Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Jo Malone English Fields Collection: Quick Impressions

I always look forward to the Jo Malone limited edition scents every spring. The themes are fresh and original. The perfume notes always contain a touch of whimsy. The marketing is always superb. This photo for example. This spring's theme is the English Fields collection, utilizing the various grains growing in the spring and mixing them with traditional British flowers. No roses or jasmine here. It's primrose, poppy, cornflower, or meadowsweet. You never forget this line is British based. What I love about this photo: gazing directly into the dog's eyes as he pulls his mistress impatiently, the always attractive but not in the traditional way models with madcap attire. They look like the British bohemian version of the Tommy Hilfigar family of models.

But invariably, every year, no matter how precious the theme's conceit or how wondrous the notes sound, the scents usually fall flat for me. Longevity or lack of it, of course, but I'm sometimes able to capture only a whisper of a scent and it's usually gone ten minutes later. I've often thought if you strip away the lovely copy and photos, the Jo Malone name, and the whole precious English cheerio chipperness of it, people wouldn't touch the stuff.

I'm happy to say that I've finally found a limited edition line I can love, or at least like very much. The whole grains idea is interesting to me, and although I am unsure if any of these flowers have an actual scent, pairing floral and bready notes, while not entirely new, is certainly not overdone in today's market. So here are my brief, very fleeting impressions from sprays at the counter. Thank you very much David Jones in Adelaide.

Primrose & Rye

Does primrose really have a smell? I have no idea but doesn't the name sound like the quintessential English posie? The Jo Malone brief on this one was to have a sunny scent and they achieved that with the use of mimosa. Vanilla, rye, and cornsilk give a very light and yummy base. Out of all the scents, this one smells more of floral than of grain to me. It is a fresh, soft floral, rather indistinguishable, but smells pleasant, especially with the underlying scent of vanilla and rye grains. I like this one quite a bit. Key impression: Cheerful.

Honey & Crocus

The honey is very evident from the beginning. If you are one of those that sometimes gets that urinal smell from honey then don't blind buy this. That funny smell lasted just for just a moment but dissipated quickly and didn't put me off the scent at all. The idea for this perfume was the experience of bees flying over a meadow pollinating the English wildflowers. After the honey note I begin to get the scent of warm cereal. I immediately get such a strong mental impression from the time I spent in Scotland over fifteen years ago, eating a bowl of warm fragrant oatmeal at my cozy kitchen table. The grain note dominates and I don't get a strong floral vibe, other than that faint sense of floral in the honey you put on the oatmeal to sweeten it. And here's the weird fantastic part. I didn't read notes or description of the fragrance until this point of the review. Perfumer Mathilde Bijaoui wanted to get the honey just right so she tried to mimic British lavender honey, which has hay-like features. Guess what honey I used to eat on my oatmeal in Scotland--British lavender! So was this memory of Scottish oatmeal that popped into my head just a coincidence? I think not! And the other strange part is I'm usually a bloodhound for a drop of lavender in a perfume but I would have never guessed it was in this scent. And the last fragrance note, the perfumer added almond milk for creaminess. Key Impression: Cozy Yum

Oat & Cornflower

For some reason I expected to like this one the most, maybe because I like the smell of oats. This perfume has a slight spiciness to it. A hazelnut note emphasizes the nuttiness of the oat scent. It has a warm almost spicy feel and felt like it warmed up even more with wear time. I believe it is the vetiver note which has the most impact. At one point I thought I smelled the slightest touch of agarwood but I think it was the earthiness in the vetiver. The oat smell was present in the beginning but then it just turned into more of a warm, slightly spicy comfort scent. The floral note is very light and there is a slight white musk to add a bread note. I wasn't sure how I felt about this at first but the longer I wore it the more it developed and the more I liked it. It's longevity was far and away the best, being mildly present on my skin the next morning. Key Impression: Surprising Depth

Green Wheat and Meadowsweet

This scent is meant to emphasize the new season in the fields, adding green to make it seem like young wheat, according to the perfumer. When I first apply this scent it is grapefruit, grapefruit, grapefruit. I smell a tea note but this is not the tea collection, Jo has already been there, done that, so it probably is just an illusion from other notes. Those notes are meadowsweet, wheat, green notes, and of course grapefruit. If the wheat note comes through on your skin I suspect this could be a stunner, but it just doesn't work on me. It's nice enough, just not what I was expecting. Key impression: Where's the Wheat?

Poppy & Barley

I think of barley as being a substantial grain so I expected the grainy note to be stronger in this one. The poppy scent is conceptualized as the flower has no scent. It is an important flower in the English psyche, both because its bright red color dots the English countryside in spring and also because of poppy as a reference to remembrance day. When I first spray this it is sadly bland and boring on my skin. It seems the type of scent Jo Malone always has at least one of: perfume for people who don't really want to smell like they're wearing perfume. I'm looking at you, Star Magnolia. Predictably, this was the one David Jones was sold out of and I'm betting that will be the case at other stores too. Just as I'm ready to totally write this off about thirty minutes in, something changes and I get a pleasant floral aroma. It is perfectly fine, just no panache. And I wish I could smell barley. Key Impression: Yawn

So final verdict is three perfumes I would be happy to own, and two that were ok, just not for me. If you're interested you'd better hurry. These scents never last long.

If you enjoyed this review you can subscribe via email or Facebook notification.

1 comment :

Undina said...

I think our impressions are close though I actually disliked Poppy. Depending on the day, I prefer either Oat or Primrose. Will I be getting any of them? Probably not. But I would have bought the complete set had they launched it in their 9 ml bottles.