Vetiver Tonka and Ormonde Woman

This weekend, I went for a long walk in Golden Gate Park. It’s such a big park that it is actually possible to get lost in it, and in the less busy parts you can walk for a while without running into a single other person, surrounded densely by trees and shrubs. What you can’t avoid are the scents. Earth, trees, the salty marine air, damp leaves, junipers. If I ever move away from San Francisco, this is something I know I will remember, and I will miss it.

Choosing my perfume for that walk in the park wasn’t difficult. I love trees. I love how their branches reach energetically for the sky. Some scents remind me of that feeling, either because they actually smell like trees or just because they smell so alive. Hermes Vetiver Tonka and Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman are two. Although they are very different, they share that wonderfully vibrant quality.

The notes in Vetiver Tonka (created by Jean Claude Ellena) are vetiver, neroli, bergamot, grilled hazelnut, dry fruit, cereals and tonka bean. (via) The notes in Ormonde Woman (created by Geza Schoen) are cardamom, coriander, grass oil, black hemlock, violet and jasmine absolute, vetiver, cedar wood, amber, and sandalwood. (via)

Both fragrances take me on a walk in a forest on a summer day. Some reviewers (here and here) have written about Ormonde Woman’s bewitching properties, but for me there is nothing threatening in Ormonde Woman. The woody notes, the spices, and the jarring note that seems to be hemlock are serious, sure, but the vetiver anchors the perfume to the real world. It may be an exploration of mysterious elements, but that exploration takes place during daylight hours, not under cover of night.

Vetiver Tonka takes this wonderfully real, living quality of vetiver and rounds off its edges for something more comforting. Vetiver oil comes from the plant’s root (via), and Vetiver Tonka spotlights vetiver’s earthiness. It feels organic, but not intensely “green” or smoky, as in many classic vetivers. Paired with tonka, bergamot, and nutty notes, the effect is softer and more feminine. Although my nose doesn’t smell cereals, I am not surprised to read them in the note list; they seem to fit. In this fragrance, Ellena captured my idealized vetiver, which may not be real but which is — for me — better than real.

For a review of Ormonde Woman, see Perfume Shrine. For a review of Hermes Vetiver Tonka see  What Men Should Smell Like.

Image courtesy Public Domain Images. Sample of Ormonde Woman provided by the company. Vetiver Tonka is my own acquisition. Reviews are never compensated, and posts are never sponsored. See my Media & Disclosure policy for details.

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17 responses

    • Thank you! That is such a nice compliment. I did actually choose perfume just for that walk. :) But, I also knew that was going to be the main activity of the day, so it was sort of like choosing the perfume for the whole day!

  1. I loved “seeing” the park through your eyes! I feel like, afterwards, I will see both Vetiver Tonka and Woman (scents that I already love) through new eyes.

    Thank you for sharing such a peaceful, inspiring experience! :)

  2. Ormonde Woman is a great scent, I’ve been wearing it as well lately. And I also love to take a walk in the forest. Unfortunately my son is very reluctant to go with me and he usually wants to go home within 10 minutes, but I keep telling myself, eventually he’ll learn to like it, or he will just be so old he can stay at home by himself…

  3. SF sounds like a such a wonderful place to live..I miss being densely surrounded by trees- that park sounds lovely.(There are trees where I live but everything feels so ‘manicured’ and organized..lol).

    Ormonde Jayne is a lovely perfume and unlike most reviews, i didn’t find it very dark and mysterious either..I think I was very disappointed in the beginning because I didn’t get any witchy greenness/ evil mysteriousness. Once I got over that I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it. On me it is edible and fluffy (the cardomom?) with a translucent green veil (Maybe I might have found it more mysterious if I hadn’t expected it to be?)

    • Well, manicured and organized the park definitely is not! :) But the city could use more trees, too.

      Isn’t it interesting how differently Woman seems to react on different people’s skin? Like you, I didn’t get the dark and mysterious side, obviously. And while it didn’t go into truly edible for me, it’s definitely on the cozy side. Not what I expected!

  4. I love… no, LOVE Golden Gate Park! And I’m very proud of it. There is so much in there, for any type of activity – hiking, biking, roller skating, dancing, birds or flowers watching and more.
    I like OW and I’m with you on “nothing mysterious” part. I think it smells nice on my skin, but nothing dark or witchy. Not a gourmand scent on me either. And now, when I read this post, I agree that it should be a perfect scent for a walk in a forest – I’ll try it on my next walk.

  5. I have never walked in that park, but driven past the periphery a few times and wished I had time to linger. A pal of mine used to do guided botanical-type walks there – I am not sure if she still does though..

    Anyway, “cuddlier vetiver” is a a good description of VT and to be encouraged – I am all for sticking cream or vanilla in the fiercer type of scents and seeing what gives.

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