I’ve always been a firm believer that first and foremost, a perfume must smell good. It can come in whatever bottle it wants with any back story it fancies, but if it’s not enjoyable to wear then what’s the point? So often us consumers are courted with gimmicks – perfumes that promise us all sorts of weird and wonderful things, and whilst this allows for the art of olfaction to be pushed forward, it doesn’t necessarily result in fragrances that translate for everyday wear. It’s a balance between making artistic statements and making wearable accessories and when done right, the results are utterly magical.
One brand that perfectly fulfils the ethos of smelling good is Jo Malone London and since the brand’s inception in 1983, they have brought us a wealth of accessible colognes that above all else, smell good. Jo Malone London is a brand that celebrates the luxury of simplicity with fragrances that usually focus on the contrast and harmony of two notes but are always served with a touch of British eccentricity. The idea is that the fragrances themselves are complex enough to excite the nose when worn alone but also have enough of a paired-back simplicity to allow them to be combined with other scents in the collection (following the brand’s Fragrance Combining suggestions). With Jo Malone London one builds a wardrobe of fragrances for each occasion, layering them to unlock new and exciting facets. To put it simply: they do what they do very well.
Us gents are well versed in gifting Jo Malone London to our loved ones but with so much on offer from the brand it’s sometimes difficult to pick out those fragrances that work for us. The truth is that Jo Malone London does not gender their fragrances so everything they have to offer is on the cards for a man to buy, and with extensive collection of fragrances it’s actually pretty easy to build up a fragrance wardrobe – one just needs to know where to look, because with Jo Malone London there really is a scent for every occasion.
In this edit I want to draw your attention to the good and great that Jo Malone London has to offer for men. Now, if you’ve read my blog before you will know that my philosophy is that if it smells good, you should wear it, regardless of what the bottle may say. I stand by that and the purpose of this edit is to direct men to the fragrances within Jo Malone London’s generous collection that feel most comfortable for day-to-day wear, whether that be at work, in the gym or out on the town. Here, with me as your scented guide, you will find just the Jo Malone London scent for you.
English Oak & Hazelnut Cologne
Versatility is something that Jo Malone London offers in spades and perhaps their most flexible fragrance is English Oak & Hazelnut. It’s a fragrance that suits any occasion and more importantly, any outfit, whether casual or smart. Boasting an exclusive roasted oak absolute this scent offers somewhat of a surprise. Where one expects rich woods smothered in lashings of Nutella, English Oak & Hazelnut delivers something far more interesting. This is a crisp, green scent with a creamy, nutty quality (but devoid of sugar). There’s a cool woodiness too that has a casual, ‘walk in the country’ vibe that I am totally here for. English Oak & Hazelnut is an extremely comfortable and versatile fragrance. It feels as good in a t-shirt and jeans as it does a shirt and tie. It’s just effortless and it’s a fantastic example of that approachable style that has made Jo Malone London such an popular fragrance house.
English Oak & Hazelnut is available in 30ml (£45) and 50ml (£90) Cologne.
Oud & Bergamot Cologne Intense
Whatever your job, work demands a fragrance that feels confident and sophisticated without being too ‘in your face’. Oud & Bergamot from Jo Malone London’s Cologne Intense Collection treads this fine line perfectly because it presents a suave elegance in an almost minimalist fashion. Bergamot brings a lightness to the oud, which is often an intense and overbearing material. It rounds off the rough edges, presenting a savoury wood fragrance that feels perfectly sanded. I like to pair it with a turtleneck and blazer to show everyone that I mean business. After all, if you smell good and look good, that confidence will shine through.
Oud & Bergamot is available in 50ml (£75) and 100ml (£115) Cologne Intense.
For the Gym
Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne
Seeing as it is entirely unacceptable in this day and age to carry a bottle of LYNX in your gym bag (and quite rightly too) us gents have had to rethink which bottles we pack next to our trainers and protein shakes. Wearing scent at the gym is tricky and some people have strong opinions as to whether any should be worn at all but personally, I would take smelling a cloud of fragrance on a fellow gym-goer than the alternative options. My personal motto is to wear something light and in moderation. The lightest Jo Malone London fragrance is Wood Sage & Sea Salt but what it lacks in presence it makes up for in intrigue. Wood Sage & Sea Salt is fresh but in an unusual way, with salty, mineral notes favoured over aquatics or citrus. It smells like the sea breeze, ocean-battered rocks and for an ever so slight gourmand touch, a hint of salted caramel too. On warm skin it creates a subtle aura that can only be described as ‘your skin but better’ making it the perfect thing to take you on a coastal run as you aim for that 10k on the treadmill
Wood Sage & Sea Salt is available in 30ml (£45) and 50ml (£90) Cologne.
Pomegranate Noir Cologne
A night out demands a statement fragrance – a scent that stands out from the crowd. Now you may think that, because most of the Jo Malone London fragrances are cologne strength, they’d all be too light to make an impact, but that is far from the truth. Case in point: Pomegranate Noir. This is Jo Malone London’s most iconic scent – a ruby-red crush of tart raspberry, pomegranate and plum that feels vibrant and almost neon-like. Contrast comes in the form of an effervescent patchouli accord that is dark and spicy, but also spacious enough to allow the fragrance to really create a cloud around the wearer. So whether you’re out on the town or frequenting more classy establishments, Pomegranate Noir is the Jo Malone London fragrance that is going to get you noticed. Fact.
Pomegranate Noir is available in 30ml (£45) and 50ml (£90) Cologne.
For Summer Holidays
Basil & Neroli Cologne
It may seem like summer is a long, long, long, LONG, way off at this point but it’s not too early to plan a trip away to somewhere far away and warm (remember warm?). If you’re going away then you’re going to need a holiday scent – something refreshing and cool that has distinct enough of a signature that to take you right back away again with one spritz once you’ve returned home. My pick from Jo Malone London would be Basil & Neroli, a fragrance that glows with the intensity of sunlight hitting the bright white walls of a Mediterranean villa. The fragrance contrasts savoury, green basil, floral neroli and breezy white musk, creating the odour of giant palm leaves soaked in rain water. It’s so refreshing that wearing it almost feels like a bucket of water to the face, making it perfect for packing next to the white t-shirt and short shorts in your suitcase. Just don’t wear it with flip flops – Basil & Neroli deserves better than that!
Basil & Neroli is available in 30ml (£45) and 50ml (£90) Cologne.
For Date Night
Incense & Cedrat Cologne Intense
Whether it be a first date or a regular date night, us gents need to step up our scent game to make an impact because the lovely ladies and gentlemen that love us deserve a little bit of an effort. Jo Malone London have lots of suave, sophisticated and straight-up sexy scents amongst their offerings and the standout is easily Incense & Cedrat from their Cologne Intense collection. Pairing warm, golden frankincense with the tart, zesty quality of cedrat, this exotic fragrance evokes images of the deserts of Oman with its hot, arid quality but also the glittering shimmer of the stars with its luminous citrus notes. Incense & Cedrat is perfect for date night because it has an addictive, intimate quality that invites others to take a closer sniff. Pair it with blazer, shirt and no tie, and you’re good to go.
Incense & Cedrat is available in 50ml (£75) and 100ml (£115) Cologne Intense.
For the Adventurous
Mimosa & Cardamom Cologne
This may be a men’s edit and Jo Malone London may be a brand that does not gender their fragrances but this would not my blog if I didn’t throw in a wildcard that blurs the gender-lines somewhat. So consider this one the Jo Malone London fragrance for you if you want to be a bit more adventurous and are a bit more relaxed about what smells masculine or feminine. Mimosa & Cardamom is one such fragrance and I’d argue that it’s the best Jo Malone London has to offer. Cool, powdery mimosa, with its facets of pollen, violet and honey are warmed up by the aromatic spice of cardamom whilst the creamy, almond-tones of tonka bean add a contemporary richness, and smoothness of texture. This is the Jo Malone London fragrance for the guy who has a quirky sense of style, a bohemian approach to life and maybe, just maybe, a bit of a thing for knitwear.
Mimosa & Cardamom is available in 30ml (£45) and 50ml (£90) Cologne.
So there you have it, a fine and handsome selection of gentleman-appropriate fragrances from the iconic, and somewhat quirky house of Jo Malone London. My advice is to go in store, test these fragrances out, layer them and see what works for you. Let your nose be the judge and I am sure that you will walk away with a new addition to your wardrobe, all presented in a handsome box tied with a bow.
Samples, notes and quotes via Jo Malone London. Images are my own. Prices correct at time of publishing.