Orris Noir is the latest fragrance from the London boutique Ormonde Jayne. Orris Noir is named for the Black Iris of Amman, Jordan's national flower, and the notes feature davana (an aromatic herb also used in Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus), pink pepper, coriander seed, cardamom, bergamot, iris, jasmine sambac absolute, pimento berries, bay, saffron, incense, myrrh, patchouli, cedar and gaiac wood.
Orris Noir starts with a good dose of the pink pepper that appears in several other Ormonde Jayne fragrances, and is especially noticeable in Ta'if and Isfarkand. The spiciness picks up speed as it dries down and the other notes join in, but it is not overwhelmingly spicy: this is a fragrance that whispers rather than screams. The heart is a lovely blend of jasmine and iris, very soft and plush, over a warm base of woods and resins.
I feared from the name and the list of notes that it would be a darker and heavier fragrance than I would like, but it is neither dark nor heavy: it is not so light in spirit as Ormonde Jayne Frangipani or Champaca, but nor is it as dark as Tolu or Ormonde. I would call it dusky, like Ta'if, and it shares a bit of Ta'if's sultry, come-hither quality. It also recalls Escentric 01 by Escentric Molecules, a fragrance that I originally compared to Ormonde Jayne's Isfarkand, but here the resemblance is even more obvious. Orris Noir is a considerably deeper, richer, and more complex fragrance, but the woody-musky base accented by iris and incense is strikingly similar.
Orris Noir is not ever going to be my favorite from the Ormonde Jayne line — Frangipani is firmly entrenched in that position — but it is a lovely fragrance. Whether I will fall in love with it remains to be seen. I was slow to warm up to Ta'if, for that matter, and it is now a regular in my fall rotation. Of course, Ormonde Jayne fans will want to try Orris Noir, but then, Ormonde Jayne fans already knew that. If you've never tried any of the Ormonde Jayne fragrances, the sample set is, in my very humble opinion, worth every penny.
And for another take on Orris Noir, see Marina's review at Perfume-Smellin' Things.