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

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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?

The Candies 2015: The Very Best and The Very Worst Perfumes of the Year
The Candies 2015: The Very Best and The Very Worst Perfumes of the Year

How is it the end of 2015 already? Seriously, I feel like things were only getting started! Anyway, seeing as it is very nearly the end of the year it can only mean one thing: The Candies! That’s right, it’s now time to take a look back at 2015 to identify the good, the bad and the downright ugly perfumes of the year. As always, it has been an active year for the industry and we’ve seen some great stuff. We’ve also seen some pretty dreadful stuff as well. It will make for exciting reading, I’m sure,

This year, I’ve done a bit of tinkering around with the awards we have on offer. Most have stayed the same however, we have said goodbye to the Best Celebuscent Award because really, celebrity fragrances appear to be on the out and I honestly don’t think I’ve even reviewed one this year. We’ve also said goodbye to the Best Advertising Campaign Award which has now been replaced with the Best Top-Down Design Award, an accolade that celebrates those perfumes that get the juice, bottle and advertising spot on. Finally, I’ve also added a new award this year for Best New House, which aims to highlight the best new fragrance brand launched within the year. Other than that all is the same.

So without further ado, ladies and gentleman of the perfume loving community, please take your seats, adjust your undergarments and fix your weaves as we are about to commence The Candies 2015. We require silence within the auditorium, selfies are banned and everyone must be suitably perfumed. Them’s the rules. There will be snark, there will be gushing sentimentality and there will be more hyperbole than you can shake a stick at, so gird your loins, dear readers, and get ready for the alternative perfume awards!

Also, please be sure to head on over to Persolaise’s blog to check out his round-up of perfume in 2015.

Quirky Perfume Gifts
Quirky Perfume Gifts

This is my fourth gift guide this Christmas season and you would be forgiven for thinking that this means that I, myself am quite organised with my Christmas shopping this year. Well, my friends, you would be as wrong as Donald Trump on foreign policy (#Topical). In fact, I have been pretty appalling this year and have managed to buy one present. That’s right, one single measly gift. Hopefully I can make amends for my lack of organisation and yuletide consumerism with this, my final gift guide for 2015.

So far we’ve picked out some delightful scented candles and oohed and ahhed at some cheap and mindblowingly expensive gifts. We’ve even done a round-up of Escentual gifts for perfume lovers too! Now we’re at the very last one and I wanted to finish of my guide to gifting with a look at some unconventional perfume gifts, for the quirky perfume lovers in your life. Below the jump you’ll find five fragrant gifts that are a little bit different. So, if you need something scented that is a must have for that loveable weirdo in your life, I’ve got your back this Christmas.

Stocking Stuffers to Wallet Wreckers
Stocking Stuffers to Wallet Wreckers

Gift guide, gift guide, we all love a gift guide! Dear readers, I’m definitely working my way into this Christmas spirit quite heavily this year and I have been scouring the wondrous expanse that is the world wide web to identify some delightfully scented gifts that can; a) make excellent presents for your loved ones; or b) sit quite happily on your Christmas lists for aforementioned love ones to review, and hopefully take note. So far, we’ve had a look at some pretty awesome scented candles but we haven’t finished traversing the world of perfume gifts just yet, and we have more gift guides to go.

In this instalment I’m taking a look at some brilliant perfume gifts ranging from the cheerily affordable to the distinctly expensive, or as I like to call them the ‘Stocking Stuffers’ and the ‘Wallet Wreckers’. Hopefully there is something for every person and every budget here, whether you be tempted by an inexpensive novelty, a mid-range marvel or even if you intend to blow your budget completely to treat that special loved one to something out of this world. Failing all of that, you may just want to treat yourself. Why not, eh?

[Oh and P.S., do swing by for another gift guide in this week’s Escentual column in a few days time and again next week for our final guide, which will be focusing on quirky perfume gifts…]

Candy's Christmas Edit
Candy’s Christmas Edit

That’s right, I’m about to drop a whole heap of Yuletide realness in your browsers. I apologise in advance, but at this time of year it’s simply jolly good fun to do a gift guide, and that’s exactly what I intend to do. Over the coming weeks you will be treated to four gift guides, starting with this one and ending with an installment in my Escentual column. I want to point you to a veritable cornucopia of scented awesomeness this Christmas with guides that look at affordable, wallet-destroying and quirky yuletide fragrances for the body and home.

We start today with scented candles and a confession: I blinking well love a fragranced candle. To me, there are few joys more pleasant than walking through the front door at home and being greeted by an intense wave of delightful fragrance, all of which emanates from one simple flame. In this guide you will find five scented candles, some from well-known brands and others from more subversive outfits, but all with The Candy Perfume Boy’s seal of approval. Each has excellent project and longevity, and will make a wonderful treat this Christmas.

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.