Jo Malone’s latest Limited Edition collection is The Bloosmbury Set, inspired by, yep, you’ve guessed it, The Bloomsbury Set. When I first saw this earlier this year, it did raise an eyebrow. A Jo Malone perfume collection based on a group of intellectuals, known as much for their alternative lifestyle, and bohemian ways, as their undoubtedly influential work? Interesting.
Notable members – the group was made up of associated British writers, intellectuals, philosphers, and artists – included Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster and Lytton Strachen, but it was artists Vanessa Bell (Woolf’s sister) and Duncan Grant who owned Charleston, the group’s country retreat in East Sussex, which inspired this collection.
When we visited Charleston, in the middle of the English countryside, I didn’t know what to expect but I fell in love with it. When I was there, I made a storyline in my head from morning to afternoon to evening, so the five fragrances have a natural evolution. What I particularly loved about the Bloomsbury Set was the juxtaposition of domesticity and simplicity with this hugely intellectual environment – Yann Vasnier, Master Perfumer.
So, there are five fragrances – Blue Hyacinth, Tobacco & Mandarin, Whisky & Cedarwood, Lesther & Artemisia, and Garden Lillies.
Blue Hyacinth is blue hyacinth, garden geraniums, and woody vetiver, and I love it. Tobacco & Mandarin was probably my least favourite, with mandarin, sage and sweet pipe tobacco.
I really loved Whisky & Cedarwood, a gorgeous blend of fine whisky and opulent roses edged with spicy pimento, warm cedarwood, and – wait for it – waxy wooden floors! Lovely.
Leather & Artemisia is tinged with absinthe, artemisia, orriswood, and leather with notes of Cypriol, and Garden Lilies apparently captures the scent of dawn at the lily pond thanks to effervescent water lilies, dewy green sap and ylang ylang, as well as white musk and vanilla.
The bottles are the first Jo Malone London bottles not to have a branded label on the front, and are beautifully designed. I’m not that in love with the campaign, which I find a little obvious, or contrived, to be honest.
The Jo Malone London Bloomsbury Set, £45 for each 30ml, available from March at stores and jomalone.co.uk