Ormonde Jayne is a house that has always sat on the periphery of my perfume sampling. I have tried a number of their fragrances in passing (I have tried a shocking amount of things “in passing”) and have even visited one of their boutiques, but I don’t feel that I’ve paid them the attention that they deserve. So when the lovely people at Ormonde Jayne offered to send me one of their discovery sets I was more than happy to accept, because Ormonde Jayne is a house that I want to get to know.
Launched in 2002, Ormonde Jayne is a British perfume house created by Linda Pilkington. The Ormonde Jayne philosophy is simple: “[…]quality and true luxury, the pursuit of beauty and elegance.”  There is something very appealing about the sleek simplicity of Ormonde Jayne and the lack of bells and whistles is appealing. But don’t let that fool you, the perfumes themselves are very complex indeed.
This review focuses on Ormonde Jayne’s two signature fragrances: Ormonde Woman and Ormonde Man, both of which have been highly praised by many and received five star reviews from Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez in Perfumes: The Guide. Both wood-based fragrances are as enigmatic as they are sophisticated and having spent sufficient time with them I can understand why they are so highly regarded.
Vero Profumo’s first three fragrances; Rubj, Kiki and Onda are unusual, not only in their style and composition but also in the fact that they are each five star fragrances that can easily be considered as modern masterpieces. They each also have strong personalities, multi-faceted in themselves, but incredibly diverse in character as an entire entity – a collection to be envied.
With her initial collection Swiss indie perfumer Vero Kern proved that she has a natural talent for perfumery as well as a clear and fascinating artistic vision that translates effortlessly into her creations. For her line’s fifth anniversary year Vero Kern is introducing a brand new fragrance, one that doesn’t break cohesion of the line but also brings an entirely new approach to Vero Profumo.
Mito (Italian for “Myth”), will be the latest fragrance from Vero Profumo to join her Eau de Parfum collection. Taking inspiration from Italy, specifically the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, smelling Mito is like opening a time capsule, unleashing a single moment where as time has stopped in the garden of Villa d’Este, allowing Vero Kern to paint an olfactory oil-painting of the trees, mosses, flowers, stones, sculptures and water that inhabit such a beautiful space.
“Perfume, like fashion, is about attitude, seasons, colour, mood and context. There is a time and place for everything.”
My experience of the Heeley line (brainchild of designer James Heeley) has been generally positive, and my impression so far is that it is a line full of interesting, innovative creations which simply must be tried. What I really like about Heeley Parfums though, is that they present themselves with no pretence, no gimmicks, they just say “here we are, come smells us, don’t we smell good?”. But don’t be fooled by this simple approach, the Heeley line actually consists of a range of unique and complex perfumes with highlights such as the beautiful iris ‘Iris de Nuit’, ode to the sea ‘Sel Marin’ and almost comic ‘Esprit du Tigre’.
Late last year James Heeley decided to expand the line with a trio of Extrait de Parfums that take the Heeley aesthetic to a new level of luxury without compromising the overall ethos of unique creations presented in a simple and clear manner. Each Extrait, like the entire Heeley line come to think of it, doesn’t feel the need to shout its message, instead it confidently speaks in a ‘take me or leave me’ manner.
The Heeley Extrait de Parfums are a “collection of quite different scents made from exceptional ingredients, each with an intensity and depth that create a luxurious, ‘haute couture’ feel” and were created because James Heeley wanted to work with his favourite materials in higher concentrations. Heeley succeeds in creating a collection of three perfumes – Agarwoud, Bubblegum Chic & L’Amandière – that are not only high quality but are also high-concept interesting interpretations of familiar themes.
Bond No. 9 is the Octomom of the niche fragrance world – they just keep popping ’em out. This spring they will be releasing a total of six, that’s right SIX new fragrances, two of which are inspired by New York City as per the norm and four of which will be joining their I Love New York Collection.
I have been pretty vocal on my thoughts of Bond No. 9 and I stand by the fact that they have more misses than hits, perhaps due to the fact that they have released a whopping 64 fragrances since their inception in 2003, and that a lot of perfumes in the line are derivative, not to mention that they are the worst offenders when it comes to vomiting Swarovski crystals on to perfume bottles… They remind me of the line in the poem about the little girl with the little curl by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; “And when she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was horrid.”
But that’s not to say that there aren’t any good Bond’s. There are in fact a good few that I would deem bottle worthy; Silver Factory is a remarkably cold and metallic incense, Chinatown is a work of genius (why don’t I own a bottle?) and I will always regret swapping away my beloved bottle of Fire Island, who knew I would miss it so much? So yes, it is true, when Bond No. 9 are good they can be very good.
In time for Spring Bond, No. 9 have released Central Park West, the sixth fragrance to be inspired by a New York park. Central Park West is inspired by “the magnificent greenery” of New York’s “greatest urban grassland” and is a spring-like green and white floral “designed to have the grandeur and largesse of the street itself”. A grand perfume for a grand neighbourhood.
“Who knew? When it comes to being green, New York State is way ahead of the game. Bond No. 9 knew, and to celebrate our state’s environmental smarts, we’ve designed this fresh, green, metro-sophisticated eau de parfum.”
To coincide with the 42nd Earth Day on 22 April Bond No. 9 are launching a brand new fragrance. ‘I Love New York for Earth Day’ is the fourth in their line of I Love NY fragrances and this latest addition focuses on NY’s “high green IQ” with a fragrance that is “rich in youthful vivaciousness and hope”.
Have you ever known that you would love a fragrance before you even tried it? I have on quite a few occasions, the most recent of which was with the second feminine fragrance from ultra-luxe niche line Puredistance. A perfume wonderfully named ‘Antonia’. I had already fallen head-over-heels for the beautifully arresting Puredistance I, and everything about Antonia; the reviews, the description and the very brief sniff I’d had in Harrods, led me to believe that Antonia was a perfume that I would love.
I’ve also been really impressed with the Puredistance line and their ethos. I find it refreshing that they seem to focus all of their attention on the perfumes, there are no gimmicks and they manage to offer exclusivity without snobbery. It’s also very clear that they have a passion for quality, which really translates into their three offerings, all of which are incredibly different, but share an impeccable attention to detail and fit together like three contrasting compositions.
Antonia, or ‘La Dame Verte’ as I call her, is the second feminine in the line and is a Parfum Extrait with a not-to-be-scoffed-at 25% concentration. Antonia is described by Puredistance as “a green floral with a great lushness and warmth of heart, but at the same time pillowy and as gentle as can be” . Like the first feminine in the line ‘Puredistance I’, Antonia was created by Annie Buzantian in New York and shares her name with the mother of Puredistance founder Jan Ewoud Vos.