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Monday, August 21, 2006

Perfume Review: Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir

Orris Noir is the latest and much anticipated (by me anyway) Ormonde Jayne fragrance. The name is said to have been inspired by Black Iris (Iris Nigricans), the symbol of Jordan. The scent has notes of davana, pink pepper, coriander, bergamot, iris, jasmine, pimento berries, bay, incense, myrrh, patchouli, cedar and gaiac wood.

Ina, thanks to whom I have been able to sample Orris Noir, has already done an excellent review of the scent. Like her, I must report the rather startling lack of any noir-ness in Orris Noir. There is nothing particularly dark about this fragrance and it is not an iris-heavy scent, at least on my skin. Its beginning makes me think, rather incongruously, about baked apples. These apples are either unripe or else they are sprinkled with some very green-smelling herbs; there is no sweetness here at all. What there is however is a slight booziness, as if some liquor (again, not a sweet kind) was used to make this dish. When I went to consult my H&R Guide to Fragrance Ingredients about the davana note, however, this is what the esteemed book told me: davana oil has “sweet, herbaceous (!) odor, somewhat tea-like, reminiscent of dried fruit (!!) and displaying a slight whisky note (!!!)". I guess my image of boozy-green baked apples wasn’t that bizarre after all.

After a while, the apples, the herbs and the whisky go away; coriander becomes quite apparent as well as jasmine; the scent, which was rather soft at the beginning, grows a little stronger, becomes a little more forceful. Yet when I start to think that perhaps now finally it will show its noir side, the fragrance settles into a very pleasant but again rather soft, understated drydown of gentle woods, powdery iris and quite a lot of velvety myrrh.

Orris Noir is a quiet, tasteful, smoothly-blended scent; I like it a lot, but I don’t love it. It leaves me rather cold, and to be honest a little bit disappointed that it isn’t a little more striking, that it doesn’t have a little more oomph and character.

As far as I can tell, Orris Noir is not yet available for sale at Ormonde Jayne online store, however it is bound to be launched there soon.

Please visit Now Smell This to read Robin's review of Orris Noir.

Tomorrow, a review of another Orris, this time by Andy Tauer.

The first image is from, the second is from
Some other perfumes featuring the davana note:
Balenciaga Talisman
Battistoni Marte Arte
DKNY Red Delicious Men
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Davana
Florascent Santal
Givenchy Blue Label
Givenchy Pour Homme
Gucci Accenti
Hermes Parfum des Merveilles
Histoires de Parfums 1740
Joop Rococo Men
Kenzo Jungle Le Tigre
La Sirenuse Paestum Rose
Lulu Guinness Cast a Spell
Michael Kors KORS
Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus
Parfums de Nicolai Fig Tea
Rich Hippie Maharishi
Salvator Dali Dalissime
Zirth Corduroy


Blogger Victoria said...

Ah ha! It's the davana note adding to the boozy KORS scent. One of my favorites.

5:33 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Fascinating AND thorough- a top review!

[I don't see itlisted on the website either.]

Doesn't sound edgy, but more like a comforting scent.

If it isn't too fleeting, I could enjoy boozy,velvet myrrh and woods with powdery iris...

The baked apples- doesn't that make you think of Ambre Narguile?
The minute you smell it, it comes out and grabs your nose...
Such a funny way to start a fragrance...

I guess that we dark, brooding Eastern European types will just have to wait for something more sinister and Kurt Weill-ish to come along- sigh.

7:07 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Hmmmm. . . I don't know. I like all of the OJ scents, but I don't really love any (save Ormonde Man on DH). Sounds like I would feel the same about this. Oh well, CC breathes sigh of releif.

7:33 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Huh. I was all hot for it after Ina's review. However, you've given me pause. That boozy aspect is not a personal favorite in fragrance -- and I too was hoping for something more noir. But I'll be sure to give it a try.

7:40 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

First of all, I'm mesmerized by the photo of that black iris. I swore I would do no gardening at this house, but I've *got* to find that black iris for next spring to mix w/ some dark blue and purple iris. But I digress (bad habit). Surprisingly, given my passion for noir-ness in scents, I really loved this OJ despite the lack of actual noir-ness, as you put it. :-) It may be my fav OJ yet. The pepper, davana, myrrh and woods really won me over. Oh, and I've had some Indian pastries w/ davana oil and it's delicious as a cooking ingredient.

7:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I love Kors too. I think I heard there are al sort of bozy notes in that one, cognac, port :-) It's a fun scent for sure!

8:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...


Thank you very much for your kind words.

ON is not edgy, but it is not a comfort scent in a gourmand-ish sense as Ambre Narguile is. In fact, despite the fact hat I mentioned apples, there is no similarity with Ambre Narguile there whatsoever.

It had an OK staying power although it stayed to close to my skin at all times.

And yes, we, the brooding types, we need more drama in our perfume :-D

8:46 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am exactly the same way with OJ scents. I like practically all and don't love any. I hope Orris Noir would change that but it did not.

8:47 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

The boozy-ness is very very slight. It is not Ambre Russe :-) I also think that because an iris note is so subtle here, you have a good chance of liking it.

8:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Because I knew you liked this one so much, I doubted my judgement all the steps of the way, but I guess it is just a case of not quite good skin chemistry with ON and with OJ in particular. I liked it, I like all her scent, but we just don't "click" :-) I envy you!

8:50 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am quite sure you'd like it, at the very least. I cannot guarantee you'd fall madly in love with it. It is lovely, masterfully done, like all OJs. I do wish they sold their samples separately, at least those of their new scents!

8:51 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

M, as I said on my post, we were quite predictable on this one. If it was any darker -- or certainly, any more patchouli -- I would probably find it entirely unwearable. As it is, I am impressed without quite being in love. I need to wait for cooler days and wear it next to Ta'if and see what happens. It is so close to Ta'if in feeling that I doubt I would need both.

9:17 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

So although we are not quite in love with it for different reasons, our impressions of it are more or less the same. :-)

9:27 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that you say that, I think I get baked apples and booziness, too. I don't get very distinct iris either but I love the spiciness! It's almost like a spicy, less floral Ta'if. Awesome review! :)

10:16 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I would have loved *more* spiciness, much, much more. Then, I think, this could have been FBW for me.

10:29 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Try emailing Ormonde Jayne and aksing them to sell you a sample of Orris Noir. That is the only way you'd know for sure if it is for you :-)

12:09 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was SO eager for this and now can be a little more patient...however I love the Davana in Osmanthus - that herbal green...and woods, powdery iris, and myrhh don't sound like a bad ending. Because it lacks the oomph you were hoping for, do you think it is easy to wear, but just a little too simple? I think I am still really curious, afterall :)

1:17 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It is very easy to wear, but I wouldn't call it simple at all. It goes through lots of changes and is quite a multi-faceted scent. And if you liked davana in Osmanthus and if davana in Orris Noir will be as strong on your skin as it was on mine, you might really like this one.

1:30 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

M -
I forgot I asked a question - but this helps a lot! It is a definite to-try. Thanks so much!

9:22 PM EDT  

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