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Lime Basil & Mandarin – Britain at its best! (April 29, 2011 New Fragrance Listing)

Photo: Wikipedia - The Blues and Royals Trooping the Colour, London, June 2006

I just watched  The Wedding – how spectacular was that! Pageantry as only the British can do it. And a true love story, too.

I grew up in a family of Scots and English immigrants, so I’ve always followed the Royal Family, and royal events, with great interest. With Diana’s death, the lights went out – we learned too much of the intimate details of family dysfunction, revelations, crises, scandals, and we had only the lukewarm, middle-aged union of Charles and Camilla to stoke the media fires. The glamour of Diana, the good will, the hope, was missing.

Now it’s back, the royals are renewed through this marriage of William and Kate, a union of two young adults based on a matured love - so very different from the dynastic mismatch of Charles and Diana. Around the world, it’s obvious that everybody feels good about this wedding – I know I sure do!

Watching the wedding proceedings, I thought back to the time I lived in London as a student, and stood in the huge crowd on the Mall on a hot June day to watch the Queen in dress uniform, riding side-saddle, surrounded by the Horse Guards on their massive black horses, Trooping the Colour on her official birthday. The sights, the sounds, the smells have stayed with me because it was it was so impressive - pure pageantry, with a very long tradition springing from discipline and strength, the underpinnings of the British character. It has such an emotional impact - no wonder the British hold on to it!

Which led me think of some other things I think Britain does best – colognes. Like Jo Malone’s colognes, ( alliteration unintended– but brilliant, don’t you think?)

Jo Malone began her career in skincare, but her hand-mixed bath oils became such a hit with clients that, by the time she opened her first store in London in 1994, she had a very successful fragrance brand. Her creative style is simplicity and elegance, but with a twist, and I think one of the best examples of this is one of her first scents, Lime Basil & Mandarin.

My daughter arrived home from a visit to London wearing this fabulous scent, and I bought a bottle the next day. Lime Basil & Mandarin is a fresh, bright, rich, herbal citrus that is just right for any occasion, any time of year, on young people, older people, both women and men. Why does it work so well? The secret is Jo Malone’s little “twist”.

The listed notes are: lime, mandarin, bergamot; basil, white thyme, lilac, iris; patchouli, vetiver, and costus. The opening is true lime, the smell of lime from a zester rubbed on the rim a cocktail glass, green, sour, aromatic, which sweetens ever so slightly, and slowly, by the addition of mandarin. Then the “twist “  appears......the herbal notes of basil and thyme are exceptional, and just right, and transform the rich citrus into a top-notch classical cologne.

The earthy florals in the heart mix with patchouli and costus in the base, and play the role of softening this herbal citrus accord, rather than performing on their own – you can’t really detect the individual notes – and they also give this fabulous, light scent real tenacity. For a cologne, it stays on your skin for an amazingly long time. The ending note of vetiver leaves a grassy freshness, light and airy, until many hours later when Lime Basil & Mandarin is just  – gone.

Lime Basil & Mandarin smells young, fresh, clean and natural, comforting but intriguing at the same time. I wondered if William or Kate were wearing scent on their wedding day – could be we’ll never know. But if they were, it would be British, for sure...something understated, classic and elegant, to fit the occasion.

They could both have worn Jo Malone’s Lime Basil & Mandarin - a shared wedding day secret.

Lime Basil & Mandarin is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.


Addendum: It turns out my guess was a good one! It was reported that Kate wore White Gardenia  from a new British line as her wedding perfume, but she arranged for scented candles in Westminster Abbey, scented candles from Jo Malone - and one of the scents was Lime Basil & Mandarin!