Blog post by Gwen
Photo: perfume niche
My childhood home had a big backyard full of flowers, shrubs, herbs and trees. My friends and I loved playing back there. We invented games in every season, so there was always something to do: raking leaves into a huge pile and rolling around in them in the fall, epic snowball fights in the winter, dancing games among the lilies of the valley in the spring, our feet smelling of them when we came in the house for dinner. But what I remember most are the tea parties we had in the big rhubarb patch at the back of the garden.
We loved watching the rhubarb plants grow. Huge green leaves - Dr. Suess huge to my child's eye – and those long stalks, otherworldly red-pink, vibrant and inviting. We knew not to eat the leaves, but those stalks! When they were firm and glossy, we'd snap them off and dip them in sugar – then bite. They were crunchy, juicy, tart and sweet. No tea sandwiches or tea at these parties. Sugared rhubarb stalks were all we needed to be happy.
I remember running into the house, grabbing the sugar bowl from the kitchen table and shouting out to my mother as I walked out the door to the garden, 'Mom, we need sugar for the tea party.' After a few days, my wise mother put aside a special bowl of 'party' sugar for us. We loved having our own sugar bowl even though it had two-thirds less sugar in it.
Halcyon days for sure, but what brought these Proustian memories rushing back to me was sniffing Tangy Rhubarb Cologne from British brand Jo Malone London.
Tangy Rhubarb is one of five fragrances that make up Jo Malone's Summer 2021 limited edition "The Brits: Marmalade Collection." The Jo Malone website tells the story: “Imagine the scene where the sun shines on the local British village fete. Families gather, brightly coloured bunting flutters gently in the breeze and jars of homemade jams and marmalades sit proudly atop gingham tabletops. It's this idyllic setting and all the fun of the fair that has inspired our latest collection.”
On me, Tangy Rhubarb opens with a bright sunny note of lemon that eases in a note of rhubarb. I smell the green leaves and the tart, crisp stalks for sure, but without any harness or astringency. This rhubarb stirs up gentle childhood memories, not bitter ones. A note of sweet, juicy orange counters the tartness at the heart, while a note of jasmine adds floral opulence to the rhubarb (which is, technically, a vegetable) that gives Tangy Rhubarb a lushness. Cedarwood at the base adds a creamy woodiness, while musk locks it all in place.
The drydown is fruity, floral, bright and sensual and perfectly unisex, as far as I’m concerned. This is a cologne, so there are no big surprises, dark depths, or evolution - just the feeling of the lightness and cheer of a perfect summer's day. Sometimes, that's all I need.
Check out Tangy Rhubarb in our Shop.