Enchanted Forest – Review: Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman

Ormonde Jayne is one of the most accessible and wearable lines out there. They offer a great discovery set that every card-carrying Perfumista owns or covets, and their scents are lovely, well-made, friendly and pretty throughout. I like the florals, love the orientals, the only perfume I had my problems with, was their signature scent – Ormonde Woman.

I blamed it on the hemlock…

Created by Linda Pilkington and Geza Schön in 2002, Ormonde Woman includes notes of cardamom, coriander, grass oil, black hemlock, violet and jasmine absolute, vetiver, cedar wood, amber and sandalwood.

Turns out the only one to blame here, is myself. After my evolution towards and new appreciation for chypre scents, I decided to try Ormonde Woman again, and indeed, my distaste is gone, although I still smell the once offending note, it simply ceased offending and started to smell gorgeous. ;)

Woman opens very fresh, with a wonderfully spicy, green and grassy top note and after a few minutes, the hemlock hits and softened by a floral embellishment of sheer jasmine and a hint of green violet, steers the perfume towards its base of vetiver and ambery woods.

After an initial ray of sunshine, Ormonde Woman starts its descent into a dark green, mysterious, damp and secluded forest. Lichen-covered stones, huge primordial trees, barks covered with damp moss.

This is prime fairy-tale estate.

Ormonde Woman is dark, witchy and full of twists and turns. It is darkest green, shot through with rays of light now and again, it is not dense or impenetrable, but you want to carry a flashlight anyway or risk falling prey to your own fears. Because those are the monsters that can hurt you most in an enchanted forest.

I trust myself enough now to enter this primordial forest. Not without fear, but with a lot more courage, and I am rewarded by smelling irresistible.

Please read this wonderful review by Carrie on Eyeliner on a Cat, she expresses beautifully how Ormonde Woman works its magic.

Other Ormonde Jayne reviews on Olfactoria’s Travels: Champaca :: Tiare :: Osmanthus :: Frangipani :: Ta’if :: Orris Noir :: Sampaquita :: Tolu

Image source: ormondejayne.com, pixabay.com
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58 Responses to Enchanted Forest – Review: Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman

  1. Undina says:

    I was positive you’d reviewed Ormonde Woman already! After finishing reading I even counted your links to other reviews. Now I see that you kept this one.

    I like this perfume and enjoy wearing it (I have a small decant) but I do not love it. I should probably try it again and see if it’s grown on me.

  2. deeHowe says:

    Prime fairy-tale estate is right! Woman is such a beautiful scent– to me it speaks of ancestors, the Forrest, of the thin veil between worlds seen and unseen; I guess that’s why we think of it as “witchy”!

    I’m oozing with pleasure that you’ve come to appreciate this one :)

  3. Primordial forest is a pretty good description.

    I can’t quite decide whether I prefer Ormonde Woman or Man! Hmmm, choices…

  4. andrea says:

    After trying the sample set from OJ, this was my first and only purchase, (I love others in her line but I am waiting to aquire a few other perfumes on my list before I go back for Frangipani in the summer) it is such an unusual perfume that stood out from the others in the line, I wore this one on Halloween as it seemed appropriate, probably that Hemlock then? I have just dug it out to wear tomorrow as I just remembered how much I love this one. (I have been on a tester fest recently and have not use any of my FB’s for a while) :-)

  5. Tara says:

    OK, I really need to get past the spooky and embrace the darkness – now I can’t blame the hemlock anymore! I would love to fall for OJ Woman because it is such an original, well done fragrance with an extraordinarily strong character. I didn’t try on skin and I think that was a mistake.

    I’m glad you included the link to Carrie Meredith’s review. I always associate this perfume with her.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I too associate it with Carrie. But – and this is pure conjecture of course – I somehow think it is much lighter (in tone not strength) and less witchy on me. This perfume adapts to the wearer and how much darkness she can handle. (Don’t ask me why I believe this to be true, I just do and I stand by it. :) ) I look forward to hearing how much spookiness you get out of it.

    • deeHowe says:

      Tara, I can’t help but feel that you would be lovely in Woman– though it’s winter, I can imagine you tending your garden wafting it! :)

  6. civava says:

    This one has been on my “to try” list for some time now. I finally should give it a try. Hemlock gives me some doubts also.

  7. Marie says:

    Thanks for your wonderful review, I second every of your experiences and impressions with Ormonde Woman. ;)
    My first encounter with Ormonde Woman was a huge disappointment. This was the scent that I had choosen to be “my” fragrance. I was convinced (based on the notes and reviews I had read) that this was going to be my signature scent. (I should really stop doing this – it’s kind of unfair because no scent can ever come up to these expectations!)
    But OW smelled totally different: no witches, no magic, not even a forest! It was rather a spicy floral scent but nothing particular impressing. A couple of months later, I tried it again and there it was! The enchanted forest, indeed! I don’t know what happened…
    My only complaint is the wear time. How long do you catch the scent after applying? I get roughly 4, sometimes just over 3 hours. I will end up my sample (with great pleasure) but I don’t know if it is fbw (it would be with better lasting power though!)

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m happy to hear that your experience was similar to mine! :) Weartime is about four hours on me, it could be better, but I don’t really mind reapplying.

  8. Suzanne says:

    Interesting … maybe because I have a taste for really intense fragrances, I can’t say that OJ Woman is particularly witchy to my nose, nor deep and foresty: its’s sort of dark and grassy in the beginning, but then the vetiver acquires a lemon-grass aspect to it that I love before it embraces its lovely amber base. But even though not witchy to me, it’s a beautiful, evolving scent and easily my favorite from the OJ line. (Though I love Frangipani, too.)

  9. Warum says:

    I am among the perfumistas who still covet the set! i know i will get it after I get through some of the samples that are unsniffed. And when I do, a big prize will await me! ;)

  10. I need to retry this. I’ve tried it about 5 times, each time worse than the first. It’s such a disappointment for me because this should be “my” scent from the line, but it isn’t. It’s just very spicy, dry on me. I’ll keep trying but I know that it’s OK if it isn’t “my” scent. There are plenty others in the OJ line that I love.

    • Olfactoria says:

      It’s true there are plenty others to love, but maybe this one turns around for you too. I went from utter revulsion and immediate scrubbing to a full bottle. ;)

  11. Thank you for mentioning my little review here, Birgit! It’s coincidence that I happen to be wearing OJ Woman today. :) An interesting thing I discovered about my beloved Woman last year when I wore it every single day, I became mildly anosmic to the Iso E Super after awhile. I notice now that I wear it about once a week, I don’t have that problem anymore. I still find the combination of the sandalwood and grass oil to be incredibly hypnotic. There’s just nothing else like it!

  12. Lavanya says:

    Am I the only one who doesn’t find this ‘witchy’ and mysterious enough?? *ok- I just read through the comments and realized there were a couple* After reading Marina’s review as well as a few others- I expected this to be exactly like how you describe it- but on my skin it was fluffy and cuddly with a hint of green- almost like a thin sugar brittle lying on grass- so I can definitely see the green grass but only through that edible sweet veil. However, i think it might just have been my expectations. On certain days- I can totally see glimpses of what you see- the greenness, the magic but on most other days it is very edible and ‘fluffy’ on my skin (to be fair- I do have sweet amping skin). It is definitely one of my favorites from the line but I wish it was just a leetle bit darker and greener..*hides to escape the saucer that Carrie throws*..:D

    • Olfactoria says:

      Interesting that you get so much sweetness out of Woman.
      I’m sure Carrie won’t throw any dishes, even if you say it’s fluffy. ;)

      • Lavanya says:

        B- I think I might have overstated the sweetness- I probably ‘viewed’ it as sweeter than it was the first time I wore it- because I didn’t expect any sweetness. I find it gently edible not unlike the drydown of Ta’if. I am wearing it now and I can smell the lovely green notes in the beginning but they move into the sweeter drydown pretty quickly on my skin. I usually apply an unscented cream under perfume – but I think that particular cream mutes Woman a little- today skipped the cream and can smell the notes a bit more clearly.

        If and when I ever get to an OJ boutique I must smell the extrait version- it must be slightly deeper than the EDP no?

        • Olfactoria says:

          I wish I knew the extrait! When I was at the OJ boutique I was too busy and/or excited, so I forgot to ask the smell the parfums. :(

          Thank you for coming back to explain further, Lavanya! It IS a bewitching scent… ;)

  13. Vanessa says:

    In those primordial days two years ago when I mostly only hung out on Basenotes, I summed this one up on a forum thread somewhere as “Blair Witchy”, and I stand by that. : – )

  14. Sombreuil says:

    I am dying to try OW – it sounds so properly magical and I love green scents. That photo is perfect!

  15. Natalie says:

    I gave a little cheer when I saw that you had reviewed this at last! I knew it must mean that you had come to like it. :) Although my own experience of Ormonde Woman is not witchy or mystical, I did really like your review. And the more people like this, the less the chances of it being discontinued before I get a full bottle. :)

    • Olfactoria says:

      It would be a horror for this to be discontinued! I think chances are really slim for that tomhappen, it is OJ’s signature scent after all, and I read in an intervuew that Linda Pilkington does not like discontinuing perfumes and thereby disappointing loyal customers.

  16. Eva S says:

    I love OJ Woman, it’s my favorite from the OJ line along with Tolu. To me it’s witchy and forestlike, but those who find it a bit sweet could try OJ Man instead, I like that one too! It’s my SOTD and unfortunately I discovered that it has a stronger sillage than I thought… I was singing at a (small) concert today and the pianist asked “is it you that’s wearing perfume, you should be very careful with perfume when people are singing, you’re a doctor, you know that!” Well, it’s true so I hurried to the ladies and washed it of, but I reapplied when I got home!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I wouldn’t have thought that it had such a sillage as well!
      Why is it so harmful to wear perfume around singers? Is it because it could be inhaled?

      • Eva S says:

        Some unfortunate people do get irritated in the airways by perfume (not me!). Even a smaller irritation can be a problem when you’re singing not least because you can get nervous (“I won’t be able to hit that high note…”) and then you tense up and your vocal cords get tense as well. I would avoid perfume around highstrung opera singers! :-)

  17. Alexis says:

    Hi Birgit,
    You described this perfectly. I love the light grassy opening and how it develops into a deeper scent. I have just discovered this line and I’m so happy I did. I am just unhappy that it’s unavailable to us here in the States!

    Your description gave me a Lord of the Rings mixed in with Stevie Nicks vibe hahaha! I loved it!

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