One Thousand Scents

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Big Spender: Ormonde Jayne Zizan

Unlike Isfarkand, Zizan, Ormonde Jayne's most recent men's scent, is big and boisterous, all you would expect a men's scent to be. Comparing the two, I can see how Isfarkand would appeal to anyone who wanted something masculine yet quiet: Zizan is more obvious, with a lot more personality--the party animal to Isfarkand's wallflower.

A sparky static-electricity zap of lemon pepper with a slightly sugary feel to it--candied lemon zest rather than fresh lemon--opens the show, quickly supplemented by an herbal-fougere note: the whole thing feels at first like a twist on Eau Sauvage (a good scent to imitate if you have to imitate something), but rapidly veers off in another direction, another mainstay of men's perfumery, when a big dollop of jasmine-laced vetiver makes an appearance. It is all very bright and clear until the woody-amber drydown, and it takes up a lot of space, in a good way.

But in the end, I am not sure that Zizan is especially distinctive. I suspect that if you smelled it blind, not knowing it was from a niche British perfumer and not seeing the packaging (which is lovely) or knowing the story, you would not think it was particularly wonderful: there's nothing in it to really make it stand out from the crowd of men's citrus and fougere scents. Maybe a better nose than mine could find something genuinely new and different about it. I like it, but I don't think it's sufficiently better than any well-made department-store scent to be worth over $100. For that kind of money, I want amazing.

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