Tusting Talks to… Linda Pilkington, founder of Ormonde Jayne

This week we speak to founder and creator of London perfumery Ormonde Jayne who will celebrate 23 years of the business this November. We discover the interesting story of how the brand name came about and how to choose the right fragrance for you.

“The beauty of fragrance is that it speaks to your heart… and hopefully someone else’s.”
Elizabeth Taylor

How did you come to start Ormonde Jayne?

Happenstance is a theme that has continued throughout my life! I bumped into a childhood friend in London who was working at Chanel’s Fine Jewellery in 1999. He had been frustrated in his search for a scented candle to burn in their boutique in Old Bond Street and remembered my hobby of making scented candles when I was a teenager. He challenged me to “create a perfect scented candle with an even burn and a stunning fragrance”. Being a perfectionist, I took his challenge seriously and invested many months, with trips to Grasse and researching the art of perfumery and candle-making in every spare hour.

Madame Sophie, the manager of Chanel’s Mayfair boutique, had given me a brief: not only did the candle have to have a perfectly even, slow burn with an exquisite scent, it also had to be the colour of the antique coromandel Chinese screens in Coco Chanel’s Paris flat.

Our kitchen turned into a studio with pots of colour, measuring jugs with piles of paperwork, and notes on every formula. I was hoping to hit the precise shade of burgundy aubergine. After six months, I presented the final candle to Madame Sophie at Chanel – they were delighted and immediately put in an order for 50 more. The word spread astonishingly quickly amongst the London cognoscenti and weeks later I had been commissioned by Burberry and Blakes Hotel to create bespoke scented candles.

Of course, at this point, I was required to submit an invoice and needed to form a company. I wanted to keep my own name, Linda Pilkington, for myself, so my husband suggested I use the name of our street ‘Ormonde Terrace’ and my middle name ‘Jayne’. I thought it was perfect and loved the way it sounded. Within a year of registering Ormonde Jayne at Companies House, I happened upon the boutique in Old Bond Street which was up for rent. That was 22 years ago!

Is it true that the scent of leather is an important influence in your perfumery?

Yes, it is, leather is a key note in our bestseller Montabaco fragrance.  The leather / suede accord works so well in perfumery, and in fact, before Grasse was the centre of perfume, it was famous for leather goods and tanneries. we turn to a leather accord to add alluring notes.”

The art of fragrances is a delicate one, how should someone go about choosing what’s right for them?

With the luxury of time if possible! We always advise getting to know a perfume for a few days, spraying it first thing in the morning and throughout the day;  that way, you can see the reaction from friends, loved ones and colleagues, but importantly, see how you feel about the lingering dry-down left on your clothes the next day.

We introduced a Discovery Lab to our collection early on, with 7 vials and a beautiful card. It’s a great introduction to our niche perfumery collections and makes a lovely gift! There are several different Discovery Labs according to fragrance families, floral, signature, woody, amberesque.

What’s in store for 2023?

This month we launched a new limited edition collection for Selfridges “Snapshots of Selfridges” A trilogy of perfumes focused on each era of Selfridges’ distinct nostalgic encounter and affects the wearer differently. We also have exclusive perfumes launching later this year for Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and Fenwick and a new bottle design happening in September.

I am constantly innovating and hope to make Ormonde Jayne more sustainable – so every time a component comes to an end, I check the market to see if there is an improvement that I could use in order to make it more environmentally sustainable. We never stand still.

What does quality mean to you?

As we manufacture every one of our fragrances in our own studio in Kent, quality is really at the heart of every fragrance. Quality can often be indirectly proportional to quantity in the perfume world. It can be a tiny amount of a rare ingredient that makes the difference. For instance we ensure our ingredients are independently tested for purity and strength before we use them, we are independently audited each year and they test absolutely every aspect of our studio from good working practices to the origins of every single ingredient, and we have over 150 in our library!

I think Ormonde Jayne clients know that, with our perfumes, it’s not just that every bottle is hand poured and is rigorously tested before it hits the shelf, it’s knowing that everything surrounding it, from the perfume pump, to the studio practice, to the packaging is optimal.

What’s always in your bag?

Perfume, Lipstick and hairbrush. Once you brush your hair, put on lipstick and spray perfume, you look (and feel!) like you are instantly in control & ready for action.  At the moment, I’m using a Christian Dior lipstick that is very nourishing and tinted.  We launched a Travel Spray in the first few years of Ormonde Jayne, and the sleek vials in my bag have so far proved shatterproof!


To discover more about Ormonde Jayne, visit the website here and follow on Instagram here.

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