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Jo Malone London's 'Blue Agava & Cacao' cologne is a fragrance I wouldn't have been tempted to try had I seen it in store, but one I don't think I'd want to be without now I own it. Although I don't mind gentle hints of vanilla in a perfume, the idea of a more chocolatey note didn't appeal but a colleague was selling this scent and I asked for a spritz.
Jo Malone describes the composition as:
The top notes - exotic Birgaradia citrus, lime oil, grapefruit, cardamom, and red berry
The heart - blue Agava flower, sea salt, orchid, geranium and white lily
The base - cocoa, vetiver, cinnamon, musk and vanilla
It seems to me like a pretty far out combination and my experience is that the opening develops into something totally unexpected; certainly if you hadn't read any notes and you hadn't seen what this cologne is called, I don't think you'd ever expect the last lingering notes to be sweet, warm spice and chocolate.
The opening is vibrant and fresh with intense citrus; it's quite tropical and makes me think of cocktails made with freshly squeezed lime juice. It's not a sweet citrus, however, it makes me think more of the oil that shoots out of the skin of the fruit as you grate or peel them. This calms quickly and moves into a clean and light blend of florals. I can pick out white lilies but I can't be sure to pick out the blue agava flower because I'm not sure I could recognise that; whatever, this is a lovely phase of the fragrance but it seems to me to pass too quickly.
For all the excitement of the opening and the pleasure of the floral accords, it's the sweet and spicy base notes of this scent that get noticed. I've read that people think that this scent has no staying power. I beg to differ: if I apply this when dressing for work it'll still be going strong into the evening, albeit much more subtle than at lunch time but still detectable. Interestingly I don't get the cardamom in the top notes but I do detect is much later after a few hours wear. I also really like the cinnamon which blends beautifully with the vanilla and cacao. The musk and vetiver, I think, stop this being scent from becoming too cloying. A few people have said to me that they wouldn't usually like something so sweet but there's something there that cuts through the sugariness and gives it an edge.
Jo Malone suggests layering this cologne with one of the others from the range and recommends trying this with the White Jasmine & Mint or the Amber & Lavender. I wouldn't have thought of doing this, not least because I think it's amazing enough that the various elements of this particular cologne work so well together let alone working well with other combinations. However, a contributor to Fragrantica.com did suggest wearing it with Orange Blossom by Jo Malone which I do own and while I didn't hate this, I wasn't tempted to repeat the experiment.
Jo Malone colognes aren't cheap. If they were I'd buy more of them but I think that at £38 for 30ml you have to love them for what they are. This Blue Agava & Cacao cologne is so distinctive - unique I'd even suggest- that I don't think anyone's going to suddenly like such an expensive scent just because it works nicely when layered with an equally expensive cologne.
As usual this comes in the standard Jo Malone bottles, elegant and sophisticated, with the slim 30ml bottles being so easy to slip into the liquids bag when flying. The only negative is that the design of the label is so understated that, because I own a few of these, it's easy to pick up the wrong one when throwing some stuff into my handbag.
I think this is a 'love it or hate it' scent; personally I really love it and I'll buy more when this bottle is finished. Although the opening is quite summery I'd suggest that this is an autumn/winter scent because of the connections I make with the sweet, spicy base notes; that said, I find that a blast of this makes any gloomy day feel much brighter.
A 100ml bottle is available priced at £76 while a 175ml body creme is priced at £48
Cologne by well know Jo Malone brand