Fragrance layering and introduction to Jo Malone

Jo Malone Jo Malone Jo Malone……I’ve been hearing quite a bit about it this year but couldn’t figure out why it’s so popular. How is it different from other expensive brands? well, simplistic but classy packaging aside, Jo Malone fragrances are unisex, simplistic in notes and can be used for layering. So if you want your perfumes to be purer, less artificial, try Jo Malone. Or if you ever LOVED a scent except for this or that note, wishing you could pick your own notes, then Jo Malone would be a good choice. With all the holiday sets out, I finally splurged on a set of the Cologne Collection, curtesy of some very persuasive Jo Malone SA’s from Nordstrom. Of course, the freebies they threw in didn’t hurt.

JoMaloneSetThe set is $110 and contains five .3oz (9ml) sprays, so that’s $110 for 1.5oz of fragrance. It is not outrageous but definitely on the high end. I love the fact that the sturdy box cover also have fancy painting on the inside and can be used as a tray for your vanity. The five fragrances in my set, according to description from Nordstom, are:

  • Lime, Basil and Mandarin: fresh limes and zesty mandarin undercut by peppery basil and aromatic white thyme.
  • Blackberry and Bay: deep, tart blackberry juice, just-gathered bay and brambly woods.
  • Peony and Blush Suede: a charming mix of peonies, red apple, jasmine, rose and gillyflower mingled with sensual blush suede.
  • Amber and Lavender: a subtle, spicy warm scent of petit grain, French lavender and amber.
  • Wood Sage and Sea Salt: woody earthiness mixed with sage the sea.



  • Lime, Basil and Mandarin: It starts off with lime but then the basil comes out very strong on me. Unfortunately the basil kind of overpowers everything else on me, and it is a bit too citrus. If you want a very citrusy and herbal scent this is great, otherwise this might be better used to layer and add a hint of citrus to other scents. Jo Malone website recommend layering it with Red Rose for fresh, or Vanilla & Anise for warmth.
  • Blackberry and Bay: It is a very fresh and light scent, slightly fruity but not sweet. It smells like freshly picked/crushed blackberry, not the sweet juice or chemical stuff. The bay made the scent more fresh and less fruity. It feels like a summer scent. Jo Malone website recommend layering it with Orange Blossom for warmth, or with Lime Basil and Mandarin for freshness.
  • Peony and Blush Suede: It is a powdery fresh floral with a hint of sweetness provided by the apple. It is not light or heavy and works year round. It can be a summer or winter scent depending on what you pair it with. Jo Malone website recommend layering it with Grapefruit for freshness, or with Pomagranate Noir for warmth. Since neither are in the set, I like pairing it with Blackberry and Bay for a more fresh and fruity take, or with Amber and Lavender for a more cozy winter scent.
  • Amber and Lavender: the lavender comes out true and strong, with a warm base provided by amber and a hint of spicy. I don’t see it on the Jo Malone website, but I like pairing it with one of the fresh fruity/floral scents for summer to ground it (Blackberry and Bay or Peony and Blushing Suede), or with something heavier for winter like Wood Sage and Sea Salt.
  • Wood Sage and Sea Salt: It is a pretty pure mild woody scent with a hint of salt and sweet. It is not a heavy scent but grounded and most unisex of the set. Jo Malone website recommend pairing it with Lime, Basil and Mandarin for freshness, or with Peony and Blushing Suede for more warmth. I also like pairing it with Amber and Lavender for a more tomboy scent, less girly than Peony and Blushing Suede with the lighter floral and sweetness.

NOTE: The lasting power of different scents are different, so if one of the scents you tried doesn’t last then try another. Blackberry and Bay fades after a few hours but Lime Basil and Mandarin clings to me like a stalker up to the next day, while the rest have medium/decent lasting power.

After playing around with the set, I’m liking the idea of layering fragrance. When you look at most fragrance, they consist of fruit, green or light floral on top and heavy floral, spice, wood or musk on the bottom. If you like pure fragrance, simple fragrance or picky about notes, Jo Malone would be a good choice. Most perfume starts out wonderful on me but always end up turning musky, so I do like this set that I can customize for scents I like without the musk. However, the scents are so pure sometimes I wonder if it’s worth getting it rather than, say, essential oil or such. I don’t see myself getting a full size any time soon, but if they do have sets again with scents that I like mixing with, I would get it. Now, sniffing all these Jo Malone is making me crave freshly squeezed juice, so I’m gonna go get some now. Ciao!


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