Perfumery was never an obvious career choice for Sophie Labbé. In fact, it wasn’t until midway through her chemistry degree, when she stumbled across a magazine article about fragrance that she began to consider it as a profession. ‘It opened me up to this whole new world, which I immediately fell in love with. With fragrance, there are so many ways to be both creative and exact. On reflection, I think mixing and experimenting with ingredients was in my blood; my father made cognac and there are similarities when designing scents.’ This interest in experimentation and passion for creating recipes made Sophie the perfect perfumer for Hot Blossoms, Jo Malone London’s latest limited-edition duo of scents that seeks to transport you to the sunnier climes of Brazil.
Sophie immersed herself in the smells and tastes associated with South America, specifically Sao Paolo’s markets, with the aim of capturing the heat and liveliness of market life through scent. ‘I started by tasting fruits from the market, and I was immediately taken by the cherimoya. Firstly, it’s shaped like a heart and is an amazing bright-green colour. Then its taste is incredible, a combination of a fresh, juicy pear with a creaminess.’
I immediately fell in love with the world
of perfumery. With fragrance there are so
many ways to be both creative and exact.
The star of the Tropical Cherimoya Cologne decided on, Sophie worked hard to draw out the milky nature of cherimoya, pairing it with tonka bean and copahu resin. ‘It was tricky to create an exotic, fruity cologne without falling into tropical, sweet-and-sticky territory. The introduction of other facets helped create an elegant, refined and clear cologne, which to me are the key attributes for a Jo Malone London scent.’
For the Cattleya Flower Body Mist, what better muse than the queen of the orchids, native to Brazil. ‘The Cattleya flower comes in the most incredible colour palette and, although a lot of orchids don’t smell, the Cattleya has this wonderful distinctive scent that’s very soft and powdery,’ Sophie says.
Forever seeking to use new ingredients, Sophie explains that ‘we bought the best-smelling Catteleya we could find in the marketplace and created a Living Brazilian hybrid Cattelya orchid Headspace extract especially for the scent.’ Headspace is a technology used by perfumers to capture the true character of the scents of living plants – our scent of the Cattleya flower is exclusive to Jo Malone London for 10 years.
Infatuated with the party spirit of Brazil, Sophie incorporated cocktail-based flavours into the Cattleya Flower Body Mist. ‘My inspiration was the Limão Caipirinha! I used grapefruit and lime for contrast and a hint of spearmint to cool the skin after all this Brazilian heat.’ Worn alone the body mist is drenched in sunlight with sparkling citrus fruit and the velvety scent of Cattleya. And pair it with Tropical Cherimoya Cologne and you have a vibrant, sumptuous and mouth-watering fragrance. But Sophie’s favourite combination? ‘English Pear & Freesia Cologne layered with Tropical Cherimoya Cologne. It’s a great balance of fruit and floral fragrance, with cool white freesias and the brightness of bergamot – the perfect holiday scent.’
Now excuse us while we daydream of hammocks and carnivals.