Brilliant Blossoms The Story Behind Our Limited-Edition Scents For Spring
Céline Roux and perfumers Anne Flipo, Fabrice Pellegrin and Marie Salamagne discuss the new Blossoms collection.
'Each Blossom scent brings different facets of fragrance to the table…and embraces the joys of spring and that unmistakable feeling of being in nature'
Each year our Blossoms collection celebrates nature and the arrival of spring with an array of blooming fragrances. ‘This year we wanted to go beyond just spring flowers and celebrate the arrival of the new season on a larger scale, by embracing flowering trees in their natural environment,’ explains Céline. This year’s three-piece edit specifically focuses on trees that are found in China. ‘We’ve been taking inspiration trips to China for many years now and have always been inspired by its blossoms. With this year’s collection, we’re bringing together favourite Blossom scents of the past: Osmanthus Blossom, Nashi Blossom and Star Magnolia. Each brings different facets of fragrance to the table, but each also embraces the joys of spring and that unmistakable feeling of being in nature.’
When Céline was first introduced to the Osmanthus flower she was amazed that such a tiny bloom could produce such a powerful fragrance. ‘I was drawn to its unique scent, combining peachy and soft suede notes. It’s one of the few blossoms that you can get a natural extraction from, which gave us even more motivation to work with it,’ she says. The perfumer of choice to tackle the Osmanthus Blossom was Marie Salamagne: ‘I wanted to capture the sense of airiness that passes through the petals of the flower and really capture its luminosity,’ she explains. ‘Osmanthus also has a fruity velvety note, which is quite different from other white flowers that can be more heavily scented. It’s probably the fruitiest flower that it’s possible to work with, so the challenge for us was to make this note light and airy, in a Jo Malone London style. We also balanced that luminous part of the fragrance with soft cashmere wood, giving us a Blossom scent that, while incredibly joyful and uplifting, also had an underlying softness and a compelling quality.’
The striking aesthetic of the Nashi Blossom’s white-and-black-speckled blooms is what initially drew us to this flower; its monochromatic appearance felt in keeping with true Jo Malone London style. ‘Balancing these delicate flowers with the juicy, fruity appeal of the nashi pear gave us a fascinating contrast to explore,’ says Céline. A fragrance created by Fabrice Pellegrin, it is all to do with balance. ‘During the development we really got to think about the entire tree, from fruit and flowers in the top and heart notes all the way down to soft woods in the base,’ says Fabrice. ‘It was like we were appreciating every part of the tree, and the result was a fragrance that offered a refreshing modern take on a fruity, floral scent. Nashi Blossom is a wonderfully petaly floral, with fresh fruity tones and crisp green facets grounded by a base of soft woods and musk. It really captures the unique personality of the nashi fruit – something like a cross between an apple and a pear, with crispness and “bite” as well as softness and delicacy – and combines it with florals to create an amazing blooming effect that’s playful yet elegant.’
The final scent of the line-up, Star Magnolia, had a different origin. Céline recalls a trip to Shanghai in 2014: ‘I stumbled upon a city park that was full of these amazing trees in flower. I was blown away by the sight of all these white blossoms, as well as the divine smell, so I decided there and then to create a fragrance around it. But as the star magnolia flower doesn’t exist as a natural in the perfumers’ palette, and is notoriously difficult to capture, it was a challenge. To recreate the authentic scent of that park in Shanghai, we sent a technical team – under the guidance of perfumer Anne Flipo – out the following year when the flowers were back in bloom. The aim was to find the most perfect star magnolia on the branch and capture it using Headspace technology, which was, at the time, a first for Jo Malone London.’
Battling the technical challenge, Anne Flipo finessed the star magnolia headspace to create a beautiful floral fragrance. ‘It opens with fresh and sparkling notes of lemon, ginger and shiso leaf over a fresh magnolia heart, warmed with orange blossom and magnolia leaf,’ she describes. ‘The base combines woody, creamy sandalwood and sensual amber. Together they have a wonderfully petaly floral freshness.’
All three Blossom fragrances have different personalities and tonalities, but each celebrates the arrival of spring. Which will you choose?
Osmanthus blossoms may be small but they exude an almost heady, exotic scent, presenting an unexpected blend of fruity apricot and soft suede notes. These smallest of Chinese blossoms form the heart of the luscious and luminous fragrance that is Osmanthus Blossom.
Nashi blossom is an emblem of purity. These blousy white, speckled flowers bunch along the nashi tree, soon to become succulent pears. With petaly rose, this radiant bloom’s playful fruity scent is cushioned in white musk to create our Nashi Blossom fragrance.
Star Magnolia exudes a sweet and delicate scent that is synonymous with springtime in Shanghai, where these elegant trees take pride of place in some city parks. The crisp, pristine petals of star magnolia are gleaming against emerald magnolia leaf and a soft creamy sandalwood base.