Twice into the same pond*…

Do you remember those times when all Jo Malone perfumes were done in standard transparent bottles with black and white labels and silver caps? They were absolutely uniformed, and the only visual difference was in the name.


Jo Malone Perfumes


And then twelve years ago Jo Malone released the Kohdo Wood collection. It was a limited edition collection that included two perfumes – Lotus Blossom & Water Lily and Dark Amber & Ginger Lily. The first one came in Jo Malone’s traditional clear bottle with the only difference that the label was transparent. And the second one… The second one was a perfection: a beautiful black bottle with a black label. Especially cute it was in a 30 ml format. As far as I know, it was the first colored bottle for the brand (Cologne Intense collection appeared two years later).



I liked both perfumes, but back then I wasn’t familiar yet with the limited-edition concept, so by the time I decided to buy them, both were long gone. I hunted down and bought on eBay Lotus Blossom & Water Lily, but all I could get for Dark Amber & Ginger Lily was a decant. So, whenever I would find myself at a Jo Malone counter, I would be asking SAs about that perfume, telling how great it was and what a pity it got discontinued. For a while it was rumored that Jo Malone would bring Dark Amber & Ginger Lily back… and despite all odds three years later they did! I’m telling myself that my voice (well, multiple voices since I did it at different stores with different SAs) made a difference, and I contributed to the brand’s decision to re-release it. Unfortunately, by that time they’ve already had that Cologne Intense collection with all black bottles and only 100 ml (now they have 50 ml as well), so since they didn’t have that 30 ml black bottle that I liked so much, in addition to my decant, I bought their smaller promotional 9 ml bottle – and it’ll be enough for me for a while.

Several years ago, I discovered that my bottle of Lotus Blossom & Water Lily had turned. Since most of the other bottles that I bought myself, many earlier than this one, were still fine, I wasn’t sure whether the issue was with how the previous owner stored it, or if it was perfume itself that had an unstable formula. And because of that I felt reluctant to buy another bottle from eBay. But I liked Lotus Blossom & Water Lily so much that I kept checking Jo Malone’s site hoping to catch it in their Archives collection. No luck so far. (Did you know about it? Only from their site you can order some of the previously discontinued perfumes, including my favorite French Lime Blossom.)

And then a couple of months ago Jo Malone released two perfumes – Yuja Cologne and Waterlily Cologne.

I couldn’t wait for stores to open (and I was right: you still can’t test any perfumes there) and bought 9 ml bottles of both.

I wrote about Yuja in my In the Search for the Perfect Yuzu post. As to the Waterlily

Do you remember Jo Malone used to release from time to time perfume combining sets with one full bottle of their scent and a couple of small bottles of additional notes that could be layered with the main perfume to create a more unique combination. Those additional “notes” were very nice and pleasant but even more simplistic than the main line Jo Malone perfumes, if you can imagine that. Waterlily Cologne reminds me of those “additional notes.” I like the opening: to my nose it has galbanum in it, though it isn’t listed anywhere (official notes: neroli, waterlily and white musk), but in the development it’s very simplistic and just doesn’t want to stay on my skin. I’ll use up my small bottle, but it’s not something I need in my collection, and it doesn’t remind me of Lotus Blossom & Water Lily at all.

But Jo Malone was adamant to continue tempting me: recently they’ve released two more new perfumes – Fig & Lotus Flower and Cypress & Grape Vine. Not only the first one had that “lotus” part in the name that filled me with hope that this one will be “it,” but also the second one was a part of the Cologne Intense collection, hence a black bottle).


Jo Malone Fig & Lotus Flower and Cypress & Grape Vine


With stores still closed, I just had to buy those cute travel bottles from eBay. So, was the second time a charm? Not really.

I like Fig & Lotus Flower, especially in the opening. It’s a pleasant and light fig perfume, and sometimes in development I can smell vetiver. I don’t know how lotus flower smells, but in this perfume I don’t smell what I perceive as a lotus note in several other perfumes, my illusive favorite Lotus Blossom & Water Lily included. I also compared Fig & Lotus Flower with my other Jo Malone favorite, Wild Fig & Cassis (also available from the Archives collection), which smells drier and more… grown-up (?) than a bright and uncomplicated new scent. I’ll wear Fig & Lotus Flower from my small bottle, but I don’t think I’ll want more after that.

Cypress & Grape Vine had nothing to do with my waterlily or lotus quest, but since I got it as a part of the set, I tested it as well. It is too masculine for me. Cypress & Grape Vine reminds me of very traditional men cologne. But if anyone likes that style, it’s very tenacious (and not just by Jo Malone standards). I’ll see if I like how it smells on my vSO, though it doesn’t seem like his style.

All-in-all, I should probably stop buying Jo Malone perfumes unsniffed, even in smaller bottles: while I still have many favorites from the brand, I rarely like their new creations. But I’ll be checking their Archives Collection hoping for the return of my original favorite.


Rusty and Jo Malone Fig & Lotus Flower and Cypress & Grape Vine


Images: Kohdo Wood collection – JM official; all others – my own.


* I know that I’ve previously used the allusion to this quote from Heraclitus, but the temptation was too strong.


36 thoughts on “Twice into the same pond*…

  1. Timely subject. I’ve just been going through a related search with Jo Malone scents myself. I ordered some small decants from someone on eBay to try some of the discontinued scents and hopefully to try some of the new ones as well. I am eager to try White Jasmine & Mint and rose and magnolia. I also broke down and bought a bottle of Blue Agave and Cacao from the Jo Malone website since I’ve wanted it ever since they discontinued it a few years ago. It’s a rather unusual type of scent, even though it is gourmand. I’m happy to have it back in my collection.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure how it happened but I missed that Rose & Magnolia. They should slow down! If I can’t even follow their new releases, how am I supposed to buy them?! ;)


  2. Thanks for saving me some money! I never blind buy Jo Malone, at least the newer offerings, but these sounded so good. They have not made it to Australia, or at least not where I live. It’s a shame because you can sample here, although the John Lewis Jo Malone sales person intimidates me by standing right in front of the sampling table, like a guard. I suppose she’s just trying to do her job, but it does put me off of a quick spray.

    Liked by 2 people

    • If you weren’t leaving for the US, I would have done a training for you on building up your confidence in approaching that SA ;)

      I’m not sure how department stores here envision perfume sales going forward..,


  3. So cute! And the little bottles aren’t bad either!

    Can’t say that I have really liked most recent Jo Malone fragrances – thinking about it, probably haven’t appreciated many since she sold the company. I used to be in love with her Vetiver, and got through many bottles of that, which is practically unheard for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • :)

      I think that I have more JM favorites that were created after the acquisition. It would be interesting to check the ratio pre-acquisition/pre-JM-departure/after-departure.


  4. As you know I am not a huge fan of Jo Malone – except of Mimosa & Cardamom that is fbw in my files. Maybe one day I will buy it. I bought a decant of Yuja when it launched – it was ok but not special.
    If Fig & Lotus Flower is very light fig then I could try it. And I’m in to test Cypress & Grapevine.

    Jo Malone was introduced to Douglas perfumeries in Poland but only bigger stores have that designated JM corner with their special furnishing etc. But I’ve never seen that you can buy those tiny bottles in some sets. I agree they are cute 😉😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • JM counters and sites here sell only 5 bottles sets (pre-selected). But they often give those as GWP, and people sell them on eBay.

      I think JM perfumes are overpriced for what they are, especially for Poland. You would have liked them more had they been twice cheaper.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t tried much from Jo Malone but I remember many years ago seeing them for the first time when they had their “layering” concept on display at an airport store and thinking it was the cleverest idea.
    Hope your favorite resurfaces one day!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I have several Jo Malones that I really like, but none of them are new: Blue Agava & Cacao, Orris Sandalwood, Incense & Cedrat, Myrrh & Tonka, Velvet Rose & Oud, to name a few. Light watery florals are not my thing so nearly all of mine are from the black bottle intense collection.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tara C, the Myrrh and Tonka is still available. I just got a sample of it with my Blue Agave and Cacao purchase and I’m loving it. It’s good and reasonably strong. The other sample JM sent me is Wood Sage & Sea Salt. After 3 sprays I could not smell anything unless I literally put my nose directly on my arm. It’s pleasant, but I think I would finish a big bottle of that juice in a month, just trying to smell it. That explains why so many people I know who never wear perfume claim to like Wood Sage & Sea Salt. You can’t smell it… it’s like using a very mild scented soap.


      • Yep, I have a 30ml of that Wood Sage and only wear it to yoga class so I don’t gas people out. It is gone in a flash and just smells clean.


    • Most of my favorites aren’t those “watery florals” as well – Pomegranate Noir, Wild fig & Casis, Mimosa & Cardamom, Sweet Milk. Though… I like lighter ones as well – French Lime Blossom and Wood Sage & Sea Salt.


  7. I’m not a huge JM fan although I have a bottle of Wood Sage & Sea Salt that was sent to me by a generous NSTer; and a purchased bottle of Mimosa & Cardamom (Sephora points). I wish the Cardamom in the latter was more prominent and long lasting. (I should just carry Cardamom pods in my pockets.)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve only really enjoyed wearing Blue Agave and Cacao, another scent long gone from JM I believe.. and the saltiest scent ever! I am in the camp that finds many JM’s too vague. French Lime Blossom I have fond memories of as a family member wore it regularly and it was truly wonderful. I am curious why you can’t test them? Is it only the newer ones? I’ve never had a problem testing them but perhaps it’s LE I’m not looking for.


    • :) I can’t test them because our stores, even though they’ve opened, do not allow testing perfumes or cosmetics. I’m not sure how they envision the future of the industry, but I’m not buying more than a travel spray without testing it first, and even that only when for whatever reason I really want to try it. Otherwise, blind buys is not something I’m considering.

      French Lime Blossom would probably be my #1 Jo Malone love – if I had to choose.


  9. Hey Undina,
    Jo Malone is not a house that calls to me. I like Red Roses ands Jin has a bottle of the woody “number one”. I can never remember what number it is.
    While their perfumes don’t get me going I will admit to loving their bath oils. So luxurious.
    Portia xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mostly Jo Malones just barely miss the mark with me, they end up more a like than a love and not quite something I need to have. However, Nutmeg & Ginger and Verbenas of Provence (which were both brought back into production in the recent past for a brief blip) will remain in my collection as long as I can find them. I also am quite fond of the Yuja. I blind bought a bottle of Nectarine Blossom & Honey last year thinking I would love it, but sadly no. No room on my shelf for anything less than a love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is a really good attitude! I might grow up to it one day… For now I have really hard time parting with anything that got into my realm :)

      I like both – Nutmeg & Ginger and Verbenas, but, I think, my decant of the former is finished, and I don’t think I’d buy a 100 ml bottle. But it was quite pleasant – I should have bought a smaller bottle when I could.


  11. I should have bought Dark Amber and Gingerlily when it first came out. It was a good one. At the time I was working and I thought it was too strong. Kicking myself now.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. “It’s not you, it’s the perfume!” I owned a 100ml bottle of Lotus Blossom & Water Lily and it also turned. I was gutted, as this was very much in the days of my perfume fridges. I was another big fan of the 30ml bottle of Dark Amber & Ginger Lily as you know, and am glad to hear it is back in some denomination at least.

    Someone recently recommended the Myrrh & Tonka so am interested to try it when I get the chance.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I thought the only place you can buy the 9mLs was some kind of duo at Sephora unless you wanted to shell out for a set of five, in which case, all sorts of department stores AND Sephora sells them … or you get them as a gift with purchase. I do generally like Jo Malone but I think the last series I paid any attention to recently was the lavender series from a little over a year ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You thought right, but I bought them on eBay, to where they go directly from those GWPs ;) I was considering buying something on JM site when they had that promotion with 2 mini-bottles, but I just couldn’t think of any other perfume that I’d want to get – so I votes for spending less money in total for that eBay purchase vs. a better per/ml ration of buying a bottle of something else.

      Liked by 1 person

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