Ormonde Jayne’s Frangipani (2011)

Ormonde Jayne Frangipani 50ml EDP  ©Victor Wong
Ormonde Jayne Frangipani 50ml EDP ©Victor Wong

Thanks to the shout out from members of various Facebook fragrance groups, I did not miss this year’s Ormonde Jayne’s Black Friday massive sale.

I learned about Ms. Jayne’s perfumes from Luca Turin’s book, and was very impressed to see that both Ormonde Jayne for Women and for Men got a 5 Star review. Ms. Jayne should be very proud of herself (I assumed she was the nose of these two perfumes), for it’s almost like your two kids were the Williams sisters of the tennis world.

[Update: a reader corrected me:  the woman who started OJ is Linda Pilkington. The nose behind Ormonde Man and Women was Geza Schoen.]

Before I placed my order online, I browsed through their website for other perfumes they were offering. One perfume that caught my attention was Frangipani…

A few years ago I went to a mini horticulture show in Toronto. One of the booths was showcasing potted frangipanis – a tropical plant that bears white, creamy pastel fragrant flowers. Their potted frangipanis were strong, dense and beautiful, but also looked manageable for a small home owner. I bought two stalks and they taught me how to plant them. Step 1 – Insert them into the soil and water them generously. That’s it.  Well, one stalk didn’t grow and rotted from the inside, and the other one successful grew. But Canada’s winter is a bitch; every year I have to bring it inside from the backyard before the weather turns cold. My frangipani never grows big, let alone flowers.

This year I traveled to Cambodia and Taiwan, and almost killed my double-chin by constantly sweating under the extremely hot weather. As I visited different landmarks, I often saw trees that bore beautiful flowers. I looked closer and was shocked to find out that they were actually frangipani trees. They were huge. Not giant, may be 10 foot high or higher, but definitely much bigger than I had ever anticipated they could reach. I picked up a fallen flower from the ground and smelled – very sweet, fragrant and slightly indolic, almost smelled like jasmine, but not as unique. I kept smelling the flower as I walked, trying to remember the scent.

My bottle of Ormonde Jayne’s Frangipani had finally arrived, and I was initially deeply disappointed, for the wrong reason. I was hoping for a fragrance that smelled exactly like the flower that I had smelled in Taiwan, but in fact, I should have looked for a frangipani essential oil instead of a perfume. Geza Schoen (the nose of Frangipani) did a good job here – it’s a very feminine and quite beautiful floral scent; while it has tons of white flowers (jasmine, lotus, tuberose, magnolia), it still smells fresh and watery (and a little powdery too). The supposedly super star of the perfume, frangipani, is somehow lost in the crowd. (Or maybe I have forgotten what frangipani smells like?) The perfume then dries down to some green notes, completing the quick journey around a tropical flower garden.