Monday 1 November 2021

No.1 by Jones & Modha

I don’t know whether you would call it a trend anymore, because it feels like it’s now part of our everyday lives, but the drive for natural products shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. With a greater interest in what goes into our fragrances, creams and potions, a whole new group of companies have appeared with the promise that they can offer what customers are demanding. Balancing natural credentials with legal formulation requirements can often be difficult though, but one company that have achieved it with their debut fragrance is Jones & Modha. Let me introduce you to no.1 and their promise of “natural plant alchemy”.

Natural fragrances, and natural fragrance brands, come about for a variety of reasons. Historically they have been aggressively upholding the misconception that natural ingredients are better than synthetics when it comes to safety, and that they have a lower environmental impact. Now, safety is safety and, whether it’s natural or synthetic, there are strict rules in place that govern every ingredient that goes into your fragrance. When we talk about environmental impact, the act of extracting an oil from a plant uses energy and, in order to get it to the manufacturers, adds to a carbon footprint. So, it’s not often as clear as it may seem.

When Catrin MacDonnell and Hemali Modha started to think about creating a fragrance, and setting up Jones & Modha, it came from a very simple desire. They wanted to create a perfume that had minimal impact and, in their own words, had “sustainability and the environment in mind”. It’s this idea of a company doing their best to “minimise” impact rather than “maximise” scaremongering that is something the company should be proud of, and is also why they deserve to be discovered. Gently challenging people’s opinions, but also ultimately respecting their choices, is something that is usually lacking in the natural market.

To create their natural fragrance they knew that they needed to enlisted the help of a natural perfumer because they couldn’t do it alone, and they also wanted it to be legal. Many small natural brands still believe that all natural ingredients are safe, and so for Jones & Modha to take the cautious approach right at the beginning of their journey is wonderful to see. Natural fragrances often run the risk of being very heavy, because of the denseness of the ingredients being used, but Catrin and Hemali have released a scent that can be worn by all genders at all times, but is particularly perfect for autumn and winter.

The fragrance opens with an incredible citrus burst that offers an invigorating rather than a mouth-watering effect. The blend of bergamot and grapefruit add the zesty quality that you’d expect, but the clever use of the green-tinged lemon myrtle and a bittersweet petitgrain provide an exciting edginess. The heart of the scent reveals a fascinatingly aromatic floral duality with rose and the honey-touched linden flower bouncing perfectly off a ginger and coriander pairing, but the addition of geranium adds a wonderfully androgynous quality. The final development of no.1 sees elegant cedarwood and a peppery resinous labdanum come into play but, unlike many other natural fragrances, they are used with both a delicate and expert hand.

no.1 is available from the Jones & Modha website at priced at £69 for 50ml and £4.95 for 2ml. [Sample provided by Jones & Modha]

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