Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Jo Malone- Wood Sage & Sea Salt

The name alone, Wood Sage & Sea Salt, created a huge wave of expectations (or cynical skepticism, depending whom you've asked) in fragonerd circles. Sea salt is a note you're more likely to find in cult-favorite perfumes such as The Different Company Sel de Vetiver, Heeley Sel Marine, and my favorite: Miller Harris Fleur de Sel. It can be a tricky note: not exactly a department store favorite, and one misstep towards the sea and you're awash in murky water (and every cheap marine fragrance from the '90s). Thankfully, the journey from that fantasy sea shore to the Jo Malone bottle went well, making Wood Sage & Sea Salt a pleasant surprise among the fall releases.

Weather-beaten driftwood and gritty sea salt that you can almost crunch between your teeth---you'll get that and feel the sand beneath your feet if you spray enough to create the scene in a bubble around you (6-8 spritzes, for me). Wood Sage & Sea Salt is a gray fall day on a deserted beach. It's musky, just south of clean, and completely free of gender stereotypes. It's beauty comes from the interaction between the perfume and human skin, the way salt provokes the natural muskiness and slight sweetness. It's definitely sexy, even though the overall effect is subtle. Its projection is among the lowest in the already polite Jo Malone range. The fun here is intimate and slightly reserved. You'll need to get very close to be allowed to partake.

Jo Malone marketing and PR have been enthusiastically suggesting to combine Wood Sage and Sea Salt with crowd-pleaser Nectarine Blossom & Honey.  I'm guessing that this was meant to make the strange beauty of Wood Sage & Sea Salt easier to go down for the girliest among Jo Malone shoppers. Personally, I don't think it's necessary (and I prefer to wear Nectarine Blossom & Honey in warmer weather), but I can report that they do work well together. The friendly fruity-floral has a vetiver note in the base that is often ignored, but cooperates nicely with the grassy seaweed and salt granules. When worn together (and you don't need more than one spray of NB&H to accompany WS&SS), the effect is of an Indian summer. The sun is warmer, the mood more cheerful, you get to squeeze one last picnic on the beach and eat the very last of the summer fruit, before a chill comes over from the ocean, forcing you to pack in a hurry and wrap yourself in that shawl you brought just in case. Everyone is laughing, racing each other back to the car, shaking off last bits of salt and sand until next year.

Jo Malone- Wood Sage & Sea Salt ($60, 1oz) is available from Jo Malone boutiques, select department stores and online. A press sample was provided for my consideration and review.

Images: Fall on the beach via jootix.com, Unger Fall/Winter 2011 (featuring model Charlotte Cordes), and Pedro del Hierro Fall/Winter 2014 (featuring model Jamie Bochert) via fashiongonerogue.com.


  1. I'm a big fan of Fleur de Sel (and also find a salt note in Tiempe Passate) but I was disappointed by this. The first half hour was lovely (and indeed gender neutral) but on me it then dried down to 'every aftershave ever'. Maybe it was the musk, which I'm not usually a fan of.

  2. I was rather skeptical of it when I first heard all the raves from non-perfumista bloggers, but now I'll definitely check it out next time I'm in a Jo Malone boutique or at a counter. I love the beach scene you painted here, Gaia!

  3. Great review - beautiful verbal images. I love a well done salt note in perfumes and went ahead and ordered a decant of this instead of a small sample, since it sounded so promising. Am not disappointed - will probably move on to a full bottle. Can't get to the beach this fall (something I absolutely love doing), so need these winter ocean/salt air scents to get me through.

  4. I'm a huge fan of salt notes, favorites include Fleur de Sel and Tiempe Passate. This reminds me quite a bit of the now discontinued Gap Grass with a touch more salt. Nice, but I've got to give it a few more sprays before I pull the trigger....

  5. Thank you very much for the review. I was curious to read your opinion about it, as still haven't tried it. Also now want to try Miller Harris Fleur de Sel, too.

  6. I'm enjoying this scent much more that I thought I would, and I layered it with NB&H and loved the combo. I might have to move Wood Sage & Sea Salt to the top of my to-buy list, which almost never happens with Jo Malones.


I love comments and appreciate the time you take to connect with me, but please do not insert links to your blog or store. Those will be deleted. The comment feature is not intended to provide an advertising venue for your blog or your commercial site.

Related Posts Widget