Change of Plans

For some perfumes you have a mental picture. For me Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess is strongly connected to a tropical vacation, Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt is a stroll on a NorthCal beach, and Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles reminds me of Christmas. And I always associated Ormonde Jayne Tsarina with winter and snow. Why? Beats me. Until last week I haven’t ever worn it in cold weather. Probably, some cultural stereotypes: tsarina -> Russia -> winter -> bears… OK, the last part has nothing to do with perfume but you got the picture.


Being not a morning person, I try to plan all of my trips to start not too early and prepare everything in advance. So for this New Year’s trip to New Mexico, with a flight scheduled in the afternoon and all our suitcases packed the night before, I felt pretty good: all I had left to do in the morning was to figure out what perfumes to take with me and pack them – after I slept in on my first day of vacation.

That morning, on December 28th, I haven’t heard anything because of the Do Not Disturb mode on my phone, but something made me check it out before it was time to get up. Text messages from the friends who were joining us on this trip from Texas urged me to contact them. A series of calls and messages between them and the other couple in our party painted not an optimistic picture: our friends got from Austin to Dallas, where they learned that their next flight was cancelled… until the New Year Eve. And even though the four of us from California could still fly into the airport 2.5 hours’ drive away from the destination, weather advisory for the area didn’t recommend traveling to there because of the strong snow storm, and our friends from Texas couldn’t get their luggage back from the airline to even attempt driving to the rented house in New Mexico.

It was shaping up to become a disaster instead of a pleasant holiday with friends, so we had to figure out something quickly. We changed everything and had just a couple of hours to get tickets to Austin (luckily, our friends could accommodate four more people at their house), rent a car, re-pack suitcases (clothes suitable for 5F/-15C mountain retreat would be out of place in a mild Texan winter) and choose perfumes for the trip. And same as wool underwear and snow boots, Tsarina didn’t get to accompany me to Austin because it seemed not quite right for the weather there.

Everything came together nicely, and we had wonderful time with our friends, but it was the second New Year trip where I didn’t wear Tsarina even though I planned to: since I was sick during my last year’s trip, I haven’t got to experience Tsarina in cold weather then as well. But at least last year with my friend’s help I managed to get an appropriate winter picture with it.

Ormonde Jayne Tsarina

On my recent short trip to the East Coast I finally managed to find the right weather to wear Tsarina: there was no snow but it was cold-cold-cold! And Tsarina was just right then and there.

Tsarina was created in 2012 for Ormonde Jayne by Geza Shoen. Official notes: mandarine, bergamot, coriander, cassis, hedione, freesia, jasmine, sambac, iris, suede, sandalwood, cedar, vanilla bean, labdanum and musk.

Tsarina is very polite suede, iris and amber perfume with each of the three named players being even more timid than the previous one. I’m not sure what the brand meant when describing it as “a powerhouse perfume” but on my skin Tsarina is gracious and well-behaved – as a true royalty. I wish iris and amber were more prominent but probably for that I’ll have to turn to Tsarina‘s relatives – Ormonde Woman and Vanille d’Iris.

If you haven’t tried this perfume yet and want to know more, read this review by Kafka, who is responsible for Tsarina in my collection: not only she did that nice review but she also shared a sample with me. And I liked it enough to buy travel sprays.


Images: my own


20 thoughts on “Change of Plans

  1. Wow,
    sorry to hear about your New Year’s trip mayhem but I’m glad it all worked out – even if in a different way than originally planned.
    I love the winter scenery in the photos, I haven’t experienced a winter like that in many years


    • The first photo is from many years ago when there was a lot of snow in Tahoe – I haven’t seen anything like that in years. The second one is from the last year’s trip to Utah where I saw that snow mostly from the window :) It seems like I’m being told by some forces of Nature that I don’t really need to experience winter… :)


  2. Oh my goodness, that was a stressful change of plans all right, involving a lot of upheaval! Glad it all worked out in the end and that Tsarina got some cold if snowless wear. I have not tried that perfume, but I loved your comment: “…with each of the three named players being even more timid than the previous one”.

    Re Texas travel, I had my luggage go missing once at Austin airport very late at night before an important meeting, which I had to attend in sweaty clothes from the previous (very hot!) day.


    • Our friends had their luggage teturned in 4 days, on January 1st: it managed to travel to the original destination of our trip and back through a strange route, about which we learned by looking at the airline website (they had a tracking system) and by calling the Customer Service after the system gave up under the pressure from all delays and cancellations caused by that storm.


  3. Thank goodness you managed to rearrange everything. I’m actually wearing Ormonde Woman today which I now feel suits winter better than autumn, which I previously associated it with.
    I am longing for snow and feeling very romantic about freezing Russia while reading the last instalment in the historical fantasy Winternight trilogy.


    • I would love to spend a day or two in snow – if I could teleport to and from without having to experience any weather-related transportation issues :)
      I wore Ormonde Woman at our friends’ house during that trip.


  4. I’ve been wearing my two Tsarinas a lot lately because of the sudden turn to cold weather – I have the eau de parfum and the intensivo. Actually the intensivo is not intense …. and I would say the latest offerings are not as powerful as the original (such a common trend now). But I am sort of addicted to Tsarina and it does last a long time. To my nose it carries a whiff of incense as it fades away – and the fragrance clinging to my scarf the next day is wonderful. I don’t reach for it when it’s hot, but maybe I am just swayed psychologically by the evocative name and the copy saying it demands fur, leather, brocade and heavy silk. And funnily enough it was Kafka’s description that tempted me to try it! Speaking of fur, love to Rusty.


    • I don’t think I tried any of OJ’s perfumes since they created those new concentrations. I wonder if it actually makes a difference for the longevity.

      Not always but sometimes we are influenced by the name, packaging or the story. Whatever it was, we both think of Tsarina as of a Winter Queen :)

      I conveyed your love to Rusty via a treat. He appreciated it.


  5. Wow. You are way more flexible with your travel plans than me! Glad you had a good time in Texas instead of New Mexico, worlds apart in many respects. As to cold weather perfumes, I finally “got” what. Anilla Iris was all about. I was ready to boot it off the island when I wore it this past weekend with the frigid temps and it felt right! I do have Tsarina in travel spray format as well and will wear it when it turns cold again. It is 54 degrees right now in the morning which is ridiculously warm.t


    • I’m not flexible! I prefer to plan everything long in advance. It was one of a few situations in my life when I had to act quickly. I’m also glad it worked out great (and at least half of the people in our party thought it was for the best :) ).
      54… Sounds about right. It’s our morning temperature now.


  6. Hooray for managing to save your NYE. We would have probably just canceled- too much stress. Thanks for talking about Tsarina – I kind of forgot that it was in my travel spray set I bought over the summer. I’m wearing it today and it’s very elegant – not at all a powerhouse, I could definitely wear to work.


    • I’m kind of proud of ourselves for not giving up and saving bad situation. I realize that not everyone can afford that type of a resolution, and I’m grateful that we could.
      I agree: Tsarina is definitely SFW perfume.


  7. WoW, what a quick change of plans on such short notice, Undina. Glad it worked out ok for you in the end. Thank you for writing about Tsarina. I have a travel spray as well and had forgotten about it. As it is still cold here it would be a very good moment to wear this. I associate Tsarina with wealth maybe due to the association with fur. Looking forward to try it again one of these cold days.


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