Jo Malone Silk Blossom ~ fragrance review

silk blossom 1

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.

jo-malone-silk-blossom-bottles-s

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.

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27 Comments

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  1. kaos.geo says:

    I didn´t have many hopes for this one…
    Anyway.. I LOOOOVE the B&BW Butterfly Flower!
    I gave it to my mom as a present back in ’09 and she still saves it for special ocasions… She is halfway through her bottle…
    I swear I felt real bad when I said to her that it was discontinued! LOL
    Poor mom! :-D

    • Jessica says:

      Oh no! Poor mom. I did just spot a bottle being auctioned for $95 online… eek. But the body spray is currently available at B&BW online, and although it will probably smell watered-down in that body spray way, maybe it’s better than nothing!

    • sapphire03 says:

      I love BBW Butterfly Flower as well. I had just commented under another NST post how it is one of the only BBW fragrances I have liked and they d/c it. :( Luckily I bought a bottle before they d/c it.

      As for JM Silk Blossom it sounds like it may be up my alley even though it does not smell like the real silk blossoms. It sounds pretty and safe. I will have to test it when I spot it. I haven’t liked a lot of the more recent JM offerings. The older perfumes under Jo Malone herself were much better imo.

  2. PriscillaE says:

    The only thing that I have ever smelled that even came close to the scent of “mimosa” or silk tree blossom, was a night cream/lotion that my mom used in the 80s or 90s. It was from Estee Lauder and it came in a blue bottle. I would love to get a fragrance that carried that scent.
    In Texas, when it is hot and humid at night during the summer, that scent hangs heavy in the air. It seems to be impossible to duplicate, but I hope someone keeps trying.

    • Jessica says:

      Ooh, I wonder what that lotion was!

      I feel the same way about wisteria (don’t even bother with that recent JM Wisteria & Whatever, seriously) and, to a lesser extent, honeysuckle. Well, at least we have the real flowers, right?!

      • nozknoz says:

        I plucked a spray of wisteria blossoms on my way home this evening – my, they smell good!

  3. Kevin says:

    Jessica: misled…AGAIN. I love the scent of these flowers too and make a point of finding trees to sniff later during summer…Seattle has many of these…if the trees didn’t get so HUGE I’d plant one in my yard. I’ve never come across a perfume or soap that reminds me of these flowers.

    • Jessica says:

      Isn’t it the worst feeling? and I do take it so personally! ;)

      Those trees *do* tend to take over. My mother decided that ours had to be removed after a certain point. I was crushed! (I hope she doesn’t read this and feel bad about it… but I did love those flowers.)

  4. scentfromabove says:

    I love Jo Malone period. I can’t wait to get it. Her fragrances can do no wrong in my book.

    • Jessica says:

      I do have a few favorites from the line — this one just didn’t do it for me. Hope you’ll have better luck!

  5. floragal says:

    That tree grows in NJ? It looks way too exotic for the northeast of the country, and I’m surprised I’ve never seen one. It’s beautiful!

    I took a sniff of this recently and shrugged. Nothing special, and as you say office friendly for summer months.

    Sorry you must continue your hunt!

    • olenska says:

      Yes, silk trees grow everywhere down here in South Jersey… a very popular ornamental choice for suburban front yards. It seems to thrive in our marsh/pinelands habitat, and is now considered a naturalized species. Plus oh so pretty! :)

    • Jessica says:

      Oh, yes indeed! We were in Central Jersey. It really did look lovely when it was in bloom…

  6. annemarie says:

    Well, maybe it’s best to leave that scent as something to be enjoyed in nature. We can’t expect all our pleasures to be laid on for us all the time; you have to seek the out, and just enjoy them to the full when you can. That’s my attitude to frangipani. Oh I know, I know, there are frangipani fragrances out there but the one or two I’ve tried didn’t come close to the real thing and I decided not to chase any more.

    Oh, and I’m never one for perfume bottles with tassels. Automatic distrust (are they trying to distract me from the juice?). Same applies to charms. And bulb atomisers. I’m just not the frou frou type I guess.

    • Jessica says:

      hah! So funny –I’m the opposite, a complete sucker for tassels. Rosine’s tassels never fail to delight me! but I might just be a Victorian at heart…

  7. Lucy says:

    Well, your review was much more kind than anything I would have written. I sampled it at Nordstrom yesterday and thought it was awful. It wasn’t that it smelled bad, just very uninspired. I have so much love for the brand and feel like they’ve just lost it. I had much higher expectations.

  8. monkeytoe says:

    Have you tied Kenzo Eau De Fleur de Soie? It is nothing earthshaking but lovely and wearable with a hint of the tree blossom.

    • mals86 says:

      That one was nice. As you say, just a tiny hint of that powdery-sweet blossom smell. I didn’t love it and didn’t keep my bottle, but it was pleasant.

      And now I am thinking that I should actually plant a silk tree (we call them mimosas here in VA, too). We have plenty of space here on the farm, so it’s unlikely to cause trouble if I locate it in the part of the yard that’s far from the house.

    • Jessica says:

      No, I haven’t, but I might seek it out. I often enjoy Kenzo fragrances…

  9. Omega says:

    Jo Malone generally doesn’t do it for me. So, this isn’t on top of my to try list.

    Haven’t tried that BBW, is it pretty sweet like most of their stuff or? I only like Japanese Cherry Blossom from them, the rest….no thanks.

    • sapphire03 says:

      If you mean the BBW Butterfly Flower, no I don’t find it like most other BBW fragrances. I found it to be a step above. It is a soft mostly mimosa floral but unique given the inexpensive price tag and not like most of their generic sweet teenybopper concoctions but YMMV.

      • Jessica says:

        I agree — it has a honeyed side, but it’s definitely not one of their usual sugar-fruit-vanilla things.

  10. Cynthia says:

    Jessica, your description of your tree is exactly like one I grew up with, and we also called it Mimosa in Texas! I was very surprised a few years ago when I saw photos of French mimosa trees with yellow blossoms. I had high hopes for this one. It seemed like something JM might be able to do, remembering their gardenia and orange blossom. Disappointing to hear it in no way replicates that wonderful scent.

  11. ddg425 says:

    Like you, I’ve been looking for *years* for a perfume that approximates the fragrance of the silk tree blossom. Growing up we had a silk tree in my front yard in Texas, and I would swoon at the fragrance.

    I’m really quite surprised that no perfumer has tried to capture this scent. It’s singular in its beauty.

    I’d buy such a perfume in an instant.

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