It’s been considerably trying this past year with (personal) tumultuous changes that have engulfed and even, sometimes, swamped. And now, at the start of this brave new year, January’s taking FOREVER to leave us. I mean…is it STILL January? Being in exile* North of the Wall doesn’t help either with its relentless sub zero temperatures. Pah! Enough already with the complaining, Chutzpah. Is there a point here? Well, yes, indeedy there is.
The brave PR girls at Jo Malone ventured North (it’s really not that bad…more PRs should try it, actually) to deliver us a glimpse of Spring – The new limited edition collection, cleverly titled ‘Rock The Ages’. To give you the gist, it’s a type of ‘Now That’s What I Call…’ version of Jo Malone’s best-of-the-best with a couple of newbies and a couple of old-time fragrances with a different kick. Much like a boy-band covering a classic that impresses a whole generation of new fans who haven’t heard the original version. But will ‘Rock The Ages’ (comprising of Tudor Rose & Amber, Lily of the Valley & Ivy, Pomegranate Noir, Geranium & Verbena and Birch & Black Pepper) also impress the JM stalwarts?
‘Rock The Ages’ depicts the best of Great Britain through the ages. “A nation renowned for its distinguished history and defining eras’. Conceptually, Jo Malone have it the nail on the proverbial head. Of five in total, two particularly stood out for me. The ‘quelle surprise’ is, they aren’t the releases that I predict will be the huge sellers and that will, no doubt, in time, become part of Jo Malone’s larger permanent stable of fragrances.
And that’s the nux. Jo Malone’s series of Limited Edition collections allows the brand to be creative and test the waters with a new selection of scents that inject sales at key points in the season. And, also allows for a massive PR focus on newness (the holy grail of perfume brands) while giving the business a great indication of what works now and is likely (or unlikely) to work in the future. Win/Win. The genius in these short spates of newness is both a concept that captures imagination coupled with the fact that that sometimes, just sometimes, great fragrances are created when one least expects it. For me, it’s the terribly classic with a modern slant, Lily of the Valley & Ivy and Geranium & Verbana that are stand out. Not the ‘look at me’ beauties who flaunt their difference with hints of familiarity like the beautiful Tudor Rose & Amber (think a more steely sharp, metallic edge to the beauty of Velvet Rose & Oud). Bound to be a sure-fire hit. Nor the contemporary spiced androgyny of punk-tinged, in-your-face Birch & Black Pepper, that rocks up to the party, like a true Brit ingénue, in fishnets and Guard’s uniform, reeking of smoke with an undercurrent of sexy warmth. A stylish hit for sure.. But way too obvious for this old timer.
By contrast, Lily of the Valley & Ivy is cool, distinct and (tres) gentile. Sophisticated in it’s make up, Jo Malone’s newbie will appeal to pretty middle England in its depiction of all that’s right with the world. Sparkling cassis and vibrant green ivy assault the senses, before opening to bursts of narcissus and a trail of lily of the valley which is decidedly more old skool refined than trad old lady fragrance. Encapsulating the feel of Georgian London, this little beauty is as elegant and classic as a row of white stucco Georgian townhouses in one of London’s more affluent areas. The perfume is both light, completely feminine and a perfect antidote to all that is modern. Exactly what it makes it more relevant and worthy than it’s little attention-stealing sister, Birch & Black Pepper. There’s a subtle glimpse of another surprising beauty, Tom Ford’s Jonquille de Nuit, in Lily of the Valley & Ivy. All the more reason to fall for its charms.
Geranium & Verbena, too, is a glimpse of Edwardian England at the turn of the century, open to new ideas and influences and unaware of the horrors of war about to be unleashed on this proud Isle and its peoples. Charismatic and clean, Geranium & Verbena is the English garden party in full and replete splendour. Aromatic verbena and basil are blended with an unlikely beauty, geranium, then enveloped in coumarin and vetiver for a little jolt of sensuousness. Herbaceous and wondrous.
Jo Malone’ s Limited Edition ‘Rock The Ages’ collection is available from 1st March 2015. Each cologne is 30ml and priced £42 from Jo Malone stockists (House of Fraser and Selfridges) as well as at jomalone.co.uk