In the mood for a new perfume? On the eve of World Fragrance Day on Sunday March 21, beauty editor Megan Bedford learns the art of selecting – and pairing – the perfect perfume with a visit to the Jo Malone London boutique.Â
Choosing a new fragrance should be a delightful, indulgent pastime. However, depending on your personality, it can also be a slightly overwhelming prospect, should you happen to suffer from decision fatigue.Â
To make it easy, luxe British perfume house Jo Malone London has perfected all the elements in making buying perfume seamlessly enjoyable – as it should be! Finding a signature scent thatâs perfect for you, your home, the gift recipient you’re buying for, or the occasion youâre celebrating then becomes a breeze.
Itâs fair to say you might have already been captivated by top-sellers like Lime Basil & Mandarin, Pomegranate Noir, or English Pear & Freesia. But have you encountered some of the perfumerâs lesser known outliers? (Earl Grey & Cucumber anyone?)Â
If youâre already set on your favourite, each cologne can be paired with another to land on a new and unique scent. Itâs an artful way of adding new depth and complexity to something that other people might already know or wear, creating a fragrance that’s quite unique to you.
If youâre curious about scent pairing or youâre unfamiliar with the brand to begin with, you can always start online. The houseâs iconic colognes are divided into fragrance families to guide you, like citrus, light floral, spicy or woody and so on. There are also suggestions on how to pair your pick with another to make the end result warmer or fresher. But given you canât smell them through a screen (how long do we have to wait until thatâs a reality?!) the real fun comes when you step into the Jo Malone London Boutique in Aucklandâs Britomart and take advantage of a complimentary personalised consultation.Â
It doesn’t have to be an intensive experience – although it certainly can be, should you wish – it can be as quick or as in-depth as you desire, all it takes is stopping by to try.
- Â To celebrate World Fragrance Day on Sunday March 21, receive a complimentary âScent Pairingâ 3-piece deluxe sample gift, when you spend $250 or more on Jo Malone London. Offer available at your nearest Jo Malone London Boutique. Ends 21stÂ March 2021 or while stocks last.
The boutique consultation
While I’m poring over a âdiscovery tableâ full of colognes, Jo Malone London’s Britomart boutique manager Maz Nathasingh asks a couple of quick questions on my personality and perfumes and scents Iâm usually drawn to, and plucks one cologne to start with.Â
âThe beauty of the boutique is that you can come in totally unprepared,” she says. “Even if you think you know nothing about what you like, we will be able to guide you. We can also do the same if you’re buying for someone else. We completely understand if you find it overwhelming, that’s what we’re here for!â
I make it easier on her, since I already wear my favourite Jo Malone London perfume, the deep and smoky Velvet Rose & Oud, regularly and have done for years. But she says sheâs not worried if people find it hard to define what they like.Â
âWe start with a couple of questions, but I usually quickly get a sense of what someone might like. We can narrow it down and offer a couple of suggestions to start with, but I also like to add in a ‘wildcard’ suggestion I think they might like, but might not choose themselves. It’s incredibly satisfying when they choose that one!”
Nathasingh quickly discerns I like deeper, woody and warm scents as well as fresh but unique elements. Despite the brand being well known for their floral elements, there is also plenty that appeals to my tastes. Among those that stand out? Myrrh & Tonka and Oud & Bergamot like my original pick, are both from the Cologne Intense range that contains rare ingredients and more rich, sensual notes. But I also like the soft Poppy & Barley and green Blackberry & Bay.
The experienced scent expert says she and other staff pride themselves in being able to meet the personality, requirements and time constraints of every customer.Â
If youâre someone who like to know whatâs trending, you can be also guided by a wall of five top-sellers that include the widely enjoyed Lime, Basil & Mandarin – a house icon for 20 years – English Pear & Freesia, Peony & Blush Suede, Wood Sage & Sea Salt and Wild Bluebell.Â
A custom combination
Whether you’re a diehard Jo Malone London fan or new to the brand, learning about its scent pairing approach can deliver a signature perfume thatâs slightly more unique to you. Start by deciphering and spritzing and initial cologne you enjoy, then try transforming it by lightly spritzing with another. There are no rules, but there are some popular combinations. Two or three suggested pairings are available on cards by each cologne at the discovery table, or you can be guided by boutique staff.
âWeâll try to whittle it down to what you like and then weâll show you what combines well with that,â explains Nathasingh. “We normally start with our hero products because they are well-loved. People are more likely to like them and they’re really great to pair with. For example Peony & Blush Suede. If I wanted to make it fresher, Iâd pair it with English Pear & Freesia, and if I wanted warmer, Iâd pair it with Pomegranate Noir.â
On being handed two blotters spritzed with Velvet Rose & Oud and Myrrh & Tonka held together, Iâm immediately drawn to the delectable vanilla and almond elements the latter brings to my favourite perfume. It has a ‘come-closer’ gourmand note that I imagine will be popular with my partner and the warming impact is the perfect update for winter.Â
Scent pairing can also be created by layering Jo Maloneâs range of luxury body products, explains Nathasingh.Â
âWe can show you how that eventuates through our complimentary hand and arm massage. We prep the skin first with our body wash, then we moisturise and massage with the body cream and then layer with a cologne.â
Sitting at the boutique’s central table I can attest the frothy bubbles of the wash and the rich, smooth body cream gently smoothed over skin offer you a whole other level of fragrance understanding that lasts many hours afterwards.Â
All of the boutiqueâs consultation services are complementary and there are a number on offer, like how to scent different areas of your home for motivation or relaxation, but the âScent your Weddingâ option is particularly intriguing.Â
There can be little more appealing for a bride and her maids than sitting around the boutiqueâs central table with bubbles and a bespoke fragrance consultation. Itâs not just the bride to consider, but Nathasingh points out she generally also offers ideas for the groom, to complement the brideâs perfume, bridesmaids, “so their scent doesnât detract attention” and the mothers of the bride and groom. Itâs where the art of fragrance combining comes into play again.
For the record, Nathasinghâs favourite nuptial combination is Peony & Blush Suede Cologne for the bride, and Wood Sage and Sea Salt for the groom.Â
- For more information and to experience your own consultation, visit the Jo Malone London Boutique in the Atrium on Takutai, Britomart, Auckland or find out more at jomalone.co.nz.Â