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The Rare Teas Collection by Jo Malone London

As I sit and write this review I am sipping on a hot cup of Earl Grey. Why? Well, for a start I am British so it comes with the territory and secondly, I also like a brew when writing to help get those creative juices flowing, but the main reason is because we are hear to talk about tea, tea and more tea! So in keeping with our subject matter I am drinking my favourite beverage. It’s a hard life, isn’t it?

Jo Malone London also seems to be inspired by the world of tea because they’ve recently launched the ‘Rare Teas Collection’ – a series of fragrances that infuse “straight from the leaf into refined fragrances” teas that are “too precious to drink”. This is a different collection for Jo Malone London because, for the first time, it sees the fragrances packaged in an entirely new bottle, specifically a whopping 175ml column topped by a sumptuous round pebble. The teas this collection celebrates are “revered” and “refined”, and their presentation is most certainly in keeping with these themes.

Oolong Tea, the fragrance I was sent to review, focuses on a fermented version of the tea called ‘Fu Lian Oolong’ sourced just outside of Shanghai, China. Created by perfumer Serge Majoullier (the nose responsible for the entire collection), Oolong Tea is described as a “woody interpretation of tea, with a smoky inflection”, positioning the fragrances as something warmer, richer and a little bit darker than the usually ethereal and green takes on the note one is so used to seeing in modern perfumer. Colour me intrigued as I take another sip of Earl Grey.

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Jo Malone London takes a trip to the herb garden
Jo Malone London takes a trip to the herb garden

Each year, Jo Malone London presents us with a limited edition collection of five or so scents on a particular theme. In the past we’ve been treated to afternoon tea with beautiful delicacies such as Grapefruit & Assam and Sweet Milk, not to mention the gorgeous London Rain collection which included the amorphous Rain & Angelica, which is one of their most unique fragrances to date. It’s always exciting to see what the brand will do next and where the eccentrically British streak will take them. This time their quirky sensibility sees them walking children in nature, specifically in their very own herb garden.

The Herb Garden collection consists of five fragrances, each of which pairs two notes found within your typical British garden, all served in the traditionally eccentric style of the house. Each scent was created by the perfumer Anne Flipo (L’Artisan Perfumer’s La Chasse Aux Papillons and Chloé Love Story) in her first collaboration with Jo Malone London. Each fragrance is billed as presenting freshness with a distinct personality, evoking the wildness of the herb garden. On a side note, completely irrelevant to the scents, can we just give a big bravo and round of applause to Jo Malone London for utilising the ever so fabulous older model in the campaign image above? More of this please, perfume industry! Anyway, back to the scents themselves…

“A day in the herb garden. A quirky tapestry of fragrant foliage, entwined with flowers and fruit. Satisfying stems of fresh English lavender. Overflowing pots of spicy nasturtium and leafy clover. Lemon thyme crushed in soil-covered hands. And cool earth encasing ripening carrots and fennel. The aromatic artistry of herbs; verdant, crisp, juicy and sweet. A captivating and delectable collection.”

– Jo Malone London

Iris in Neon
Iris in Neon

I’m just going to come right out and say it: I’m rather fond of Jo Malone London. There is nothing more fun to me than untying the handsome black ribbon off the top of those beautiful yellow-cream boxes and pulling apart waves of tissue paper to reveal a gorgeously-scented treat for me or my home.  There’s joy in those boxes, whether it be a bottle of Cologne or Cologne Intense, a scented candle or a bath oil, or all of the above (if the box is big enough, of course). They do what they do very well and their fragrances, which are odes to perfumery’s most famous and beautiful ingredients, present traditional themes with an eccentrically British twist. They’re often fun, sometimes striking and always eminently wearable. That’s Jo Malone London.

In their Cologne Intense Collection, the brand steps away from their lighter and more ephemeral sensibilities to explore richer notes in higher concentrations. These are often more opulent and exotic fragrances that have a bit more heft to them (but not too much, mind you). This is the collection where you will find ingredients such as oud, tuberose, incense and rose, all in their full, fragrant glory, and presented in Jo Malone London’s unfussy and relatable style. In January, the brand added the next chapter to the Cologne Intense Collection and two more ingredients to their ever-expanding list of notes explored: Orris & Sandalwood.

“This scent was about framing the orris to bring out its unique duality; it is both woody and powdery, floral and deep. We did this by using other woods as well as waiting a picture of the iris flower itself.”

– Pierre Negrin

Orris & Sandalwood, the latest instalment in Jo Malone London’s exploration of intensity was created by Pierre Negrin, the perfumer behind such masterpieces as Amouage’s Interlude Man and Tom Ford’s Black Orchid Voile de Fleur. Working with one of his favourite materials within the perfumer’s palette, Negrin states that he loves the complexity of orris, describing the note as a “perfume in itself” due to its varied odour profile which is “warm, sensual, feminine, masculine, violety, woody, powdery”. It’s no surprise then, that Negrin was excited to “create something new with such a classic ingredient”, and that is exactly what he managed to do. Orris & Sandalwood is billed as the next journey within the Cologne Intense Collection, one set in Tuscany during the iris harvest. It’s an exploration of perfumery’s most beautiful and expensive ingredient, all served in the contemporary manner that Jo Malone London is famous for, all with a touch of Pierre Negrin’s signature flair. It’s sounding good already, isn’t it?

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