Parfumo's Blog
9 months ago - 26.05.2022
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Interview With Linda Pilkington From Ormonde Jayne & Giveaway

Linda Pilkington is the creator of Ormonde Jayne. Her latest creation Babylonia will be released soon. Parfumo has asked her a few questions.

How did your journey into the world of fragrances begin?

There was never a moment when I decided I was going to own an independent British perfume house. It all came about with nothing more than happenstance.

In my early life, I enjoyed craftmanship, and making things at the weekend, like making chocolates, rooms sprays and candles made from rolled beeswax. Having an entrepreneurial spirit, I was able to sell them in my village from an early age. My mother also gave me her collection of empty perfume bottles and then a full bottle of Madame Rochas which was a big step up from White Musk. From an early age, I owned lots of sophisticated looking perfume bottles, and combined with a keen eye for craftsmanship, my dream became reality.

Your perfumes reveal quite an ‘amberesque’ aura. What is the reason for this?

My favourite time of year is autumn, I love seeing golden leaves falling, and I’m in heaven, warming myself by a roaring fire with a glass of cognac and the scent of Tolu.

Amberesque is a very beautiful name for the family of perfumes oils from woody resins. Amber is also very much open to interpretation and it’s a way for each perfume house to express its individuality as there is no actual scent from amber itself. Ambergris is extraordinary scent, and ambroxan is the molecule equivalent which is also beautiful. One of our best selling perfumes in Ambre Royal which has a loyal following all over the world.

You have always pioneered new ingredients and managed to always stay several steps ahead within the perfume world. How have you achieved this?

Our philosophy has always been to use ingredients not widely used in the perfume industry and that is what set us apart, and the trigger was from a conversation with a very interesting woman who I was making a bespoke perfume for.

On a quest for Oudh in Laos in 2003

I wanted to find something that would really impress her and that was out of the ordinary. Her brief was a floral amberesque flower and I wanted to find something that set this perfume apart from all others. During this process, I realised that was also what I wanted to do for Ormonde Jayne, to pioneer new extraordinary ingredients that were also exceptionally beautiful. It was a two-year journey to create the Signature Collection that still sets us apart.

I had some enormously lucky breaks during that period, and also some stumbles, but ultimately, we were able to launch the world’s first fine fragrance with Oudh and Black Hemlock, and also launch our perfumes Osmanthus, Tolu, Champaca, Ta’if when no perfume house had used these oils in those quantities and placed them on centre stage. It was not just that they were rare and undiscovered, ultimately it had to be that they were very beautiful and wearable. We know that anyone that wears an Ormonde Jayne perfume always is asked what they are wearing and given compliments.

How much work goes into developing a new fragrance, from the idea to the product on the shelf?

Every fragrance is different, some take several years as nothing ever hits the shelf unless I am 100% satisfied that I would wear it and that my clients would adore it.
Once I know in my mind how I want the end perfume is going to smell, we go about building up the basic accord, this generally could be anything from 5 - 9 ingredients. Once we are happy with the basic accord, we make up 5 samples of this, and to each sample we give different top notes. Then from these 5 samples we would choose the best one, and make 5 samples of this again and repeat the process by experimenting with different avenues and continue with that thread. If there comes a point that we don’t like any of the 5 we have made, we go back one stage. It can take up to 6 months of repeating that process.

Today’s world of fragrance has changed significantly from when I launched 20 years ago as every aspect of your new fragrance must pass IFRA’s tight recommendations and rules and products have to be registered on portals. The whole journey time from start to finish is probably three times longer than it used to be.

What have you learned from your customers?

Our client base is incredibly diverse, as well as erudite. Customers that walked into the boutique 21 years ago when we first opened still return today so their feedback is not only incredibly helpful, but it’s also very positive and gives me great confidence. I have always been an attentive listener and I’m very interested to hear their thoughts. In our first few years, one of my customers said to me, why don’t you have a travel spray that I could put into my handbag? I thought about it that night, and I made sure I had a travel spray in 6 months. I learned a valuable lesson of how and when they wear their perfume – you must always listen to your clients especially when they have been faithful for so long.

In 2005, a gentleman chose the perfume Ta’if for himself. In those days, perfume was firmly divided into men’s and women’s perfumes with very few exceptions, and the public conversation around gender identity had not really taken off. That evening he looked up the perfume on our website and found that Ta’if was a women’s perfume. He was angry and felt our sales staff had misled him. I’m not in the business of upsetting customers but I also had a lightbulb moment and saw that gender and a sense of smell had nothing in common; I thought, who am I to tell someone that likes a perfume, that it’s not for them? That night, I asked our software engineer to remove all mentions of Men and Women and announced that from here on, our perfumes were to be gender free. It sent shock waves around the industry at the time, but today, I would say it’s becoming the norm. I decided to keep the names Ormonde Woman and Ormonde Man as they had already launched and won awards, but today they are the only ones.

What is your personal favourite from Ormonde Jayne and why?

I would say it’s Ormonde Woman, our signature house perfume. I always wear it in moments when I need to be confident and powerful, and as a businesswoman, that’s very often. I feel it protects me. However, on my dressing table I also have Osmanthus, Frangipani, Ta’if and Champaca, especially for when I am on holiday and relaxing, especially in the warmer months.

Your bottles follow a very clear, consistent design language. What makes a beautiful perfume bottle for you?

You are in for a surprise as I am designing a new bottle! As with our original bottle it will be 8 sided as in numerology, 8 signifies prosperity, inner strength and a desire for peace…what’s not to like? We are also upgrading the quality of glass with our new bottle design, and using a higher grade.

Your latest creation Babylonia will be released this summer. Tell us a bit more about the new fragrance!

It’s a romantic, powdery and enchanting scent with iris, bluebells and violets like sweet candy floss. Babylonia begins with luscious gourmand notes - blackcurrant, pink pepper, davana and bergamot followed by the heavenly warmth of soft musk, sweet resins, vanilla and praline. The perfume sings in perfect harmony and could not fail to achieve a sense of romance.

Thank you very much for the interview!

Babylonia will be available for pre-order at Essenza Nobile starting June 2022. The global launch is August 2022.

To take part in the giveaway, check out the interview on (German).

Last updated 26.05.2022 - 11:58 AM
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