When I received my press release on the newest collection from Jo Malone I began humming one of my favorite Beatles tunes. The five-fragrance set is called the “Marmalade Dreams” collection. Which had me singing the first line of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “Picture yourself in a boat on a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies”. Creative director Celine Roux was more inspired by thoughts of local fairs and the marmalades sold there.
There are three new perfumes in the collection; Orange Peel, Tangy Rhubarb, and Rose Blush. Before I review these the two re-releases are worth mentioning. 2012’s Blackberry & Bay by perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin is one of those perfumes which has always evoked the feel of fruit preserves with a savory twist. The other one is 2013’s Elderflower & Gooseberry, renamed Elderflower Cordial. Perfumer Christine Nagel embodies the inherent tartness of both ingredient which fit the theme of this new set of fragrance.
Orange Peel is composed by perfumer Marie Salamagne. It represents the most widely-known British marmalade ingredient. What she does here is to capture a freshly-made batch of marmalade just as it is finished. This is the scent of the steam in the kitchen infused with the orange. It has an expansiveness along with some substance. It is three ingredients of orange, rhubarb, and blonde woods. The rhubarb adds in the bite of the orange rind within the jelly. Because of that it lives up to its name as the peel holds sway over the pulp. The woods gently cradle it all.
Tangy Rhubarb is composed by perfumer Nicolas Bonneville. In Orange Peel the rhubarb behaved as I usually experience it. In Tangy Rhubarb it reminds me of when I cook it in strawberry-rhubarb pie. When cooked the vegetal qualities are removed. What is left is a surprising sweetness with just a hint of the garden. Which is what’s happening here as the rhubarb is mostly lighter in effect with the sweeter aspect on display. Clary sage stands in for that garden as it also ends up on a warm woody foundation.
Rose Blush is also signed by M. Bonneville. This is that very English creation of the savory marmalade. I have described rose many times as having a jellied scent. M. Bonneville leans into that. What transforms this is a clever use of basil as the counterweight. Now you have this gelatinous matrix of floral and herbal precisely balanced. It is much more compelling than I was imagining before I tried it. As with the other the cleanliness of woods, in this case cedar is the finishing note.
All three of these are at cologne strength and have longevity of 8-10 hours and average sillage.
Mme Roux wants me to think of the fair. All I’m thinking about is marmalade skies while wearing these while drifting on a river.
Disclosure: This review is based on samples supplied by Jo Malone.
I know that for most of the world the floral scent of spring is rose. I live in a place where that isn’t true. In the Washington DC area we are obsessed with the phases of the cherry blossoms. It is only after living here that I know the difference between peduncle elongation and full bloom. When peak bloom is achieved it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. There is a delicacy to the blossoms which is magnified when the entire tidal basin is covered in trees sporting them. I have become one who views the evolution of each season’s cherry blossoms as my spring fever thermometer.
Which is why I carry my seasonal grumpiness about all the rose perfumes that come out in these early months of every year. They have a way of affecting my mood in a less positive way. I always ask for a different spring flower as keynote. Another thing I could ask for is to create a rose accord as an abstraction of the real thing. That would be appealing. When I received my samples of this year’s releases from Rosine I didn’t know that Rosine Rose Griotte was going to satisfy both wants.
One thing I always undervalue with Rosine is the creative direction of Marie-Helene Rogeon. She has developed a brand which has explored everything there is about rose in perfume. It has remained a relevant brand because she never rests on the same old tired tropes. She collaborates with perfumer Nicolas Bonneville for Rose Griotte.
The keynote floral is cherry blossom. There is little chance any rose essential oil woudn’t trample the delicacy of that. So they make the clever choice to use a rose accord of three fresh florals as its balancing partner.
It begins with a juice dripping, fruity top accord around pear. There is a bit of citrus and baie rose to provide some rounding effect, but the earliest moments are a ripe pear. Then the heart finds the beautiful powdery fragility of the cherry blossom matched with an expansive rose accord of peony, jasmine, and heliotrope. The last also has a bit of cherry in its scent profile which allows it to act as complement. A clean woody base of cedar and white amber complete things.
Rose Griotte has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
This is not the first time Mme Rogeon has worked with a rose accord. It shows the creativity of the brand is still in good hands even after thirty years. If you want to have your rose and cherry too; Rose Griotte should be on your to-try list.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample from Rosine.
Perfume that aspires to take us on a trip tends to rely on our perceptions. I have been taken to parts of the world I have never visited through scent. It has been one of the magical properties of fragrance for me. My confidence comes from when a perfume takes on a locale I know well I can see myself back there. When it comes to a place I have no knowledge of my perceptions are my guide. I have not visited Tokyo, but Gallivant Tokyo makes me feel if I have been to a shrine nearby.
Nick Steward founded Gallivant in 2017. He has one of the more clear-eyed aesthetics for a young brand that I have seen for a while. Mr. Stewart came from a tenure at L’Artisan Parfumeur which made me excited to see what he produced. It was a funny twist that I couldn’t get on board with the early destinations. He worked with two different perfumers creating an obvious coherence which I admire. It just came down to the part of the city he wanted to visit didn’t interest me until Amsterdam late last year. This was the perfume which made me want a ticket to Tokyo.
My first surprise was that Mr. Steward decided to work with a new perfumer, Nicolas Bonneville. I do think the formation of an early brand style is abetted with a concise creative director-perfumer partnership. The success of Tokyo makes me realize that a delineated vision can supply that no matter who the perfumer is. Mr. Steward has that in abundance.
Where are our perfumed travel agents taking us on our trip to the Japanese metropolis? The neon saturated Ginza? A bit of Kabuki theatre? A ride to the top of the Skytree? The open space of Ueno Park? The answer is something more contemplative. A trip to one of the shrines perhaps the Senso-Ji Temple as Tokyo the fragrance is a spicy, woody, incense construct.
M. Bonneville opens with the Japanese citrus of yuzu contrasted with black pepper. The pepper parallels the tartness of the indigenous lemon with a zesty pop. As we approach the shrine there is a hint of spices on the wind in the guise of cardamom and nutmeg. The cardamom feels like it rises out of the yuzu and finds nutmeg waiting for it. We then have a lightly floral phase as a transparent rose and iris accord lead into a cedar paneled interior. Incense burns in braziers all throughout the contemplative space. M. Bonneville devises a fantastically woody trio of hinoki, cedar, and sandalwood through which he weaves filaments of patchouli and vetiver. It is not one of those kind of woody base accords where you can’t see the forest for the trees. This is opaquer than it sounds. It is not a hard-core wood and incense style it is something which has a lighter feel throughout.
Tokyo has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
It may have taken me a while to join the Gallivant itinerary, but I am now hoping to be a frequent flyer. The trip to Tokyo is what sold me on that.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.