These are not your average fragrances: Leather, whisky, tobacco, anyone?
By Chesca de la Cruz
Jo Malone London’s The Bloomsbury Set: (counterclockwise from top left) Leather & Artemisia, Tobacco & Mandarin, Blue Hyacinth, Garden Lilies, and Whisky & Cedarwood
Artistic, intriguing, addictive—this is The Bloomsbury Set, Jo Malone London’s 2017 Brit Collection. The limited edition collection is inspired by and named after the famous Bloomsbury Group, an influential group of English artists who lived in the legendary Charleston House in East Sussex during the 1900s.
Known members include Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, Lytton Strachey, and E.M. Foster. The collection, including its design, is inspired by the house and the lifestyles of the people who lived in the famed house.
The design of the boxes and bottles are inspired by the artworks and painted interiors of the Charleston House
Master perfumer Yann Vasnier and Jo Malone’s Celine Roux taking a walk around the garden
If you like heavy floral scents, this scent will suit you. Inspired by the garden of the Charleston House, Blue Hyacinth is a mix of floral, woody, and grassy notes with a vintage feel to it. Jo Malone’s Celine Roux shares, “This is the first smell of the morning. You can imagine the Bloomsbury Set cutting the stems, throwing a big armful of them into a painted vase in the room where they were working that day, and the scent filling the air.”
The library, the inspiration behind the scent Leather & Artemisia
Leather & Artemisia
Like walk in the library, Leather & Artemisia is striking, rich yet soft. The master perfumer Yann Vasnier’s inspiration? He shares, “When I stood in that library I got a sense of excitement. So I balanced the richness of the leather with aromatic plants such as Absinthe and Artemisia. And to make the leather feel as close to this room as possible I used patchouli and cypriol to represent the wooden shelves and soft paper pages.”
The Charleston House lily pond
My top pick, Garden Lilies is a light, feminine floral fragrance with hints of musk and green. Inspired by the lily pond of the Charleston house, fragrant water lilies, ylang ylang and dewy green sap are enhanced by white musk and a wisp of vanilla. “Even though this is fresh and light, there’s still something really sensual about it,” says Vasnier.
Interiors of the Charleston House in East Sussex
Whisky & Cedarwood
Warm and mysterious best describe this fragrance. Roux explains, “This is the evening scent, the most daring one in the whole collection. The idea behind the fragrance is that at night, they would drink, smoke and brainstorm. This is definitely the most sensual, addictive and mischievous one.”
Vasnier adds, “To contrast the scent of waxy floors, I used a blend of rich boozy notes of whisky, rum extract and cognac oil, with a touch of oakmoss, myrrh and sandalwood for a sensual balsam effect. It was fun working with the whisky note: if you think about its composition, there are facets that are earthy and smoky. So to stop it going too boozy, I enhanced the rose and honey, which makes it feel soft, wearable and elegant.”
“This is inspired by the Thursday evening brainstorm that was a weekly ritual for the Bloomsbury Set: there are photos where they’re all smoking pipes and I think there’s something very addictive about fresh pipe tobacco. In the photos the men are wearing three piece suits with crisp white shirts, and I can imagine them smelling of eau de cologne but enveloped in this pipe tobacco aura.”—Celine Roux on Tobacco & Mandarin
Tobacco & Mandarin
Another personal favorite, Tobacco & Mandarin is an unexpected yet robust blend for men and ladies alike. The sweetness of tobacco is balanced by energizing mandarin, herbaceous sage, and warm beeswax—like a whiff of an afternoon tea session.
The set will be available starting March 2017 (P3870/30ml) at Jo Malone Greenbelt 5, SM Aura Premier, and Rustan’s Shangri-La Plaza, until supplies last.
[Photos courtesy of Jo Malone Philippines]