The latest Jo Malone fragrance—Blackberry & Bay—is categorized by the maker as “fruity,” but on my skin it’s far more interesting than that. Blackberry & Bay fully succeeds in conjuring a fantasy English countryside and more precisely a rambling walk down a country lane, with healthy flush to the cheeks and solid walking shoes for skirting muddy patches. Somewhere along this dream excursion there is naturally a hedgerow from which appear fat black berries, their juice tart and edging on sour, their leaves green and sharp. Just when I found a hole in my fragrance wardrobe, just when I lamented finding a fragrance that would uncannily recreate a specific holiday sensation, up pops this beauty from Jo Malone.
I will confess that I don’t pay all that much attention to the Jo Malone line. While I love the Red Roses bath oil, I often find the colognes to have standout notes that don’t do much for me, whether that be the smell of stables in Pomegranate Noir or the strong citronella (mosquito candle) in the aforementioned Red Roses. I wondered if Blackberry & Bay would not be a sweet and musky thing but hearty and possibly “masculine” thanks to a dose of bay leaves.