I was lucky enough to be invited along to the launch of Jo Malone London Basil and Neroli fragrance earlier this year, and I’m very glad I did go, because this little bottle of sunshine hasn’t left my handbag since. I’m a huge fan of Lime, Basil and Mandarin, the brands “signature” fragrance and I was delighted when I discovered that Jo Malone London were back using basil in a key perfume launch. It’s an interesting scent that doesn’t pop up often, which is a shame.
I’ve spoken of my love of orange blossom before, and whilst Basil and Neroli lacks that hot, soapy, barbershop note that I love in other fragrances so much, Basil and Neroli is a fine, fine, simple yet beautiful and classy fragrance. Neroli is a greener scent than orange blossom, less overtly floral, and with overtones more of citrus and leaves than flowers, it is altogether less “sharp” than a regular citrus accord. When amped up with the leafy green basil – completely recognisable, though lacking some of “real life” basil’s somewhat aniseed-y notes – Basil & Neroli is a great, light, unisex fragrance that’s suitable for all occasions.
It’s bright and zesty on first spray, citrus-fizzy without being too sharp or lemony, and light without being too insubstantial, or simply disappearing. It smells of sunshine and grass and happy memories, and has a genuine presence without being overwhelming overwhelming at all. It’s not sweet, and marries the savoury nature of basil really well to the citrussy neroli, then dries down to pleasant white laundry musks on the skin. It’s in a light, cologne-style, but with hints of foodiness (I was wondering about an orange-basil salad dressing after encountering it, but the fragrance itself isn’t foody at all), and would suit a crisp white shirt (on a wearer of any sex/gender, frankly), as well as a white t-short kind of an outfit.
It’s a perfect example of the things that Jo Malone London do well, actually. A very simple fragrance that still manages to give an air of sophistication, and smells really good without being too challenging on the nose. It’s a difficult trick to pull off, smelling both good and accessible, without being boring, or bringing up the dread word “inoffensive”. Yes, you won’t scare the horses wearing this one, but you will love wearing it. I do.
Available now, and costing from £42 for a 30ml bottle, it layers well with Blackberry and Bay, and Wood Salt and Sage from the same range. It’ll make someone a great Christmas present.
The Fine Print: PR samples
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