The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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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.

Dark AmberDARK AMBER & GINGER LILY – 

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.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE DARK AMBER & GINGER LILY: meditative, mellow, peaceful

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

AMBER & PATCHOULI – 

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

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT AMBER & PATCHOULI  The Scent Critic, London Makeup Girl

  • 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!


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Wild Bluebell by Jo Malone

wildbluebell2I don’t get Jo Malone.  I never did.  Every time I walk by the Jo Malone counter at Nordstrom I just continue to walk on by.  I can’t tell if it’s the bottles, the labels or the fact that they just look linen clean and rather boring.  In any case, I was glad when the wonderful Undina sent me a couple of samples so that I could give this line a try.  I hope I can test this without a prejudiced view but with an open mind.  We’ll see…

WHAT I SMELL: Wild Bluebell opens with astringent aldehydes that burned by nose… uh, oh…my first impression is “bathtastic.”  In this case it’s not because it smells soapy, but instead because it smells like something that should be used as bath beads or bath oil or some other “in the tub” kind of product.  What Wild Bluebell smells exactly like is …Lily of the Valley.  So much so that I’m not sure why this isn’t called Lily of the Valley instead.   It’s kind of sweet, kind of leafy green and very clean.  Thankfully, there is a nice light musk base that gives this fragrance some needed depth.

Wild Bluebell notes from Fragrantica:

Top notes: bluebell and cloves 
Heart: lily of the valley, jasmine, rose hip 
Base: white amber and musk

bathproductsWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  bath products

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE WILD BLUEBELL: girlish, simple, clean

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT WILD BLUEBELL: The Sunday Girl, London MakeUp Girl, A Touch of Blusher

BOTTOM LINE:   Not my thing.  I like women’s perfume, but this seems very fresh face girlish to me.  It’s safe, a bit dull and just too clean.  Jo Malone recommends that you try layering their fragrances.  Since I also received a sample of Orange Blossom, I decided to give this layering a go ahead.  Surprisingly Wild Bluebell actually improved with the layering, but not enough to get me to change my mind.  Sorry Undina, I know you love Jo Malone and please don’t think that I’m not grateful for the samples, I am.  This just means that there will be much more Jo Malone for you. 😉

  • Bone Rating: 2.5 out of 5 possible bones
  • Scent:  Floral Green
  • Classification:  Unisex but leans feminine
  • Expense:  Approximately $60 for 30ml EdC from the Jo Malone website