Perfume floozies all know that Jo Malone is synonymous with quintessential fresh English fragrances that encapsulate the best of British lifestyle. Whether it be urban living (as in the recent Bloomsbury Set limited release) or country, with its prolific use of garden flowers and herbs in its make-up – Step forward Lime, Basil & Mandarin, English Pear & Freesia and Pomegranate Noir, three of its global best sellers. However, it’s always when this Estee Lauder owned perfume house steps outside its careful boundaries and into the murkier waters of its Cologne Intense range that my interest is piqued.
Maybe its because I’m attracted to the dark side and to intensity (whether men, alcohol or perfume) that I much prefer these releases – often geared to a heavy scent loving Middle Eastern market. Or, perhaps it’s just because the brooding black bottles always hold such seductive Eastern promise within. Jo Malone’s latest release (January 2017) is case in point. Myrrh & Tonka is a grown-up hedonistic delight of a fragrance with its largesse and its come-hither’ness. A warm, cosy, sophisticated slap of olfactory delight in the midst of cold, hard winter sunlight.
Master perfumer, Mathilde Bijaoui, has managed quite a feat in this one. To make both a strong addictive fragrance that appeals to the hippie-loving ‘them-heavy people*’ amongst us, while being subtly approachable to those scardey-cats who like to dip a curious toe-in-the-water of Middle-Eastern type fragrances.
Says Bijaoui, “There is an atmosphere of addiction and carnal richness to this fragrance which appeals to both men and women. At the top there is a hint of lavender and a floral note, creating a comforting and voluptuous opening. The big, rich heart and base note of myrrh is sensual. And the tonka brings generosity. It’s captivating and mesmerising.”
This is a warm hug of a smoky scent that envelops a soul and instantly makes one relax. Like wandering idly into a crystals and mysticism type store, to be seduced by its aura of incense, strangeness and the unknown. Myrrh & Tonka hints at sensuality and carnality in a ‘before the 9 o’clock TV watershed manner. “Be not afraid,” its big, rich heart and base of myrrh and tonka die-down says, “This way, beauty lies ahead.” And oh, it does.
Myrrh and Tonka grows on the skin to a mesmerising beauty. It’s one that even the clean, light floral lovers may enjoy. Be brave! Test the water.
Available from January 2017, Jo Malone’s Myrrh & Tonka is available in 50ml (£74) and 100ml (£105) Cologne Intense.
*Lyrics from Kate Bush’s ‘Them Heavy People’, The Kick Inside.