Monday, May 24, 2010

Jo Malone launches new line, English Pear & Freesia new fragrance

Some years after being sold to the Lauder Group, Jo Malone, the doyenne of prim British elegance in skincare and fragrancing, is set to launch a new line of fragrances, seemingly under the creative aegis of perfumer Christine Nagel. Jo, now 46, sold her company to Estée Lauder in 1999 in what can only be described as the “deal of a lifetime” (figure is rumoured to be £5 million) for the high-school drop-out who is self-professedly "seriously dyslexic". She stayed on in a creative capacity, but in 2003 Jo was diagnosed with breast cancer which necessitated chemotherapy and some serious focusing on her own life. Now, healthy and strong again, she's back in business! Her next venture, another foray into the fragrance market that remains tightly under wraps for now ~well, not anymore~ will start as the first one did at the dining-room table: "“I gave my clients little bottles of home-made nutmeg and ginger bath oil as a thank you” says Malone recounting her first attempts at fragrance creation for her facials clients who were clamouring for setting an appointment with her and her magic fingers.

The first installment in this new fragrance collection, which will be spanning the next two years, will be English Pear & Freesia, for which Christine Nagel describes the note that she wanted to capture, as "the fragrance of a King William pear just before it becomes over-ripe. The intention was to capture the smell of the fruit when it was sweet but still crisp, not too green and sharp but not sugary and soft". To boost the effect there are also notes of freesia, quince and a subtle hint of patchouli. Pear too timid to take center stage? More like a technical issue, really, taking in mind pear notes usually come from the flavouring side of the industry.

"It's unusual for a pear to take centre stage in a fragrance*, but the essence of English Pear & Freesia is a complex and quintessentially autumnal pear note. My challenge was in recreating the scent of a pear at that moment of perfect ripeness" says Nagel. Apparently, the September launch isn't random. It is John Keats and his immortal "To Autumn" ode that has served as an inspiration behind the new fragrance. No wonder the launch took place to Hampstead and Keats' house. [source]
Alexis Wolfer already characterises English Pear & Freesia as "delicious and mixes well with many other Jo scents!"

More info soon at Jo Malone online.

*Two that do are Lamb by G.Stefani and Petite Cherie by Annick Goutal.

C.Nagel quotes via Basenotes
Photos via and


  1. Wordbird13:07

    Jo Malone is fronting a TV series in the UK, focusing on encouraging and mentoring entrepreneurs and small companies. Because of this, she was interviewed on ITV's Loose Women show yesterday (May 24, 2010) and she was explaining that she sold her business at the right time for her, because of her fight with cancer, but now she's well again she does miss being in control of her own business.

    One of the ladies asked what plans she has for the future and she said straight away 'fragrance!' and seemed very excited by the prospect.

    I have to say, I've warmed to her since seeing her on TV and it makes me more likely to go out of my way to try her fragrances in future.

  2. Anonymous13:24

    I'm having trouble putting autumnal pears with spring freesias in my mind. Each surely smells glorious on its own but I can't recalibrate my mental processes to put them together in a scent associated with "Ode to Autumn", which states:

    "Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
    Think not of them, thou hast thy music too"

    I wish it could have been a real autumnal scent, given all the clues in the ode, which is a fabulously rich, sensuous and evocative poem. It seems almost perverse to over-ride the message of the ode whilst citing it as a source of inspiration.

    yours, probably thinking too much,

    Anna in Edinburgh

  3. I think I'm a bit confused: So Malone will be starting a new fragrance venture, but the Pear/Freesia scent (based on the photo) is part of the existing line. Yes?

    I really love a good pear note -- I love smelling a ripe pear, and the flavors of certain varieties, which are almost floral. I would like to be able to spritz constantly with Petite Cherie, but it does dissipate quickly. Freesia can often be a bit sweet in fragrance, but we will see. I'll definitely look forward to this; I enjoy the Jo Malone line, though I think it's often brushed off as overly simple.

  4. Wordbird,

    yes, I know about the series, although I only read about it, haven't watched. She's back for good. Good on her after what she fought through.

    I think her frags are simple (not all of them, mind you) but they're meant to be simple, probably because the idea is to layer them.

  5. Anna,

    oh please do think too much! I love it when readers think out loud here.

    You probably have a point. I connect pears with autumn because here they come out in September, but I haven't really associated freesias with any season. Keats might disagree ;-)

  6. Joe,

    I think the details on the new fragrance line haven't been revealed yet. But the new one I *think* belongs to the new one? I haven't seen a concrete pic of the bottle that shows the name clearly for me to discern whether it belongs to the older line (hence I didn't include a pic of the bottle here). Calice Becker is being shown as the perfumer, which is a marked difference with previous releases, at any rate.

    Pears are nice but as far as I'm concerned they're better on my plate than in my perfume, LOL. I couldn't make Petite Cherie love me no matter what. I also get sharpish tonalities from freesias. Funny how we perceive these two notes so differently.

    But usually the JM scents are not "difficult" to "get" which I certainly don't consider a minus, since I perceive it's intentional. (Blue Agave & Cacao or Pomegranate Noir are more complex and worth trying if you haven't)


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