The smell of sun-dried linens is one of those scents that invariably make me feel like all is well in the world. At the root of it is a childhood recollection of my grandmother’s linens (the memory conveniently blots out the less romantic realities of doing laundry by hand in a house with no running water). The aroma of starched fabric heated in the sun is so comforting that I look to the perfume bottle to satisfy this craving. An unexpected addition to my “sun and summer” fragrances has become Jo Malone Rain and Angelica, a recent debut from the brand specializing in simple, easy-to-wear scents.
There is no reason to expect that something called Rain and Angelica (an unsubtle nod to Frédéric Malle ‘s rain drenched angelicas, Angéliques Sous la Pluie) would smell of sun warmed sheets or even anything summery. When I checked the list of notes well after trying and wearing the perfume for several days, I was surprised to find little resemblance between the cold, aquatic elements on paper and the warm, soft perfume on my skin.
Rain and Angelica is one of those skin loving perfumes that don’t stand well on blotters. From the first sniff, you notice the sun-dried linen impression (on paper, it’s merely flat and green). The silvery flash of metallic citrus and watery notes adds a light, fizzy touch and then you’re draped in flowers. They remain in soft focus and abstract, but what initially feels like rough linen is made less sharp and cold by iris and jasmine.
All of this is enough to suggest the smell of sun-dried sheets, but the best part of Rain and Angelica is its warm, languid drydown. That’s the summer part of my original fantasy. It’s like a cross between the freshness of L’Artisan L’Été en Douce and the creamy amber of Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess, but in Jo Malone’s clean and airy style. Angelica root is naturally musky, and this nuance, together with subtle vanilla notes, is amplified in Rain and Angelica. From the sun-dried sheets, Rain and Angelica takes me to a beach, and I smell warm sand and the remnants of sun lotion on my arms.
I already wrote about my frustration with Jo Malone’s prices in my review of Tuberose Angelica, and Rain and Angelica doesn’t entirely merit its high price tag either. It’s well-crafted, but you have probably smelled something like it before. But in contrast to many colognes, it has plenty of presence and enough personality. It hits the right summery note for me, and I like its insouciant character.
The main drawback of Rain and Angelica is not the price, however. It’s its limited edition status. Once the summer is over, it will be gone for good. So, if you have other suggestions for perfumes that smell like sun-dried linen, I’d love to hear them.
Jo Malone Rain and Angelica includes notes of lime, rain note, pink pepper, aldehydes, iris, rose, angelica root, vetiver, and amber. Limited Edition. 100ml/$120