Jo Malone’s Wood Sage & Sea Salt

jo malone wood sage sea salt 2Notes: ambrette seed, sea salt, sage, seaweed, and grapefruit.

I’ve been excited to try this newest Jo Malone release ever since it was first announced back in the spring, although I remember thinking at the time that it seemed odd to release a salty, beachy scent at the end of summer. Now that I’ve actually sampled the fragrance, I see that autumn is the right time of year for this. It adds a touch of brightness to the crisp, cool mornings, yet is still refreshing enough for warm September afternoons.

For me, Wood Sage & Sea Salt opens with a splash of grapefruit and a spicy sensation that’s much more like black pepper than like salt. It’s refreshing and bracing, but not overwhelming. I wouldn’t describe this as a fruity scent though. The grapefruit fades rather quickly, and the peppery opening quiets down.

In its place, a briny scent that must be from the seaweed comes to the fore. This is where the saltiness begins to come through. There’s a marine aspect here mixed with a green flavor. The ambrette acts as a musk-like base, and through all of this, salt begin to appear as though in waves (I assume this process is helped by skin chemistry and natural everyday sweat too).

Wood Sage & Sea Salt is refreshing on the whole, and exactly like a sea breeze. I confess I don’t get much sage or anything woodsy here (I find the base more generally warm and musky). Still, this is a well-blended and nicely detailed composition. There’s a bit of an edge to keep this fragrance from personifying a purely sunny beach, with the bite from the salt echoing the tangy grapefruit opening. It puts me in mind of the beaches I’ve visited in Scotland where the wind is bitter and unrelenting, even in July. But, if you’re in the right mood for it, it’s absolutely invigorating, just like the best autumn weather.

Wood Sage & Sea Salt is reportedly perfumer Christine Nagel’s last fragrance for Jo Malone. Despite the lack of floral notes, this scent fits right in with the brand’s current profile, but we will see where Jo Malone goes from here.

Wood Sage & Sea Salt is available from Jo Malone, Nordstrom, and from Saks. The Perfumed Court carries Jo Malone samples, although I don’t currently see Wood Sage & Sea Salt on offer, perhaps they are sold out. I got my sample (and eventually a 30 ml bottle) from my local Jo Malone counter.

Both the image and info on perfume notes are from Fragrantica.

6 thoughts on “Jo Malone’s Wood Sage & Sea Salt

  1. So, I’ve been seeing this fragrance all over the blogosphere lately and I have to admit, like many Jo Malone fragrances, I’d love to try it. This one is of particular interest since I usually do well with fall fragrances. I might have to track this one down.

    1. I really hope you can track it down! There’s no harm in trying a fragrance, even if it doesn’t work for you, at least you know. But I could definitely see the vibe of this one suiting you well.

  2. Being a loyal fan of Jo Malone’s perfumes I keep getting excited about each new release though less and less often perfumes themselves leave up to that excitement.
    I hurried to try Wood Sage & Sea Salt as soon as my local Nordstrom got a tester bottle (a week or so before they got it for selling). Since it was so new the SA guarded it with his life and making a sample was out of question (he even tried to talk me into a pre-sale but I reasoned with him explaining that it will be a perfume in the regular line-up, not even a limited edition, so it made absolutely no sense to hurry with the purchase before the proper testing), I sprayed it bravely on my wrist without even trying it first on paper: after all, it’s Jo Malone – how bad can it be? It wasn’t bad. Actually, it was rather nice… for the next hour while I still could smell it on my skin. And I plan to go back and test it more. But less then two hours is a very poor result even for Jo Malone cologne (though their limited edition “blossoms” – cherry, plum and whatever else they made – bit that record by disappearing within 20 minutes).
    But if it stays on you for longer (or you do not mind bringing that cute bottle and re-applying throughout the day), I’m happy for the new addition to your perfume wardrobe.

    1. Oh no, I know Jo Malones are cologne concentrations, but less than two hours is not a good wear time! 🙁 I’m sorry that you were disappointed. I can get 4-5 hours of wear from Wood Sage & Sea Salt, but I apply a few spritzes of it, and I’ve had some days where I’ve resorted to reapplying during the afternoon.

      Also, that SA sounds just a little bit overprotective, yikes! Did he really expect you (and presumably everyone else that week) to blindly pre-order it? That’s a little much.

      1. I will give it another try since, as I said, I liked the scent.
        As to that SAs behavior, it’s not the first time I observe something like that and it baffles me every time: why would I want to pre-order something that will be in the regular distribution?! What is the hurry? I can’t come in once it’s available, try it again and then decide? I wonder if there are actually people who would do such strange “delayed” impulse purchase?

        1. Ha, you’re right, pre-ordering a regular distribution item is like impulse buying, only without the instant gratification part. And where’s the fun or satisfaction without the instant gratification? Very odd that any SA would expect a customer to go in for that.

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