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Jo Malone Osmanthus Blossom

4 May

Osmanthus Blossom is a boldly green citrus with water/flower notes. I would rename it Petitgrain Blossom. The reps at my Jo Malone boutique were very generous to give me a big fat sample when I stopped in to say hello.

Osmanthus Blossom opens with sweet and tart, crisp juicy lychee-ish, fruity “water” notes, accompanied by bright, ambiguously green citrus medley (petitgrain with sugar-dipped lime wedges and bergamot oil…maybe even a tea note?)..

The dry down loses some of the sparkle and tang of the opening and contains mostly mild, sunny-sweet powder and green notes which again lean more toward the lotus, petitgrain-citrus direction, than any other. There is also a hint of light, ambiguous woods with the water and powder (a high-quality aquatic musk) toward the very end.

I feel that this is an easy composition, green, sweet, springy, and not representative of anything realistic.

It is an impressionistic fragrance, but my impression of the actual osmanthus bush/tree (one of my all time favorites) is not similar to this fragrance. I don’t usually get hung up on names and review for what I smell, not for what I hope, but I couldn’t help but want a true osmanthus scent from JM, since her Red Roses and Orange Blossom hit the nail on the head with such precision.

I think OB is about as compelling as the new Jasmin & Bergamote by L’Occitane. Longevity and projection are average. I won’t be owning this, but I’m not in the market for a green citrus floral.

OB is a safe bet for someone who wants to smell fresh, feminine, and ready for spring with open arms, but isn’t really sure what she wants in a fragrance, and abhors the idea of offending anyone around her. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

Personally, I would be eager to see Charna Ethier of Providence Perfume Co. attempt an osmanthus soliflore in the same vein as her Hindu Honeysuckle (also a petitgrain-rich composition). I feel that the osmanthus blossom must be nearly impossible to replicate, and if anything can approximate it, the palette of natural perfumery may have the upper hand.

All the pics From the Old Computer 1329

Jo Malone Grapefruit

27 Mar

Grapefruit is the perfect “morning” scent. It is dressed to the nines, briefcase in hand, checking the time and out the door to work. Look out, world… It’s Grapefruit!!!

Um…okay.

This is one of the most masculine-leaning grapefruits I have experienced so far. That said, it is still totally unisex to me. The dry spice and transparent earthiness make it feel like a light, refreshing face tonic.

I could see Grapefruit layering beautifully or working as a light everyday office scent (provided that you enjoy grapefruit of course). It does not project very far, so that’s also good for the office depending on where you work, and it’s longevity is great for a JM.

Grapefruit stands out to me because unlike other masculine/unisex citrus oriented scents on the market today, JM shows us a natural-smelling rendition of notes and their relationships. It’s not overly-simplistic but it also doesn’t smell abstract or synthetic.

My overall impression is  signature Jo Malone. I can immediately detect the way in which Grapefruit is a cousin to Lime Basil & Mandarin, as well as Amber & Lavender. This ability to create distinct scents while maintaining a signature feeling throughout is to me, a sign of a strong identity and consistent quality.

The person who wears this by itself is not interested in a scent that evolves and transforms dramatically over time. This is just a pretty compliment to the skin. True to life citrus, a hint of pepper and some aromatic herbs.

If you feel “out of it” this will wake you right up, and lift your spirits. Good morning! Now get out there and make us all proud.

Jo Malone Sugar & Spice Collection: Bitter Orange & Chocolate

17 Mar

Bitter Orange & Chocolate is BEYOND GOURMAND.

It opens with amazingly true to life candied orange peels dipped in rich dark chocolate. I can almost see and taste them.

Out of all the offerings from Jo Malone’s Sugar & Spice collection, Bitter Orange & Chocolate is BY FAR the most true to its name, and the most original. I say it is beyond gourmand, not because it is ridiculously sweet (it’s not), but because it is more like an olfactory mirage than a fragrance.

It doesn’t project very far, but that’s fine since I don’t want to share this coveted chocolate with the entire room. They can get their own! BO&C lasts a long time for a JM, with a sweet milk note emerging in the dry down.

It is really difficult to do an authentic chocolate and candied orange peel scent in perfumery, but JM succeeds. This is one of a kind.

It is such a succinct and literal interpretation of candied orange and dark chocolate, I am not even sure when I would wear this. Probably whenever I felt like it. 10/10.

Jo Malone Sugar & Spice Collection: Ginger Biscuit

17 Mar

Discount Snickerdoodles and Vanilla-Spice tea…

Ginger Biscuit opens with a distinct sweet milk note, like the milk remaining in the bowl after the sugar-coated cereal is gone.

There’s a dusting of spices through its development: cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, but it really is just a light dusting. A vanilla snickerdoodle cookie brimming with artificial ingredients and a visible sprinkling of spices on top. I am also reminded of artificial vanilla-spice tea bags, though there’s no actual black tea note here.

Ginger Biscuit does not smell like true to life cookies, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, like a few other of Jo Malone’s weaker offerings, e.g. French Lime Blossom, Vintage Gardenia, and the rest of the Sugar & Spice collection (with the exception of Bitter Orange & Chocolate), Ginger Biscuit suffers from a surreal transparency – the overall composition just seems to miss the mark.

GB projects pretty poorly so you can wear it wherever, whenever. I can’t imagine it offending anyone. It reminds me of Bond No 9′ I Love New York For All, sans the black pepper, leather, and monster projection.

Ginger Biscuit lasts a good long while, and if you dig artificially flavored mildly spiced cookies, this could be your (go-to fragrance for a) cup of tea.

Personally, I would go for JM’s Dark Amber & Ginger Lily, or L’Occitane’s Eau des Baux if I were in the mood for a soothing spiced vanilla.

On the other hand, I could see Ginger Biscuit layering beautifully with the majority of the fruit-centered JM offerings, (I’ll bet the English Pear and Freesia layers with this amazingly) so if you love all things JM, this one is worth a sniff.

Jo Malone Sugar & Spice Collection: Elderflower & Gooseberry

14 Mar

Elderflower and Gooseberry is a pastel purple and green My Little Pony doll, with a very long tail… The sweetness goes on and on…

E&G is a powdery sweet and slightly tart, soft fruity floral. I think this one is very pleasant, but the elements are not true to life, though that does not bother me in this fragrance. Perhaps it would have been slightly more interesting if the notes were more realistic, but I’m working with what I’ve got. Even with the CGI Fruits and Florals, it still doesn’t smell anything like lipstick to me like some other reviewers noted, especially not after smelling Prada Candy, which to my nose has an outstanding waxy-lipstick note in the opening.

When I was a little girl, my mother gave me perfumed powder to use, instead of an alcohol-based fragrance. It smelled mostly like powder, but with the added soft sweet dimension of something vaguely fruity and flowery. I think the longevity with E&G is pretty good for Jo Malone, and it projects very well for the first few hours.

I could see this being a great brunch fragrance. When you want to wear something soft light and fresh, but don’t want it to interfere with your mimosa, poached eggs, spring salad, and goat cheese spinach croissant, E&G is a pretty safe bet.

Jo Malone Sugar & Spice Collection: Red Currant & Cream

10 Mar

Red Currant & Cream opens with some sort of juice… Juice… JUICE… RED CURRANT!

Red Currant & Cream is the perfect example of currant in a fragrance. Red or black, it is unmistakably CURRANT. I did not notice the prominence of the currant on paper, or in the store. It was not until I brought Red Currant & Cream home and tried it on, that currant sprang at my face like a pop-up book.

Once it calms down on my skin, I begin to be able to detect elements of the other berry notes, but the bitter, almost boozy red currant continues to make its presence felt, loud and clear.

I used a ton of red and black currants when I worked in a kitchen making frozen sorbet and other desserts. I became acquainted with it as an ingredient then.. However, the first time I recognized currants as a note in perfumery, was when I tried Enchanted Forest by Vagabond Prince, which is an homage to the entire forest but especially to the black currant. As soon as Red Currant & Cream resonated in my mind, I was brought right back not to the kitchen, but to my first experience of Enchanted Forest.

It seems to me that red currant and black currant smell very similar if not identical to one another in perfumery, but VERY DIFFERENT from other berry notes.

Whereas strawberry and raspberry can often be used interchangably (especially because they are so often synthetic-smelling in fragrance), a very bold currant note could not be substituted for anything else. There is an outstanding bitterness along with the sweetness. I would describe most berries as sweet and sour, compared to the currant, which is sweet and BITTER, sometimes so much so that it goes the direction of woody/ fermented and starts to turn into berry wine.

Don’t let that discourage you from trying Red Currant & Cream. If you aren’t sure if you know what the Red Currant note is, Jo Malone provides you with the perfect example of an almost isolated currant in this fragrance.

The other berries fall to the way-side here, and the musk in the dry down develops a nice cushion for the currant to float on until it dissipates, but is nowhere near CREAM to me. I don’t really mind that though. The projection is good and a little goes a long way, so I am careful not to over-spray with this one. I would not want to be announcing, CURRANTS! GET YOUR CURRANTS HERE! to an entire movie theater. Longevity is average for JM, meaning unless you douse yourself or spray your clothing, it won’t stick around all day.

Another successfully simple and articulate scent from Jo Malone. I imagine this layering very well with something more rich, creamy and gourmand.

Jo Malone Sugar & Spice Collection: Lemon Tart

8 Mar

The Lemon in this Jo Malone is not cleaning fluid to me, but it is also not exceptional (or edible), especially in the opening. The dry down is slightly more sweet and pleasant. I don’t really get anything light, fluffy or gourmand in this fragrance. I used to work in a bakery that made lemon tarts, and I have eaten many variations on the lemon tart theme from different places. This is NOT a true to life lemon tart. It IS a strong, linear, slightly artificial lemon scent.

If I were going to smell from a linear lemony citrus, I would choose the original Lemon Verbena by L’Occitane over this in a heartbeat. Lemon Verbena smells exactly like a true to life lemon ice. It is so fresh, uplifting, and well… edible.

I would like to say I expected more from Jo Malone since I am a loyal fan, but in the past few years, she has had a few more misses than hits. I am still looking forward to trying the rest of this collection. Maybe I’ll be surprised.

 

Update:
So now that I have been sitting in a cloud of “Lemon Tart” for some time, I am really beginning to want to eat one. Whether that is a testament to the power of this fragrance, or because I am writing this before breakfast is impossible to say. However, the reality is undeniable: now I seriously want a lemon tart. If you already want a lemon tart, smelling anything lemony is going to make you want one more.

Second Update:
I went out and ate a lemon tart. Then I returned to my home and re-applied Jo Malone’s Lemon Tart, which had long since disappeared from my skin (projection and longevity are both very low). On re-application, I once again experienced that strong, linear lemon from before. It’s been confirmed: JM’s Lemon Tart does not resemble a true to life lemon tart. It’s lemon alright, and it is rather tart, but the pastry aspect of the composition is totally lost on me. Fingers still crossed for the rest of this collection.

Third Update:
Revisited Lemon Tart after a week or so of not wearing, and was surprised by how distinct it is. It’s still that same linear lemon note, but in experiencing it again, I now see it as “Jo Malone Does Lemon”. The JM watermark is unquestionably present in the DNA of this simple fragrance, and for that, it deserves consideration. If you were sad that you missed out on the Lemon from the Tea Series and are enamored with all things JM, this one won’t disappoint.

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