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Star Magnolia by Jo Malone London

Magnolia, much like Mimosa, is a floral note not commonly used in perfumery. Sure, there are magnolia scents out there but for every one magnolia there is a thousand tuberoses, a million orange blossoms and a billion jasmines, give or take a few. The strange thing about this is the fact that magnolias smell bloody fantastic, more so than many other white flowers. They’re an easy breezy white flower with wonderful citrus accents and a whole heap of headiness. So yes, we need more magnolia please.

Always ones to answer my cries of fragrant pain, Jo Malone London have just launched a limited edition fragrance called Star Magnolia. Woohoo! Bathed in white, the bottle comes complete a soft collar of white floral petals in an unusual display of exuberance from a brand that is so normally classic and paired back. They describe Star Magnolia as being flirtatious and what could be more apt than a flirtatious floral for spring? Nothing! Let’s sniff…

OMFG
OMFG

Please forgive my excitement, fellow perfume nerds, but it simply cannot be contained today, for there are now Angel chocolates on the market. Now, if you know me, you know that there are three things I hold dear to my heart in this world; 1) my family (including my cats) and friends; and 2) food; and 3) MUGLER. So it stands to reason then, that the idea of MUGLER themed chocolates, nay ANGEL themed chocolates would get me just a tad excited. Well that’s exactly what’s got me going today and hopefully they will do the same to you!

So, MUGLER have teamed up with another legendary French house, the chocolatey heaven of La Maison du Chocolat to translate their most iconic fragrance into a gustatory delight. The result is a box of beautiful chocolates that break down the three key accords of Angel into edible delights that are as indulgent as the scent itself. If, like me, you were trying to diet then I’m sorry, Angel has other plans for you and as we all know, she does not take no for answer.

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

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…]

"Joint Perception" - Byredo and Oliver Peoples
“Joint Perception” – Byredo and Oliver Peoples

Stockholm based niche fragrance house Byredo have teamed up with Californian sunglasses brand Oliver Peoples for a scented collaboration that pairs stylish eyewear with an equally fashionable fragrance. Inspired by the idea of synesthesia, the “joint perception of the senses”, where one can see colours or shapes when experiencing certain smells, a California-inspired fragrance was created to evoke the idea of a land seen through the varying shades of different coloured lenses. The result is a fragrance that is spicy, marine-like and warm, and in a link to the lense colours, is available in Byredo’s signature bottle shaded in either indigo, champagne or green to match the limited edition sunglasses.

“The conception of the collaboration was achieved through Byredo’s master perfume perceiving the sights of Los Angeles through different coloured lenses, and translating them into various smells, therefore producing a multi-faceted fragrance. This unique effort has resulted in an original frame designed by Oliver Peoples, through which the color of the lenses will correlate with the aroma of the custom blended fragrance by Byredo”

– Byredo/Oliver Peoples

"Joint Perception" Byredo
“Joint Perception” Byredo
"Joint Perception" Oliver Peoples
“Joint Perception” Oliver Peoples

Byredo and Oliver Peoples have created a space in the London department store Selfridges where customers can experience the fragrance, frames and lenses together. This retail space allows one to pick out the eyewear and fragrance bottle that speak to them, and is an interesting exercise in understanding what the individual eye is drawn to. Also, as we are so led by the marketing and packaging of our fragrances, it’s quite fascinating to see whether the fragrance itself is perceived differently when smelled in each of the three bottle shades. Does the indigo highlight the marine notes or does the champagne accentuate the warm sand? Intrigued by this, and the scent? Swing by on Monday for a full review.

Candy Crush - Angel Eau Sucrée by Thierry Mugler
Candy Crush – Angel Eau Sucrée by Thierry Mugler

Thierry Mugler’s summer edition of Angel from last year, ‘Angel Eau Sucrée‘, is back and I couldn’t be more pleased. Eau Sucrée is my candy crush – she pairs Angel’s signature accords of patchouli and vanilla with a whole heap of sugary treats, namely raspberry sorbet, meringues and candy floss. The result is as delicious as it sounds, and it makes for a slightly unusual take on the summer fragrance, where lighter gourmand nuances are showcased rather than citrus. Click here to head on over to Escentual to read my full review (P.S. the bottle has changed for 2015, but the scent remains the same as last year’s).

adidas ORGINALS x Jeremy Scott
adidas ORGINALS x Jeremy Scott

I do like a nice surprise, especially when perfume is concerned, and definitely when my cynical perfume blogger hat is firmly atop my head. adidas ORIGINALS by Jeremy Scott, the first fragrant collaboration between the legendary sportswear brand and the pop-culture dabbling designer, is one such surprise and I have no shame in admitting that I really do like it much more than I thought I would. As will be a shock to nobody, I’m not a hugely sporty person, and my personal style certainly couldn’t be described as ‘pop-fashion’ (as Scott’s designs are). Further to this, Scott’s first olfactory creation for MOSCHINO (the disappointingly ‘style over substance’ scent that is TOY) didn’t fill me with too much hope for a masterpiece. All-in-all, I didn’t expect to think much of this new collaboration. I was wrong, of course.

adidas ORIGINALS by Jeremy Scott makes a statement right from the moment one removes it from the “thermoformed velvet” placement inside it’s shoe box-like outer packaging. The bottle, which is shaped like one of Scott’s ‘winged’ adidas high-tops will divide opinion but personally, I think it’s really cool and it’s as much a decorative object as it is a vessel for the fragrance. Speaking of the perfume, adidas and Jeremy Scott have worked with perfumers Maurice Roucel (Musc Ravageur, Gucci Envy & Iris Silver Mist) and Philippe Roques to create a blend that reportedly “defies expectations with a unisex formula that contrasts masculine and feminine” – and you know what? They’ve done exactly that!

“Fashion designer, Jeremy Scott defines pop fashion. His brand of rebellion-humurous, optimistic-polished is irresistible to international pop stars and style-makers alike. His vision for remixing and elevating popular culture – with spectacular results – tells the story of the possible made real. There are no limits. There is no questioning. Reality will bend. His first fragrance, Jeremy Scott for adidas ORIGINALS, embodies the high-contrast world of pop fashion where imagination is everything.”

– adidas ORIGINALS

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

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”.