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.
I met a friend for drinks the other night, and as soon as I smelled him I knew that what he was wearing was Jo Malone Basil and Neroli. Well, firstly I know that he loves Jo Malone, so hat was my first clue. But Basil & Neroli smells exactly like what you think it would smell like – which is, basil and neroli.
So the next day, of course, I went and tried on the sample I have had for a while now. I had been saving it for the perfect day, and I thought why not today? It opens with that burst of basil and neroli – the neroli here is cold and juicy, there’s just a right amount of lemony goodness in here. The basil smells just like te herb. I have never been a particular big fan of basil, the smell, the spice, and even the perfume note, but here I didn’t mind it. This perfume is instantly wearable, as I think most Jo Malone fragrances are, and I bet it is selling well. If you are looking for a crowd pleaser, look no further. And if Tom Ford Neroli Portofino is too expensive for you, this is a great alternative.
But wuth that being said, it’s still too summary for a cold night, which it was the other night when my friend was wearing this. It’s too cologne-y, for me, on a cold winter night, since the basil isn’t as heavy a spice enough. I will get this at some point as a great addition to my Jo Maloen collection, but I will wait till the weather gets warmer.
For the holiday season, Jo Malone is releasing a limited edition scent called Orange Bitters. I thought Orange Bitters was a cookie, but I realized it was a cocktail, and my heart started to flutter. (From Wikipedia: Orange bitters is a cocktail flavoring made from the peels of Seville oranges, cardamom, caraway seed, coriander and burnt sugar in an alcohol base) First, I love boozy scents, and also the idea of it sounds very un-Jo Malone like. I have been for the most part impressed with their latest releases. And to top it all off, look at this beautiful beautiful bottle – festive, art-deco ish, elegant. This smelled like a winner, well, metaphorically.
Too bad it literally did not smell like one. It smells citrusy all right, btu it also has that sweet sugary note that I don’t like. It was pretty cold when I tried it on, and the sweetness overwhelmed everything else. The notes on the press release say ripe mandarin, but I just smell ripe sugar on me. And there’s no depth – nothing earthy, spicy, or dark to frame it. There’s supposed to be sandalwood and amber here but I don’t get them. And I was initially allured by a dry prune note (I thought, what? Luten-ish?) but I didn’t get it either. This perfume is just all kinds of wrong for my skin, and I feel disappointed because I really want that bottle incorporated in my Jo Malone collection.