No, Mr Silver hadn’t just bought me a trio of fabulous presents…these three items of girly desire are what you can enjoy when you book in for a Perfume Portrait at luxury London-based perfume house, Ormonde Jayne.
When Holly from the parfumerie contacted me, asking if I’d like a sample session I obviously had to think about it… for all of about three seconds…
The sense of smell is so evocative of memories, good and bad! As I think back to our wedding day I want to recall the fresh smell of spring, the sweet aroma of the flowers and the oaky fragrance of the wine so that I remember my perfect day in every way.I thought it would be wonderful to choose my own signature scent for our wedding day so I could wear it for special occasions and anniversaries and Mr Silver and I could recapture the memory of the day again and again.
My friend Lauren, who is one of my bridesmaids, seemed the ideal companion for the scent-sational experience, and we were both looking forward to finding the perfect perfume.
The boutique is in a beautiful mews just behind Sloane Square and it is surrounded by other fabulous shops. Lauren and I couldn’t resist a quick stop to Heidi Klein as I was looking for few ‘key pieces’ for my honeymoon.
The glossy black and mirrored interior is so stylish and chic and I felt like a kid in a candy store surrounded by all those beautiful perfumes, candles and bath and body products.
A bit of history: Ormonde Jayne was created by Linda Pilkington, who started her career producing luxurious scented candles. Famously, she was asked to create ‘the perfect scented candle’ for Chanel, it was these high standards and her uncompromising desire for using the best ingredients that led Linda to create a outstanding perfume range.
Lauren and I were sat down at the counter and given a glass of champagne while Holly explained the principles of the perfume portrait.
We were introduced to single notes that make up the perfume and asked whether we liked or disliked them.
First, we tried a selection of different oils which are used as base notes in the finished products. One aspect of Linda’s perfume that makes it unique is the speciality oils that she uses which are not widely employed in the perfume industry.
There are seven fragrance families, each with three different oils to try. First we tried the hesperidic fragrance family which were fresh and citrusy, in this group I particularly liked the mandarin as it reminded me of Christmas and chocolate oranges. Happy memories bought back by a very simple smell.
The other fragrance families included delicate floral, intense floral, balsamic, oriental, woody and atmospheric. We enjoyed many of the pretty and feminine floral oils such as frangipani and champaca but the woody fragrances, such as hemlock and cedar, were too masculine and we agreed we’d prefer to smell them on our other halves rather than on ourselves. I also loved some of the sweet smelling oriental fragrances such as tonka, and I’ve always loved vanilla. Though we agreed it reminded us the Bodyshop White Musk that we all used to wear as teenagers!
Hmmm… maybe not…. isn’t it interesting how a fragrance note is so evocative and can bring back a shared memory too.
With all this fragrance sniffing we needed to cleanse our nasal palettes, so to speak. At this point Holly unveiled a jar of coffee beans which you apparently inhale to dismiss the previous scent memory.
Well you learn something new everyday…
One of the most interesting fragrances was Ambroxan from the atmospheric family. When Holly handed me the fragrance stopper I just couldn’t smell a thing whereas Lauren picked up on the sweet musky notes which are supposed to imitate ambergris (a rare whale excretion). Holly explained to us that scent perception can be very different from one person to another, it was especially the case with Ambroxan which varies according to your hormone levels.
After we’d smelt all the oils, Holly studied our likes and dislikes to see which fragrance family held the majority of likes. For both of us the intense florals were the winner and we sampled some of the perfumes that Linda had created from those particular oils.
I loved the Sampaquita which is the national flower of the Philippines, the name translates as ‘I Promise You,’ the ideal sentiment for a wedding really! The flower is also symbolic of purity coupled with fidelity and resolve…well you could get much more perfect… and the summer fragrance was light and fresh. Champaca was our other favourite fragrance of choice, this perfume was heaven scent! The aroma was elegant with Asian flavours of rice and green tea, reminding me of my stay in the Thai rice paddies.
We were give a generous vial sample to take home with us to test out on our other halves…
The perfume portrait was a really fabulous experience and an excellent way to choose your signature wedding fragrance. The environment at Ormonde Jayne is incredibly relaxing and I would also recommend it as a great way to treat your mum or for a small and chilled out hen do.
For further information, including pricing, check out the Ormonde Jayne website.
What scents evoke treasured memories for you? Let me know in the comment form below.