Monday, 4 January 2021

JO'S RHUBARB by Jo Loves and Zara

Welcome to 2021 and a whole new year of perfume releases. To say that the past twelve months have been challenging would be an understatement but, thankfully, there’s already some scented excitement to kickstart an overcast January. The idea of finding designer names at high street prices is still a quest that, more often than not, turns up few results. However, when Zara decided to collaborate with Jo Malone, the person rather than the company, it heralded a whole new collection of scents under the Emotions banner. Originally a series of eight, it’s time to welcome the latest arrival to the range as we enjoy a taste of Jo’s Rhubarb.
 
There can’t be anyone left that doesn’t know who Jo Malone is, or what she has managed to achieve so far, but let’s start with a quick rundown. Jo Malone opened her first store in 1994 and went on to become a global phenomenon. From simple blends created in her own kitchen, she would eventually sell the company to Estée Lauder in 1999. Jo remained creative director for a further seven years, but left completely in 2006. A “contractual” silence meant that Jo Loves, her new brand, couldn't launch until 2011 but, very quickly, it became clear that the “English scent maverick” was back.

The full Jo Malone story can be found in her autobiography, My Story, and it is a fascinating read. However, it stops before the ground-breaking collaboration with Zara began. Now, Zara has created hundreds of fragrances, some in conjunction with the fellow Spanish company Puig, but the collaboration with Jo Malone in 2019 sent ripples through the perfume industry. This truly was the opportunity to offer a little piece of luxury at high street prices. The Jo Loves and Zara pairing saw eight fragrances launched and the internet went wild. With each 90ml EDP costing £25.99, you were encouraged to take a chance and follow your instinct.
 
The original 2019 line-up consisted of Amalfi Sunray, Bohemian Bluebells, Ebony Wood, Fleur d'Oranger, Fleur de Patchouli, Tubereuse Noir, Vetiver Pamplemousse, and Waterlily Tea Dress but, aside from some seasonal limited editions, the ninth fragrance wouldn't arrive until 2021. Jo’s Rhubarb is the first to contain her name, and takes this teatime treat in a whole new direction. Leave all thoughts of boiled sweets and syrupy puddings, this rhubarb has a bite and a tenacity that is perfect for the year to come. Jo has never been afraid to combine the unexpected, and this latest fragrance is testament to that conviction.

Jo’s Rhubarb celebrates the central ingredient by focusing on its surroundings. It opens with a beautiful red rhubarb accord but, almost immediately, a wonderfully earthy vetiver adds that evocative homegrown scent. In the background there’s a whisper of rose that provides a berry-like quality but a dry cedarwood adds a note of elegance that perfectly straddles the unisex divide. As the fragrance develops, the rhubarb starts to exhibit its tart green quality - slightly underripe - and a smoothing musk adds a sun-warmed skin scent that hints at those childhood allotment memories. Whether you’re looking for a pick-me-up after the festive excesses, or just want to add some zest to the New Year, Jo’s Rhubarb is waiting to be discovered.
 
Jo’s Rhubarb is available from the Zara website at zara.com priced at £25.99 for 90ml. [The fragrance premiered in the company's 2019 Beauty Wardrobe Advent Calendar, which is where the bottles pictured are from and which I also purchased.]

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