A peek inside Jo Malone's garden on the first day of Spring! [PLEASE SEE FOOTNOTE FOR CLARIFICATION]

My own pictures from my yard.

Happy Spring!
It's finally here, groundhogs be damned. In fact, it's been Spring for a week already in Virginia, if you go by the weather and not the calendar. In my yard, the crocus blooms have already faded and fallen, the daffodils are wilting, and the tulips are pushing their way up to the front of the garden. The delicate blossoms of our plum tree have already dotted the lawn like snow, and the horrid Bradford Pears* are in bloom. Phlox creeps across the neighbor's yard, crawling with pink and purple petals, and forsythia waves cheerfully from its long, skinny stalks.

Like many perfumistas, I insist that I do not wear perfumes seasonally - I love them all and wear them when the mood strikes.

Of course I wear perfumes seasonally. Just because I don't pack up the Winter ones and tuck the lot of them in a box in the back of the closet doesn't mean I wear my heavy oriental scents all year long. Let's get real: not every scent is meant for every season.

When the temperature starts to rise and the clothes start to lighten up, so do my perfumes. There's a brief window at this time of year where I start to become A Floral Girl. Straight-up, hardcore, all-flowers all of the time. That's right - Bad. Ass.

Or pretty. Actually, I like pretty flowers in the Spring.

Enter stage left: Ms. Jo Malone1.

Jo Malone1, she of the transparent, layerable scents has shown us pictures of her own garden. Olfactory pictures. And they're quite lovely!

I usually find Jo Malone's1 a bit too light and a little too temporary for my tastes. Hey, what can I say? I like power ambers and intense leathers and dirty, earthy skank. 

But the trio of gorgeous florals in London Blooms really got to me. I have been lucky enough to sample all three thanks to the wonderful generosity of my friend Adrienne of Best Things in Beauty.

The three - Iris & Lady Moore, White Lilac & Rhubarb, and Peony & Moss - are limited edition and they have the prettiest silk-screened bottles that just make me giggle.

Let's start with the one I was least interested in: Iris & Lady Moore.  I am not totally about the iris. It's a lovely flower - I would love a bed full of them! But the scent, at least in perfumes, doesn't rock my world. There are a few pretty iris perfumes, but I don't really feel a need to try them all and certainly don't need to own them all*.

But this one is pretty. Iris & Lady Moore was designed to be a play on ethereal iris and earthy geranium. The florals sit on a bed of cool, dry vetiver.

Iris & Lady Moore is an olfactory pressed white blouse. If I needed an office scent, I'd grab this one. It's also great for a bit of backbone -a spritz of liquid courage. I find a lot of iris scents to be bracing in that way. This perfume is an excellent choice for women who a) love iris, b) want a pretty but non-offensive scent, or c) want to smell clean but dislike the scent of clean musks.

Notes: tangerine, geranium, marigold, iris, orange blossom, sandalwood and vetiver. 

*Famous last words. Every time I say something like that, I end up eating my own words. Watch for an "I Love Iris" post soon. 

I think I have said before, my favorite Spring smell is lilac. I have a lovely lilac perfume made by Elizabeth W. I have sampled a few others (see some reviews here) and prefer En Passant above all others - there's just something about the yeasty note and the watery nuances that makes me smile. So, do I need another?

Well, maybe I do. Maybe White Lilac & Rhubarb is the prettiest, freshest lilac I have sampled in quite awhile. It's incredibly soft, ladylike, Spring-y, and pretty. It's even got a little hint of spice that makes it stand out just a bit from other lilac soliflores. That said, I don't really pick up rhubarb. More's the pity.

Notes: violet leaves, rhubarb, white lilac, rose, amber, musk, heliotrope.


So now it's time for my favorite. I think. Peony & White Moss.

It opens with a kick, which I love. It's a blast of berry, flowers, and greenness. Does it smell just like a peony? Well, not any peony I've smelled personally, but there's a peony-ness about it, if you get my meaning.

This scent keeps me coming back. I'm not 100% certain that's a good thing. I really can't pin down whether I'm drawn to it because it's beautiful or if I'm drawn to it because something is "off". Or maybe something is beautifully off?

Peony &  White Moss is Spring-y. It's pretty. It's maybe just the slightest bit tart. The moss is familiar - not oakmoss, please understand. It's very similar to the moss in Estee Lauder's Jasmine and White Moss, which I do enjoy.

So, I really, really can't tell if I like this one or not. But the result is I'm draining this juice at an alarming rate - and from Jo Malone's1 perspective, isn't that the point?

Notes: green sap, blackcurrant, jasmine, peony, rose, ivy, moss.

End the verdict, people, is this: these are pretty. Are they groundbreaking? No. Are they lovely additions to a perfume cabinet? Yes, especially if you're in need of pretty florals. And keep an eye on that iris one! ;)

1 Wow. I was finally noticed by Estee Lauder PR!! Sadly, it was to ask me to please clarify that "Jo Malone" is a person and she is no longer related to her former brand, which is "Jo Malone London". Basically, we all know that, but I must clarify anyway, lest you become confused.

And I guess this is where I point out that when I cheekily refer to "Jo Malone's Garden" it's not really Jo Malone's garden (duh!), it's some PR desk in a corporate office building and Jo Malone wasn't there. When I say "enter stage left: Jo Malone" she's not really there, just a figment of my imagination. When I say "she of the transparent, layerable..." it's just me babbling and I'm just trying to confuse you. Also, I will point out that when I say "I usually find Jo Malone's too light and temporary" I mean I find Jo Malone London's scents too light and temporary and I have no opinion at all on the weight or longevity of Jo Malone, the woman.

So, please re-read this whole article and mentally remind yourself that the real-life woman Jo Malone had nothing to do with these scents or my review and then, going forward, make sure you refer to the line as "Jo Malone London" - and everyone you know will give you a raised eyebrow because no one calls the line that. Except Estee Lauder. 


  1. I'm going to be getting the Peony and the Lilac. I liked them, very much. I think they will be perfect for our hot & humid summer.

    1. I think so, too, Kathleen. The iris especially seems great for hot weather - at least to me. But you probably have tons of irises?

    2. I have Iris Pallida and Puredistance Antonia, also loaded with iris. So I'm good for iris, at the mo.

      Oh, and I wasn't the least bit confused whilst reading your post. I think everyone knows that Jo Malone, the person, has nothing to do with these scents. But I probably won't take the extra time to call it Jo Malone London, 'cause I don't care that much. So why does EL keep the 'Jo Malone' in the name anyway? To fool us?

  2. Have only tried the White Lilac & Rhubarb. You are SO right about the rhubarb note. It was there for a fleeting moment then GONE.
    Great reviews!

    1. Thanks, Tami. I love the idea of unusual notes like rhubarb. I just want to smell them and not just read about them. ;)

  3. You have such a sweet sense of humor, Jen. I can't help smiling when I read your reviews. And you make all three of these fragrances sound very lovely, indeed.

    1. They are surely pretty scents. That's the word I kept coming back to. :)

  4. Those bottles are so gosh darn pretty! I can't help it, they alone make me want to try all of these. Loved the reviews! I actually really like a couple of JM scents. I can't believe I had to break out her Orange Blossom already. It was the perfect scent for what felt like a summer day in March last week. And I don't mind it one bit. ;-)

    (BTW, I have to ask - what is it with you & Bradford Pears?)

    1. I need to try more Jo Malone's, I think. Maybe my nose wasn't smart enough for them.

      I can't believe this weather! Bizarrely warm. I'm trying to explain to my toddler that just because it's hot outside doesn't mean the community pool is going to be open any time soon. She's understandably irritated by this nonsense. ;)

      Bradford Pears. First, I am allergic to them, so they already have one strike against them. Second, the damn things stink. I suppose it's some kind of indoles? We swore a few years ago that there was some dead-thing-carcass lying around and were even a little hostile to our cat, the hunter. Turned out to be the stupid tree. And what makes it worse is that some of our guests have mentioned "the awful odor" in our yard. "It's the neighbor's tree" doesn't seem to convince them we haven't been burying bodies under the porch. Dumb trees.


  5. *jen,
    I enjoyed your review but don't you think you need to clarify now that Estee Lauder PR you've metioned above was not a PR for Estee Lauder person because, you know, she's dead and some people might get confused... ;)

    I think I will be getting the Lilac one: I enjoyed it a lot when I tested it. I will test again the Peony one since, in general, I like peony scent in perfumery. As to the iris, I think that Jo Malone (the brand, not person) has a better iris cologne - Iris and White Musk in their Cologne Intense Collection.


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