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Bombay Duck London

Jo Malone Fresh Mint Cologne

In theory, fresh mint could be tricky, in a cologne.  The danger is it could go all ‘toothpaste-y’.   But I don’t find anything Colgate-ring-of-confidence about this second in the sequence of the Jo Malone Tea Collection that The Scent Critic is refreshing herself with over the next few postings:  it’s genuinely ‘mint tea’ – that Moroccan thirst-quencher that’s thrust at you while you haggle over carpets, baskets or babouches in Marrakech’s souk.

To be honest, I’m thinking of this more as a spritz-it-all-over full-body ‘cool-down’ than something to dab daintily behind the ears.  Like the Assam & Grapefruit that I reviewed the other day (also created by Christine Nagel), it’s a perfect-for-summer scent.  And possibly a little too cooling right now, with a North wind jiggling The Scent Critic’s Listed-and-poorly-insulated Georgian office window.  It sure makes me wistful for the warmer weather to come, when I’ll be twisting mint leaves between my own fingers as I head garden-wards up the steps.

Jostling for airspace with the mint are some other fresh herb notes, in the (fleeting) overture, including basil.  If you weren’t awake already, you would be after a few whooshes of this.  (It’s good on clothes, for the same reason, although the usual caveats about not spritzing onto garments vulnerable to staining apply.)

I’ll be honest:  this isn’t a total love affair for me.  There’s a short-lived phase, 10 minutes in, when I get ‘eau de swimming pool’, as it segues from the aromatic top notes to the middle.  Not actual chlorine, but the same sort of head-rush you get from hanging around an indoor pool.  (Maybe aldehydes in there…?)  Then it moves right along and the floral heart languidly breast-strokes in (if you get my meaning), and all is well again:  soft white flowers twining prettily – and saved from ickiness by a tart twist of rhubarb, which appears in several of the Tea Collection.  (Infinitely more original and intriguing, fruit-note-wise, than the ubiquitous raspberry and peach which are still notes du jour in so much of the fragrance world.)  There’s said to be a violet element, but I get the greenness of the leaf, rather than the cachou sweetness of the flower itself.

Masculine, feminine, unisex…?  Quite a few of the scents in this limited edition portfolio are his ‘n’ hers, allegedly, but I think this becomes more womanly, the longer you wear it.  In the dry-down, after an hour or so, it is – yes – quite dry:  pencilly cedar, a maté tea note that echoes Assam & Grapefruit, softened and ‘smoothed’ by musk.  It’s also ‘clean’, not down-and-dirty.  A touch of freshly-laundered sheets about it.

It is, like Assam & Grapefruit, quite subtle and featherweight – and calming, in the same way as that scent, reviewed in my previous posting.  Neither has fantastic staying power, though, so my advice would be:  keep this, too, on your desk for frequent re-spraying.  (Not just you, but the air.  Go on, give it a go.  Ever so uplifting.)  You know the way a Polo mint works to wake you up, on a long drive?  Fresh Mint Leaf Cologne has the same effect:  a minty jolt to the brain, when you’re flagging.  And there’s a lot to be said for fragrance that does that, in a world of myriad distractions, too-much-to-do-in-too-little-time, and not enough faraway jaunts spent haggling over carpets…

PS  In the way of Jo Malone, they recommend that these fragrances can be ‘layered’.  Now, The Scent Critic’s maths is truly appalling, but that means that instead of five scents there are, potentially – oh, dozens.  If you have a little play with them yourself, get back to me and let me know how you got on.

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