Jo Malone London’s newest collection is inspired by revered rare teas, sourced from the foothills in China to the Himalayas. The six-piece collection, just as the teas that inspire it, is all about “craftsmanship, purity, provenance, and ritual,” says Celine Roux, Jo Malone London’s fragrance director. Housed in 175ml bottles—nearly double the size of the original–it is the largest Jo Malone fragrance in retail and the most expensive at P17,300 each.
To understand the refined fragrances better, it is necessary to know what makes a certain tea leaf or blend
“Rare teas, unlike mass-produced teas, are grown in small quantities, picked by hand, and harvested using traditional, time-honored methods,” according to Roux, who worked with master perfumer Serge Majoullier in creating the unique tea fragrances in these new Jo Malone London perfumes: Silver Needle, Darjeeling, Jade Leaf, Oolong, Midnight Black, and Golden Needle.
Actual tea leaves were used in each perfume through an infusion process—rarely, if not never, done in the modern beauty industry—where the tea leaves were immersed in alcohol for an optimum amount of time. “It is a first in perfumery,” says Majoullier. “We thought it would be interesting to revisit it to create this completely contemporary collection of scents. We also like the idea that the process is similar to brewing tea. This way, the subtlety of the rare teas was completely preserved and beautifully celebrated.”
Jo Malone London perfume lab; fragrance director Celine Roux
In his attempt to create an interpretation of each special tea—and not just “traditional tea accords or replicas of the tea exactly”—the perfumer successfully concocted six scents that showcase each tea’s most surprising and exceptional facets. According to Roux, they incorporated other ingredients that would specifically make each tea’s elegant and extraordinary scents prominent. In the case of our favorite Oolong Tea, for instance, they “wanted to emphasize a smooth creaminess. We did this by adding powdery cocoa and almondy
To highlight the green and crunchy notes of the Jade Leaf Tea, on the other hand, sesame and mate leaves were added. It comes from Sencha Ariake, a Japanese green tea collected by hand from Kyushu Island.
A more sensual and romantic option is the Silver Needle Tea, which is velvety and floral with rose, sage, and musk. To perfect the scent, this tea was infused for just 10 hours, which was the optimum time to keep the silver needle tea’s freshness. This white tea is grown in the Fujian province of
Jo Malone London perfume lab; master perfumer Serge Majoullier
The Darjeeling Tea, a more popular brew, is perfect for those who love sweet and fresh floral scents with its added jasmine, freesia, and an apricot note of Indian
Midnight Black Tea is deeper, more sensual, and more intense with amber and oriental scents. Its leaves were infused for 100 hours. “We discovered that the longer the tea was infused, the rounder, softer, and more sensual it became,” shares Majoullier. We recommend this for those into warm, woody scents.
Finally, the Golden Needle Tea is the more leathery, spicy option, with sandalwood and benzoin resin scents. This was infused for 92 hours, enough time to become deeper, darker, and spicier.
From front: Silver Needle Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Jade Leaf Tea, Oolong Tea, Midnight Black Tea, and Golden Needle Tea