The Scented Hound

Perfume blog with abbreviated perfume reviews & fragrance reviews.

Revisiting Jo Malone: Dark Amber & Ginger Lily and Amber & Patchouli


amber-patchouliLast week I reviewed my first Jo Malone fragrance, Wild Bluebell,  and was completely underwhelmed not only with the fragrance itself, but with the way the fragrances don’t speak to me via their marketing or their store presence.  After some prodding by others, I was told to give the Jo Malone line another chance, specifically their Cologne Intense line.   Since I had to return a purchase to my local Nordstrom store this weekend, I thought it would be a good opportunity to check out some of the other Jo Malone fragrances.  Surprisingly, my local Nordstrom store has a large space dedicated to Jo Malone, but I still don’t find their display captivating as it is quite sterile and uniform.  After giving a few sniffs of the various Cologne Intense fragrances on paper, I settled on samples of the Dark Amber & Ginger Lily and Amber & Patchouli.


WHAT I SMELL: Opens with an astringent cardamom, which then quickly lightens and sweetens with an almost buttery undertone.  Funny, the sweetness only stays for a minute and then it evens out into this wonderful ginger with the cardamom sitting beneath almost smelling like cedar.  After about 10 minutes Dark Amber & Ginger Lily becomes very light but with a nice warm amber base, with a hint of incense.  This is nice, but very light and close to the skin.  After around 20 minutes the fragrance doesn’t morph much, but it really is lovely in its light presence.

From Fragrantica:

Dark Amber & Ginger Lily includes aromas of black cardamom, ginger and pink pepper in the top notes; the middle notes are jasmine, orchid, water lily and rose; while the base notes encompass leather, sandalwood, kyara incense, patchouli, black amber.

hintsoffallWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A hint of Fall.


WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT DARK AMBER & GINGER LILY:  Call it Beauty, Perfume Posse, The Scented Salamander

  • Bone Rating: 3 out of 5 possible bones
  • Scent:  Oriental Woody
  • Classification:  Marketed to women, but easily worn by a man
  • Expense:  $145 for 100ml Cologne Intense


WHAT I SMELL:  Opens with a big astringent blast of patchouli.  The patchouli is sweet, not earthy and rather pretty. After a few minutes you can detect a bit of sour guaiac wood which starts to pull some of the moisture out of the fragrance making this more woody… and woody in the way of the smell of old barn planks.   But that quickly moves to the background as the sweet patchouli takes center stage… with the amber and the wood keeping this dry and slightly powdery and flattened in a linear sense.

From Fragrantica:

Amber & Patchouli is a rich woody – spicy scent of amber, patchouli and guaiac wood.

patentleatherWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  The perfumed cotton/silk lining of a 1960s patent leather coat.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE AMBER & PATCHOULI :   semi-sweet, semi-musty, pretty


  • Bone Rating: 3 out of 5 possible bones
  • Scent:  Oriental Woody
  • Classification:  Unisex
  • Expense:  $145 for 100ml Cologne Intense

BOTTOM LINE:   Will these two fragrances make me run to Jo Malone in the future?  Probably not.  But they also won’t make me discount the line as a whole either.  Nicely done Jo Malone!

Author: The Scented Hound

Just a normal guy with the nose of a beagle!

10 thoughts on “Revisiting Jo Malone: Dark Amber & Ginger Lily and Amber & Patchouli

  1. I knew it! Especially for the Dark Amber & Ginger Lily! 🙂


  2. I adore this description “The perfumed cotton/silk lining of a 1960s patent leather coat.”

    Two great reviews Mr Hound. I have long felt the same about Jo Malone- sort of underwhelmed. However, having read your review, I could certainly be tempted by Amber and Patchouli, although for this kind of money I would want more longevity.

    I really want to smell like that coat lining!


    • It’s strange how that popped up in my mind. But you know exactly what I mean…It doesn’t exude anything but cold plastic on the outside, but the inside is all comfy and familiar 🙂 These are both very close to the skin I think the Amber & Patchouli more than the Amber & Lily. I actually expected it to be the opposite!


    • That line jumped out to me as well. I know just what that smell is!


  3. Jo Malone is is front and center at our Neiman Marcus. I have never stopped to say hello. I need to change that and give the line a whirl. There are just so many things to smell out there!


  4. I like Dark Amber & Ginger Lily from the time it was released as a part of the limited collection. It’s not my most favorite in Jo Malone’s line and I definitely do not need a 100 ml bottle (while it was a limited edition it came in a very cute black 30 ml bottle) but I’ll use up a decant that I’ve got.


  5. I am so glad you liked this one, which is my favourite of the line. I am forever extolling its qualities to my Jo Malone-wearing friends – a surprisingly large circle – most of whom are focused on the likes of Lime, Basil and Mandarin, the default JM here in Britain.

    I have that small LE bottle of the Dark Amber & Ginger LIly from when it first came out, and used to own the bath oil, which is divine. Amber & Patchouli I would happily wear if I had a sample – it reminded me a bit of L’Ombre Fauve, but not as skanky. Oh, the Kohdo Day scent – which I also own – is not in the same league as Kohdo NIght imho, and I am rather regretting springing for that on Ebay, especially as it is a humungously large bottle!


    • It’s funny Vanessa, the Jo Malone fans are coming out full force. After testing these two I can see the appeal as they aren’t fussy or overly complicated and just easy to wear. Which does make sense with their marketing approach being simple and easy. A lot can be said for less is more!


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