Roaring back from yesterday’s disappointing sampling of scents I thought would be rosy, and weren’t, today’s entry is Jo Loves’ Rose Petal 25, the fragrance perfumer Jo Malone (the person) launched last year to celebrate 25 years of her career in perfumery. This is really, really rosy, friends. Thank goodness! I can get irritated when a fragrance’s name seems to promise clearly one thing but delivers another. Rose Petal 25 delivers.
This is a true “Rose de Mai” fragrance; it is centered on rose de Mai absolute, with a boost from other rose essences and accompanied by ambrette for a musky base. One professional publication lists the notes as follows: bergamot, saffron, lychee, Turkish rose, Bulgarian rose; rose de Mai absolute, another rose absolute and ambrette seed. That list seems correct to me. This is a really nice version of rose: it is modern and somewhat streamlined, but it has more complexity and development than a pure rose soliflore, and it creates a more youthful impression than some rose fragrances (as does Jo Loves’ White Rose & Lemon Leaves). My nose picks up the bergamot, saffron and lychee in the opening notes, and the saffron lingers a while with the rose notes, which lends distinction to the fragrance. The rose notes smell realistic, not synthetic, which suggests high-quality ingredients. But this fragrance is all about the rose petals, as its name suggests; I don’t smell greenery or earth. Just glorious rose petals, with the fresh opening from those top notes, and a slight muskiness hovering in the background. And even muskiness can refer accurately to rose petals; there is an entire category of fragrant roses known as the “hybrid musks“, descendants of the original old Rosa moschata.
Ms. Malone has long loved roses, rose gardens, rose petals; and she decided to make this meaningful anniversary fragrance one that reminded her of the city of Grasse, famous for its perfumes and for the “rose de Mai” fields around it that supported French perfumery for centuries. I applaud her choice! I was lucky enough to be in London last May (2019) when Rose Petal 25 had launched, and I made a beeline for the Jo Loves boutique on Elizabeth Street for the express purpose of trying and buying it. This is how the boutique was decorated, to celebrate both the fragrance and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which was also happening the week I was in London.
The whole boutique smelled like Rose Petal 25; to someone like me who loves roses, it was heaven! As you can see, Ms. Malone has envisioned her fragrance as based on pink roses, ranging from the palest pink to the most vivid. Those shades seem right to me. Rose Petal 25 isn’t a sultry red rose, or even a fresh red rose, like her creation for her first fragrance line, Red Roses. That one has notes of lemon, mint, violet leaves, and beeswax; I have and love it too.
Nor is Rose Petal 25 the kind of lemony rose in Jo Loves’ White Rose & Lemon Leaves, which may be my favorite of the three if I had to pick one, although on another day, I might choose Rose Petal 25. The bergamot top note gives it a fresh, bright opening, like a beautiful morning in May; but it blends nicely with the spice of the saffron note — better, I think, than lemon would have. I barely smell the lychee after the first few minutes, just an underlying sweet note that tempers the spice of the saffron. These notes are very well blended and they harmonize beautifully, to my nose.
The packaging for Rose Petal 25 is also beautiful.
Have you tried any of the Jo Loves fragrances?