Saturday, August 20, 2011

Jo Malone Wild Bluebell Cologne

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


Anonymous said...

I've been waiting for this one! But weird that they added clove to it. Hmmm...will have to smell it first I guess!

Charlestongirl said...

I would try first, Tracy. Some are going to love Wild Bluebell. My weird preferences aren't shared by all. Look at all those who love the clove-laden fragrances by Serge Lutens. They might love Wild Bluebell. :)

lovethescents said...

I'm picky with clove...I love it but it needs to be well blended to add a bit of warmth and not a bit of spice cake :-) Adore it in Parfumerie General's Un Crime Exotique, for example. Gorgeous warmth, that one is :-)

I'll definitely try this when I see it. I do like JMs, they're usually quite linear and easy to wear, I think.

Mamavalveeta03 said...

If you, A, had to choose a favorite Jo Malone fragrance, which one would it be and why? (any reader could answer this one for me,too!)And secondly, I love "green" fragrances--is there a Jo Malone fragrance that would fit the bill??
Thanks! :-)

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Lovethescents,

The are linear. I like that word, applied to fragrance. Thanks!

Charlestongirl said...


I have so many JM fragrances, it's really hard to select a favorite. If I had to, it might be Red Roses. It's certainly the one that has garnered the most compliments. A second might be Tuberose.

Sabrina said...

Lovely review! I bought mine recently as well after getting a mini sample, oddly I smell no clove or spice in mine. I've smelled the bottles at two different Jo Malone locations in two different cities (about 3 hours apart). Neither batch had clove notes whether it was on my own skin or sprayed on those sample paper cards. I wonder why there is a difference?

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Sabrina,

I'm not sure. The note will not be perceived as clove by many. It manifests as a notable spice that tempers the sweetness of the floral notes and adds an edge.

When I first starting smelling and taking notes after my bottle arrived, I knew it had a spice in it that I didn't like. That spice had not been apparent to me in my sample. It was only when I went back to the original PR materials that I re-learned that the spice note is clove.

Clove ruins most fragrances for me. That's why I can't handle so many of the Serge Lutens fragrances because he loves clove. I have an association that's unfortunate (wisdom teeth, dry sockets, eugenol-based packing every few days for what seemed like an eternity, while everything tasted like eugenol - or clove). I'm sure that's why I hate it. :)

lovethescents said...

mamaval, what a fun question! I can't say which JM is my favorite, but the ones on heavy rotation are Orange Blossom, White Jasmine & Mint, Earl Grey & Cucumber...then in the winter I like Dark Amber & Ginger Lily and Vanilla & Anise. What about you?

Green JMs? I wouldn't call any of them green, per se, but maybe French Lime Blossom might tick your box?

Charlestongirl said...

Oh yes, Lovethescents, how could I have forgotten to mention Orange Blossom?

I agree on French Lime Blossom. I think it's green fruity.

carollu said...

I love green florals and my favorite JM is Nectarine Blossom & Honey, layered with French Lime Blossom. I get tons of compliments whenever I wear that combination. And I like each of those on its own as well. I have ordered some samples of the Wild Bluebell and can't wait to try it!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Carollu,

That combo sounds heavenly. I love both fragrances, but had never mixed them that way. Thanks for the idea!

mulberrytea said...

I had a hard time with this fragrance, having previewed it at the end of July at NM. I thought this one was really grassy, but also had a weird spice. To me, it didn't read floral like what I was expecting.

Too bad, since the name and the marketing are really compelling :/

Charlestongirl said...

Yep, Mulberrytea,

It's floral, but the clove had a huge impact on its character. I think you either love or hate it because of the spice.

Anonymous said...

Something about my chemistry makes it smell very plastick-y. I don't like it much, although I was eager enough to purchase it, unsniffed before the launch. I tossed it into the 'bad decisions' drawer where it will stay until I get the motivation to put it on Ebay.
FYI - my favorite JM scents are Grapefruit, Vanilla and Anise and English Pear and Freesia.

Charlestongirl said...

Ooohhh, I love English Pear & Freesia and Grapefruit. Funny, I can't tolerate the spicy anise in anything except Chinese food.

kellinicole86 said...

Do you know if this is a permanent fragrance or just a seasonal one? I got a small bottle in the gift set I recently bought (a finishing finals present to myself) and love it and will def. get a bigger bottle if it's not going to be around for awhile.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi kellinicole86!

As far as I know, it's permanent (or as close to permanent as it gets).