As we begin the sprint towards the Holidays the seasonal limited editions are beginning to arrive. It always produces a mixed bag of happiness and coal in the stocking. There is a brand which has reliably been a purveyor of excellent Holiday releases. Every year I look forward to the release from Jo Malone. Over recent years under the creative direction of Celine Roux they have been on top of their fragrance game. This year’s model, Jo Malone Starlit Mandarin & Honey is a great example of why this brand gets it right for the Holidays.
Throughout the years Jo Malone has been happy to create scents of the season. Those have been good. It is when there is a different thought about the Holiday season expressed through fragrance when I am most intrigued. Starlit Mandarin & Honey is that.
My favorite memory of the season is sitting in the dark watching the lights on the Christmas tree twinkle and the logs in the fireplace crackling. I am snuggled under a blanket with Mrs. C and the poodles. We are watching a movie. The coziness of it all seems most vital as we hit the end of the year. This perfume is an abstraction of this feeling. Perfumer Yann Vasnier pulls it all together.
The beginning is the mandarin promised. M. Vasnier adds some points of starlight to it by using cedrat. To give it some shading a precise amount of star anise adds to the irrepressible citrus. Now comes the subtly animalic honey. This is a difficult material to get right there is a sweet spot where on either side it is sugar water or unpleasantly dirty. M. Vasnier finds the place where the animalic facets and the golden sweetness ooze around the citrus accord. Just like that blanket we gather under.
The clever piece that M. Vasnier uses to tie this perfume together is a suite of dried grasses. First the dried grass of hay is threaded through the honey and citrus. Sweetgrass is also braided into the honey. What they are waiting for is the linchpin of coumarin. Coumarin has a strong-hay-like quality. With the other grasses present it is tilted towards that profile. The final piece is the warmth of Peru balsam providing a hint of the Holidays right at the end.
Starlight Mandarin & Honey has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
This is a comfort scent which will be easily worn in the colder months beyond the Holidays. It will be especially welcome in those long nights of the beginning of the year. Just snuggle in with your pack.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Jo Malone.