Lauren Steventon explores the Eastern allure of the Ormonde Jayne perfumery….
A tiny shop decorated with gold shagreen walls, black chandeliers, stone floors and black lacquered surfaces….It sounds like a decadent corner hidden in an Eastern souk. However, this perfumery is in fact tucked away in a little arcade, just off Old Bond Street in London, and its treasures are the hand-made perfumes of Ormonde Jayne.
Set up by scent-lover Linda Pilkington, Ormonde Jayne is a perfumer’s perfumery. Forget naffly-named, sickly-packaged and samey-samey scents, these are proper grown-up smells, using rare and exotic elements from around the world. Pilkington travels far and wide in the Middle East, sourcing ingredients such as pink pepper, black hemlock or basmati rice. She is known for her daring and experimental techniques, using unusual components and playing with the quantities and combinations. The results? Heady fragrances that both belong to a time when a perfume lingered in the air like a signature, yet are modern and elegant.
The names sound like descriptions of romantic and far away places, where one might find Tennyson’s Lotus Eaters or Coleridge’s Kublah Khan. There are ten women’s fragrances, ranging from Ormonde Woman, green and woody with a heart of black hemlock, to Osmanthus, an effervescent floral. Or how about adding a seductive little Eastern promise with the floral oriental: seductive rose Ta-if, spicy Orris Noir or the opulent frankincense, tolu and myrhh of Tolu? The ultimate accessory, the perfect perfume completes any outfit.
Men can get in on the action too, with Ormonde Man and two colognes, Zizan and Isfarkand. Presented in beautiful mandarin packaging fastened with a glossy black bow, they are a little sniff of the orient in London.