Blog post by Gwen

Black Cedarwood & Juniper – woody and fresh and gorgeous

Photo: perfumeniche

I remember smelling Lime Basil & Mandarin cologne from UK niche fragrance line Jo Malone just after it was launched in 1999. A lifelong friend who lives in London discovered the Jo Malone shop on Sloane Street in London and quickly became a devotee of the florist come beautician's skincare products.  A decant of Lime Basil & Mandarin came with a purchase she'd made and was passed along to me.

And so, my interest in Jo Malone fragrances was born. I tried to find out all I could about the brand. I read that Jo Malone was born in London in 1963 and that she was fascinated with scent from a young age. She worked as a florist while supplementing her income by working as a beautician on the side. A self-taught perfumer, she created a scented lotion and body oil for her loyal clients, which proved so popular that she opened her first boutique in 1994, selling home scents, beauty products and fragrances. She quickly gained a reputation for creating unisex fragrances built around just a few notes, often from unlikely-sounding combinations, like English Pear & Freesia and with straightforward names that describe what's in them, like Lime Basil & Mandarin.

Perfume is my hobby. It gives me pleasure to explore, discover, learn about and share fragrances, so I was excited when I came upon a Jo Malone shop at the airport in Munich. That's when I smelled Black Cedarwood & Juniper for the first time. I took a sample with me and was bewitched by it every time I wore it. I bought a bottle as soon as I could.

Black Cedarwood & Juniper is one of four fragrances in Malone's 2014 London Rain Collection. Each one represents rain at different times of the day. Black Cedarwood & Juniper Cologne evokes midnight showers in London.

It opens with a pungent combo of cumin and chilli pepper leaves. The cumin is earthy, warm and animalic. It can easily overtake a fragrance, but the chilli pepper leaves add a botanical dimension that smooths and checks cumin's 'sweaty' aspect. This stage smells like rain-soaked skin at the end of a long day, making the fragrance slyly seductive. As it blooms, juniper adds a balsamy, sharp freshness contrasting the top notes' earthiness. Cedarwood is right behind the juniper at the base; it's woody and slightly sweet. This isn't the smell of wood in a forest. This is the smell of wood that's been cut to make trim in windows and doorways. A note of tree moss evokes a feeling of humidity in the air after a summer shower. It's just a gorgeous scent.

The drydown is woody, balsamy and elegant, and I love how it makes me feel whenever I wear it.

Check out Black Cedarwood & Juniper in our Shop.