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.