Reviews

Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay: First Impressions

Jo Malone has been a line I’ve with which I’ve struggled for several reasons. But does Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay challenge that impression?

Jo Malone has been a line I've with which I've struggled for several reasons. But does Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay challenge that impression?
 

Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay: First Impressions

Jo Malone has been a line I’ve with which I’ve struggled for several reasons. Foremost has been the marketing proposition – the brand is marketed as a pseudo-niche line primarily to women’s tastes, and where it’s sold it tends to appear off the beaten path of most gender-neutral or unisex scents. The second is longevity and concentration, both of which I’ve found to be somewhat lacking. Moreover, the fragrances tend toward a linear composition which can be good or bad.  If you liked how it smelled on first application, it isn’t going to change very much; if you aren’t a fan of very elemental or linear scents, Jo Malone fragrances won’t be your go-to choice.

That brings me to the biggest reason.

The line has been really hit-or-miss for me, with no home-runs and a ton of swings into the air. While 154, Vetyver, Amber & Lavender and Sweet Lime & Cedar are decent enough scents, any fragrance that can hold interest (Black Vetyver Cafe being notable among them) is quickly enough pulled or made scantily available, leaving very light floral and fruity offerings that aren’t very distinguishable. They’re good, but they don’t rise above the fray well.

Their latest release, Blackberry & Bay, showed some promise in the initial promotional materials — a fragrant, leafy and deeply fruity scent might have something to offer if done right. The proof, though, is in the experience.

blackberry and bay Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay: First ImpressionsJo Malone Blackberry and Bay (2012): Before I get to the overall impressions, I’ll quickly speak to the composition, which is grapefruit, florals, vetiver, cedar and blackberries. It transforms very little over its lifespan, which is average to sub-par. It’s fleeting enough, but the general law is that if you don’t enjoy something, even a short while seems an eternity. Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay was more than long enough for its EDT concentration.

The outcome can be described in one word: Celery. That’s right. Raw, stalky celery. No blackberry, no bay – no bayleaf, nothing that remotely smells like bay — just the pure smell of celery. Normally, I’d blame poor storage and handling and request a new decanted sample, but that’s simply not the case with Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay since it was only recently released.

And this also wasn’t a case of mistaking vetiver or floral accords. This resembled neither in the outcome. I’d find something redeeming if I could detect blackberry, but that’s not to be found. This would be brilliant if I wanted to attract rabbits and wildlife, but for my purposes, there wasn’t a trace of the namesake elements.

Rating: 0/5Not recommended. This isn’t simply a case of not liking a line in its entirety, but Jo Malone hasn’t shown much to extol its virtues outside of one or two fleeting glimpses of potential. Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay, however, is a swing and a miss on an 0-2 count at the plate, and underscores  why they haven’t quite caught on to a broader audience, much less a male one.

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About Andrew Buck

Andrew Buck is the editor-in-chief of Scentrist.com, and a lifelong appreciator and aficionado of fragrance. He's also the author "(Not) PMO-in-a-Can", a practitioner's perspective on project management, in addition to several articles on the topic. When not writing or discovering new scents, he is a technology manager in New York's Wall Street financial sector. You can read more about him on the "About" page, or say hi to him on Twitter @scentrist.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504900583 Suzanne Sherrod on Facebook

    You’re a man obsessed, me thinks…..;-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=569125810 Suzanne Singer on Facebook

    I am obsessed with Jo Malone. I think Blackberry & Bay may be my new favorite. Also love Pomegranate Noir. But have them all. Seriously, ALL including limited additions. There are a few of which I am not as fond as others, but generally LOVE!

  • http://www.scentrist.com Andrew Buck

    And that’s terrific, Suze! I wish I had higher praise for this one since 154 is really rather good. The one positive note I’ll share is that they’ve keyed into which scents blend or layer well together, so checking out jomalone.com reveals their suggestions. I have tried Amber & Lavender with 154 in that light and it’s not bad. This? I’m consulting my purchasing agent, Willie Byett, and he’s shaking his head left & right. It’s a no-go.
    :)

  • http://www.scentrist.com Andrew Buck

    I try. I smell the stench so others won’t have to. :-)

  • Victoria

    The Jo Malone London (have to say London or the PR will get mad, saying you’re talking about the women herself) is a line that has never appealed to me. I have my reasons. The main reason – none of them smell good on my skin.
    I was hoping to try Blackberry & Bay this weekend being that musky blackberry scents are some of my favorite. I’d love a linear “blackberry and bay” scent. However, I’m a little less excited to try it now :)

  • http://www.scentrist.com Andrew Buck

    Thanks, Victoria, though please don’t let my opinion completely sway your view. I was excited about this since deep fruits generally wear well on me. This did not. Others in the line aren’t this problematic, but I generally find their works to be less-than-thrilling and far too weak for my skin chemistry.

    And hopefully Estee Lauder understands that I’m not denigrating Ms. Malone by citing their line in a review.