Inspiration can strike in the most unexpected places,and Céline Roux found it at the early morning flower markets of Mumbai and Delhi, during 2016’s peak summer. The head of fragrance development for Jo Malone London came to India in search of a new jasmine blend. “It was an unforgettable experience; tens of thousands of freshly cut flowers are either meticulously arranged in wicker panniers, left to spill out of vast sacks, or simply upturned onto the trading floor to form colourful mounds,” she says, of the start of a two-year journey that led to the brand’s latest, Jasmine Sambac & Marigold Cologne Intense.
Back home in London, she teamed up with master perfumer Mathilde Bijaoui to recreate that heady,warm emotion. Having fallen in love with jasmine sambac in India, the duo then set out on a trip to Tamil Nadu to experience the jasmine picking ritual at dawn, when the flower’s scent is the strongest. “The aim was to create a scent that represented the warm and sunny vibe of the markets, with an addictive facet that makes you want to go back again and again,” says Roux. And they found that quintessential Jo Malone twist quite by chance. “We were visiting during Dussehra, and I was blown away by the yellow and orange marigolds that were used as garlands for decoration everywhere. They are such a visual part of the culture in India,” says Roux. Coupled with the freshly plucked aromatic jasmine, the marigold provides a delectable contrast. Its fruity, green scent enhances the notes of the white flower, and transports youright to those chaotic flower bazaars.
Roux hints that Jasmine Sambac & Marigold Cologne Intense may not be the last India-inspired Jo Malone fragrance, either. She says, “We saw some beautiful tea fields in Kerala, and they’ve provided me with a lot of inspiration for future projects as well.” We can’t wait.