is a classic Bad Girl Scent, and I envy those who can wear it! (If I want to feel evil, I'll wear Bandit! ;) )

  4. What a beautiful review, I am glad you found something that is so completely yours. :)

  5. Tarl- that is SO cool that you let OJ Woman make an appearance in your novel! I'm looking forward to checking out your writing, especially since it is obviously 'fumehead-sympathetic. :)

    Birgit- I am very happy that I found Woman as well. Jessica of My Perfume Life was the one who sent me a partial spray vial of it, and I'd never heard of it. I think I experienced the first testing of it in slow motion, because I can certainly remember every moment of how I felt.

  6. Delighted to read your review of OJW. It's truly an evocative perfume. You've made me want to go and put some on now.

    What I love about a lot of the OJ range is that they really step away from traditional florals - as you point out. They're the ultimate dark/sexy/mysterious scents.

    Honoured to be part of your perfume journey. Fun to think how our experiences inform one another. It's a shame that OJ isn't more widely available.

  7. Beautiful review! I love that hemlock note, but the the fragrance doesn't suit me. I have tried it on a few times, but always end up washing it off. I know that sounds insane, but it was just not made for me.

    The OJ fragrances are high quality and worth every penny. Now, if I could just find the right on for me!

  8. Thanks for reading and commenting, Jessica. This perfume really is a game-changer for me, and I've you to thank for it.

    Joanne, I hope you are able to find an OJ scent that suits you! Have you tried Tolu, Orris Noir or Ta'if? The scents in the range vary widely, it seems like there is something for everyone.

  9. Unusual? Unnerving? I need this.
    I'm always thrown off by the notes. It has things that I love but I'm thrown off by the grass. Grass accord is an abused note that now seems cheep because of the late 90's obsession with it.
    Anyways, sounds like a must try for me.

  10. I really want to know what you think of it, Victoria. I also want to know what you think of Orris Noir, Tolu and Man. I am pretty sure you will like at least a couple of them, maybe even love them. The grass note is definitely present in the opening and doesn't ever completely fade, but it works so well with the other notes, it doesn't smell cheap at all. In fact, it smells very expensive.

  11. I have tried Ta'if parfum. I did a review of it in December. I can't wear Ta'if either, even if it is bloody beautiful.

    I have hope for Ormonde Man and Tolu. We'll see!

  12. I'm wearing Ormonde Man today, and I really like it. It's based on Woman, but with some additional top notes, oud in the middle instead of violet and jasmine, and musk instead of amber in the basenotes.

    That said, I can't detect the oud at all. I can definitely smell the sandalwood, musk and vetiver, but as you said about Woman, it's a complex blend that's hard to pull apart into its individual components.

    I've been meaning to try on Woman. Both males and females have recommended it as something men can pull off. I'd encourage women to give Man a try.

  13. Harry, I love to wear Man as well. I can detect the oud in it, but it's not a strong punch. It seems to serve to deepen the other woods present. It's truly gorgeous.