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Ormonde Jayne: The Allure of of scent-ual fragrances on London's Old Bond Street

Chemistry is both art and science; it marries together elements that complement each other beautifully. Step inside the tiny Ormonde Jayne Perfumery on London's Old Bond Street, and you'll experience the rare and exquisite fragrances that result when passion is part of the potion.

"I've only got one shop in the world," says Ormonde Jayne creator Linda Pilkington, who describes the exclusive boutique's décor as "very, very chic, very romantic, but decadent." Inside each handmade black and rosy-orange package displayed on ebonized shelves is an indulgent surprise: a perfume, perhaps, or bathing oil, body lotion, shower crème or candle. Their intricate scents, formulated from some of the world's finest and most exotic ingredients, have earned Ormonde Jayne a loyal following among perfume fanatics and celebrity clients.

Pilkington, who collected perfume bottles as a young girl, says it is an "absolute blessing" to transform "your hobby and everything you love" into a profession. Just eight years ago, she was making scented candles and bathing oils at home to sell through local shops during the holiday season. She squirreled away funds for a booth at a gift tradeshow and was rewarded not only with orders for her distinctive products, but with first prize for design.

In an industry where copycatting is common, Pilkington's creations defy duplication. She travels regularly to plantations in Laos, Oman, Egypt and Morocco. "I look for flowers and woods that are not commonly used, but they all need to smell very beautiful," she says. "It's important to stay ahead of the game; it's in my favor to look for very expensive oils that the big perfume houses wouldn't want to copy."

Extraordinary time is devoted to research and development. "I'm quite happy to experiment; I constantly keep trying to do better," Pilkington professes. Wick lengths are adjusted for each candle's specific oil to maximize burn time. Body lotions and shower crèmes infused with a perfume's pure essence have been formulated by a newly hired chemist, who greeted Pilkington's extravagant request with, "You can be as mad as you want."

While some of the company's fragrances are broadly accessible, others, such as Ormonde Woman, with its heart of Black Hemlock, are "quite artistic" and "an acquired taste," Pilkington admits. Visit the perfumery, and you'll be "introduced to every perfume in a very relaxed atmosphere," she says. For those who can't get to London, she recommends the Sample Programme available through "It's like a little perfume library."

For brides, Pilkington suggests Sampaquita. "The name means 'I promise you,' and it's all about fidelity and resolve," she says. The national flower of the Philippines, Sampaquita is botanically related to jasmine, so a bride who selects the fragrance also creates a lasting memory. "Every time she smells jasmine, she's going to be reminded of her wedding day," Pilkington says.

Ormonde Jayne gifts will also delight bridesmaids. Osmanthus, Frangipani Absolute, and Champaca are all derived from white or pale orange flowers. "You can't fail to like" these light-hearted scents, Pilkington assures. All three would work well with Sampaquita and "wouldn't clash at the altar," she says.

A groom needn't be the only thorn among the roses. Award-winning Isfarkand Pour Homme, with its hints of lime, mandarin and bergamot wrapped in pink pepper, cedar, vetiver and moss, is cool and sensual; he'll have to hide it from his new wife, cautions Pilkington. And if the bride wears Ormonde Woman, then Ormonde Man is an ideal choice for the groom; the two complex fragrances share 80 percent of their ingredients, but his opens with cardamom and juniper berry, hers with coriander and grass. "That would be quite nice," Pilkington muses. "They would go in harmony together."


> Writen by Kim Knox Beckius



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