I am a surreptitious smoosher. Are you? I can’t help myself, in the grocer’s, even out on the street. Basil is especially irresistible to me, I can’t help but crush a plump silken leaf between my fingers and release the trapped fragrance from within. The way the oils seem to leap out into the air, it’s just a gorgeous, solitary, almost clandestine pleasure (like this) and to be honest the world needs more of that shit.
Simple enjoyment is something Jo Malone has in the bag. While I’m divulging my abuse of herbs, I’ll confess my introduction to JML came by way of SATC, the girls spritzing each other with joyful abandon in the search for their perfect perfume match.
I get that it’s not niche and that Ms Malone hasn’t actually had a hand in a release since Samantha convinced Charlotte to buy a rabbit but the original concept, may I respect submit, of simple smooshes of just-plain-lovely smells remains. It was 1999 when basil last graced a Jo Malone mix (that would be the much beloved Lime, Basil & Mandarin) and while Tinder has come to dating, in the fragrance world ingredients now meet up via “headspace” technology, wherein some clever scientist has actually managed to capture those airborne smoosh releases, the compounds that float around creating small swoon moments for pushovers like me. A bell jar in New Jersey has captured the bouncy, hugely herbal, lush scent of fresh basil, and it’s been earthed with musk (sans stick) and swirled it all around with the delicious warmth of orange blossom to create Basil & Neroli. It’s imagined English neroli so of course it’s dewy, shower-fresh and somehow overcast – this neroli is no Mediterranean solar flash, it’s sweet and almost starchy* clean and well, happy.
As am I, whenever I wear it. And isn’t that exactly what scent’s supposed to do?
*for a much more expert review of Basil & Neroli, please proceed here.