Fragrance Obsession: Jo Malone London


Fragrance Obsession: Jo Malone London


Like a lot of my makeup stash, it started with two things: a free sample and an impulse buy. My fragrance collection isn’t nearly as well-stocked as my makeup drawers, but I have a feeling that’s going to change. You see, at some point last year I got a vial of Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay cologne as a freebie in some online makeup order. I’d seen Jo Malone London in gazillions of pictures on instagram, of course, but didn’t really have any experience with the brand since at the time, the closest counter was over an hour drive away, in Cincinnati. Then last summer Cos Bar opened a location here in Lexington, complete with an entire bay of Jo Malone products. You see where this is going, right?

After stopping in to sniff the testers more times than I care to admit, my birthday + a week that required some retail therapy made up my mind to finally spring for a bottle. Much internal debate ensued. I eventually narrowed it down to Blackberry & Bay or Earl Grey & Cucumber, but that’s where my decision-making abilities ground to a screeching halt. So, as beauty addicts do – I bought both.

Historically I’ve never been a perfume-every-day kind of woman, but let me tell you, I’m rapidly becoming one! A lot of times I’d forget about fragrances at all, or since my options mainly consisted of a huge disorganized jumble of samples, picking one out to wear felt like too much of a chore. But something about the light and understated scents that I picked up from Jo Malone made me actually want to add that step to my daily routine. The brilliant thing about them is they’re not overpowering, so you can actually layer them without being that person. Fragrance combining (as JML calls it) is a fun experiment, so I have to admit after reading perfume reviews I’ve accumulated quite the collection of scents, either through purchases or mini GWP deluxe samples. I’ve been going for the smaller 30mL bottles for both cost & practical reasons. That size runs $65 for the permanent collection ($70 for limited editions), which seems fairly middle-of-the-road for fragrance price points. More importantly, I can fit one in my TSA liquids bag for traveling and there’s at least a chance of actually finishing an entire bottle. The one thing that might be a point against the JML colognes, depending on your perspective, is the longevity. I’ve noticed the greener/more citrusy fragrances only last 5-6 hours on my skin, and most of the others wear off by the time I’m home from work. I’m not bothered by that too much. I don’t mind reapplying and sometimes I want to wear a different fragrance in the evening, especially if I’m going out. Still, it’s a good thing to know before buying.

As of right now, my collection consists of these (along with some of my favorite Jo Malone fragrance combining pairs):

Blackberry & Bay – The original that I fell in love with, of course. It has a light, fruity scent, but with a sharp green note. Citrus notes come through as it dries down.

I like it with: Wood Sage & Sea Salt

Earl Grey & Cucumber – I’d say this one is my most-worn JML fragrance so far, and for good reason. I adore Earl Grey tea, so the bergamot in this is right up my alley. It has a woody/tea base that gives it just enough complexity.

I like it with: English Pear & Freesia

Peony & Blush Suede – Florals are generally my least-favorite perfume category, but the leather balances it out wonderfully. Bonus: a lot of the skin & body products are available in this fragrance too.

I like it with: 154

Mimosa & Cardamom – The mimosa flower always makes me think of summer, but the sandalwood gives it enough depth to wear year round – especially right now when I’m really missing the warm weather.

I like it with: Blackberry & Bay

Lime Basil & Mandarin – This, on the other hand, has summer written all over it. To me it comes through as citrus, grass and basil. Of all of them, it seems to be one of the shorter wearing scents.

I like it with: Basil & Neroli (mmmm, dat basil)

154 – I love switching things up by wearing more masculine scents sometimes, but 154 is muskier than I prefer on a regular basis. I bought it mostly for its layering potential, and it’s really good for deepening other scents in unexpected ways.

I like it with: Lime Basil & Mandarin

Basil & Neroli – Apparently the Jo Malone noses love basil as much as I do (you can frequently find me with my face right in my basil plants) because it’s the main note in two different fragrances. The sweetness of the neroli is a great contrast for the green spiciness of the basil, and the hints of vetiver make it less seasonal than it might be otherwise.

I like it with: Mimosa & Cardamom

English Pear & Freesia – IMO this is another warm weather fragrance – light and fruity, but I get a lot of honey too. This isn’t a style I wear often, but I got it as a GWP and it’s starting to grow on me.

I like it with: Wood Sage & Sea Salt

Wood Sage & Sea Salt – I wouldn’t exactly call it beachy, but this is the most aquatic of the Jo Malone fragrances I’ve tried. It has a bit of citrus to it, but overall it feels like they’ve veered in a slightly different direction with this one – but in a good way.

I like it with: Earl Grey & Cucumber

Pomegranate Noir – As the name would imply, Pomegranate Noir is fruity and dark all at the same time. On its own I consider it more of an evening option, but it plays nicely with a lot of the lighter, fresher scents.

I like it with: Peony & Blush Suede

Soon to join the collection is Poppy & Barley, which is part of the English Fields collection for spring. I didn’t know any such thing existed until the other day, when I went to Nordstrom to look for sneakers. The shoe department is conveniently close to the fragrance counters so… yeah. Again, I had a tough time choosing, but I limited myself to pre-ordering one, which will hopefully be here in a couple weeks. I’ve also picked up quite a few of their bath & body products, but those deserve their own post. Same goes for the Rare Teas collection, which I got some decant samples of since nowhere near me has them in store. More on those later.

Have you tried Jo Malone London fragrances, and do you love them too? Share your favorite combinations in the comments!

Jo Malone fragrance combining and review

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