I don't wear perfume and years of being bombarded with fragrance ads and new perfumes being launched seemingly every hour has made me indifferent, even slightly repulsed by the perfume department of any store. But yesterday, my nose died and went to heaven, thanks a to visit to Jo Malone.

My friend and I were looking for a birthday gift (this never ends) for a good friend who enjoys such sensory pleasures, and I remembered a visit I paid to Jo Malone in London years ago, before Jo Malone was bought over by some conglomerate (Estee Lauder) and started opening shops all over the world. I remember it being a soothing and luxurious experience, and also, I was 100% won over by their packaging: beautiful cream boxes of a satisfying weight with an inky black trim and ribbons; clean, serene, rectangular glass bottles. I think the reason why we decided to go there was because we figured the gift would at least look exquisite.

I didn't realise how badly in need of an awakening my nose was to fragrances, until I sprayed a bit of their Vintage Gardenia (I love the smell of gardenias) on my wrist at the shop yesterday and I think from then on the shop assistant could have talked me into anything. I don't like fragrances and I think of them as something rather harsh and artificial on my nose, but this was incredibly rich and subtle at the same time, somehow enveloping you into the scent without seeming like too much, and it smelt incredibly unique. I suddenly understood the concept of a signature scent. It's like draping on a cashmere scarf, or slipping into a favourite dress - something falls into place. Even after we left the shop, the scent wore beautifully on my body for the rest of day, without breaking down into something unpleasant, as perfumes sometimes do after some time.

In the end we bought English Pear and Freesias, their newest fragrance, for my friend - delicious, sensual, somewhat warm and playful.


What we were especially entranced by were their Fragrance Chronicles, which are box sets of a bottle of one of their fragrances, accompanied by smaller vials of the individual scents that make up the fragrance - I love the idea of playing around with my own blends. Unfortunately, it wasn't available for English Pears and Freesias.

Jo Malone Red Roses

We left dreaming of our next visit.

store imagetitle sg

Pictures from jo malone


I had a similar awakening the day I discovered Eau Noire, I never "got" the whole fragrance thing until then. I've never tried JM but the packaging looks pretty.
lin said…
I've never smelt Eau Noire, but I just googled it and I love the bottle. I'm quite sold on things like packaging :) I'm not surprised it's designed by Hedi Slimane...
Victoria said…
I'm a fellow Jo Malone fan, particularly the pomegranate noir (for winter) and the grapefruit cologne (for summer). Agree the packaging is beautiful, I'm sure your friend will enjoy the gift.
Ammu said…
Pomegranate Noir is gorgeous. Scent was the first thing I began spending money on - it makes a huge difference to me. When you are next in London, visit Les Senteurs, it's the most beautiful scent shop near Sloane Square.
lin said…
Victoria: I love how layered the scents are. The idea of changing scents by season sounds wonderful.

Ammu: It is truly a sensory indulgence, and feels like a very private one, especially when the scent itself is as unique as these. I felt it was worth every penny.
Anonymous said…
I've always been ambivalent about perfume, too, because of the times when it's forced on me-- pushy salespeople and ads, people who douse themselves. Walking past a perfume shop can cause nausea.

And shopping for it can be difficult-- you're bombarded with so many smells and chemicals, and there's an endless profusion of them. I worry that, after plunking down $100, I'm going to find something better, or change my mind (I'm a one-bottle-at-a-time person). I worry that the perfume I like might have an ugly bottle, or that a bottle I love will trick me into buying a perfume that's not that great.

But wow, perfume can give so much joy. It reminds me to notice all those wonderful things that I usually tune out. It reminds me that everything is changing in every moment. It's a little present I give to anyone who gets close enough to me. When I smell someone who smells delicious, I feel they are doing a public service.

And I think it's very interesting to read about perfume. I like Chandler Burr (
and this blog (
lin said…
Anon: Thanks for the recommendations, can't wait to check them out.

I'm still ambivalent about buying perfume for myself in general. I still see it as a special occasion item...and I agree that it's a beautiful present someone very close. I like treating perfume as something special.

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