For their latest collection The Herb Garden, perfumerie Jo Malone London turns to the herbaceous scents and flavours of the English garden to create unexpected scent combinations. Working with master perfumer Anne Flipo, this 'quirky tapestry of fragrant foliage' is just what you would expect from the house — natural, fresh scents with a twist. Working with herbs like lemon thyme, parsley, nasturtium, clover and fennel, each scent brings out a different facet of these ingredients and are so much more interesting than the sometimes cliched notes that are found in smell-alike mass fragrances.
With five scents on offer, pick your favourite or splurge on the entire collection — it is after all in stores for a limited period. Find out more about the five scents from Flipo herself, who describes which moment in the garden each scent captures:
"For me, Sorrel & Lemon Thyme is the glowing spring morning of the collection. It is those stolen few moments when you step outside to breathe in the new season and find yourself enveloped with green and vivid scents. Sorrel & Lemon Thyme opens with a sunlit burst of citrus. The lemon, petigrain and orange bigarade give a sparkling energy and vivacity while white thyme and rosemary add to the aromatic character of the heart. Geranium and moss at the base of the fragrance completes its fresh, but poetic character."
"Wild Strawberry & Parsley evokes those late summer afternoons, when shadows lengthen and the sun mellows. This fragrance opens on the delicately wild and sweet nature of the tiny strawberry and unfolds with spicy, peppery, aromatic parsley. These fruity green accents flicker on a sensual, earthy base of white musk and moss. The elegant vivacity and musky notes conjure up the decadence of unexpected encounters on endless summer afternoons."
"Nasturtium & Clover is all about the thrill of getting lost in a rambling, bucolic and rustic English garden; a surprise around every corner. Nasturtium's charming and exhilarating floral is powered by the sumptuous yet grassy accord of clover. Daring rocket adds its peppery greenness to the narrative, completing this crisp little charm illuminated by citrus and warmed by woods."
"Carrot Blossom & Fennel conjures the earthy satisfaction of a home harvest: the journey from planting a garden, nurturing it, finding fresh ingredients and then finally reaching that moment of cutting into homegrown fennel and slicing a crisp, sweet carrot. The Carrot Blossom & Fennel is an addictive floral scent. The fruity fresh apricot peel facet of carrot melts into the aniseed note of fennel. Iris and musk then add to its elegant and powdery character, completing this full-bodied original."
"Lavender & Coriander captures the deep warmth of midday heat on high summer days; the calming quality of lavender juxtaposed with the energy of coriander for a muscular, clean modern fougère. Chelsea Physic Garden inspired the use of juniper with its cool, green, slightly resinous scent and artemisia, a bitter aromatic. This fragrance has a deeply herbaceous personality resulting in a brave and slightly masculine presence."
Flipo was perhaps the best perfumer for Jo Malone London to pick for this collection as she grew up in rural Picardy surrounded by wild flowers and vegetable gardens. Known for the simplicity of her fragrances, Flipo strives for natural scents and delicate nuances in her creations. Here she tells us more about the experience of creating The Herb Garden.
How did you feel when Jo Malone London first approached you to work with them on their next British collection?
I was delighted and very proud to have been chosen, especially as Jo Malone London is a brand that I naturally relate to. I like the way that Jo Malone London feels as though it's a way of living. The brand is about taking pleasure in life's small moments; this could be as simple as being transported by a spritz of Cologne or running a bath with fragrant Bath Oil. For me, this is what makes it so special. The brand's olfactive signature is also aligned with my own; I completely identify with their natural, clear scents that are beautiful in their simplicity. This made me excited to work with the Jo Malone London Creative Studio as I felt we were working in the same direction.
What was your experience of working with Jo Malone London on this collection?
The Herb Garden was my first project with the brand and a completely new way of working for me. It was so creative and so free. During the first weeks of working together, the Creative Studio sent me a daily surprise ranging from gardening and botanical books (some old and out of print) to seeds which I would plant in my garden. It was a really immersive process and the journey so far has been magical.
How did you begin to interpret the brief from Jo Malone London?
Our approach was multi-dimensional at first. We talked about colour and sound; the time of day in the herb garden, the light, even how the names of each herb sounded. It was a very inspiring, very unusual way to work and one that spoke to all the senses.
We visited the Chelsea Physic Garden where we were intrigued by the way the herbs were planted to interweave with one another. We wanted to reflect the diversity of herbs, their natural playfulness and their different characters.
The time we spent there also brought home qualities that are quite specific to the British garden: they are polished but still a little bit unruly. Refined yet relaxed. This duality seemed like a very British trait to me and I wanted to express it in the collection.
How did Jo Malone London's unique concept of Fragrance Combining influence this collection and your work?
I wanted these fragrances to be sophisticated in their simplicity which is something intrinsic to the signature of Jo Malone London. I used many high quality natural ingredients and I wanted to give those ingredients an opportunity to shine with absolute clarity. This type of construction means that they can be layered with one another to change the nuance of the scent and create something individual. My favourite is Nasturtium & Clover worn with Lime Basil & Mandarin; it creates a grassy floral fragrance, fresh with a zesty citrus twist.
Did you take inspiration from your own daily life?
I found myself spending more and more time in my own rambling garden where I grow thyme, sorrel, nasturtium, wild strawberries, parsley and lavender. Wandering through these plants, at different times of day, I tried to imagine the most original and exciting combinations. Inspiration also came from taste. I tried every single one of the herbs with the team at Jo Malone London, some at 8am in the morning for the freshest, most responsive taste buds!
Was there a point on the journey that was the hardest or most challenging?
Carrot Blossom & Fennel was the most challenging scent in the collection. Unlike the others, the main ingredients are pulled from the earth. Fennel is complex and carrot extremely diverse; it is sweet, fruity and earthy so I had to work out what accents to push. I ended up choosing to use the carrot plant rather than its seeds which are more common in perfumery. In contrast, Nasturtium & Clover worked almost immediately. I grow nasturtiums at home and clover is so familiar to me that the direction felt instantly right. I feel the collection represents a real sense of olfactive diversity.
Each 30ml fragrance is $107. Available at Jo Malone stores and counters from March 2016