Ormonde Jayne Man (Ormonde Jayne)

Whenever a brand names their fragrance "Man," it gets an automatic eye roll from me. What an inherently tired product this must be, that even its creators couldn't be bothered to give it a name. My recently-acquired sample of Ormonde Jayne's boring, snoozing, sawing logs offering called to mind a particular Calvin Klein scent, also called "Man." Surprisingly, that fragrance smells good. It is a studied mish-mash of every woody-fresh/violet leaf masculine of the last thirty years, housed in a precious "Art Moderna" bottle, presumably to distract from its cheapness. Despite the overall dullness, it's a wearable scent that I reach for on occasion, and do not regret purchasing. Sometimes - most times, actually - smelling good is all there is.

Ormonde Jayne's scent is of markedly higher quality, but it covers the other road-most-traveled. This is a mish-mash of dry-woody/juniper masculines from the seventies and eighties, extending the retro reference by another ten years or so. Notes-wise it contains all the usual suspects: vetiver, cedar, juniper berry, cardamom, sandalwood, coriander, pink pepper, woody amber, pine, and last but not least, synthetic oud. I suppose Linda Pilkington could have taken the brief and toiled for months to come up with a new way of combining the listed elements, but the end result suggests she did the same as me and rolled her eyes. Can I blame her for submitting something as staid and predictable as this? Not really. The suits at this company are the ones to blame, not the perfumer. Extend a novel brief, and increase your chances of receiving a novel formula. Ask for white bread, and you get Ormonde Jayne Man.

Still, it's a very nice fragrance with no rough edges, and everything in its place. Its orderly character elicits images of solid, well-groomed men, the guys who dated and married their high school sweethearts, work nine to five, and threaten their daughters' boyfriends with certain death. I fear this kind of traditionalism will likely smell increasingly out of place as the twenty-first century wears on and continues to wipe away, with clenched fists of technology and agnosticism, the pillars of modern society. Are there fedora-wearing father figures who come home to read the newspapers after a long day at the office? No, not really. Fedoras are all but extinct, and people my age don't read newspapers. While Calvin Klein's "Man" fragrance alluded to postmodern "fresh" fragrances, OJ Man alludes to "old fashioned," the antithesis of "fresh."

I see no reason to go back forty years for this kind of "Man." Thirty years is nostalgic enough. If you want old-school, wear the real thing, like Z-14, Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme, Azzaro Pour Homme, Yatagan, Jazz, Red for Men, or any burly old-school masculine. All of those scents smell more convincingly "Manly" than this scent does. That raises the real question about all of these throwback fragrances - why pay more for something that is less than the sum of its parts?


  1. (Carlotta, Carlotta...) Have you tried the Woman from this line? Rather masculine, I find! Here's my review, in case you're interested:


    1. Another feminine with a moustache, eh? I'll have a look, thanks Sher!


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