Notes: cardamom, ginger, pink pepper, jasmine, orchid, water lily, rose, leather, sandalwood, Kyara incense, patchouli, and black amber.
Jo Malone was one of the first fragrance houses that I explored in depth back around 2011- 2012 because it’s reasonably accessible and I initially found the scents approachable. Some people swear by Jo Malone. Others dislike the Eau de Cologne formulations and lament the lack of staying power. I truly can see both sides. I’ve explored many other brands and houses by this point, but Jo Malone still has a special place in perfumery for me (even though Jo Malone herself is no longer with the house). Dark Amber & Ginger Lily is part of the Cologne Intense line, and I definitely get more sillage from this than other Jo Malone scents. Dark Amber & Ginger Lily was originally composed by Jo Malone herself, so it holds a special place in my collection.
I sense the opening of Dark Amber & Ginger Lily in color. It’s very green, cut through with dashes of yellow and pink. I also sense water, as in rain drops or dew drops sitting on green leaves and flower petals. I imagine it’s like being in a rainforest. So, what does it actually smell like? I get zingy ginger and fizzy cardamom right away. I also get a floral note, but not heavy. It’s as though the water lily is rendered in watercolor. It’s vivid and yet in the background somehow. The sillage from the opening and through the first hour is great. It’s not too much, but nicely noticeable.
The incense starts to waft in and out as wear time goes on. I know this fragrance is named for amber, but incense is the star for me. The incense is not medicinal here, nor is it dry or cold. It comes across as quite warm to me and has a calming effect. It balances out the watery floral effect from the water lily, but without being too smoky. This is the kind of incense I’d love to burn while doing my at-home yoga practice. Maybe I will simply wear Dark Amber & Ginger Lily while practicing!
There certainly is an amber effect here, but the actual accord comes across like ambergris to me. The base is a slightly sweaty/ambery skin scent. Remember, this is Jo Malone, so it’s not sweaty in an off-putting way. It’s about as refined as you can get for a skin scent, and it’s blended with a dry patchouli. The ginger seems to come back to my nose and spice up the patchouli. There is also a green effect again, which brings the composition full circle. I’ve seen multiple comments on Fragrantica mentioning a coconut note in the dry down. That doesn’t show up on my skin at all, but I’m just putting it out there because it seems to be present for other people. It’s really a beautiful dry down, and extremely elegant.
I have to report that, even though I get quite a nice sillage trail, I don’t get more pronounced longevity from this “Cologne Intense” concentration. I get between 5- 6 hours of wear time (5 hours is average for me with Jo Malone). I don’t mind because I tend to wear this scent at night, so I’m not looking for it to last me a full 8 hour work day. That being said, I think you could pull this off as a daytime scent, depending on the weather and the occasion, etc.
I purchased my 50 ml bottle from Nordstrom online. I’m happy to see Jo Malone offering a 50 ml size as the regular line is only available in 30 ml or 100 ml. I personally love the 50 ml bottle. It’s the perfect size for both use and storage.
The list of notes is via fragrantica.
The photo of my bottle was taken by me.