The latest perfume composition by Jo Malone, Blackberry & Bay (2012), aims to reveal the natural musky facet of the blackberry fruit, an olfactory exploration famously conducted in 1978 and with great success by perfumer Jean Laporte for Mûre et Musc by L'Artisan Parfumeur. The latter remains one of their best-sellers to this day. It endures also as a reference in fragrance-making today, and its influence can be felt high and low.
This time, perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin adds a more pronounced aromatic facet to this modern classical accord, thanks to a note of bay leaf, its scent evoking bay rum recipes craddled along on sea voyages by sailors. This savory-sweet nuance contributes to the woodsy depth of the fragrance, its sense of familiarity...
The musky nuance has been worked and reworked so as to offer a prolongued and varied diffusion. It is quite convincing: none too animalic yet none too fruity. The naturalness of the musk rests on the perception that you are still smelling it on the fruit, not that it is there thanks to a cocktail of white musks. There are synthetic musks but they are never ever discernable as such. The trap of cliched laundry musks has been carefully avoided.
The bucolic personality of this musk is such in fact that you might easily imagine the scent emanating from young, buxom peasant women carrying blackberries under their armpits instead of apple slices to offer to their suitors in those Austrian village courtship dances you've heard of.
Another important reference you can detect is Lauren for Women by Ralph Lauren, as it happens, also created in 1978 like Mûre et Musc, with its accents of mossy blackcurrants and English-countryside wind-swept briskness.
These inspirations tie into a bouquet of woodland charm evoking long strolls in the countryside and an outdoorsy style of elegance. The eau de cologne inspired jus allows you nevertheless to feel that it is versatile enough for an urban setting, for which it is primarily meant. When you lack the forest, the mushrooms, the moss, and the damp dark earth, you recreate it in a bottle, an artifice you can enjoy anywhere.
There is a fizz to the scent, like an undercurrent of bubbly Champagne, or Alka Seltzer, which seems to be a thoughtful note of dynamism the perfumer included to help you get through some of the most tedious moments of the day.
If you need a breath of fresh air coming from the direction of the underbrush as it was revived by pouring rain, with a suggestion of simple woodsy elegance and crisp aromas, this is the sort of qualities you will find in this casual-elegant perfume which is also fresh and fruity, with aromatic, dry tonalities. Lastigness is reasonable and that of a real eau de toilette meant to difuse its effect after 3 to 4 hours maximum.
You can read this olfactory poem by Seamus Heany, Blackberry-Picking