Ormonde Woman (shown above) was the first fragrance released by London-based niche house Ormonde Jayne, and features notes of cardamom, coriander, grass oil, black hemlock, violet, jasmine absolute, vetiver, cedar, amber and sandalwood. If you are wondering what black hemlock is, see here.
Of all of the Ormonde Jayne fragrances I have reviewed so far, Ormonde Woman is the hardest to capture in words. It is perhaps even more unusual than Champaca, although I would venture to guess that Ormonde has a wider audience. The top notes are very spicy and rich, slightly sweet, and almost foody. As the spices calm, the grass oil lends a green, almost herbal edge to the woods and the earthiness of the vetiver.
Ormonde Woman is a complex fragrance, and not easily categorized. It is very smooth, and almost imperceptibly powdery. The wood notes are deep, but are balanced by the florals. The violet weaves in and out, adding a bit of lightness to what is otherwise a dark, rather mysterious fragrance. There is something very intense about it, but it is not in the least heavy.
Ormonde Woman is, simply put, not me, but as with Champaca, there is something extraordinarily compelling about it, and if the US dollar would only recover — please! — a bottle would be mine. I do wish I could do a better job of describing it, but I can only throw my hands up in despair and suggest that you try it yourself, if you haven’t already.
Ormonde Man was released more recently, and has notes of juniper berry, bergamot, pink pepper, cardamom, coriander seeds, oudh, black hemlock, vetiver, cedar, sandalwood and musk.
The Ormonde Man is relatively transparent, and the spices stand out more over the bergamot than they do over the rich notes of the women’s fragrance. It is heavier on the pepper and juniper berry than the coriander and cardamom, and the floral notes are replaced by oudh, making this a deeper, more concentrated wood scent, with less sweetness. In some ways this one suits me better than the women’s, but it is more overtly masculine.
Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman is available in 50 ml Parfum or 50 ml Eau de Parfum; the Ormonde Man is in 50 ml Eau de Parfum. For buying information, see the listing for Ormonde Jayne under Perfume Houses.