Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mixing It Up!

I'm so late with this, I know. S. gave it to me for Valentine's Day, which was forever a day ago. I know. But scents take time, you know? There is a lot of ruminating involved.

The set comes beautifully packaged and all of the bottles are snugly secure in their cavities; it actually took a fair bit of effort to pop them out. They are beautiful and small and I actually prefer that - I like the variety, versus having only one huge bottle of a single scent that I will never finish because I'm fickle. As Su so eloquently said, though, "Let's keep our loyalties to our partners and have an affair with as many scents as we like." I agree. That's perfect!
Jo Malone Fragrance Combining Cologne Collection.
The intent behind this set is to mix and match scents to create something inherently personal and original, and to have fun layering scents. I don't usually layer fragrances much on my own because I'm lazy and because I have no sense for how things might play out (or well, I don't want to think that hard about it all). With this, though, it's easy. I find Jo Malone scents to be no-nonsense and unerringly clear, a straight-shot every time. Sometimes that's nice, especially for layering. There's not a lot of confusion and since the notes don't necessarily evolve, you don't end up with a muddled mess. I do also find, though, that a Jo Malone cologne never smells quite like I expect it to, so I wore all of these separately first (except for Pomegranate Noir - more on that later) to get a sense of what they were like individually.

Yikes. I just realized that this is going to turn into a hideously long post, and I apologize. I'll try to give a brief description of each, and then share some pairings with you.

Vanilla & Anise: I first mentioned it in a favorites post, here, and this is actually the first Jo Malone perfume that I had the opportunity to try, because I received a sample of it with a Nordstrom order. As I mentioned, it's not quite vanilla or anise, but it's slightly spicy, slightly citrusy, sharp and, to me, almost masculine. It is not gourmandy at all. I like it, and it's a nice layering element, as well as easy to wear on its own.

Red Roses: Another one that was featured in a monthly favorites post. I'm kind of coming out of my rose phase at the moment - I am now moving into white florals - but this is a lovely rose perfume that I enjoy very much. It's greener and fresher than some variants (ChloƩ and YSL Parisienne, for example, are both rose-based, but much sweeter and fruitier to me) and the fragrance is quite close to that of real roses. Feminine, and delicate. It makes me think of frothy pink dresses with lots of layers - something sleek and ethereal, rustling and girly.

Wild Bluebell: On first sniff it smells like watermelon to me, which is weird. Not necessarily excessively sweet or fruity, but definitely watermelon. It dries down into something that really smells like Vanilla & Anise again, to me. I read that the "bluebell" here is synthetic due to the nature of the flower; I don't know what actual bluebells smell like so I can't tell you how close it is. There is a slight spiciness to it, which adds some interest, but I don't get the strong floral note that I expect. It's not my favorite, but there's nothing to hate, either.

Pomegranate Noir: I don't like pomegranate scent notes. I really don't. The vial doesn't smell like pomegranate, but once I spray it on - pomegranate all the way. It's kind of juicy, kind of spicy, but not over the top in any one area. It's not as bright as some of the others, which could explain the "noir" that's tacked on to it. I couldn't stand the pomegranate note, though, and it's definitely the focus. In an attempt to save myself, I layered Vanilla & Anise over it, and the result was surprisingly lovely. It turned something abominable into something palatable.

Grapefruit: This one falls on the spicy end of the citrus spectrum, not the easy breezy sweet stuff that often occurs in splashes; this is nothing reminiscent of a cocktail with an umbrella in it, at any case. Definitely unisex. Fresh, crisp, unassuming but confident. Like a gentleman in a tailored suit - gray, with a modern cut. I call it my "boy" smell, for when I want to a boy. A well-mannered, well-dressed, sexy one.

Okay! I think the pairings will have to wait for another post - this one has already gotten ridiculously long. Do you have a favorite Jo Malone scent? Do any of these appeal to you?