Taking Scent to the Next Level

Jo Malone London // CityCenterDC

There are numerous studies supporting the connection of scent and memories. For me, when I smell juniper, it takes me back to middle school when I used to wear a juniper-scented lotion every day. Certain perfumes take me back to my college days. Other scents evoke memories of the holidays or certain family members.

When I was in college I was a fragrance buyer at my University’s bookstore, so I got to smell, test, and buy fragrances more than the average person. I have always been interested in beauty, specifically perfume and cologne, and I wear fragrance every day. So much so that my friends in college wouldn’t wear the same fragrances I did because they felt they were “my scents.”

Fast forward a decade and I’m still just as obsessed with fragrance as I was back then. I burn candles every day, and wear fragrance as much as possible. I love it when someone walks by me on the street and I smell their scent that day. It always makes me curious about their personality and why they chose that scent. On occasion I will even chase people down and ask them what they are wearing.

My own scent preferences lean heavily toward the masculine side — musky, amber, woody — but I’m always open to trying new scents. So when Jo Malone London invited me into their new store in City Center for a hand and arm massage and to learn about their fragrance combining philosophy, I was really excited.

Jo Malone London // CityCenterDC


Jo Malone London // CityCenterDC

Jo Malone London // City Center Washington DC

I love brands who truly know who they are. They don’t try to be everything to everyone. They know their story, their product, and they are obsessed with it. To me, Jo Malone London is one of those brands. The elegance of the brand is reflected in every detail — the design of the stores, the gorgeous packaging, even down to ribbon they tie your bag with.

Meg Biram // Jo Malone London in Washington DC

Jo Malone London // City Center Washington DC

Their technique of fragrance combining is such an interesting concept and is integral to the brand. The scents on their own are rather simple, and are meant to be layered on top of each other to create more complex scents if that is what the customer is looking for. You can absolutely wear the scents on their own, or layer two or three together — making the options for scents endless.

There’s no need to feel overwhelmed by options, as the stylist in store will ask you questions and help you pick out a several scents which then she layers together to help you find your perfect combination. Then those scents are layered together during your a complimentary hand and arm massage, which you can easily book by calling the boutique before your visit. With any purchase they will give you a hand and arm massage card that says “With This Gift Comes Another” – which you give to a friend.

The experience is easy, relaxing, and makes you want to add scent into every part of your life!

Jo Malone London // City Center Washington DC

Chandelier at Jo Malone London in Washington DC

Hand & Arm Massage at Jo Malone London

For me, the experience was not only relaxing, but I loved learning about new notes in scents that I like. While I still erred on the side of masculine and loved all of their cologne intense scents (the ones in the black bottles), there were a few scents I loved that surprised me — Wood Sage & Sea Salt, Black Cedarwood & Juniper, and Mimosa & Cardamom. However, once I read the description of each of these scents, I wasn’t surprised that I loved them.

Fragrance Combining at Jo Malone London

In the end, my perfect scent using the Jo Malone London fragrance combining technique was layering Wood Sage & Sea Salt, Mimosa & Cardamom, and Incense & Cedrat together.

Jo Malone London // Scent Information

You know how when you spray a fragrance on in the morning and the scent changes throughout the day? The stylist told me something I didn’t know, she said that the top note is the first impression and it lasts about 20 minutes, the heart note is the true personality of the brand and lasts about 45 minutes, and the base note is the lasting memory that stays with you all day.

Jo Malone London // CityCenterDC

Once you find the scents you love, you can incorporate them into many aspects of your life as Jo Malone London offers more than just fragrances — they have candles, linen sprays, body & hand wash, and more. All of which make great gifts that they will beautifully wrap for you in store (making it really easy for you to give a luxurious gift!).

Jo Malone London // City Center Washington DC

I was already a fan of the brand, but after learning about fragrance combining, having an in-store experience, and learning about the dedication and detail that goes into each decision — I’m a devotee.

Jo Malone London store in Washington DC

Meg Biram at Jo Malone London

Rare Tea fragrances at Jo Malone London


Photos by Laura Metzler

This post was done in collaboration with Jo Malone London. All opinions are my own.