Fragrance of the day: Ormonde Jayne Ta’if

Damask Rose Omar Khayyam

According to the Ormonde Jayne website, "Ta´if, a town rising 5000 ft above the shores of The Red Sea and overlooking the Arabian desert, is renowned for its plantations of Ta´if rose." Thanks to Tina, here is an interesting article about Ta’if roses for anyone who would like to read more. The notes for the Ormonde Jayne Ta’if are pink pepper, saffron, dates, rose, freesia, orange blossom, jasmine, broom, and amber.

Unlike Champaca, Ta’if was not a case of love at first sniff for me. The first night I wore it, I went to dinner with several friends, and was frankly surprised at how much they all loved it; personally I found it rather bland. The next morning, I went to put away my things (yes, I do throw them on the floor sometimes) and swooned over the lingering scent on my scarf. Several testings later, I am a convert.

Ta’if starts out deceptively sheer, with a lovely candied date note, and a dewy rose, almost like rosewater. The rose turns dusky fairly quickly, and a creamy saffron overtakes the date. The rose is slowly joined by the other florals, of which the orange blossom is the most pronounced. Later still, the amber intensifies, and it takes on a nice touch of smoke. There is something else that must be the broom, but despite having tried several other fragrances with a broom note, I don’t have any idea what it smells like on its own.

Ta’if develops and deepens slowly over a period of some hours, and has excellent lasting power. It is, as advertised, sultry, but in a restrained, sophisticated way. It is by no means overpowering, and it will not announce your presence before you enter the room. It is lightly spicy, and no more than lightly sweet. While it is obviously based on rose, I am not sure that you need to be an avid rose fan to appreciate it.

Ormonde Jayne Ta'if perfume

Ormonde Jayne Ta'if is available in 50 ml Eau de Parfum or 50 ml Parfum. For buying information, see the listing for Ormonde Jayne under Perfume Houses.

Note: top image is Damask Rose Omar Khayyam [cropped and duplicated] by amandabhslater at flickr; some rights reserved.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hello R!! I had hoped to love Ta'if- but just like it and not enough to buy it! Maybe it is because I find it a bit perfumey on me – same as Sampaquita. Maybe I need to keep trying this till I fall in love…

    Love your review though! ;)

    Have a great day!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Morning N, you are lucky, it is hard to save the pennies for all the OJs I want to own. I probably should not have tested Ta'if again!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robin,

    So glad you didn't give up on Ta'if. It is definitely among my top five. I'd LOVE to get that set (Pure Indulgence) that's in your photo with the candles and body lotion. 140 pounds!!! MUST save for that one. Look forward to reading your thoughts about the rest of the line. My other favorites are Ormonde and Sampaquita.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful, enticing review! Now I'm sure that ordering this unsniffed wasn't that big of a risk at all. Ta'if has all of my favorite notes – I've even heard it compared to KM's Gourmandise, which I worship and adore. :) I can hardly wait to get that little peach-colored slip in my mailbox!

  5. Anonymous says:

    this was exquisite description of an exquisite fragrance. Love the way you are able to pull out the notes as they emerge; what a skill. thanks, R!

  6. Anonymous says:

    T, I hope you saw the gift set pictured in yesterday's post, it is even more fabulous. I hear her candles are wonderful. And Ta'if is a good reminder for me to never give up after one try :-)

  7. Anonymous says:

    I do hope you love it! If not, finding a happier home for your bottle will not be hard. It is less foody than Gourmandises, and doesn't have the powder, but I don't have a sample of Gourmandises any longer so can't do a real comparison.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thank you M, you are always so nice! And your review on C'est Chic is lovely too, I'm sorry I didn't see it in time to include a link.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I'm wearing it today, and it is indeed lovely. I feel the same as you do about it and I also didn't love it the first go around. The initial pepper note can be quite harsh sometimes and if you sniff right away, you can get a pepper blast.

    I also agree that the rose is subtle and if you normally don't like rose scents it should not deter you from trying this one.

    I liked your comparison to rosewater, there is a watery feel. I find it very interesting that although this one starts out warm, on me it ends up cool.


  10. Anonymous says:

    Glad I am not the only one who didn't recognize the beauty of this one the first time around!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Now I KNOW I'm going to have pull Ta'if out of banishment and give her another try. Maybe it will not turn dank on me this time.


  12. Anonymous says:

    It is a sleeper scent, if you know what I mean. It just might be my next bottle!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Reading the comments about this scent makes me realize that my nose is definitely not equipped to appreciate perfume properly, and/or that my body chemistry is so weird that things that smell good on other people don't smell good on me. I am not saying this in a snarky way — quite the opposite, because I feel like the little lame boy who couldn't follow the Pied Piper of Hamelin along with his friends. What am I missing?

    When I put Ta'if on, it smelled only like insect repellant spray, or some deodorant soaps. I couldn't detect any particular pleasing scent. I waited, since I had read the comments about it's not being pleasing at first. It never changed.

    I should probably give up perfume appreciation because I seem to lack the physical equipment to do it! You are all very lucky to be able to detect the various elements in the perfumes you try. I wish I could!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Maybe Ta'if just isn't to your taste? What I mean is that you are not necessarily “missing” anything, there are lots of “good” perfumes that I don't like.

    Detecting the various elements is something that just comes with time and lots of perfume smelling. Another possibility is that perfumes evaporate from your skin very slowly. If you come by again, tell me what perfumes you love.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for your comment about my reaction to Ta'if. I think it must be my chemistry that makes a lot of perfumes smell not so great on me. Most perfumes that I try do not appeal to me. The few that do are Chanel #5, Le Dix, and Lipstick Rose. Admittedly, I have not tried a lot of perfumes, so there could be a lot more out there that I would love.

    I have been buying samples since first reading your blog about a month ago, and have found one that I love (Lipstick Rose), some that were great at first then dissolved to nothing in a very short time (two of the Divine perfumes), and some that I didn't like at all or were boring. Maybe as I am exposed to more scents I'll find more that I like.

    Once about 10 years ago I ordered rose otto from Mountain Rose herbs and thought it was the most divine scent I'd ever tried. When I put it on at first, it smelled like insect repellent. About half an hour later, it developed into something truly heavenly — not a rose scent, but a candy-like, indefinable scent. It was like nothing I ever smelled before, and it really seemed like it was from some divine realm.

    I ordered other rose ottos after that one was gone, but none ever had that sublime aroma. They all smelled pretty much like roses, which makes sense.

    So, probably more than you wanted to know, but do you think there's hope for me?

  16. Anonymous says:

    I would make two observations right off:

    First, the vast majority of fragrances I try don't interest me in the least. I probably tend to write about those that I either like, or at least respect. Of those that I do like, an even smaller percentage are what I would call “full bottle worthy” — in other words, I'll spend money to get them, as opposed to I just enjoyed trying them. So I don't think you are unusual in not liking most of what you try. Unfortunately, it can make trying perfumes a costly proposition.

    Second, when I first became seriously interested in perfume, I liked an even smaller percentage of what I tried, and many that I dismissed immediately became favorites of mine many months later. I am not exactly sure why that is, but I always think of Diptyque Philosykos as my example. When I first smelled it, I thought it smelled mostly like dirt & wood, and couldn't imagine why anyone would want to smell like dirt & wood. 6 months and many, many perfume samples later, I swooned over Philosykos. Dirt & wood smell really, really good. Perhaps after smelling so many other things I just expanded my ideas about what a good perfume smells like? La Chasse aux Papillons is another one that I didn't care for early on, and is now a favorite.

    So yes, I think there is hope for you! Lipstick Rose is a gorgeous scent, by the way, and Chanel no. 5 is obviously a classic. I need to try Le Dix one of these days!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Just tried Ta’if from Ormonde Jayne. Didn’t seem like a rose scent at first. Has a hint of cumin. It dries down with an earthy, syrupy fruit scent like dried dates and amber (I think). The cumin note fades away leaving a light peppery powder. It's a very original type of rose scent – feminine, but not all floral and delicate. Spicy and earthy, but never dense. Men seem to like it a lot!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Glad you liked it :-)

  19. Blimunda says:

    I took my friend to the OJ store in London the other weekend, to introduce her to the line. The lovely SA gave her a guided tour through all the scents, and in the end it came down to Champaca or ta’if. she spritzed one on each wrist, snifeed them both, and pronounced “Ta’if!” She is now the proud owner of her first ever OJ fragrance. The first of many, I’m sure……..

    • Robin says:

      How nice! Bet she goes back for the Champaca, it’s so gorgeous…

      • Blimunda says:

        Interestingly enough, she’s now two thirds of the way through her Ta’if (not bad going for 5 months!) and has set her sights on Orris Noir!! That will be her next purchase, apparently. Natalie gave her a sample with her Ta’if purchase, and she’s fallen in love with it. It shares a kind of light spiciness with Ta’if, which seems to work with her skin chemistry and persona. It’s such a joy introducing people to this line. They look so happy to be wearing something so beautiful.

        • Robin says:

          I agree…one of the lines I love to recommend to people.

  20. Blimunda says:

    This comment is posted under the heading “Strange But True”……i wore Ta’if last night, and this morning put-on the same shirt and scarf, on which the scent still lingered. However, on my skin I sprayed SL’s La Myrrhe. The two scents are oddly complimenting one another!! I doubt it would work if I layered directly on top of one another straight onto skin. But, separately, their molecules intermingle rather nicely! (as an aside, La Myrrhe is very strange and bordering on the unwearable, and it is easily the most interesting perfume experience I’ve had for a long, long time.)

    • Robin says:

      Oh, I love accidental layering experiments like that!

  21. Iris says:

    This fragrance is absolutely beautiful. I have been using a decant for the last few days and I am hooked. Must get a full bottle.

    • Robin says:

      I need a bottle of it too!

  22. KRL says:

    I just got a sample set from ebay and last night tried several, including Ta’if, which I liked a lot. This morning I sprayed a good deal more of Ta’if and went about my day — and I’m noticing, although it’s been a long time since I’ve used it, but it’s reminding me of of Ralph Lauren’s Safari. I wonder if anyone else has noted the same. Safari I liked in cooler months, but I’m not sure this is the way to go for summer…

    • Robin says:

      Interesting, I had not noticed! But Ta’if is probably more of a fall/winter/spring scent…don’t tend to reach for it in the heat.

      • KRL says:

        I was wrong. I pulled out my old bottle of Safari, and while it’s a lovely and interesting scent, it’s nowhere in the ballpark! What was I remembering? Anyway, I just adore Ta’if. Her scents seem to have some kind of common thread – which makes some sense since they appear to share one of a couple of “basenotes.” But even the ones that don’t somehow feel like an OJ.

        • Robin says:

          Agree…the lighter ones esp. all feel “of a piece”.

  23. Seraph says:

    Just tried this last night and it up and ran on me after about an hour. Tried it on back of hand and wrist, multiple sprays…nuffink did no good. Liked what I could smell when I could smell it, but very faint; and it has a lemony rose note that kept reminding me of Caberet.
    Don’t normally eat scents; sometimes get 30 hours…
    Puzzled and disappointed – will have to try again as you did. Have liked very very much the other 2 OJs that I have tried: Tolu and O Man…

    • Robin says:

      Would guess you’re anosmic to the musk or something…it doesn’t usually disappear that fast!

  24. Seraph says:

    Tried it again and my nose did better, and sprayed on fabric too which did last for ages. How long does the rosey heart last on you before it goes to the musky drydown? Love what I smell of these Ojs and willing them to last longer. Sometimes maybe we just pester the scent too much, rather than relaxing and letting it do its thing. Too much of a dog on a chain outside a butcher’s shop…

    • Robin says:

      Oh, I’m afraid I just don’t remember that…

  25. glamgoods says:

    I just dont understand why Ormonde Jayne is even considered Fine Fragrance–she lacks any original thought. Each scent is a knock off and the quality is inconsistent. Im afraid many are just being drawn by the overpriced packaging.

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