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Tangy Rhubarb – bright and fruity and floral



My childhood home had a big backyard with a garden full of flowers, shrubs, herbs and trees. We kids, along with our friends on the street, loved playing back there. We invented games in every season, so there was always something to do.

In the fall, we would rake the fallen leaves into a huge pile and roll around in them before Dad would light a bonfire with them as we whooped and hollered at the flames. In the winter, we made forts out of the snow had epic snowball fights. We played dancing games among the lilies-of-the-valley in the spring, our feet smelling of them when we came in for dinner.  But what I most remember were the 'tea parties' we had in a big rhubarb patch at the back of the garden.

We kids loved watching the rhubarb plants grow. Huge green leaves - Dr. Suess huge to my child's eye – and long stalks, their red-pink colour so vibrant and unusual. 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 -  crunchy, juicy, tart and sweet. No tea sandwiches, or even 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 kids loved having our own bowl of sugar even though it had two-thirds less sugar in it.

Halcyon days for sure, but what brought these Proustian memories 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 after all, 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.

Tangy Rhubarb is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.