Ormonde Jayne Isfahan Pour Homme : Fragrance Review



Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

The first impression of Ormonde Jayne Isfahan is a transparent sizzle of pepper, which has an interesting violet-like sweetness supported by warm citrus notes. The blast subsides quickly, with the bits of pepper dissolving into what is to become the main edifice of the composition—smooth, languidly sweet cedar, with a distinct dark coolness of vetiver. The changes that take place subsequently are few, with the composition having more of linear quality than other Ormonde Jayne fragrances.

Even if Isfahan (2006) pales in comparison to other Ormonde Jayne’s creations, it nevertheless possesses a certain charm that would make this fragrance more appealing on a man than a large number of bland masculine fragrances on the market. On the other hand, it has a sweet softness that would make it appealing for a woman as well. I would have endorsed it stronger had it possessed better tenacity, beyond a mere hour that it lasts on me.

Photo: Si-o-Seh Pol, Bridge of 33 Arches, Isfahan, Iran. One of the most famous Isfahan bridges, it was commissioned in 1602 by Shah Abbas I. There is a famous tea house among the pontoons, upon which the bridge is built.



  • MC: I like this one too, Victoria, but it fades very quickly. Its simplicity is appealing: I would not presume to detect any trends but speaking for myself I am beginning to think that clear-headed, minimalist scents work well on men.

    I thought Isfahan seemed like a cross between Blenheim Bouquet and Artisan Parfumeur’s Navegar with a dash of Cologne Bigarade. July 22, 2005 at 9:14am Reply

  • Robin: Lovely review, V, for one of my favorite fragrances. It lasts all day on me, sometimes I can still smell it the next day (Osmanthus is the same). July 22, 2005 at 10:08am Reply

  • Felicia: Lovely review V. I feel this one lacks in composition and body especially when compared to OJ’s other scents. Perhaps it wasn’t given long enough to steep?? I understand the appeal because of the pepper lime opening which IS unusual in today’s market but feel she got this one to market too soon. Definitely not my favorite OJ – and my DH was not the least bit interested since it lasted all of 1 hour on him. July 22, 2005 at 11:26am Reply

  • mreenymo: Victoria, I love your reviews. You know that, right?

    But for some reason, I can’t help but think this line, while original in its contents, is highly overrated.

    Sorry, the heat must be melting my brain!

    Hugs! July 22, 2005 at 11:41am Reply

  • Victoria: Mike, that is a perfect way to characterize it. It is as if the peppery of aspect of Navegar is amplified and folded into the pine crispness of Blenheim Bouquet’s , with some bitter orange sparkle added. While it is minimalist, I am excited that for once, a fragrance of this type is not resorting to the triteness of musk and citrus, not playing up these accords to suffocate everything else. For this reason alone, I would still recommend it, even if the lasting power leaves a lot to be desired. July 22, 2005 at 9:27am Reply

  • mreenymo: I agree with you: great quality in what she uses in the fragrances. Also, highly original use and blending of notes.

    But I guess the real litmus test is how it smells on the wearer. And on this wearer, it just ain’t happening! 🙁

    Hugs, darling, and have a great weekend! July 22, 2005 at 1:52pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you, R! I am glad that it lasts well on you. Other OJ fragrances definitely last well on me, even some of the lighter ones like Osmanthus. July 22, 2005 at 10:19am Reply

  • Tania: I only tried it once before it passing it on to my husband, but I do remember an extremely cheerful lime-peel and pepper opening that I liked a lot. It was upsettingly short-lived, though. July 22, 2005 at 10:23am Reply

  • Victoria: Tania, I am comforted to know that I am not the only one complaining of poor tenacity. I tried to make Mr. P like it, but I do not think he is a fan of cedar. Therefore, the sample is still in my possession. July 22, 2005 at 10:35am Reply

  • Victoria: Felicia, thank you. I have little patience with fragrances that do not last well, therefore I was particularly disappointed when I tested Isfahan. I enjoy its shimmering spicy opening, but dislike its lack of tenacity. I agree, that is a sign of being marketed too quickly.

    Robin, thank you, dear. I always love hearing your thoughts, whether you agree or not. While I often have trouble with using the term overrated (I notice that I would do so in cases when everyone likes something and I do not, therefore it is more of a reflection on my tastes), something must be said about a constant flow of praise that one hears about OJ on some of the messageboards we both know. I still think that the quality of the compositions is high enough to justify much of this praise, but it certainly would not be something that pleases all. If I do not like something, more often than not, I am just glad that I am not about to spend more of my income on yet another perfume.

    xoxo July 22, 2005 at 12:46pm Reply

  • Victoria: Do not worry, darling! There are plenty of other fragrances that suit you wonderfully. Enjoy Ecume de Rose! I know that it is working out just fine! 🙂
    Have a great weekend.
    xoxo July 22, 2005 at 1:58pm Reply

  • Anya: I received my OJ samples the other day. Imagine my surprise when I heard they used to be free, but I had to shell out $31 USD for them. So far my favorite is Isfahan, because the drydown reminds me so much of Tuscany by Aramis. Victoria’s description of the unfolding of the scent is stunningly accurate. Unlike others, my little wrist spritz lasted over 12 hours, even in the heat and humidity (I was indoors, but still….) Her scents seem to weld onto my skin, especially the ones I dislike, lol. Which is most of them.

    If I could only get past the ubiquitous use of common synthetic white musk she uses in so many of her perfumes. Why, oh, why, did she resort to this? The absence of it in Isfahan was refreshing and allowed me to enjoy this creation. July 28, 2005 at 7:06pm Reply

  • Victoria: Anya, thank you for confirming my impressions on the musks! They tend to dominate in some of the fragrances that otherwise would be perfect for me (Osmanthus is the case at point). I like it, but the longer I wear it, the more I notice the musk. I wish she would use a different base for it. July 28, 2005 at 7:25pm Reply

  • Anya: Victoria, soul sister! I felt I was the lone infidel regarding this, as I emailed several OJ lovers, and they pronounced me, well, I can’t use those words in a public forum 😉 One wept. I sprayed on osmathus first, and lordy, even four or five washes couldn’t get that cheap musk scent off my wrist, which meant it haunted my sleep! And since I have osmanthus concrete and absolute, from different suppliers, I feel I am an osmanthus nut, and I didn’t detect any.

    Anybody else get strained peach baby food in Fragipani? LOL. I used to pop a jar of Gerber’s and drink the stuff, and I swear Linda bottled it just for me in that scent. Which isn’t exactly a good thing. July 28, 2005 at 7:55pm Reply

  • Victoria: Anya, I have sampled a variety of frangipani extraits, but OJ Frangipani smells more of peach melded with magnolia to my nose. Then magnolia fades and all I smell is fruit.

    I think that I am very sensitive to the musk OJ uses, because all of the fragrances I enjoy the most from OJ either have none of it or very little. July 28, 2005 at 10:13pm Reply

  • Anya: Victoria, by magnolia, do you mean champaca? (Michela champaca and M. alba are often called magnolia in the perfume trade.) The floral headiness I’m getting from the top have the choking powdery hit of a champaca, very little linden (which is understandable, given its quieter nature. The choking sensation (which I like 😉 may be bolstered by the tuberose and jasmine she identifies (this from the OJ site).

    I must say the peach comes through within 20 seconds. I have used fragipani concretes and absolutes for years in my blends, but none smell peachy. There is a peach-scented fragipani, btw, Aztec Gold variety. I have it growing in my yard, and i pick the blossoms and tincture them in alcohol. I know of no commercial source for the Aztec gold (white) fragipani absolute. If OJ found it, I want the source! lol

    She also indicates “plum”, which has to be synthetic, and I’m sure gives off a peach-related note. Water lilies? I suppose lotus, but nympheae absolutes may be possible, but they’re very muted here.

    And, of course, the best part — her light hand with the “musk” here, because like you, I feel it ruins scents that I would otherwise enjoy. I so enjoy musk ambrette seed or attar as a base note in place of that harsh synthetic musk, I try to imagine the OJ scents with that instead.

    If you would like a picture of the beautiful peach-scented fragipani, I can send one to you privately. It was on the soft launch homepage for my site, but have since replaced it. I had a bouquet in my home last night of those fragipanis and tuberoses. Glorious! July 29, 2005 at 10:19am Reply

  • Victoria: Anya, yes, my apologies for being unclear. I mean champaca. I just took out my champaca absolute and dabbed some side by side, and that cured leaf note is in OJ too (how else to describe the soft tangy blast, I am not sure). I suppose that plum is the culprit of peachy accord, because I cannot imagine whatelse might be responsible. I am curious about new fragrances she is going to make, and I hope that musk will be subdued.

    Just sent you an email! Thank you for your offer! July 29, 2005 at 1:35pm Reply

  • Tania: Victoria, one more thing about the OJs that Felicia and I discussed recently: they actually change over time. These things age, like cheese or wine. Maybe even Isfahan will be a different scent in a year. Felicia noticed that a fresh sample she had of Sampaquita smelled entirely different from her full bottle from a year ago–and the fresh one was unwearable, while the bottle was stunning. I’ve noticed my Champaca smells noticeably different than it did when I bought it–it’s far more *floral* than it used to be, and the sharpness in the topnotes is blunted. I couldn’t say the scent has “gone bad” as we say. Instead, it’s gone good. Isn’t that unusual? July 29, 2005 at 10:54pm Reply

  • Victoria: Now I undestand why I have such different reactions to testing OJ samples last year and this summer. They certainly change. I noticed this mostly with Champaca and Sampaquita, which the first time I tried them struck me as sharp and musky. Now, my samples are rather soft, and although the musk is still there, it is more muted. How interesting! I have never discovered this direction of change before. July 31, 2005 at 11:48pm Reply

  • hossein: I live in Isfahan and just know about this perfume.unfortunatly there is no retailer in Iran that sell Niche products and i have tried only one of the OJ creation Ormonde man.Seems i should have a trip to dubai to try more of this house.
    Thanks for the perfect review and lovely pic of the bridge.Isfahan is so beautiful and have a lot of historical places . Also we have a very best of rose in the world in Isfahan (persian rose) and lots of perfumistas visit Isfahan in the spring every year for buying the rose oil . June 3, 2012 at 3:11am Reply

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