Step Into New Bohemia
Step Into New Bohemia

I must admit that I have a little bit of a soft spot for Jo Malone London. In my opinion they do what they do and they do it very well, specifically, they create pleasing, low-key fragrances for scenting both people and their homes, and package them all beautifully. Jo Malone London sell a lifestyle, one that is housed within the simplicity of their structured bottles, placed carefully in gorgeous boxes and tied with beautiful bows. It’s a life that looks and smells good.

Over the last year or so, the brand has started to become a little bit bolder with their offerings. Rain & Angelica, a limited edition from their London Rain collection was weird and glassy, like crystallised drops of summer rain. There was also last year’s Wood Sage & Sea Salt, another unusual blend that was somewhere between salted caramel and sea spray. Oh and we mustn’t forget Incense & Cedrat, the latest addition to the Cologne Intense collection and an absolutely gorgeous benzoin-heavy incense that begs to be snuggled. They’ve been very busy making some intriguing scents, it must be said.

The hard work of Jo Malone London continues this autumn as September sees the launch of a brand new pillar fragrance for the brand. Focusing on the rich notes of Mimosa & Cardamom, this new launch (unsurprisingly called ‘Mimosa & Cardamom‘) created by perfume Marie Salamagne is an ode to word travel, eclectic fabrics and a mixture of cultures seen through the lens of a bohemian blend of flowers and spice. Without offering too many spoilers for the rest of the review, I will say that Mimosa & Cardamom really lives up to its inspiration and I for one think that it’s great to see such an underused yet fascinating note as mimosa being used front and centre in a mainstream fragrance. Good work, JML.

A New Bohemia: Mimosa & Cardamom by Jo Malone London
A New Bohemia: Mimosa & Cardamom by Jo Malone London

This September, British fragrance brand, Jo Malone London are set to expand their cologne collection with the addition of ‘Mimosa & Cardamom‘.  Described as evoking a “new bohemia”, the fragrance was created by perfumer Marie Salamagne (Incense & Cedrat and Silk Blossom) pairs the spicy and exotic tones of cardamom with the plush, hazy tones of mimosa and tonka bean. The result is a well-travelled fragrance that displays a variety of textures and colours.

“A new bohemia awaits. Mists of honeyed, golden mimosa float above the spiciness of freshly crushed cardamom. Creamy tonka and sandalwood woven under powdery heliotrope and Damask rose picked at dawn. Warm, ethereal, mesmerising.”

– Jo Malone London

Poppy Delevingne
Poppy Delevingne – The First Jo Malone London Girl

Jo Malone London have announced that “model, designer and fashion ambassador”, Poppy Delevingne has been chosen as the brand’s first ‘Jo Malone London Girl’. During her residencey, Delevingne will represent Jo Malone London’s spirit of “sophistication, originality, wit and hospitality” on a global scale, in addition to curating and hosting a “series of special events – both grand and cosy”, and offering her “expertise and dynamism to a spectrum of projects over the next year”. On her appointment, Delevingne says:

“I’ve been wearing Red Roses since I was 22. The first thing that drew me to my husband James was his scent, and when I asked him what it was he said, Amber & Lavender. My home is overflowing with Jo Malone London candles and I scented my wedding with Orange Blossom, which still gives me butterflies. Jo Malone London is woven into the fabric of my life and I couldn’t be happier to be working with a brand I love so much.”

– Poppy Delevingne, Jo Malone London Girl

Dark Amber & Ginger Lily Cologne Intense - The Lace Edition
Dark Amber & Ginger Lily Cologne Intense – The Lace Edition

This May, London-based lifestyle brand, Jo Malone is launching a series of limited edition lace bottles for some of their most bridal-appropriate fragrances. Available in Peony & Blush Suede, Orange Blossom, Red Roses, English Pear & Freesia, Lime Basil & Mandarin, Nectarine Blossom & Honey, Wild Bluebell, Pomegranate Noir, Velvet Rose & Oud, and Dark Amber & Ginger Lily, the Lace Editions are etched in three different designs and serve as a wonderful gift for the happy couple or simply a treat for the Jo Malone collector.

Whilst we’re on the subject of weddings (love is in the air, it seems!), Jo Malone are also offering complimentary wedding consultations at their boutiques, in which brides and grooms-to-be (along with up to five family members or friends) can discover just how to “scent their wedding”, through the Jo Malone collection of fragrances, body products and candles. Further info can be found on the Jo Malone website, and for info on how I scented my wedding, simply click here.

“Our scents can be symbolic too. The peony flower, embodied in Peony & Blush Suede, is the quintessential flower for a bride, thought to be good luck for marriage. Similarly, Orange Blossom is a traditional part of a bridal bouquet as it symbolises good fortune and happiness together. Layer the two scents with Fragrance Combining™ to create a blooming full floral or pick Wild Bluebell as your something blue.”

– Jo Malone, London

A Trip to Oman - Incense & Cedrat Cologne Intense
A Trip to Oman – Incense & Cedrat Cologne Intense

I know it’s only March, but I’m going to go ahead and say that 2015 is turning out to be a very good year for perfume. There have been some strong launches, scent such as Annick Goutal’s  L’Ile au Thé and Jo Malone’s Birch & Black Pepper, but there’s also been some outstandingly beautiful new things, things like Lalique’s unexpectedly striking Living Lalique, and of course, Jean-Claude Ellena’s latest offering for Hermes – Le Jardin de Monsieur Li.  In a world where flankers run riot and ideas, and artistry for that matter, can seem to be in short supply at times, it is perfumes such as these that restore faith and act as reassurance that the perfume industry still has tricks up its sleeve.

One fragrance that really struck me as quite wonderful and innovative is Jo Malone’s Incense & Cedrat.  Launching in June as part of the brand’s Cologne Intense collection, this Marie Salamagne-penned fragrance centers on Omani frankincense – an ancient ingredient that filters through every aspect of life within Oman. Frankincense is burned in the country for a whole heap of reasons, whether it be to simply scent a house, ward off mosquitoes, or even as an expression of sadness. It is as vital to the Omani way of life as it is wonderful to smell, and Incense & Cedrat presents an incredibly pleasing take on the note that is entirely respectful of its importance and natural beauty.

To launch the fragrance, Jo Malone  transformed their (rather swanky) London town house into Oman for the day. Stepping over the threshold was a real experience. The air was thick with frankincense, the smoke of which permeated the plaster and thick carpet pile of this very British building, transporting one to a foreign land. Once inside, one could be forgiven for thinking they had just hot footed it off the plane straight on to the Arabian Peninsula. It was a door to another world. Thus is the theme for Incense & Cedrat – realism through a dash of perfumery magic.

Jo Malone 'Rocks the Ages' With Their Latest Collection
Jo Malone ‘Rocks the Ages’ With Their Latest Collection

Here’s a bit of a quickie review to end the week. Over the years I’ve dipped in and out of Jo Malone’s catalogue of fragrances. For the most part I find them to be well-executed scents that range from clean easy-pleasers like Lime, Basil & Mandarin and Earl Grey & Cucumber etc. to more intriguing oddities such as Rain & Angelica and Wood Sage & Sea Salt (there’s also that upcoming Incense & Cedrat that I keep saying I’m obsessed – more of that soon). They may not necessarily be the first brand that I’d go to if I was looking for a wild and wacky fragrant adventure, but I’m always keen to see what the world of Jo Malone has to offer.

As they often do, Jo Malone have launched a collection of limited edition fragrances. This year, the theme is British history and the name of the game is “Rock the Ages”. Charting British tradition from the Tudor era to the present day the five fragrances (four new ones plus a limited edition bottle of popular fragrance, Pomegranate Noir) map the many facets of our vibrant history. Birch & Black Pepper (perfumer: Christine Nagel), the subject of today’s review is the one assigned to modern Britain, to 2015 specifically, and it’s described by the brand as being “individual, audacious and stylish”.

Wood Sage & Sea Salt
Wood Sage & Sea Salt

Jo Malone always strikes me as more of a lifestyle brand than a fragrance house. They produce an array of lovely scented goodies for the house and body that are housed within beautiful packaging. They look, feel and smell luxurious in a straight forward kind-of-way and have an unfussy approach in all that they do – an approach that does not seek to challenge. Their fragrances aren’t the most groundbreaking in the world, but they always come across as pleasant in a pure sort-of-way.

The brand’s latest fragrance, ‘Wood Sage & Sea Salt’ almost feels like a departure from the clean and pure simplicity that is inextricably linked with the name Jo Malone. Created by perfumer Christine Nagel, this new instalment from the British brand intends to celebrate the “treasure of the English coast” and be evocative of the “windswept shore” in a fresh, salty and mineral scent that really is unlike anything else one can find in the collection. Sure, it’s still a ‘clean’ cologne in the Jo Malone style, but it’s also a fascinatingly abstract piece of work that comes as a complete surprise.

“Escape the everyday along the windswept shore. Waves breaking white, the air fresh with seal salt and spray. Alive with the mineral scent of the rugged cliffs. Mingling with the woody earthiness of sage. Lively, spirited and totally joyful.”

Pretty in Pink - Silk Blossom Cologne by Jo Malone
Pretty in Pink – Silk Blossom Cologne by Jo Malone

It has been a busy year for British perfume brand, Jo Malone. So far in 2014 they have launched four deluge-inspired colognes as part of their London Rain Collection, a new addition to their Cologne Intense series ‘Tuberose Angelica‘ and they’re set to launch the very intriguing ‘Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne’ in September. So yes, the perfumers over at one of Britain’s most popular fragrance brands have been working very hard indeed.

In amongst these new launches is a limited edition fragrance, and the subject of today’s review, entitled ‘Silk Blossom Cologne‘. Created by perfumer Marie Salamagne (Vivienne Westwood’s Let it Rock and Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic) and inspired by the “pink-fringed pompoms” of the flower, from which it takes its name, Silk Blossom is an airy, roseate fragrance that celebrates pale, powdery and blush tones of pink.

“Nature’s blooms at their most tempting.
The pink-fringed pompoms of Silk Blossom.
Irresistible to hummingbirds and butterflies.
Apricot-fresh with a touch of spice.
Airy with clouds of powder-soft heliotrope,
nestling on a bed of moss.
Fruity and enticing.”

Perfume Pic of the Week No.18: Pretty in Pink
Perfume Pic of the Week No.18: Pretty in Pink

This week’s Perfume Pic of the Week is a double-whammy of the colour pink. As you may tell from the slight overuse of varying shades of the colour on this website, pink is one of my favourite colours and to me, evokes feelings of joy. After all, some of the best things in life are pink, such as; roses, macarons and Womanity, just to name a few. So this week I’m celebrating a duo of fuchsia fancies that bring brightness in a rather lovely composite image.

Peonies are the first subject of this mini ode to the colour pink, and what a beautiful topic they are. Nigel and I adore fresh flowers and the number of filled vases in our house definitely outweighs the space found in a one bedroom apartment. This weekend we picked up some beautiful, pink peonies (wonderfully ‘snapped’ by Nigel in the picture above) that are grabbing our attention with their huge, showy buds and softly sweet/spicy odour.

I like the note of peony in perfume too, especially in Penhaligon’s rather marvellous Peoneve. What Peoneve does quite remarkably, is capture the sharp, peppery, spicy and rosy facets of the flower to create a perfume that presents the image of peonies in the ground with the petals and stems all present and correct, and surrounded by soft soil. Both the flowers and the perfume speak of a self-assured beauty that is both casual and striking.

London Rain
London Rain

I love the rain. There’s something about gloomy black skies and relentless downpours that appeal to my melancholic side. It’s fun too and as kids, my sister and I would often play outside in the rain until we were soaked through to the bone. We revelled in the burning cold of the open heavens and gorged on the smell of petrichor like greedy gremlins, fuelled by the most ancient and fundamental of elements. We also had fun splashing and throwing mud at each other, of course.

British perfume house Jo Malone appears to love the rain too, so much so in fact that they have launched a selection of four colognes (three new and one old) as part of their limited edition London Rain collection. Their take on rain is altogether more sanitised than my sister and I making mud pies though, focusing instead on the purifying and almost cinematic elements of rain within an urban landscape, celebrating it as a key part of London life. As the brand says; “what could be more British than London rain?”

“This collection is intensely urban whilst harnessing the power of nature in the city; drenched blooms, savage rainstorms battering the parks, the torrential drumbeat pelting the pavements. And the scents that rise from nature’s outburst, refreshing city life, making everything seem brand new.”

Created by perfumer Christine Nagel (Etat Libre d’Orange’s Archives 69, Versace Woman and Giorgio Armani’s Si) the London Rain collection consists of; Rain & Angelica, Wisteria & Violet, Black Cedarwood & Juniper and White Jasmine & Mint (originally launched in 2007). Each cologne captures “the different moods of a downpour”, ranging from the aquatic to the spicy and casting the idea of urban rain in a variety of watery shades.

In this review I’ll be taking a look at two perfumes in the collection – Rain & Angelica and Black Cedarwood & Juniper. The former represents morning rain over London’s green spaces, whilst the latter is a moodier affair that captures evening rain dashing against the city’s jungle of buildings and pavements. Together they demonstrate how a single idea can be presented in a number of guises, displaying familiar aquatic notes in new and intriguing ways.