In early July, I received a sample of the eagerly awaited Wild Bluebell Cologne ($55 or $110) from Jo Malone. The advertising campaign - a departure from previous Jo Malone campaigns that offered a minimalist's focus on the product, perhaps with some of the ingredients pictured for inspiration - had intrigued me. I found the model and the white bunnies entertaining in their depiction of English eccentricity along with the real thing, the bluebells.
No natural extract of wild bluebells exists. I don't think they have much of a scent. So the perfumer, Christine Nagel, imagined the scent and created its equivalent (in a lab, I assume). A green forest floor, complete with spring's majesty, the wild bluebell in the bottle is sweet, but not too sweet. The cologne opens with the fresh floral "bluebell" and clove; builds quickly to a soft heart of lily of the valley, eglantine (rose), and jasmine; and finishes with a soft base that combines white amber and musk.
I loved my sample. Although I normally detest clove in fragrances, it didn't "bloom" on my skin from the sample. Once I received my bottle of Wild Bluebell, though, I picked up the clove immediately (I often wonder if samples provide an exact representation of the full blend of a fragrance). Rather than refer to my sneak peek feature, I relied on my nose. My nose smelled a "spice" that disrupted the harmony of the other notes, leaving me wondering what odiferous transplant had volunteered its way into the garden.
The clove will make Wild Bluebell attractive to those who prefer to have the sweetness of their floral fragrances tempered by a little spice. To a gardener (and probably that white bunny), the ingredient is discordant, particularly since it remains with the scent through the heart. Wearing Wild Bluebell Cologne hasn't been the gentle trip down the wooded, wildflower-lined walking path that I had anticipated. It's an interesting experiment, and I appreciate the direction taken by the Jo Malone company in the last year to diversify its offerings. It's just not the best fragrance for my tastes.
Wild Bluebell is available in cologne, candle, body crème, and body and hand wash offerings - just in case you love it and want to live in it. You can find it at any Jo Malone counter or at the Jo Malone Web site. See what you think. My bottle was sent to me by a darling friend in the industry who is not associated with Jo Malone.
The native English bluebell is a threatened species. To help England stay carpeted with this flower, Jo Malone London made a donation to the Woodland Trust.
Photos courtesy of The Moodie Report and Jo Malone