Perfumed Letters

Reading the scent trail of fragrance and words

WYSIWYG: Amber and Lavender by Jo Malone

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Like several of Jo Malone’s blends, Amber and Lavender is  a fragrant “wiziwig.” That’s a sound-it-out spelling for WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get), a user interface term with etymological roots in Flip Wilson’s “Geraldine” act, and a 1972 hit song by the Dramatics.

In this  no-nonsense mix, for the first twenty minutes or so, light, creamy amber peacefully coexists with herbal lavender. Within an hour the amber fades, lasting close to the skin, while lavender takes the lead. The two notes nearly regain equilibrium in a quiet, long-lasting dry drown.

I find straightforward, brisk lavender scents difficult to wear, even once they fade, perhaps because lavender is my aroma of choice for dish soaps, ironing water, and such. Unlike Jo Malone’s luscious Dark Amber and Ginger Lily, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts (to borrow a phrase Luca Turin often uses when discussing fragrant complexity), the scent of Amber and Lavender never overreaches its name. I like it best about 8 hours in when I have to seek it out on my skin.

Lavender lovers should try this fine example of disambiguation in fragrance. As for me, while I appreciate the simplicity of WYSIWYGs when building web pages, I would rather navigate multiple layers of complexity in high-end bottles.


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