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Intellectual exercise: Distilling the essence of The Bloomsbury Set

Jo Malone London The Bloomsbury collection LR

Jo Malone London is always inspiring in its sources of inspiration. Its latest range is a creative homage to The Bloomsbury Group, a set of writers, intellectuals and artist friends who lived and worked together (in famously fluid relationships) in early 20th century London.

The group included writer Virginia Woolf, her artist sister Vanessa Bell, painter and decorative artist Dora Carrington and writer and critic Lytton Strachey.

Master Perfumer Yann Vasnier has distilled the essence of this lifestyle into scent by imagining “absinthe afternoons and golden linseed on paint-stained hands, warming whisky and sweet pipe tobacco, and the secrets of waxed floors burnished by footsteps in the night”. The intoxicating freedom of this unconventional life continues to inspire with the creation of these five new fragrances, each one presented in a bottle seemingly ‘painted’ with blocks of colour.

Blue Hyacinth has notes of sun-warmed hyacinth, garden geraniums and woody vetiver.

Tobacco & Mandarin combines vibrant mandarin and herbaceous sage with the warmth of beeswax sweet pipe tobacco.

Whisky & Cedarwood blends fine whisky and opulent roses, spicy pimento, warm cedarwood and waxy wooden floors.

Leather & Artemisia incorporates the green facets of anise-tinged absinthe, artemisia, soft orriswood, the richness of leather and amber woody notes of Cypriol.

Garden Lilies conjures up the scent of a lily pond at dawn with effervescent notes of water lilies, dewy green sap and ylang ylang rounded out with white musk and vanilla.

When not in London, The Bloomsbury Group escaped to Charleston, the country home of Vanessa Bell and her artist husband Duncan Grant. It was here that Master Perfumer Yann Vasnier found inspiration for the collection: “When we visited Charleston, in the middle of the English countryside, I didn’t know what to expect but I fell in love with it. When I was there, I made a storyline in my head from morning to afternoon to evening, so the five fragrances have a natural evolution. What I particularly loved about The Bloomsbury Set was the juxtaposition of domesticity and simplicity with this hugely intellectual environment”.

Whether wearing these fragrances will summon your own artistic muse remains to be seen but it will be a fragrant pleasure to try…

The Bloomsbury Set will be available for a limited time only from March at Jo Malone London travel retail locations worldwide.

Clare Austin
written by: Clare Austin
With a background in fashion and beauty journalism for magazines such as Elle and Harper’s Bazaar Clare is a beauty enthusiast whose pulse quickens whenever a new product hits the shelves.