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.
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).
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.
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.