Jo Malone Orris & Sandalwood Cologne Intense

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Image from Fragrantica.

Happy (late!) Valentine’s Day! If you got something lovely to smell, do tell me in comments.

I was wandering around Bloomingdales, sniffing, and it occurred to me: I think I started blogging about perfume in the spring of 2006 … ten years ago.   I can’t believe it’s been ten years – it seems like two years and 50, simultaneously.

Like old people nattering fondly (and irritatingly) about How Things Used To Be, I miss those heady days of falling headfirst into L’Artisan and Guerlain and Serge Lutens. Exploring those lines, there were scents I didn’t care for, but mostly they were interesting. There were fewer flankers. There was more time to prowl. The steady stream of new scents hadn’t become the flood-prone river it is now.

Anyway, wandering the perfume aisles just before Valentine’s day was good, because the SAs were too busy with paying customers to bother with me in my jeans and ratty wool cardigan. I sniffed a bunch of things that have come out in the last couple of years, and man, was it boring. If the experience were a cartoon, there’d be me with this vaguely pink, cotton-candy-ish patch of nothingness in the thought bubble over my head. I’ll inflict those on you in a Valentine Candy post in a week or two. In the meantime….

Jo Malone has a huge display at our local Bloomies. JM always appealed to me more in theory than in practice – they have some interesting note combinations, and I like the fact that you’re encouraged to layer different scents (and yes, I grasp the money-making concept there, but it’s playful.) The few JMs I’ve bought over the years, however, have ended up either swapped away or sold.

What drew me over was the darling bottles in herbal set – The Herb Garden — I’ll probably talk about them next week. Today, though, lets talk about the new Orris & Sandalwood Cologne Intense. The nose behind this fragrance is Pierre Negrin. Notes are violet, orris and sandalwood, and it’s being marketed as unisex, if you care.

Our inspiration really goes back to the orris ingredient itself. Orris is a personal favourite among all the ingredients in my palette. When you discover that its scent comes from the root and not the flower, you enter a fascinating reality. I also love its complexity. Warm, sensual, feminine, masculine, violety, woody, powdery, Orris is a perfume in itself… Pierre Negrin

That’s a pretty straightforward list, right? And it sums the scent up nicely. The opening is unmistakeably orris – toward the violet-floral end, not the rooty bits – and then the violet sweetness fades while the sandalwood glides in seamlessly, creating a scent perfectly balanced between floral and woody, all the way through the drydown.

This is one of their “intense” scents, and it had quite good lasting power on me. I’m still wondering if I fell and hit my head, though, because I think it’s fabulous. It’s very smooth. It seems like it should belong to a different line, although I can’t quite decide (Diptyque, maybe?) It’s not as epic as Lutens’ Iris Silver Mist; less floral than AdP Iris Nobile; richer than the Prada; and more graceful than Hermes Hiris. (It’s also vastly different from JM Iris & White musk LE, which was much too powdery/musky for me.)  It’s a simple mash-up of iris and sandalwood, and as such, truly, it’s lovely. At $170 for 100 ml, it didn’t catapult to the top of my to-buy list, but it’s one of the nicest scents I’ve stumbled upon in some time, particularly from such a mainstream outfit, and if I could have left with a free bottle of fragrance from any display that day, Orris & Sandalwood is what I’d have chosen.

Read more from Negrin talking about the scent here on the JM website.

  • Ann says:

    Howdy, sweetie! I tried that JM a week or two ago and really liked it, although I do need to spend more time with my sample and explore it more fully. My back acted up last week so I was all Alleve and Flexeril and no fragrance, ha! BTW, I love your nattering on about how things used to be. There seemed to be more excitement in the air then with fewer lines and releases; a new scent was more of an event. Now it’s just one of many. So, natter on, dear, and I’ll be right there in the rocker beside you! 🙂

  • HeidiC says:

    If you could’ve left with a free bottle, this is what you’d have chosen because it’s so nice? Or because the bar was set so low? I like the Earl Grey scent JM makes, but not enough to buy it. I’ve been looking for a good basil-based scent, and it still eludes me, but I bought a bottle of the JM Lime & Basil which was disappointing.

  • Mals86 says:

    Wish I’d bought Peony & Moss when it was available.

  • maggiecat says:

    I have a Jo Malone jinx – if I like a scent, they discontinue it. Honeysuckle and Jasmine is one of my all time favorites (I have a backup bottle, fortunately). I liked their Verbena scent a lot – no bottle, alas. I gave the Orris and Sandalwood a quick sniff as I was passing by over the weekend, but I should try it on skin. Iris isn’t really my thing but I swoon over a good sandalwood!

  • SublimiSomnium says:

    Thanks for the review! I wasn’t as taken by Orris and Sandalwood when I tried it in the store, but I’ll give it a try on my skin next time I’m in. I also like the idea of layering fragrances, but I’ve kept away from Jo Malone because I’ve heard there are issues with longevity. Instead, I’ve been yearning for their candles.

  • zoesmom says:

    I have also had the same experience with all of the JMS I’ve tried. I love them enough to buy them and then I have buyer’s remorse. The line simply does not work with my skin chemistry. Matter of fact, at the moment I have an unused bottle of Amber and Lavender, which I positively swooned over the day I bought it and now I find I can’t stand the dry down; I feel like it’s just too “manly”. I definitely don’t want to smell like a guy! So now I am stuck with it. 🙁

  • eldarwen22 says:

    I’ve never tried any of Jo Malone’s offerings. Just never was into her offerings, they just sounded boring.

  • Kismet429 says:

    Have to say I’m with you on JM in general–love the concept, love the intriguing combinations, LOVE the elegant packaging (and the stand-alone shops are gorgeous), but the juice itself has always been a let-down. Somehow everything smells oddly alike–could it be the JM base? (Malone-aide?) And unfortunately kind of meh. I’ve given or swapped away everything I’ve tried.

  • Solanace says:

    I have only tried a few, but Jo Malones have never caught me either. Too prim for my taste. These notes sound nice, though. On my often disappointing Sephora sniffs, I recently discovered Prada Infusion d’Amande and it really stood out. Coveting it as a nighttime scent, though Jour de Fête is probably a better choice. Need to do a side by side.