The Scent Of Innocence – Review: Jo Malone Blackberry And Bay Cologne

Am I a great Jo Malone fan? No. Honestly, while I always loved the visuals of the brand, I used to look down on the perfumes from my undeserved, little Perfumista pedestal as cute, but uninspired. My, how arrogant can I be?

I fell for one Jo Malone scent before, and that was Sweet Milk, a part of the discontinued Tea Collection, but other than that, my experience with the line is limited.

I’m still of the (only a bit less snobbish) opinion, that not all perfumes in such an extensive range are great, and from the PR Jo Malone does, it is clear they are positioning themselves more as a lifestyle brand, something beauty editors love, but they don’t look at the niche Perfumista community as their part of the market. But that is just my feeling, I could be wrong of course.

I tried Blackberry and Bay more out of a sense of duty – I was there, the tester was there, a quick spritz and I moved on. I didn’t move very far though, because what was there on the back of my hand was intriguing enough, no, was lovely and enticing enough, for me to go back and purchase a 30ml bottle on the spot. I have not regretted it one bit.

Blackberry and Bay was created by Fabrice Pellegrin and includes notes of blackberry, grapefruit, bay leaf, blossoms, vetiver and cedar wood.

“Inspired by childhood memories of blackberry picking. A burst of deep, tart blackberry juice, blending with the freshness of just-gathered bay and brambly woods. A scent of innocence.”

-from the Jo Malone website

Blackberry and Bay is not the sickly sweet fruity concoction of berries and sugar, you might expect. It is a fresh, green and utterly enchanting perfume.

A sprightly blast of grapefruit starts the show, soon a dark-green coolness spreads, leafy and a bit twiggy, the fruit appear now: succulent blackberries, fresh from the bush, not yet entirely ripe, still more green than fruity-sweet.

Blackberry and Bay smells incredibly natural, not like a roomspray, but like sticking your nose right into a blackberry bush.

Despite being a happy and comforting fragrance, Blackberry and Bay has something darkish.

It’s late afternoon or early evening, nightfall is around the corner. You have been out in the woods for the entire day, you are happy, bone-tired and your skin has that distinct fresh smell of the outdoors. The light is slowly failing and the air is getting cool, the first shivers run down your spine and you start thinking about that sweater your Mom wanted you to take. But before you turn your back on the woods to go home, you deeply inhale for one last time.

Thanks to Jo Malone for bottling that last deep breath of a beautiful day.

Image source: beautesse.at, Mount Kearsarge from Artist’s Brook, 1856 by Benjamin Champney
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This entry was posted in Citrus, Cologne, Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Fruity, Green, Jo Malone and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to The Scent Of Innocence – Review: Jo Malone Blackberry And Bay Cologne

  1. Lady Jane Grey says:

    And I haven’t tried it yet. Yet.

  2. Thank you for a wonderful review! I have about 5 ml left from a decant and I really really like Blackberry and Bay. I have had small bottles of several of Jo Malones fragrances and the ones I have liked the most is White Jasmin and Mint, Orange blossom and my favourite Dark Amber and Ginger Lily.

  3. Tara says:

    Now I really want this!

    I actually do have very happy childhood memories of blackberry picking
    and I had no idea that you bought a bottle on the spot. This is a killer combination :)

    • Olfactoria says:

      It seems to be a very British thing (the blackberry picking).
      I fell for it straightaway, and still like it after some weeks of heavy wearing.
      I hope you like it too (feeling the pressure of having created a lemming in you!) ;)

  4. annemariec says:

    It is sounding as thought this one is that it is pretty good, darn it! I don’t have a JM counter near me so I always have to wait until JMs arrive at the decant services, or samples make their way in to eBay.

    Is there much bay? I’m trying to imagine how bay would modulate the sweet/sharp scent of blackberry.

  5. I loved the opening of this but the drydown bored me stupid – I think I’d still like a little bottle like yours just to keep spritzing. The grapefruit/blackcurrant combo was lovely and reminded me of AA Pampelune, I got hardly any bay but more the bramble bush – it just wasn’t intense enough for me, I found it DID turn into a room spray scent. Still, a nice addition to the lineup – similarly to yourself Jo Malone isn’t a house that I explore in depth. The marketing image is lovely though :)

  6. masha7 says:

    I haven’t found a Jo Malone to love, though some of friends are extremely nutty for this brand. They are generally my friends who “don’t like perfume”. But this one sounds intriguing, and I’ll seek it out. I’ll try any perfume that smells foresty.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I have the exact same experience – Jo Malone is beloved by people who don’t particularly like perfume or want to smell like anything, but feel it is a grooming necessity.

  7. lucasai says:

    Love your impression of Blackberry & Bay. A friend gave me her sample (almost full) and I had a squirt of it so far and really liked it. I have no access to Jo Malone in Poland but from the samples I got from other friends I really like Amber & Lavender.

  8. Jin has a large decant of 154 and LOVES it. I haven’t explored the line because the 3 that I tried on my skin were eaten by it almost immediately, 2 of them I didn’t even get to walk around the fragrance section before they’d disappeared.
    Maybe I should go and give them another go.
    Portia xx

  9. Lala says:

    I have to disagree with one assumption: Jo Malone isn’t necessarily for people who don’t like perfume. In my case, I wear the line because I’m surrounded by people who don’t like perfume, and I’d rather wear something light and inoffensive than nothing at all. Outside of work my sillage monsters get plenty of wear.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Good point, Lala, thank you for adding it! It’s a good thing there are such lines available, because the need for them is undoubtedly there in today’s increasingly fragrance-phobic environment.

  10. Maren says:

    I never found a Jo Malone fragrance I liked and at some point I gave up testing them because to me they all smell like air freshener ;-) Maybe I should try this one…

  11. Catherine says:

    Oh, I like Jo Malone a lot! The line certainly isn’t positioned to appeal to hardcore perfumistas in any way, but I think they do really nice, pretty fragrances. Like Lala said, they really are perfect for wearing around people who don’t like perfume – they’re the ones I pull out whenever I have to teach or go to a networking event or such. I reserve my little decant of the limited edition Sakura Cherry Blossom basically for that purpose – it’s so pretty and light and inoffensive I can’t imagine anyone not liking it (though to be completely honest it’s not that interesting either, though I think it’s much better done than most fruity florals on the market). I also think that her Orange Blossom is one of the prettiest, straightforward orange blossoms on the market, and it’s lovely for layering with her other fragrances. I find it supports Nectarine Blossom & Honey and Earl Grey & Cucumber really well. And Earl Grey may be my favorite fragrance of all time because the opening smells pretty much exactly like a just-steeped fancy earl grey tea bag. (I went totally mad for the entire tea collection.) I also liked Vintage Gardenia before they discontinued it, though I found I needed to add some woods to ground it otherwise it ended up going a bit banana on me. I also keep going back and forth on whether or not I should finally buy a bottle of Blue Agave & Cacao which is the only chocolate fragrance I’ve really liked and while it’s on the sweeter side for me, it’s so very pretty. Also, the more “masculine” fragrances, Black Vetyver Cafe and 154 are actually pretty awesome, full-bodied perfumes compared to the rest of the line. I don’t really see myself wearing them alone but I’d totally swoon for 154 on a guy. :)

    I went to the special event for the promotion of Blackberry & Bay at my local Nordstrom, and while I was impressed by the opening sadly after the little bit of sweetness from the blackberry dies down all I’m left with is plastic bay leaf. ;_;

    • Olfactoria says:

      The Sakura Cherry Blossom was always on my sniff list, but I came to late (they had about five bottles in Vienna). It looks so cute and pink, and I’m going though regular cherry blossom carving phases. :)

      I recently tried Vintage Gardenia and I have no idea why this was discontinued. Is this not an ideally happy pretty gardenia so many (American) women are looking for? In any case, I think it is lovely!

  12. Mel says:

    I’m still new to Jo Malone fragrances (owing only one) but I will definitely go and test this one out :)

  13. Civava says:

    What an interesting combination. I’m well aware of how they smell separately, but how it sings together cannot.

  14. Civava says:

    how they sing together….

  15. hajusuuri says:

    Count me in as a Jo Malone fan. My Blackberry & Bay 30mL bottle recently joined its 8 siblings :-)

  16. I have to say that I never really had much of a feel for Jo Malone. I always found their fragrances pleasant, but too fleeting and too “wearable,” to use the dreaded word!

    But then an SA generously gave me a bunch of samples of Blackberry and Bay. I fell hook line and sinker. It just makes me feel so happy to wear. And as for the longevity, another thing the SA introduced me to was layering it with the “heavier” Jo Malone fragrances. Just gorgeous on its own, and whole new territory with its friends.

    Thanks for the review, Birgit! I do love the ad campaign too. That little boy is too adorable!

  17. The top is blackberry jelly and the drydown is a gentle but sprightly green. Lovely. I do so want a BIG bottle but must wait until Christmas. It hasn’t replaced Mure et Musc in my affections but is a close second in the blackberry category!! The JM Orange Blossom, Grapefruit and Vetiver scents are also worth a try – I used up small bottles of all, but feel no need to repurchase as there is so much more out there to try. I still have some Pomegranate Noir which is sensational on a cold winter day, creating a comforting warm and woody aura. I mourn the JM Tuberose which was divine on my tuberose hating skin. I find the JMs get lots of compliments, they are pretty and unchallenging. My most complimented perfume EVER in the office is the JM Lotus Blossom and Water Lily limited edition. Which is slightly annoying as it is not in my personal Top 10!

  18. Dionne says:

    I got a sample of this last weekend and quite liked it. On my skin, it has a similar vibe to l’Ombre dans l’Eau, although I haven’t done a wrist-to-wrist yet, but I think I’ll stay with my Diptyque – better longevity.

  19. I agree with you on the Jo Malone marketing bit–they’re not shooting for edge, they’re shooting for middle market. What they do, that I kinda like is the cologne series and how combining a few lighter scents can make for one powerful bespoke scent. I like to do this with Rose Cologne and their new Velvet Rose and Oud, which is the only scent I have ever truly loved from the line. Have not tried B&B–how does it match up to Mure et Musc by L’Artisan?

  20. Undina says:

    Oh, I’m so glad you liked it! We have one more favorite perfume (and a bottle) in common! :)
    Unlike the previous three perfumes – two limited “blossoms” and Bluebell, Blackberry & Bay lives on my skin for hours. It’s a very happy perfume.

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