Jo Malone’s image of casual elegance and minimalism have given the brand an edge over other perfume houses vying for over-the-top glamour and in your face luxury. The bottles are simple, the beige packaging has a retro charm, and the collection is presented in such a way as to remove the intimidation factor. You’re encouraged to layer, blend and mix to your heart’s content. The perfumes are usually based around single note ideas like rose, grapefruit, bluebell, or in combinations that are either trendy (oud) or reassuringly comforting (pear & freesia, tea & bergamot.) The only aspect of Jo Malone that’s not understated is the price.
Over the past few years, Jo Malone’s retail prices have been on the rise. It mirrors the general trend in the luxury market, but I was nevertheless taken aback when I returned to repurchase a bottle of Orange Blossom cologne. At $115 for a 100ml bottle, it’s no longer an affordable indulgence; this kind of expense needs to be planned in advance. If I wanted to treat myself to the latest launch, Tuberose Angelica, I’d have to spend even more for the same amount, $145.
Depending on one’s budget and means, these perfumes may not break the bank, but at the current price range, the tenacity and character of Jo Malone’s fragrances leave a lot to be desired. Simple floral colognes are a dime a dozen, and if you don’t mind putting up with slightly less chic bottles, you can find decent alternatives at Bath & Body Works, Gap, and Demeter.
This was my main impression when I tested Tuberose Angelica, the latest addition to Malone’s Cologne Intense collection. The perfume is built around the contrast of creamy white flowers and sweet woods. The starting point is intriguing, because you experience the delicate softness of petals against the dark, rich background. At first, Tuberose Angelica feels bright, with plenty of juicy orange and pink pepper to create a sparkling effect. The clean jasmine and milky tuberose set the main stage, and the heart is heavy on the fruit and coconut nuances of these floral notes, rather than anything animalic and sweaty.
The darkness I mentioned earlier comes thanks to amber and sandalwood. This is a similar twist as used in Robert Piguet Fracas, but Tuberose Angelica never even gets close to being a femme fatale. The perfume’s idea is interesting, but it doesn’t seem fleshed out. The longer it sits on skin, the more diluted the character becomes. The tuberose with its coconut milk and amber are still there and Tuberose Angelica lasts better than many other Jo Malone offerings, but it stops being distinctive after about an hour. You simply end up with yet another nice white floral with an oriental twist.
You can certainly do worse in the tuberose market than Tuberose Angelica. Just consider Miller Harris’s bland Tuberosa, which will set you back around $250. But then again, you can make your $145 go a longer way by considering other white florals that are comparable, if not better, than Jo Malone’s: Jennifer Aniston, Madonna Truth or Dare, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Juicy Couture, and Burberry London. Jo Malone’s parent brand, Estée Lauder, offers a terrific tuberose in its collection: Tuberose Gardenia, and at $145 for 75ml, it’s only a fraction more expensive per volume and a far better value.
Jo Malone Tuberose Angelica Cologne Intense is available at Jo Malone boutiques and counters. 100ml/$145