Escape into Bronze Wood & Leather

Our latest Cologne Intense takes you on a journey into new and unexpected territory. Discover more about the fragrance and how it was created with Céline Roux, our Global Head of Fragrance and Master Perfumer Marie Salamagne.

What was the inspiration for this scent?
Céline: Rather than a specific place, this fragrance is a journey into your imagination: picture a mysterious walk deep into the woods as a misty day draws to a close. An escape from the everyday. Follow the trail of warm and smoky woods, as the trees are burnished by the sun’s evening rays. Then add the sultriness of beautiful, handcrafted leather and that rich intense smell as it is warmed by the sun - it’s the perfect combination for that deep, cocooning escape. It’s that trail of warm, smoky and burnished woods, mingling together, that we have christened as ‘bronze wood’.

What is unique about this new Cologne Intense?
Céline: The wood leather molecule – it really makes me think of high quality leather, like an exquisite handbag or a luxurious leather jacket. In perfumery, we are not able to extract the olfactive from leather, as we would from a flower or a wood, so a completely new molecule is created. Molecules allow the perfumer to create new olfactives in their palette. When I first smelt the wood leather molecule, it wasn’t even registered as part of the perfumer’s palette at the fragrance house Marie works for but I fell in love with it. I remember having the scent on a blotter and I just kept going back to it. We wanted to create something that was true to our Cologne Intense collection but with a slightly more masculine edge. It was the perfect fragrance to follow Jasmine Sambac & Marigold – taking our customers to a new and intriguing place.

What were your first thoughts on the brief?
Marie: The brief was to create a Cologne Intense that was warm and sensual, with a masculine edge, but still with the Jo Malone London clarity. The newness for this scent comes from the wood leather – the new molecule that Celine has mentioned.

Tell us about your collaboration for this project?
Marie: About six or seven years ago we were having a meeting about something else and we told Celine that we had a new, fantastic scent that she needed to smell. She fell in love with it. It had nothing to do with the scent we were working on at the time, but she knew she would find the place to use it in the future. When we started to work on this fragrance, she said ‘I think now’s the time to use this wood leather note’. And that’s how it was started!

Can you explain the process of creating a new ingredient that doesn’t exist in perfumery, such as leather?
Marie: Hundreds of new notes are created every year but only very few of them are kept as they are considered interesting for the palette. As perfumers, we always want new ideas – things that are original, powerful and pleasant, so you can imagine how difficult it can be to find that. This is how we created the scent of leather. The wood leather molecule is so original on its own – it’s as leathery as it is woody. It was totally Jo Malone London – unique and strong, with such a big character, and it’s never been done before.

How did you bring the signature Jo Malone London twist to the scent?
Marie: When I created Tuberose Angelica for example, it was more about the voluptuous tuberose flower, and the angelica was the twist to bring the luminosity. For this fragrance, the leather part is as strong as the woody part. The woody part is comprised of the bronze wood, warm woody accord and smoky woody accord. It’s much more balanced, a perfect mix of warm and voluminous ingredients, but all with the same importance.

How does Bronze Wood & Leather develop on the skin?
Marie: I find it very sexy and sensual. It smells like skin, very seductive, and a little intriguing because you’re not used to it, as it hasn’t been used before. You want to go back and smell it again and again. It opens with the grapefruit and the juniper on the top notes, giving a burst of vibrancy, which adds the typical Jo Malone London twist and clarity.

To reinforce the bronze wood and the leather we created two woody accords, one in the heart and one in the base. The warm woody accord complements the bronze wood, and in it you have the vetiver, the sandalwood, the cedarwood. In the base you have our addictive wood leather molecule, which is our super sexy, addictive raw material complemented with the smoky woody accord – some patchouli, guaiacwood and the cypriol. This makes the base more intense and adds some other facets.