Seraphim was developed for the art concept store 20 ltd , a design house with pieces from famous and upcoming designers such as jewler Solange Azagury Patridge (of the modern demi-chypre Cosmic) and fine art photography. Seraphim, the fragrance by Ormonde Jayne was issued in 2007 in only 50 bottles: the lucky club of owners would be allowed to get refills from Ormonde Jayne (for £270), but that would be it! The bottle, with its beautiful abstract design and its antique gold ribbon around the neck, rests in a box lined with black velvet whose outercase is hued matte gold.
The price tag at the awe-inspiring £450 for the original 50 ml bottle (about €628) is probably enough to deter a blind purchase. And yet the uncompromising attention to quality standards that Linda keeps makes one daydream and wonder...
But why the elitist approach in the first place? Linda was gracious enough to reply in detail: "Ormonde Jayne has many customers that have ordered bespoke scents over the last decade, individual clients who want their own perfume, as well as clients such as Anouska Hempel and Chanel who have commissioned exclusive scented candles or perfume for a special event. As a perfume house, "exclusive" ends up being inevitable at some point, although the vast majority of our work is for the Ormonde Jayne boutique. Also, we saw it as a good opportunity to introduce Ormonde Jayne to an international market, and perfume lovers that might not be familiar with Ormonde Jayne".
Since this explains the exclusivity clause better than any hypothesis on our part, my next question inevitably centered on the price tag. "It was a commission for 20Ltd and my sole duty was to create the perfume and design a bottle and box that was different to the rest of the Ormonde Jayne brand. The price for Seraphim was decided by 20 Ltd, but there were three factors that made it much more expensive: The first was the actual formulation, ingredients like Iris are very expensive. The second was the very small run - just 50 bottles. As the look of the bottle had to be different from the Ormonde Jayne range, we needed to pay for the services of two different brand designers - one for the bottle itself, and one for the box. This involved sourcing velvets and new papers and producing the actual bottle. Now these are the sort of costs which if you are producing a few thousand balance out, but if you are only making 50 bottles, it makes the unit price shoot up. 20Ltd took it from there and were entirely responsible for the next stages, including marketing and advertising. They set the price and they received the money. It wasn't my duty to advertise it all and this is why it doesn't appear on the Ormonde Jayne site".
Which brings me to my last tentative question: who bought it? "I am under the impression that a small percentage of the clients were the perfumistas of the world, however I believe that most of the perfume was sold to the client list of 20 Ltd."
At this point dear readers you would be dying to know my impressions of it. Wish I could give you that pleasure, but I am lamentably not in a position to do so. Perhaps someone of you will reveal that they are! For those of you who are simply curious or toying with the idea of investing, you can see and order the fragrance clicking on the 20ltd page
Notes for Seraphim:
Head notes: (Fresh flowery notes) Bergamot, Rosewood, Ylang Ylang
Heart notes:(Powdery) Rose, Violets, Iris
Soul notes: (Sensual) Musk, Amber, Madagascan Vanilla, Coumarin
Pic through 20ltd