Euro Daze: In Jo Malone London's new Blossoms Collection, Italian Summers and Carefree Mediterranean Evenings Come Alive - Mirror,Mirror

Céline Roux sat down with perfumers Alexis Dadier and Michel Almairac to discuss the collection in detail.

Jo Malone London recently launched its new Blossoms collection, with two limited-edition scents said to encapsulate an Italian summer.

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Inspired by a chance discovery along the coast, Sea Daffodil is a solar floral fragrance, radiant with ylang ylang and rooted in warm vanilla entwined with creamy sandalwood. Bitter Mandarin captures the spirit of a Mediterranean summer evening: a carefree buzz in the air.

Citrus trees line Italian streets and ice-filled glasses clink with a bitter citrus spritz. Vibrant mandarin is deepened with a warm amber note and a pinch of precious orris for an addictive zesty allure.

These scents are joined by Silk Blossom, returning in a cologne and diffuser to tempt the senses. Completing the line-up is an Orange Blossom Hair Mist and a Nectarine Blossom and Honey Diffuser. The lightweight hair mist is formulated with natural argan oil and pro vitamin B5 to help give hair a healthy shine while the diffuser can be used to energize the air with a playful, fruity fragrance.

Jo Malone London’s fragrance head Céline Roux sat down with perfumers Alexis Dadier and Michel Almairac to discuss the collection in detail.

How did the inspiration come about for a Mediterranean-themed Blossoms collection?

Céline: In 2017, I took a trip to the Italian island of Sardinia. On a coastal walk, I unexpectedly came across some beautiful white flowers growing in the dunes. They were so striking, popping up all over the sand, meters from the sea. I didn’t recognize the flowers at the time and put the experience to the back of my mind.

A year later, Alexis was presenting some new fragrance ideas and mentioned that he was fascinated by a flower called lys des sables—lily of the sands. It was only when he showed me pictures that I realized it was the same flower that I had seen in Sardinia. In English, it’s called the sea daffodil. I knew right away that I wanted to create a Blossom fragrance inspired by it.

Alexis, where did you first encounter this flower?

Alexis: I studied perfumery in Grasse on the French Riviera and used to visit a beach near Saint-Tropez called Pampelonne. Between July and September, you could see sea daffodils growing there. The flower is actually quite rare in France and has protected status, so you can’t obtain an extract from it. This inspired me to create an accord for it.

What are the olfactive characteristics of the sea daffodil accord?

Alexis: We tried to represent the environment in which the flower grows, which has sea and sand and sprigs of vegetation growing all around. There’s a solar element too: a kind of holiday air suggesting warm sun and summer.

And, of course, there’s the fragrance of the flower itself. Sea daffodil belongs to the lily family, but it’s not as spicy as the conventional lily; it’s much more delicate and transparent. Because it grows near the sea, it has an aqueous
quality and an addictive fragrance too.

Céline: What’s special about the sea daffodil accord is the co-distillate. This is what gives the accord its scent and it’s something that has been specially developed for Jo Malone London. We combined natural vanilla planifolia fruit
extract from Madagascar with a solar floral molecule to capture the unique sea daffodil floralcy.

What other elements make up the fragrance?

Alexis: Notes of bergamot, mandarin and pink pepper help create a sparkling top, which we’ve paired with warm solar florals such as orange flower and ylang ylang. In the base, sandalwood and vetiver add depth and underline the solar aspect.

Was this fragrance hard to get right?

Céline: Trying to strike the right balance between delicacy and transparency and sensuality and addiction was the main challenge. The first accord was very solar with a heavy vanilla accent and a real creaminess.

We wanted to retain some of those elements without overwhelming the delicacy of the flower, while still providing the kind of transparency and clarity that Jo Malone London fragrances are known for. We went back and forth between creating variations that were either too light and aquatic or too warm and deep. We ended up in just the right place: a Blossom fragrance that’s both transparent and addictive.

If you had to describe Sea Daffodil in just a few words, what would they be?

Céline: It’s all about that duality of elements: luminous yet solar, transparent yet sensual.

Where did the idea for the new Bitter Mandarin fragrance come from?

Céline: Bitter Mandarin was created with a perfumer new to the Jo Malone London family, Michel Almairac. I first met Michel in 2015, when he presented us with a wonderfully original bitter citrus accord. I really loved it but wasn’t working on anything that I could use it for.

When we found ourselves creating a fragrance inspired by my trip to Sardinia, I remembered how people drink orange spritz aperitifs in the summer, combining bitter citrus flavors with fizz. I realized that we could use Michel’s amazing accord as the basis of a fragrance that could capture the summer freshness of mandarin with the bitterness of the spritz.

Can you tell us a bit more about the olfactive profile of this fragrance?

Michel: Throughout the development, we always had the sparkling quality of the aperitif in mind, which we recreated using bergamot, yellow mandarin and petitgrain—an oil extracted from the leaves of the orange tree. I was also keen to incorporate orris into the mandarin accord, which provided an interesting twist.

It’s usually the root of the iris flower that gets used in perfumery, but the flower itself has a yellow tongue that offers a delicate orange flower note. We have both traditional orris from the root as well as this precious floral note. In the base, there’s musk and ambroxan adding warmth and volume, and a moss effect, which gives a fougère accent.

When you smell it, what do you feel?

Céline: That carefree spirit of summer that I remember from my trip to Sardinia. It smells like the color of an Italian orange spritz.

Michel: It gives a feeling of happiness. The fragrance is so colourful, so sparkling and fresh, but with a depth that helps it to last, like a long Mediterranean summer.

If you had to describe Bitter Mandarin in just a few words, what would they be?

Céline: Sparkling, summery and bitter with a fresh fougère twist.

Can you tell us more about the collection as a whole?

Céline: In addition to two new scents, we’re bringing back our beloved Silk Blossom Cologne, also found in the Mediterranean, to create a trio of sparkling fresh fragrances. Our creative team beautifully designed the clear bottles to represent the sea itself, with the white decoration a nod to traditional Mediterranean architecture and caps that evoke smooth, sea-swept pebbles.

We’re also bringing back our delicately scented Orange Blossom Hair Mist. You can also take the Blossoms experience home with the Silk Blossom Diffuser and the new Nectarine Blossom and Honey Diffuser.

After traveling to far-off lands for recent Blossom collections, this time you found inspiration closer to home in Europe. Did this make the experience more special?

Céline: Coming at a time when international travel has become more challenging, it was great to have somewhere in Europe as our inspiration, which is, of course, on our doorstep compared with, say, China.

But it wasn’t just the geography that made the experience special, but also the sense of discovery: of coming across rare white flowers in a secluded cove and enjoying delicious local drinks in tucked-away bars. It’s just so satisfying to be able to express it in fragrance. This collection embraces the carefree days of summer by the Mediterranean sea.

The Blossoms collections are available online at and at Jo Malone London stores.

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