Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ormonde Jayne Tsarina: fragrance review

Tsarina, part of the London exclusive "Four Corners of the Earth" line by niche perfumery Ormonde Jayne, is advertised as "baroque" as would be expected from a fragrance evoking the furs and jewels of imperial Russia. Much as the sensibilities of democracy and social struggle have imprinted themselves into our collective consciousness, understandably making us abhor the practices of that long-gone era, the opulence of the winter palaces and the decorations on the regal vesture make the eye rest on them in awe and admiration (but lest we forget, people suffered so that the few had those privileges!). The contemporary reality of the scent by Ormonde Jayne, co-created by perfumer Geza Schoen and art director Linda Pilkington, is beyond the dense and thick, breathing with a beautiful luminosity and genuine distinction beyond the class systems.

Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia (pinned on Pinterest from coeurdelhistoire.tumblr.com)

The inspiration for the new perfume collection 'The Four Corners of the Earth' came from the indigenous flora of different parts of the world Linda Pilkington have visited on her travels. Globetrotting can serve many things and when it's for the benefit of us all, who can blame Linda for wanting to package these olfactory impressions into elixirs to be put onto skin?

Tsarina captures opulence and passion. It demands furs, leather, brocade, heavy silks in sweeping dresses and fabulous jewels to go with her haughty heritage. If you like the opulent feeling that some great florientals of the past exude in spades, such as Caron Narcisse Noir, or Boucheron Femme (the original), my gut feeling tells me that you'd probably love Tsarina, just like I have, and suffer through its exclusive status as a London-only ware. (The rest of the exclusive line includes the India-inspired Nawab of Oudh, the cedar-austere Montabaco inspired by Latin American and the featherweight charm of Chinese-inflected Qi)

*sigh* I had to post this despite my will, since the costumes are so magnificent...

Decadent luxury is transliterated into scent with Tsarina, a powerhouse floral oriental perfume reverberating with heaps of natural jasmine sambac (quite the non-Russia-referencing blossom!), unfurling its petals from the bottle like tentacles of glamour. The bright fruity touches give a saturated texture. The soft, vanillic and close to the skin intimacy of leathery  labdanum, fusing into an amber-smellingblend (more soft suede than balsam or butch leather one would associate in reference to the usual Cuir de Russie scent themes), underscores this composition—and do I detect a drop of civet, too?
Like the vitraux at the Saint Isaac's Cathedral in Russia, Tsarina is beautifully radiant, powerfully evocative of imperial splendor.

Notes for Ormonde Jayne Tsarina:
top : mandarin, bergamot, coriander, cassis
heart : hedione, freesia, jasmine, sambac, iris, suede
base : sandalwood, cedar, vanilla bean base, labdanum, musk

Tsarina is available exclusively at the Ormonde Jayne boutiques in London, UK.

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Nawab of Oudh by Ormonde Jayne fragrance review (4 Corners of the Earth line), Ormonde Jayne news and fragrance reviews.


  1. mmmm, very tempting. saying that it might appeal to those who like narcisse noir clinched it. if it's not to be available on the website, i may have to ask a favor of a UK friend...

  2. My grandmother wore Narcisse Noir and I would love to give it a sniff! Sounds so lovely!!


  3. NFS,

    it is beautiful and although recalling glamorous florientals of yore, it's quite modern too. (I mean it would never bring forth the "old lady" comment, shudder as I do to mention it).
    Do ask for a sample or blotter impregnated in the scent of your friend. If I had more of it I'd gladly share it with you.

  4. Glo,

    we do know now where you got the fabulous, glamorous fragrance gene from ;-)

    It is very lovely indeed, feels contemporary, but at the same time it's opulent and very lasting and I bet you'd like it.

    Hope you're peachy and thanks for commenting!

  5. Tara C17:47

    I noticed on the web site of Ludwig Beck perfumerie in Munich that they are offering these Four Corners collection OJ fragrances, I plan to have my BF check them out when he is there next week. But, they are 300 euros for 100ml, quite pricey, and for some reason I get very little longevity from OJ fragrances on my skin, so I am not sure I will be buying any. I will rely on his opinion of whether they are worth 300 euros.

  6. Oystersandchampagne07:14

    Will be checking this one out very soon. O.J boutique is 5 minutes from my office!

  7. Tara,

    thanks for commenting, I would think that in person one would have a better opportunity to find out what versions exist. The travel purse sprays are probably available only at the OJ boutique in London, I do have two, so I'm positive that they're being made. But the Munich perfumery might only stock the actual bottles, which is a pity. I would trust your boyfriend as we know he has a good nose and a discerning taste!
    (I think you'd like Tsarina and Nawab best of the quartet myself)

  8. Oystersandchampagne (wow, you made me hungry all of a sudden!),

    it would be a gross misstep not to, in that case! Hope you have a lovely time chatting up the OJ team too!
    The customer service is perfect.


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