Isfarkand is one of the masculine offerings from London-based perfume house Ormonde Jayne has the line's signature structure and skeleton, which are evident from the very first notes. While there's a passing citrus note that fades on me almost before it begins, I'm getting a very peppery polished wood, that Iso Super E blast that seems to take over at first. It's not as aggressive and bracing as in some other ISO-heavy scents (think Terre d'Hermes), but it's there in spades.
The part that won me over (eventually. Isfarkand wasn't a love at first sniff) was the lime-infused cedar-vetiver that slowly reveals itself under the pink peppercorns. It's crisp, not fussy and has an elegant backbone that makes it especially people-friendly without compromising on having a character. Isfarkand is a great example of a truly modern perfume/cologne that captures the spirit of the time but doesn't settle or smells cheap.
Unlike some of my other Ormonde Jayne favorites (Tolu and Ta'if), Isfarkand has almost no sillage. I guess it makes the perfume very wearable for men who don't want to be too obvious about wearing scent. I like bigger statements, but since the longevity is excellent, I'm willing to live with the fact only my nearest and dearest would ever get to smell it on me. Interesting enough, Isfarkand, while being a men's cologne, doesn't work on my husband. It disintegrates into bitter shreds of wood and citrus before evaporating into thin air. A similar thing happens to him with Terre d'Hermes, which I wear happily, so it might be an Iso Super E issue. In any case, more for me.
Isfarkand (£68.00, 50 ml) is available from ormondejayne.com and the Ormonde Jayne boutique in London. They ship worldwide and I highly recommend ordering the full sample set, as I did, since these fragrances can be an acquired taste.
Photo by Ilva Beretta.