Beauty Without Fuss

Friday 4 February 2011

Perfume Portrait at Ormonde Jayne

I've had some astonishing invitations through this blog, but being invited along to Ormonde Jayne to meet Linda Pilkington and have a chat about perfume has been one of my favourites.  Linda has been the brains and inspiration behind Ormonde Jayne for ten years, and has produced some of the most highly praised scents in the world during that time.

I popped along to her new store in London's Sloane Square one lunchbreak last week, and sat for a "perfume portrait" with the lady herself.  Open to everyone, the portrait aims to pick out the scents that will best suit you from the Ormonde Jayne range, according to how well you like (or dislike) particular scents.  It starts with a few questions about perfumes you love, mine were Clinique Aromatics Elixir, Chanel Crystalle, Guerlain Herba Fresca and O de Lancome. Then you have to move onto perfumes you dislike, which in my case were LouLou (it makes me vomit) and Eden (ditto).  Many, many apologies to Cacherel there, but ... well, they do.

Then the most interesting part, Linda guides you through smelling 21 raw ingredients (divided into seven different categories) and asks you if you like them or not.  There are no right or wrong answers, but I liked many of the ingredients, apart from Tiare and Tonka.  I suspect that it is (tiare in particular) those two pesky little ingredients that are behind my intolerance to particular perfumes.  I think Linda was surprised by some of my reactions, she let slip that she'd thought I'd be a great candidate for Tolu, but I hated all the ingredients!

At the end of this, Linda asks a few more questions, along the lines of particular habits you might have, any preferences, and picks out a few scents from her range.  There are 12 perfumes in the line, and Linda selected three for me to try, Champaca, Osmanthus and Zizan.  All extremely different to one another!  Champaca is a "deconstructed" floral with hints of rice and bamboo, Osmanthus is a zesty citrus floral, and Zizan is a masculine vetiver-based fragrance.

I have to say, I liked them all, but the one that really called out to me was Zizan.  For years I've preferred men's fragrances to women's, finding them both better lasting and - to my nose - more interesting than many women's fragrances.  That said, it was interesting to have it confirmed in a blind smell-test!  

I love the scent of Zizan, it reminds me (in a good way) of Acqua di Parma.  Not in the way that it smells - they're not really alike at all - but both scents remind me of the warm smell of a man you know well, intimate, and a tad sexy.   It's a proper, old-school scent, something that if I smelled it on a man would make me swoon a little, but on my skin it's a warm, grapefruity (vetiver always heads towards grapefruit on me, albeit without the sulphurous undertones), lightly smoky and wonderfully playful scent that I can see myself wearing year round.  I suspect MrLippie would smell magnificent in it, but as of yet, I'm refusing to relinquish MY  bottle.  

As for Osmanthus, I was a little unsure at first, but over the hours that it developed, I fell in love with it more and more, and have an inkling that a purchase might be in order.  In fact, I'm tempted to go back and buy the discovery kit, as I suspect that I'll like a LOT of this range once I try them properly.  I think I really do have try Champaca as well ... But Tolu may well be a complete no-no for this particular blogger.

The Sloane Street store is a delight of black laquer with tangerine accents, and the friendly and delightfully knowledgeable staff are a real treat to chat with.  Linda herself was wonderfully chatty, and I have to admit that if I had more time, I'd have been perfectly happy to spend the entire afternoon at the store.  

Perfume Portraits are free, and depending on the time available will take from 6 minutes to an hour - mine took 40 minutes, but we got distracted talking about jacuzzis for a while.  You know, like you do ...  There's also a wonderful service where you can book out the store and take five of your friends along for a glass of champagne and a perfume portrait each.  Who's with me?

As far as my Project Perfume is concerned, the visit was a complete bust, as I wasn't "matched" to any of the perfumes on my list, but I think the visit was all the better for not being tied to smelling particular items.  Many thanks to Linda and her team for making me so welcome last week, it was a delight, and I'll be back.

You can find out more about Ormonde Jayne here.

The Fine Print: Get Lippie was a guest of Ormonde Jayne, and a perfume sample was provided for the purposes of this article.  However, the service itself is free to all visitors to the store. Pop along, you'll surprise yoursel!  As always, links in this article are for informational purposes only, and are not affiliate links.

This post originated at: All rights reserved.


  1. I did this last year, and loved it. Unsurprisingly, it seems I like nearly all the notes that she commonly uses. Champaca is a beautiful soft fragrance.

  2. This sounds so great! I'd love to do it, but am too shy and can't afford real perfume :P

  3. What huge fun, what I want to know is why a perfume that one loves and uses can suddenly and completely turn one's stomach...maybe ti is the perimenopause and change in smell who knows. Thanks for this Jan x

  4. It sounds like such an incredible blast! I've been invited to go also, but it's quite a bit of distance for me, so (heartbreakingly) I don't think I'll be able to indulge. In the meantime, I've been busying myself with the Discovery Set. I'm quite taken with several of them, even bordering on obsessiveness. Zizan and Osmanthus are two I've not yet tried.

  5. I'm not really a perfume kind of person, just because I've very particular about scents that I like, but this sounds interesting.

    visions unto myself


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