I’m perfume obsessed, but new launches rarely get me excited. In tougher financial times, the big houses are more risk-averse, trying to appeal to as many women as possible with fragrances incapable of causing offence. Which is why I appreciate Jo Malone’s temporary departure from their usual light, pretty colognes to something more ballsy.
Rock The Ages (naff name, great idea, out next week) is a collection of limited edition scents (£42 each) celebrating different periods in British history. Tudor Rose Amber is extravagant and carnal, Geranium Verbena refined and herbaceous, in recognition of Edwardian Britain’s great gardening era. Birch Black Pepper (my favourite, but arguably the least commercial) is designed to reflect modern, multicultural Britain and has an added ink note as a nod to tattooing.
Admittedly, Rock The Ages is perhaps most appealing to fragrance nerds, who’ll want all five (each collectible bottle is trimmed in a fabric of the time) than to those looking for, say, an everyday perfume. But, truly, these are wasted in the display cabinet – they’re among Jo Malone’s most interesting, wearable and, ironically, modern scents.
If the historical element appeals, but you’re more practically inclined, you’ll love Pommade Divine (£19.80, but huge), an excellent multipurpose moisturising balm for cuticles, nails, lips, grazes, burns and dryness. Based on a recipe loved by Marie Antoinette, the formula has remained unchanged for over 200 years. The nannies of British toffs swore by it. Of course, you could also grab a pot of Nivea Creme for £1.49. It’s ancient and still one of the loveliest smells of all time.
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Hair and makeup: Sharon Ive at Carol Hayes Management