One of the joys of spring – along with the daffodils opening – is the arrival of Jo Malone’s annual Heritage Collection. Always a celebration of something as quintessentially British as the fragrance brand itself, the five-strong, scaled-down line-up has previously paid homage to themes as diverse as historical periods and the herb garden. This year too, will have fragrance aficionados coveting one, if not all, of the specially-created scents as attention is turned to the celebrated Bloomsbury Set.
Yann Vasnier, the perfumer tasked with creating the limited edition line-up for Jo Malone, spent time at Vanessa Bell’s Charleston House and gardens in Sussex to immerse himself in the world of the collective of artists, writers and philosophers that included Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster and Vita Sackville-West. The resulting Bloomsbury Set fragrances capture not only the scents that would have surrounded them and the atmosphere of the house, but just how progressive and diverse the personalities of the group were for the time.
Blue Hyacinth is based around the purity of the flower itself with touches of vetiver and garden geranium to add a crisp modern finish to this green scent. Garden Lilies was created as an ode to the flower imagined in an artist’s studio where nudes are painted, kept bright and clear with green sap, plus white musk for a sensual feel. Leather & Artemisia is inspired by the library of books and a glass of absinthe – it’s rich, warm and woody with hits of amber and anise.
Tobacco & Mandarin mixes honey, fruit and smoke but still has a freshness that keeps it light rather than becoming too dense. And – probably the most provocative of the collection – Whiskey & Cedarwood was blended to evoke footsteps on a waxy wooden floor as the group switched rooms (and partners) in the night. Add to the floorboard-inspired base are roses, cedarwood, whisky and rum to get the sexy, sensual idea of the finished perfume.
If you needed any more persuasion to fall for the Bloomsbury set, Vasnier says it was the most inspiring brief he’s ever had for creating fragrances. As quintessentially British as the cultural collective themselves, it’s most certainly food for thought all round.
Jo Malone’s limited edition Bloomsbury Set fragrances are available to buy online here.