I had given up that we would ever see Jo Malone's Cologne Intense Collection locally. I had previewed it in April of last year, even though it seems like only months ago. Now, the four fragrances have arrived at Neiman Marcus at Tysons Galleria.
Cologne Intense draws its inspiration from the Middle East and was expected to appeal to Jo's Malone's Middle Eastern customers, with scents that are familiar, but mixed in novel ways. Last year, Dominic De Vetta, Jo Malone’s Global General Manager, told WWD that the launch of Cologne Intense was part of a company-wide strategy to respond to regional consumer preferences. “We wanted to start playing with deeper, richer ingredients, and we wanted to offer more consumers that experience in a very Jo Malone and modern way,” he said, adding the collection was created to appeal to “fragrance connoisseurs” as well as the brand’s Middle Eastern clientele.
A collection of distinctive scents inspired by the rich, sensory experience of the Middle East. A place of immense beauty with ornate architecture, vibrant colors, and intense scents from the Spice Routes of the vast trade network, the Middle East has a liveliness rooted in history.
Set to debut last July, the collection was only to be sold in about 35 stores globally, including doors in Paris, London, and New York. The collection, which was blended by Christine Nagel of Fragrance Resources, includes familiar Middle Eastern notes with a modern interpretation: two florals, one spicy, and one woody. Now, the collection is available at Jo Malone's Web site and select Neiman Marcus doors.
I was privileged to try all four fragrances. Today, I'd like to tell you about Rose Water & Vanilla Cologne ($135). Billed as a twenty-first century translation of the traditional Arabian Rose Mokhalat, imbued with a modern Jo Malone edge, the rose and vanilla are complemented by neroli overlaid with the sweet, floral woodiness of petitgrain, and undertones of smoky agarwood.
Rose Water & Vanilla is indeed intense. The dominant note, from application to dry-down about eight hours later, is vanilla. It's a soft vanilla, unlike the ubiquitous vanilla of candle shops and cheap fragrances in mall stores. The rose water and neroli give it a slight floral opening, but the woody notes linger.
The packaging reflects a "darker," richer spectrum for Jo Malone's fragrances. Following the rules of fragrance mixing, you will want to spray Cologne Intense first, and then apply one of your lighter scents to "make it your own." Now that I've had a chance to wear Rose Water & Vanilla, I think I'll give it a Red Roses overspray to customize the scent to my floral-loving nose. Then I'll try one of the fruits, perhaps Grapefruit. I'll have fun playing.
I'll let you know what I think of the others after I've had a chance to try them. Next up on my list is Iris & White Musk, a blend of violet, Casablanca lily, white musk, and iris notes. I should have tried it first, but I've been on a voyage of discovery. I promise, I'm not morphing Best Things in Beauty into a fragrance blog, but I'm taking you along on my journey.
You can purchase the Cologne Intense fragrances at Jo Malone online. Of course, you can always call my friends Diana Foerster (Jo Malone representative at Neiman Marcus at Tysons Galleria) or Kathy Shoreman at (703) 761-1600.
Photo courtesy of Jo Malone, vanillaimporters, and hellotrade.com