I grew up in house in the New Jersey suburbs, where we were fortunate to have a partially wooded backyard that was perfect for all kinds of make-believe games. I was also very fond of one of the trees that stood on our front lawn: we called it a "mimosa," although now I know that it would have more properly been described as Albizia julibrissin, or a "silk tree." I liked the tree's split trunk (which offered just enough space to perch a foot or two above the ground), its slender seed pods, its ferny leaves, but most of all, its flowers. They were as soft as tiny feather dusters, slightly sticky with pollen dust at their deep-pink, fringed ends, and scented with a magically sweet smell.
Jo Malone has just released a fragrance called Silk Blossom, and its promotional photographs feature a background of the flowers that I remember from my childhood. This fragrance was developed by perfumer Marie Salamagne, and it includes notes of white pepper, apricot, silk blossom, heliotrope and moss. According to the press release, it was inspired by "the nectarous, pink-fringed pompoms" of the silk tree. Let's get the bad news — or disappointing news, at least — out of the way: this Cologne does not smell anything like the honeyed-powdery flowers of Albizia julibrissin.
So, how does it smell? It's a pretty, albeit safe, light floral scent that will work perfectly for spring and summer. I can imagine myself (or some hypothetical customer) purchasing a small bottle and applying it generously every morning, until it runs out just in time to purchase some new fall release from the Jo Malone collection. It's more of a "pepper petal" than a "silk blossom": the white pepper, not too different from the perennially popular pink pepper (say that five times fast!) is the most noticeable aspect when I first apply Silk Blossom to my skin. The fruity notes are a splash of sheer grapefruit followed by something that's almost more osmanthus than apricot, and this note is very nice, but muted. There's some generically pale-pink floral note in the heart that could be decoded as "peony" or "rose" or whatever flower is popular this spring, and the dry down has a very light vanillic feeling that might be meant to evoke heliotrope. Silk Blossom has average staying power, and since it's a transparent "fresh floral," it could easily be worn in the office or in hot weather without fear of overwhelming anyone nearby.
My hunt for a perfume that will really capture my memories of the erroneously named "mimosa flowers" on our front lawn will have to continue. Ironically, I once did find something that reminded me strongly (and very unexpectedly) of these blooms: Bath & Body Works Butterfly Flower, back in 2009. It was discontinued, of course, although the body products do return to the website from time to time. I do like Silk Blossom more than the very forgettable London Rain quartet, but not as much as Blackberry & Bay or Peony & Blush Suede. I wish I could enjoy it on its own merits, especially since the bottle and the ombré tassel are so appealing, but you know me — I always get a little grumpy when I feel I've been misled.
Jo Malone Silk Blossom is available in 30 ($65) and 100 ml ($120) Cologne. For purchasing information, see the listing for Jo Malone under Perfume Houses.