Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I've been wanting to touch you since we met. You don't give a girl a chance to forget.

Jo Malone Red Roses

Sweet and neglected reader, it's been too long. It's always so hard to come back when I've been gone this long because I forget my train of thought.

So let me just jump in here in the middle and let's see where we end up, shall we?

I'm finally settled into the new job. It's boring, but better than no job. I got a new laptop. I bought some perfume, significantly changed my diet, made some new friends, some significant work on creative projects beyond this blog got done, took a fabulous solo weekend trip...'s been a busy few weeks.

But let's talk a little more about the perfume I bought. I bought two bottles from Jo Malone -- Pomegranate Noir, which I have a long held and seemingly unwaivering affection for, and Orange Blossom, a scent that surprised me when I reviewed it because I liked it more than I expected. I am pleased to say that I continue to enjoy them both post-purchase and I am happy to say I have no buyer’s remorse. In fact, the saleswoman at the downtown Nordstrom was so happy to sell me a bottle as a blogger thaat she plied me with about six 4ml sprayer samples, and made some interesting suggestions for layering the various scents.

Which brings me to the topic of this post – layering.

I’m of a very divided mind about layering. On the one hand, it opens up a world of scent combinations one might otherwise never experience. On the other hand, I feel very strongly that perfume is art, truly a real art form, and that layering subverts the artist’s true vision of the scent they intended to create and put out in the world. But on the gripping hand, it’s my perfume, bought with my money, and my scent wardrobe to wear, so if I want to expand it by buying scents and layering them, then who has the right to tell me not to, even me?

So, having never really tried layering since, quite frankly, there’s so much out there in the world standing alone and waiting for me to try it, experience it…judge it, that I never bothered. But I was having an adventure on my adventurous weekend, so I figured what the hell? They are small and easy to pack. It’s a weekend of weirdness, let’s get weird!

I received a sample of and Jo Malone Red Roses. I like Roses and try them a lot. As roses go, this one isn’t bad.  You might even call is "classic;" certainly some reviewers have.  To my mind, it just does not particularly stand out. The words I’d use to describe it are “average” and “unremarkable.” In a world heavy with remarkable, unique, innovative roses, that might as well be a condemnation. However, when I layered it with CB I Hate Perfume’s Black March, it was a delightful experience. Now, honestly, most of the uniquenesss to the combination came from the CB scent, but in this case it was a good thing. I can’t imagine layering Black March with Teo Cabanel Oha, L’Artisan Voleur Rose, Juliette Has a Gun Miss Charming, or Agent Provocateur, just to name a few. But the general unremarkableness of Red Roses, much like it’s bland name, made it a great compliment to Black March, like burying your face in a blooming bush, not in sunny summer, when it’s easy to stop to smell the roses, but in the cold, creeping wetness of winter, when appreciation is hard won and, perhaps correspondingly, more deeply felt.

I don’t know if I’ll end up buying a bottle of Red Roses. I doubt it. But I have loved the experience of seeing Black March in a new way, and that was worth quite a lot to me. Plus, I’ll probably forever associate the combination with my trip, and that might make it worth owning both.

What do you think, dear reader? Layering -- an invitation to bliss or a crime against the art of scent? Is a bottle of unremarkable worth owning if it’s really only good for sentimental reasons and because it’s association with a higher quality scent? I think it will end up falling into that category of "would love to get a bottle as a surprise gift, but don't think I'd go out to buy it for myself" category.

Inquiring minds want to know.

P.S. And just so you don’t think me a tease, I will get to trip specifics. In another post, which I promise will come as soon as I can write it down and convince Blogger to cooperate.

You can buy Jo Malone Red Roses in a 30ml for $55 or 100ml for $100 direct from Jo Malone and in a number of department stores. If you are a PDX local, I'd suggest hitting the Jo Malone counter at the Pio Square Nordstrom. You can tell the lovely woman, whose card I have tragically lost, that I sent you for a layering lesson.

"You came up behind me, grabbed my wrists in the dark
And said, 'Don't look at what you can't see.'
Now all night, all night.
I've been looking for you all night.
All night. All night.
I've been looking for you all night..."

- "All Night," Sam Phillips
( You can listen to the song here)

Want more? Try...
~ an incredibly comprehensive guide to roses including this one from Muse in Wooden Shoes
~ a review from The Scented Salamander
~ a mention from I Smell, Therefore I Am
~ a review from Scentsibility
~ a review from Bees Who Buzz
~ a review from We Heart This!
~ a review from Brainspam


ChickenFreak said...

I like the idea of layering, but it rarely works out for me. Unless both scents are entirely linear, the combination keeps changing, at what seems like an accelerated rate compared to a normal scent's development. This can produce interesting things - I once had two scents that produced a wonderful beeswax fragrance for about a minute, if I applied them in the right order with the right timing - but they rarely last for me.

Diana said...

Chickenfreak, yeah normally I wouldn't have tried it, but Red Roses was so strongly one note, I wondered if it would work. Maybe the keep is to have one that changes and one that basically doesn't....

Thanks for the comment! I missed all ya'll while I was gone.

The Left Coast Nose said...

Hi there, Darlin'!!! Delighted to get the (mostly) all-good sounding update!!

"Red Roses" and "BlacK March"-- Right on!! A little of CB's crazy mudpie wizardry shaking up Miss Malone's British tea party. I like!! I'll have to try it.

Yeah, layering. Hmmm. It's not like perfume is not already ephemeral enough, the potions themselves experienced through stages-- to add more kaleidoscopic complexity-- I'm not sure what it gets you.

I *thought* that when you first said layering, that you would layer RR with another JM-- her concoctions are so clean and crisp-- I'm sure they layer swell. But the few times I've let someone layer some beloved combination that that person likes on themselves on to me, I've just ended up confused and frustrated-- like the sum is much, much less than the whole of its parts.

Big hugs-- glad you're back!

Diana said...


Thanks for the warm welcome back! I have tried layering a few off the Jo Malones, but they are, yes straight and restrained, that I thought laying them with something a little more complex might be nice. In this case it worked out, though I can't imagine layering two complex scents together if only because I can't imagine the timing working out on the drydowns to work.