Jo Malone London fragrances are offered as colognes and as such, boast a weightless, transparent signature. They are not rich, heavy and opulent scents with an endless reach – they are easy, breezy and transparent. But they are not without character – far from it, in fact, and many have become regular staples of mine (see Mimosa & Cardamom, Tuberose & Angelica, and Basil & Neroli) because they do have a distinct personality that I find really easy to wear and even easier to enjoy.
Because of their lightness and apparent simplicity, the Jo Malone London fragrances lend themselves well to layering (or ‘Fragrance Combining’ as the brand calls it) allowing one to mix and match their scent to create their own semi-bespoke signatures. With their Cologne Intense collection, Jo Malone London offers the same style of fragrance as their main range, but these fragrances have a bit more heft to them, allowing the band to explore the worlds of ouds, orientals, opulent roses, and heady florals, creating stark contrasts for their Fragrance Combining blends.
The latest fragrance to join the Cologne Intense collection is Bronze Wood & Leather. Daring to be a little bit sexier than other fragrances from Jo Malone London, Bronze Wood & Leather evokes wood warmed by the rays of the sun. It’s a smoky-delicious blend that has a darker, deeper and more daring edge. Remember what I was saying about Jo Malone London fragrances having character? Well this one is a perfect example and it shows how the brand offers lighter (the Cologne Intense fragrances are richer yes but they are hardly powerhouses) fragrances that don’t skimp on character.
Grapefruit, Juniper, Bronze Wood, Leather, and Vetiver.
How Does it Smell?
Mahogany, that’s what I think of when I smell Bronze Wood & Leather. It’s the walnut dashboard and black leather seats combination of the scent world, evoking the image of a vintage Jaguar car. It comes front loaded, with all of the nuances present right from the get go. A subtle spark of grapefruit lightens what quickly becomes a soft, buttery leather hardened by smoky woods. Caramel and vanilla, both silky, liquid-like and soft, bring a tempering sweetness into play, making this Cologne Intense feels luxurious, lean and sumptuous.
With time, the citrus fades and the smoky notes become more tar-like. It’s at this same moment that the golden aura of caramel starts to really weave a plushness into the fragrance, adding a boozy vibe that makes one think of oak casks filled with bourbon. Whilst this may all sound rich and heavy, the reality is far from it, and whilst Bronze Wood & Leather has good longevity and presence, it hardly feels opulent or overtly complex – instead it simply feels like a second skin, albeit a sexy, smoky, oaky, boozy, leathery, caramely one.
Bronze Wood & Leather is quite a simple scent and I think that works in its favour. Many leather and woody fragrances, or even oriental fragrances for that matter, feel clunky, almost tipping over with their density and weight. Bronze Wood & Leather explores the themes of these styles of fragrances but does so in a paired-back Jo Malone London fashion, resulting in an ode to wood, leather and vanilla that is awash with casual elegance.
Out of all Jo Malone London fragrances, I feel as if Bronze Wood & Leather is the most versatile when it comes to layering. It feels linear enough to provide a warming, woody base and a hint of sweetness to any of the brand’s lighter, more floral and fruitier options. I particularly liked it under Wood Sage & Sea Salt – a pairing that amplified the citrus notes and gave the airiness of Wood Sage a warmly roasted depth – but it also took on new vibrancy when layered with the fleshy fruitiness of Pomegranate Noir. Very. Nicely. Done.
Have you tried Bronze Wood & Leather? What do you think?
Bronze Wood & Leather is available in 50ml (£75) and 100ml (£120) Cologne Intense.
Sample (pictured) sent by Jo Malone London for consideration. I was not paid for this review and Jo Malone London had no input in the contents of this article. Notes and quotes via Jo Malone London. Images are my own.