Emma South at Jo Malone - Bath
What was your first fragrance?
To answer my own question... Thinking back to my childhood, I remember my first fragrance was Kenzo Flower Eau de Parfum. It was definitely my signature scent! It brings back memories of school discos, trips to the cinema with friends all armed with popcorn and Pepsi, non-uniform days at school (those were the best!) and of being young, having fun and feeling carefree. I recently stumbled across Kenzo Flower whilst perusing the perfume counters at Jolly's in Bath, and couldn't resist briefly drawing in the scent of my youth! (Isn't scent so significant? It can transport you right back to those moments in time you may have otherwise forgotten).
Throughout my twenties, I have been on a bit of a mission to find new signature scents. It has taken some serial sniffing and a plethora of perfume bottles later, but I now have a fragrance that is just so exquisite, I can't help but breathe in a deep lungful the moment I lift the lid! It is a particularly special fragrance too, because I wore it for the first time on my wedding day last year. Its name is English Pear and Freesia, and I instantly fell in love with it the moment it caught my nose in Jo Malone London...
The experience of stepping foot inside the world of Jo Malone is not too dissimilar to feeling like a kid in a candy store. Remember visiting a sweet shop for the first time as a child? Looking up at row upon row of glass jars, all crammed to the brim with colourful confectionary waiting to be plucked by your eager little hands - wasn't it just the most exciting, sensory overload?! You'd want to sample the boiled sweets, the chewy ones, the strawberry laces, lollipops and fudge (not to mention the rest!). So many delicious choices, so many new favourite treats. Well, there may be no taste-testing when you visit Jo Malone, but I'd liken the experience as equally as irresistible, topped with the same level of excitement too!
I recently visited the beautiful Jo Malone store in Bath for a Q&A session with the super talented, utterly delightful and divine Emma South. Emma is the Lifestyle and Fragrance Expert for Jo Malone.
It was a complete joy to meet Emma and such an amazing opportunity and privilege to spend the afternoon with her in-store. (Thanks so much Emma!) Not only did she answer a whole heap of my questions, but she kindly picked out a gorgeous fragrance combination for me - I'll reveal the fragrances later. Just before we bid each other farewell, Emma gave me a heavenly Jo Malone hand and arm massage too (she used a handheld milk frother to whip up the cream, how cool is that?!)
Read on to discover Emma's role at Jo Malone, find out what Jo Malone's latest scents are, and let me reveal to you what Emma's go-to fragrance is this summer (it smells incredible, you'll want to snap it up too!).
So, sit back, relax and enjoy my Q&A session with the wonderful Emma South...
Could you explain your role as a Fragrance and Lifestyle Expert?
I have been in the role for the last year and a half. I primarily host consumer events and support our PR team with their press events. The majority of my training has been in-house with Celine Roux (Head of Global Fragrance at Jo Malone) as well as with different master perfumers. It's just such a wonderful role!
What do you love most about your role?
Prior to becoming a Fragrance and Lifestyle Expert, I worked in the trading team at Jo Malone. What I always enjoyed the most was chatting with customers and explaining all the delicious scents to them. What's particularly special about the fragrances is that they seem to conjure up so many different memories - our customers are so vividly picturing and sharing these different moments in time with you. So when you share these moments together, it's really lovely! The social aspect of my role, both then and now, is what I'd say I enjoy the most!
Your latest limited-edition duo of scents; Tropical Cherimoya Cologne and Cattleya Flower Body Mist, which launched earlier this month, are inspired by the smells and tastes of South America. Can you tell us a bit more about them?
Our Head of Global Fragrance, Celine Roux, was on a trip to Brazil several years ago to visit the famous fruits and flower markets over there. It was a real sensory exploration for her as she came across the beautiful cattleya flower, which is native to Brazil. She also discovered the cherimoya fruit, for the very first time. The cherimoya fruit, which doesn't sound very pretty, due to it's skin being similar to a reptilian avocado, has a flavour that is supposed to be a midway point between a peach, strawberry and pear. These absolutely delicious flavours are captured in these new scents.
What obvious flavour notes can we expect to detect in the new cologne and body mist?
In The Tropical Cherimoya Cologne, you've got beautiful sparkling bergamot and juicy pear top notes, together with the cherimoya, orange blossom and passion flower at the heart. In the base notes, you have a copahu resin, which is indigenous to Brazil, (Celine loved the fact that she was using something locally sourced, along with the fruit). It has a golden, amber character to it. In addition, there is the tonka bean which gives a creamy vanilla, almond tone.
In the Cattleya Flower Body Mist you've got this stunning, softening effect of jasmine petals and they really capture that plushness of the orchid.
They also add such a vibrant and visual pop of colour to the Jo Malone scent collection, why the noticeable contrast?
So many people have commented on this too! Over the past seven years or so, we have injected the occasional pop of colour into our fragrance collection. But, the vibrancy of these limited-edition duo of scents is on another level! We really wanted to capture the essence of Brazil, the amazing carnivals they have over there and all those bright, fun colours. But for me, they make me think of summer holidays as a child!
Are they catering towards a certain age demographic?
No, they have been universally loved, appealing to a completely varied age range.
What's the target audience across all of the Jo Malone Products?
Everyone! We have a really universal approach to creating scent.
What are your best-selling products?
Lime, Basil and Mandarin as well as Pomegranate Noir - those are our two biggest fragrance collections in the UK, and that's throughout the year too.
Jo Malone fragrances are designed so that you can create a scent unique to you. Is fragrance combining something that you encourage customers to consider whilst shopping in-store?
Definitely. The playful nature of layering fragrances is really fun. It's like having a fragrance wardrobe that is completely interchangeable, creating scents that are unique and bespoke to you!
Given summer is just around the corner, which scent from the Jo Malone collection would you say is most sought after during the summer months?
Peony and Blush Suede is really popular, and one of our best-loved wedding fragrances too. It's a really romantic scent that has delicious juicy notes of red apple.
Which Jo Malone fragrance will you be reaching for as your perfect holiday scent?
Mimosa and Cardamon is perfect for holidays. It transports me to long, hot days spent on soft, sandy beaches.
Do you have an all-time favourite scent you can't live without?
Wood Sage and Sea Salt is one of my all time favourite, go-to fragrances. It's just so clean, crisp and bright and suits any mood or occasion.
Smells can be so significant, often taking us back to memories and moments in time we may otherwise have forgotten. What is your first memory of fragrance?
Definitely my grandparent's house. It's not just one smell though! It's a concoction of scents, including; the lavender cream my Grandma used, the 4711 Eau de Cologne perfume she wore, the smell of laundry powder they used and also the smell of my grandad gargling TPC!
You may remember I said earlier that Emma picked out two gorgeous fragrances for me, just to show how easy and fun it is to layer scents together. We spritzed together the Tropical Cherimoya and Nashi Blossom, and were soon smelling so divine! A perfect signature scent for summer... You heard it here first ;)!
It's hard not to fall in love with all of the fragrances that line the shelves, counters and cabinets of Jo Malone. But, we all, of course, find our favourites! Thank you so much to Emma and the girls at Jo Malone who very kindly gifted me a bottle of Peony and Blush Suede. It smells heavenly, and may just be my new summer scent.
I received such a warm, friendly welcome at Jo Malone in Bath and I was even told that the next time I pop in, I must bring along my pup! I was surprised and delighted to discover that they are pet-friendly. Well then Winnie, we best save up our pennies and pop back soon, for I have my eyes on Tropical Cherimoya Cologne next!