Aaah. That’s what my nose felt like when I spritzed on some of Ormonde Jayne’s Ta’if this morning. It’s just that beautiful. The fragrance is, of course, named for the famous Taif rose of the Middle East.
As with all the Ormonde Jayne fragrances, apparently, the nose behind Ta’if was Geza Schoen. It was launched in 2004. On the brand’s website, it appears that Ta’if has been replaced on the English website by Ta’if Intensivo, which lists the same notes: pink pepper, saffron, and dates in the top; rose oil, freesia, orange flower absolute, and jasmine absolute in the heart; and broom and amber as base notes. The accompanying section of “Linda’s Notes”, referring to founder Linda Pilkington, still refers to the original creation of Ta’if, so I think this is a new name, not a new scent, to reflect the fact that this version is much more concentrated. The sample I have, from the original discovery set I got a couple of years ago, is just labeled Ta’if so I know it is the original; and regular Ta’if is still shown for sale on the brand’s US website, which says:
Ta´if is an intoxicating and audacious rose scent from the town of Ta´if which sits above the shores of the Red sea and overlooks the Arabian desert. This perfume dislikes daylight preferring dusk, the night, parties, promises and assignations. It is an opulent composition which makes a bold entrance and is confident enough to sweep everyone else to one side – a real belle of the ball.
Fragrantica also describes Ta’if as a fragrance for “evenings and glamorous occasions”, and that is exactly right. It’s very elegant and beautifully made without being edgy or daring. It is different from many rose fragrances I’ve smelled (and hallelujah, it’s not overwhelmed with oud, the fragrance fashion of the last decade). It is definitely “couture”, not “designer.” So let’s go to a glamorous occasion filled with couture, shall we?
What I smell at first spritz is the combination of dates, saffron and pepper with the rose. They don’t precede the rose note so much as they usher it into the room. And sweep regally into the room that rose does, like a beautiful woman arriving at a ball.
The rose has elegant companions, that might even have attracted much attention in their own right, but beside her, they are supporting players at best. The top notes I smell most are the dates and the saffron, but the pink pepper is also evident.
All of these step aside when the rose enters. Rich, warm, spicy without being too heavy, beautiful without pretension, this rose glows.
The rose stays at center stage for a long while. You can tell that the other notes are there, hovering around her, and they are also very elegant; but even the jasmine is there to complement the rose, not outshine her.
As Ta’if dries down, the fragrance becomes warmer and softer. The amber and broom in the base notes are evident. Broom is an interesting scent to choose for a base note. It is a yellow floral, with a scent that reminds one of honey and pollen, per Fragrantica. It is used in Zoologist’s Bee, for example, as a heart note, and the perfumer behind Bee specifically mentioned the honeyed quality of broom in a recent interview. When the base notes really make themselves known, the rose has left the party, leaving a rosy afterglow in her wake.
Yes, it’s love — and I may just have to put Ta’if on my future wish list in a size larger than the 2 ml spray in my discovery set. I sometimes, but rarely, go out to glamorous occasions; although now that my friends’ children are starting to get married, my opportunities might increase! So I don’t really have “occasions” to wear Ta’if, but I’ve been very content to have it on my wrists and neck at home today. I wouldn’t wear this one to the office, though — not because I think anyone would be offended or overwhelmed, but because that’s a little too much cognitive dissonance for me. I chose the photos here because the Met Gala is the most glamorous occasion I can imagine happening in the USA! It usually takes place on the first Monday in May, but this year’s event was canceled.
I know Undina is a great lover of Ta’if — any others among you? Have you tried other fragrances by Ormonde Jayne?