As the sun began to rise over the jasmine fields of Tamil Nadu in southern India, Céline Roux, Jo Malone London’s Head of Fragrance Development, watched the pickers start to collect the tiny, heavily scented buds. ‘After they’re picked, the flowers go straight to market,’ says Céline, ‘so we followed them like the paparazzi.’ Worn in the hair and as garlands at weddings and religious ceremonies, jasmine sambac is one of India’s most prized flowers. ‘Jasminum grandiflorum is the one that’s typically used in fragrance, but jasmine sambac is greener, with a little less of a ‘hay’ texture,’ she adds.
This rich, evocative fragrance is the latest member of the Jo Malone London Cologne Intense family. It stars opposite the vibrant orange marigold, which visually dominates the Indian flower markets with its sunshine glow. ‘We knew we wanted a richness, warmth and sensuality to capture the floral freshness of jasmine sambac, and using marigold helps to do this,’ explains Céline, who spent around two years developing the blend with perfumer Mathilde Bijaoui. ‘We used fewer ingredients than we tend to with a Cologne Intense to keep the jasmine’s raw headiness. And, along with the marigold, there are notes of amber, benzoin resin and a bit of vanilla.’ Naturally, the new cologne lends itself perfectly to Jo Malone London’s philosophy of Fragrance Combining™: ‘I love Jasmine Sambac & Marigold Cologne Intense with Myrrh & Tonka Cologne– it brings out the floral note without becoming too girly. Peony & Blush Suede Cologne brings an amber sensuality to the floral.’
But how to translate this olfactory journey into a visual campaign? Wandjina Glasheen-Brown, Jo Malone London’s Head of Creative, admits that: ‘It became my fantasy to lie down at dawn in a field of fresh, dewy jasmine. And the marigolds in the Indian flower markets are sensational. That orange next to the creamy jasmine is a beautiful image.’
We wanted a richness, warmth and sensuality
to capture the floral freshness of jasmine sambac,
and using marigold helps to do this’
While Jasmine Sambac & Marigold Cologne Intense evokes the exotic mystery and magic of India and travel, there is, of course, a subtle nod to Jo Malone London’s Britishness in its campaign. ‘We usually have a fanciful element in our campaigns,’ Wandjina says, ‘so our imagined couple have let their hair down and mysteriously fallen asleep in the middle of a jasmine field – like the lovers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ So close your eyes and be whisked away to faraway lands to dream ‘past the wit of man to say what dream it was’.