Century City Mall is near my house and right by the entrance I use is the Jo Malone store, so the brand is always in my consciousness. In all honesty, I think the brand is too popular for a perfume snob like myself, but at times I cannot help it – they sure do bring out crowd-pleasing perfume, and even I am not immune. Over the Holidays, they brought our ‘Myrrh and Tonka’ as part of their Cologne Intense collection. They are always very generous with me sample-wise (they are not idiots) and I have test-run the scent a couple of times.
I like it – it’s on the heavier side if you compare it to other Jo Malone releases, so it’s right up my alley. The myrrh in the beginning is mixed with lavender so it’s a smoky spicy sweet mixture. Then the scent gives way to some almond and vanilla and tonka bean. The vanilla is not the gourmand kind – it’s dry and resinous, and the tonka bean provides just the right amount of sweetness here. It’s pretty cloying and perfect for sweet weather, and I would imagine it might give people headaches if worn during warmer temperatures. I don’t know if I would rush to get this, and if I did get it, I would probably be fine with a 50 ml bottle of it. It’s like a ‘friendlier’ version of Tobaco Vanille, and definitely skews more masculine.
Jo Loves ‘Orange Tulle’ is exactly what its title sounds like: a gauzy, tarty citrus fragrance that is realistic, and quite lovely. It’s by Jo Malone under her latter label Jo Loves. And it’s very Jo Malone – floral and light and effervescent. You do feel like you are smelling orange blossoms as you walk by an English garden in the early morning, as there is a dewy quality to the scent. I walk every morning to work and it mirrors the ‘experience’ of a lot of the flower patches that I travel by in my neighborhood. There’s sicilian mandarin, and neroli, and of course, orange blossom here, and there’s the sweet, the sour, the slightly bitter in the composition. It reminds me of summer mornings, and now that it has gotten chillier, it’s a good reminder. This is one of those perfumes I sometimes forget about. I have to pull it out to use it. In a stroke of luck, this small bottle is one of the ones that have ‘come out’ from my collection from my move. The sillage is romantic – you have to pull close to me to really get the scent, but I bet I oversprayed and people can smell it on me now. I also bet I get compliments.
When I first tried Jo Malone ‘Honeysuckle and Davana,’ I couldn’t decide if I really liked it. I was at Bloomingdale’s walking on my way to lunch and spritzed it, and almost forgot about it. Then I started to sniff my arms where I sprayed and I thought it was quite mossy. I guess I was expecting a sweet honeysickle flower. The weird thing is that we went to a Jo Malone stand alone store after lunch and I sprayed again, and this one felt more flowery, as if blooming on a summer day. I asked, could he department store version be different? (‘Of course not,’ she says) Maybe I just missed the top notes earlier – which smells like a flower out in the sun, faded by the glare. It’s a bit like shampoo accord, for sure, but its brightness was unmistakable. And then the green – the mossy notes come in, and it adds that bitterness that I was talking about earlier. And then I am instantly reminded of a fragrance I have known since childhood: Cacharel’s Anasis Anais, with its floral/green/mossy combination. Suddenly, I started to love this scent more. I asked for a proper sample and now I am trying it for a day and I already feel like it should belong in my wardrobe. It’s very un-Jo Malone like, too – it is not light and airy, and this has tenacious strength. A small bottle may be in order.
Here we are, already in the middle of summer. I have been craving my citrus fragrances, my colognes, but of course, most of my perfumes are still in storage, and maybe I am drawn to lighter scents because I am finding a lot of what I have out are heavier (probably because I moved in wintertime) But today I am wearing Jo Malone’s ‘Tropical Cherimoya’ and I am happy.
But should I be? Even though I am loving this right now, I am realizing it’s really not that great of a scent. It’s your typical fruity floral – this one is just a generic pear, and there is some sour apple here somewhere, and the notes say passion flower, but on my skin it’s all fruit. I really do not know how a cherimoya smells, to be honest, but I don’t think a photo-realistic scent is what the Malone house is aiming for here. But as I said, for some strange reason, this is satisfying my current craving. I wish it had a more coconut-y or sun tan lotion feel, but the tonaka bean base is ok enough, I guess. So – kinda boring, but for now, satisfying.
I wrote unfavorable about Jo Malone English Oak and Red Currant (here ) Jo Malone released two English Oak perfumes at that time, and I am a little more favorable about English Oak and Hazelnut. As a matter of fact, I got a small bottle of this. This release has almost the same base of the woodsy oak, but the hazelnut note was a little more appealing to me then.
I am wearing this today again, and I am not as impressed. The oak is there, for sure, and the woodsy vibe is fine. But, I find it a little screechy now, and a little too generic department store masculine wood. I feel like I have smelled this before, and while I do not totally regret the purchase, I don’t know if I would ever reach for this when I am looking for something to wear.
Some recent Jo Malone releases have been very exciting (Star Magnolia, anyone) but apparently they are still capable of duds. I hate to be very blunt about it, too, but maybe because I really like the brand and am very upset when they disappoint me. I even like a lot of the work of its nose, Yann Vasnier so that may be making me doubly upset.
English Oak and Red Currant is from their English Oak Collection – which is a unique wood, sweeter and deeper than sandalwood and cedar wood. They promised this would have a ‘roasted’ quality, and of course I imagined smoky, sultry. But what I get is just generic wood that quickly disappears. I barely get the fleeting red currant. Quite quickly I get the base – a generic synthetic wood thing. That’s all. It’s nice and pleasant, but I really loathed it. As much as I want to be a completist for the brand (It is much represented in my wardrobe) this is a big big skip for me.
(Addendum: I had the same perfume on my scarf and it bloomed beautifully: the red currant is sweet and spicy at the same time, and the wood gave it a nice balance. So really,, it’s my skin.)
A lot of recent winners from Jo Malone have been winners. I am tempted to say that ‘Whiskey and Cedarwood’ from this Spring’s The Bloomsbury Set is a fine addition to that list. This limited edition collection is inspired by the artists from the Bloomsbury set who lived in Sussex. Look at the wonderful art-insufed bottle on the left – it is intoxicating and alluring. I mean, I would buy this if only for that. What is most amazing for me is how this scent is so discordant from the Jo Malone aesthetic – it’s not light, airy, or floral. I don’t even know if it would even work as a layering piece, but then again I am not one to layer.Signed by Yann Vasnier, this would not be out of place in Tom Ford’s Private Collection, or Armani Privé. It skews masculine, for sure, but probably would work wonders with women. The whiskey starts out on top, and it’s gloriously boozy, like a trip to a man’s saloon. The woods give it depth, and it comes across as very dry. There’s something here – the ‘floorwax’ accord – that makes it not as dark, and that is what is most appealing for me – it gives it just that slight touch of Jo Malone. My only complaint – and it is a big one – is its longevity. An hour in, it has become so faint I can barely smell it, and even the spritz on my scarf is tepid. I find that true with some Jo Malone scents, and unfortunately applies here. But this is a fine and unique perfume.