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Jo Malone Spices it up

Q&A
Jo Malone's Saffron Cologne Intense.

Jo Malone has added another fragrance to their repertoire with the arrival of Saffron Cologne Intense. The new fragrance combines the sensuality of saffron, oriental wood and pink pepper, providing a seductive and modern fragrance bouquet for both men and women. We sat down with master perfumer Marie Salamagne to learn everything and more.

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What was the inspiration behind Saffron Cologne Intense?
Jo Malone London came to me with the idea to explore saffron as the predominant focal ingredient in a fragrance. As saffron is usually used as a note or an accent in fragrance, it was an intriguing concept. We worked together to reinterpret saffron in a modern, golden way, but without losing too much of its traditional intensity. This balance between the spices and the woody depth is a quality which will appeal to the East and West alike.

How long did it take to create Saffron?
The Jo Malone Studio came to me about a year and a half ago with the initial idea for a saffron scent. We worked in very close collaboration always discussing the next steps and how to improve the scent. We wanted to add a twist of modernity without losing the scent’s character, so we looked at ways to work a bright saffron note.

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Did you find the creative process of a Cologne Intense scent different to other Jo Malone Colognes that you have worked on, for instance Osmanthus Blossom?
Both scents demand a strong sense of identity embodying Jo Malone London. The difference with the Cologne Intense collection is that the scent needs to capture a certain richness. I found that when creating Saffron, I worked with more precious ingredients.

What ingredients did you use to create this fragrance and why?
Saffron Cologne Intense is a scent built around spices and woods. There are three elements which give the scent its distinctiveness. Firstly, the combination of incense and pink pepper can be found in the top part of the fragrance, providing a vivid intensity as it initially unfolds.

Next, we find the saffron which lies at the heart of this fragrance. A rare and precious ingredient, it is olfactively multifaceted, enveloping to give the core of the fragrance an elegant, qualitative feel.

Finally the base notes are led by accents of guaiac and blond woods, which not only provide elements of warmth and depth, but also a spark of modernity. The smoky guaiac wood intensifies the fragrance signature with its leathery accent.

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What is it about saffron that translates so well into a fragrance?
Saffron’s complex facet makes it an intriguing ingredient. It is a tough one to work with as you don’t want it to be too harsh; however there is also something attractive and exciting about a spice with such a degree of character.

To create Saffron you have used both natural and synthetic ingredients. Which do you find the more challenging to work with?
It was not so much whether the ingredient was synthetic or natural that was important. Instead, what was challenging about the use of saffron was maintaining a good balance between it and the other ingredients in the scent. Maintaining a sense of proportion with the other notes was key, since saffron has a strong character, which can tend to appear a little sombre. I wanted to modernize its notes, introducing a more golden touch.

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What is your most vivid olfactive memory?
It is probably the smells of Périgord, in the South of France. The scent of fruit trees, flowers, cut grass and stone walls baking in the sun evoke memories of time spent in the countryside.

Available at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, Bal Harbour Shops.

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