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SEEN Reviews: Fragrance Tapas & Shot Candles at Jo Loves

London is a city composed of many different centres, but few are prettier than Elizabeth Street, not far away from bustling Victoria. It is here that entrepreneur Jo Malone has chosen to open Jo Loves, on the very street where she worked as a florist when she was a teenager.

London is a city composed of many different centres, but few are prettier than Elizabeth Street, not far away from bustling Victoria. It is here that entrepreneur Jo Malone has chosen to open Jo Loves, on the very street where she worked as a florist when she was a teenager.

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Anyone who has heard Jo Malone on Desert Island Discs will know that she is down-to-earth, and passionate about perfume. Jo Loves is a very shrine to both aspects of her character. The shop is light, uncluttered and the counter resembles the curve of a bar. It smells heavenly of course, yet not overpowering. The effect is very calming as you take a bar stool. Christian Dior once said that ‘a woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting.’ This is perhaps because certain scents connote different characteristics, and it is this quality that Jo Malone appeals to with her luxurious products.

SEEN was there to sample the delights of the Fragrance Tapas, a new and novel way to appreciate the bespoke scents on offer. First we started by sampling the scents on paper sticks: Smoked Plum and Leather is a new scent combination that seems ideal for Christmas, with its evocation of warm sweetness; Pomelo is light and citrussy; Fresh Sweet Peas is ideal for Spring; Green Orange and Coriander had many layers; Shards of Cedar works for men; Pink Vetiver is the smell of nostalgia (my grandmother’s makeup box); Mandrine has a citrus kick; Red Truffle 21 is delightfully smoky; Mango Thai Lime is a taste of Bangkok; White Rose and Lemon Leaves is another nostalgic scent; No. 42 The Flower Shop is a bouquet of flowers (and named for Jo Malone’s first job); and finally Gardenia, rich, heavy and decadent.

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After smelling all these, SEEN almost felt drunk. The effect is not unlike wine-tasting. Every now and again, I was exhorted to inhale the smell of coffee beans, which reset my capacity to distinguish between all the fragrances. It’s strange what overloading the olfactory senses does to you.

Having narrowed down a few favourites, we moved onto the ‘tapas’ – not to eat or drink of course, this is a novel way of experiencing the fragrances. The customer sits at the bar and chooses a fragrance for a Bath Cologne that is warmed within a tagine to release a cloud of scented steam, then Cleanser is shaken over ice and strained into a martini glass, then finally, Lotion is whipped, foamed and painted onto your skin with a paintbrush. This is a very enjoyable process, reminding us that Jo Loves products go beyond the sense of smell.

The Fragrance Tapas is entirely complimentary and is an excellent introduction to the fragrances if you haven’t encountered them before. SEEN chose Green Orange and Coriander, White Rose and Lemon Leaves and Mango Thai Lime, respectively. The effects of steaming, whipping and straining brought another dimension to the scents, rendering them sensual and visual.

SEEN also enjoyed a Shot Candle experience, in which you take home a bespoke candle composed (in two pieces) of a ‘base’ and a ‘shot’ both of different scents. SEEN sampled a few scents first on miniature canvases, all set within a separate ‘laboratory’ style room, that is calm and luxurious, a million miles from the hurly-burly of London. SEEN chose a Petitgrain base with a Mango shot, feeling that sometimes a dramatically opposite pair of scents will make for an interesting combination.

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I chose Gardenia for my perfume, another nostalgic fragrance for this reviewer or was it because Jo Loves associated it with decadence? That says far more about my suggestibility than my memory perhaps. No matter, it was very hard to choose, they were all so lovely. My choices were beautifully wrapped with scented tissue, red ribbon and white boxes embossed with the Union Jack. I drifted out onto Elizabeth Street, almost high on the whole experience.

Jo Loves is about indulgence and personalised luxury; something very special for the individual or as a gift for others. SEEN chatted to other customers and staff; the atmosphere is intimate and friendly and the staff clearly know their fragrances. Jo Malone’s autobiography ‘My Story’ will be released on 6th October. It’s the story of a woman every bit as extraordinary as her fragrances.

www.joloves.com

Jo Loves
42 Elizabeth Street
London
SW1W 9NZ

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