Ormonde Jayne 101- Five to Get You Started


British perfumery has a long distinguished history. It makes England one of the great perfume-making countries in the world because of it. Like everywhere else in the world the beginning of niche perfume also had its early pioneers in the UK. One of those brands was Ormonde Jayne.

Ormonde Jayne was started in 2002 by Linda Pilkington. Ms. Pilkington left her career in the agrochemical business to start her fragrance career. As she put together the brand she also found the perfumer that she has worked with for the entirety of the Ormonde Jayne collection, Geza Schoen. Many of the Ormonde Jayne fragrances are among the best that Hr. Schoen has composed. Here are the five I would suggest you start exploring the brand with,

My introduction came from Ormonde Man. It was the overall sixth release from the brand in 2004. When I first tried it this was one of the first perfumes which really brought home to me why niche was different. This was one of the most sophisticated masculine perfumes I had ever smelled at that time. Hr. Schoen would take a spicy top of cardamom, coriander, baie rose, and juniper berry segueing into a heart of hemlock and oud before alighting on a sandalwood and musk base. To this day this is one of those perfumes which I wear for formal occasions. It always makes me feel like the kind of man I want to see myself as.


The sophisticated style of the house would continue with the release of Orris Noir in 2006. Iris is used as a powdery foil to several darker notes as myrrh, patchouli, incense, and coriander swirl around it. Orris Noir is a study in contrasts beautifully played over three acts on my skin.

One of the things Ms. Pilkington has made part of her brand DNA is sourcing great versions of raw materials. Nowhere is that more evident than in the 2009 release Tiare. This is as close as Hr. Schoen is going to come to a soliflore as he allows the sparkling tiare form the central accord supported by jasmine and iris. Lime on top; sandalwood and patchouli on the bottom set the titular note out to be admired.

Ta’if was released at the same time as Ormonde Man in 2004 but it took me a few years to give it a try. Here Hr. Schoen makes a great floriental using saffron, broom, and peach as contrast to Turkish rose and orange blossom heart. The real star here is the stewed fruit sweetness of dates providing depth to the florals.

In 2014 Black Gold was a return to the style of Ormonde Man but this is a more casual version. Here Hr. Schoen starts with an herbal citrus top accord. The floral heart of carnation is one of the best I have ever encountered. The base is sandalwood and the botanical musk of ambrette. Labdanum brings this all home. Black Gold shows how much Ormonde Jayne has evolved over the past 14 years.

If you never explored Ormonde Jayne here are the five you should start with.

Disclosure: This review was based on bottles I purchased.

Mark Behnke

My Favorite Things: Iris


One of my favorite fall floral notes is iris. There is something about the dual faces it presents sometimes powdery, sometimes rooty and earthy; with all of the variations in between. I’ve written in The Gold Standard that Stephane Humbert-Lucas 777 Khol de Bahrein is my very favorite iris perfume. As we head in to the heart of autumn here are five more iris perfumes I’ll be wearing.

Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist was my gold standard for iris until Khol de Bahrein arrived. Released in 1994 and composed by Christopher Sheldrake and Maurice Roucel this was the Serge Lutens I sent someone to Paris to bring back for me. This is an iris like no other as the perfumers provide a metallic edge which eventually becomes the foundation for another metallic note incense. This is why I fell in love with Serge Lutens.

When perfumer Yann Vasnier works with creative director DelRae Roth they produce some very fine perfumes. DelRae Mythique is what happens when they take on iris. What they released was a non-powdery iris wrapped in suede. The suede accord M. Vasnier created for Mythique is one of my favorites in all of perfumery. The choice to stay more to the earthy rooty side pays off handsomely.


When I do want the powdery iris I almost invariably reach for Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Iris Poudre. When skiers talk about ideal conditions they talk about deep powder. Perfumer Pierre Bourdon makes Iris Poudre deep powder of the perfumed variety. It is a remembrance of the day when all cosmetics carried a bit of iris as fragrance. The evocation of the cosmetics counter eventually gives way to a woody softness.

The best iris soliflore I own is Chanel 28 La Pausa. This is iris done in an elegant spare style. Perfumers Francois Demachy and Jacques Polge combined to create this beauty. At its core is a Florentine iris. The perfumers wisely add in only two other ingredients; baie rose and vetiver. The baie rose helps to keep the powderiness a little more controlled. The vetiver brings the earthy character a little more to the foreground. This is meant to be admired like a fine jewel from all angles.

Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir took a while to really make an impression on me. When it finally did after many months I wondered to myself why I ever resisted. Creative Director Linda Pilkington working with perfumer Geza Schoen have the iris play the heart while darkness swirls around it. The iris shows off all of its character with powdery aspects pushing back against coriander and davana on top. By the time incense, myrrh, and patchouli show up in the base the earthiness is what you notice. This is one of the few perfumes with “noir” in the name which earns the name.

With autumn in full swing if you need a floral to add to your perfume wardrobe give these five iris perfumes a shot.

Disclosure: This review based on bottles of each perfume I purchased.

Mark Behnke