I shared on IG Stories on the weekend, about how I mistakenly sprayed Jo Malone Red Roses on myself in the dark, and immediately regretted it. To their credit, the Jo Malone Red Roses scent is a straight rose that can be flattering, and is loved by many.
But not by me. I immediately felt choked, and had to do something to salvage the situation. So I reached for my absolute favourite Jo Malone scent – 154. It didn’t quite seal the deal, but distracted me enough.
I have mentioned the Jo Malone 154 Cologne a few times here and there. But I received quite a few inquiries about it on Instagram, because it’s not talked about very much.
I also realised that I’d never shared my absolute favourite Jo Malone scent with you, so naturally, I had to rectify that :D
Jo Malone 154 Cologne – One for the boys
How I discovered Jo Malone 154 was by a happy mistake.
I’d walked into a Jo Malone store in the early days when there was but just one store in the country, and I was at a bit of a loss. There were so many scents to choose from, and I had no idea where to start.
What the assistants will usually do, is ask you the sort of scent you favour, and then try to introduce you to some of their bestselling scents.
But you see, the problem is this very common perception that because I’m a woman, I must therefore enjoy floral, fruity, or gourmand scents. I must enjoy smelling like a flower, or a fruit, or a sickly sweet dessert.
They’d never met me :P
After a while, I stopped them, and basically said, “Look, get me something different. Kill the flowers and fruit and sweet scents, and get me something spicy, something warm and woody. I like a clean scent like Amber & Lavender – get me something like that!”
I was shown 154.
One sniff, and I knew this was it. This would be my definitive cologne from Jo Malone, and it was and has been ever since! :D
But really, you will only be introduced this, if you want to smell like one of the boys, because 154 Cologne is what is commonly referred to as a “masculine perfume”. Most people look askance at me, when I mention what it smells like.
RELATED READING: I’d realized that my perfume preferences have changed over time. But 154 remains a firm favourite READ HERE
Jo Malone 154 Cologne – Fresh, Spicy and refreshing
I read up a little about why it’s this scent was given a number, as opposed to a name, and it turns out that 154 was the street number of the first Jo Malone boutique in London.
What an absolutely lovely way to commemorate the address!
I loved that Jo Malone (for it was she who created this scent, back when she owned the brand) picked this fresh, spicy scent to mark her achievement, for it is suited to a building and location. It isn’t sweet and floral, the way many crowd-pleasing Jo Malone fragrances are.
It isn’t light and ephemeral. It has body, it has substance, and it has character. Unlike most Jo Malone scents, this one is more complicated, more complex. It is something that I spritz on, and immediately feel both empowered and comforted.
The notes are listed as mandarin, grapefruit, lavender, basil, nutmeg and vetiver. Ah vetiver! It is no wonder I fell head over heels for 154. I love the scent of vetiver – a green, earthy, woody scent. I recently picked up Atelier Cologne Vetiver Fatal, for this reason – Vetiver! :D
Vetiver is however, mostly found in perfumes tailored for men. It is also for this reason that I now find myself preferring the more niche perfume brands, who make no disctinction between their scents for men and women. For someone like me, who prefers the stronger, woody, spicy notes of perfume, it is easier to pick something I love without being drowned in suffocating musk that is found in most men’s fragrances.
I personally do not get the fresh notes of mandarin and grapefruit in 154 Cologne. But they do add that initial burst of freshness. It then settles down, for me, to a spicy note, with the warm spice of nutmeg coming through, and the green hint of vetiver bringing up the rear.
For me, it is refreshing, and cuts through all the cloying sweetness of most perfumes. It is the scent that scythes right through the heady flower garden, and grounds you, keeping your feet firmly planted on the cool earth.
I’d also read that 154 was created by blending Jo Malone’s favourite scents in one bottle. Ah, she is a woman after my own nose then! :D I wish we had access to Jo Loves, her new range of perfumes that she started after her company was bought over. I’d love to smell her new creations!
Because of the stronger notes found in the middle and base notes of 154 Cologne, it is also a scent that lasts longer than most Jo Malone colognes. But it really isn’t for everyone, and I imagine that those who use it, will likely use 154 as a base scent, before layering something lighter or more floral or sweet, over it.
I on the other hand, wear 154 Cologne on its own. Why cover up the lovely blend of scents, that melds so beautifully together to create such a beautiful, fresh scent?
I also like using 154 Cologne to ground sweeter, more floral Jo Malone scents, like Honeysuckle & Davana, or to bring out the more woody notes of a scent like English Oak & Red Currant. I sometimes blend it with my other favourite, Lime Basil & Mandarin, for a very fresh scent. And that’s the other one I should tell you about! ;)
When I wear the Jo Malone 154 Cologne, I feel fresh and refreshed. As the top notes soften to the more mellow middle and base notes, and the spiciness starts to tickle the nose, I feel warm and comforted.
While warmth is not something you really want to feel in our tropical weather, it is more than just the feeling of sun-warmth on the skin. It is about being cocooned by the familiar. It is like being in a hug of someone you love, with the sparkle of joyful laughter alongside.
154 is all of this for me. Because it is unusual to smell this on a woman, it attracts attention. It empowers me, when I feel like I need some internal backup.
I wear 154 with my pearls, and a pretty dress, and a whacking huge men’s watch on my wrist :D I wear 154 when I want to smell clean, fresh and I want my scent to last for hours.
Every time I step into the Jo Malone store, and say that 154 is my favourite scent, the eyebrows go up, the head cocks to one side, and a knowing but rather confused light reaches the eyes of the store assistants. It isn’t a scent that is commonly picked out, and it throws them for a loop.
And that kind of sums me up in a nutshell.
A little contrarian. A little unusual. A little different. But warm and lovely, at the heart of it all – if I might say so about myself LOL! :D
Have you smelled my favourite Jo Malone 154 Cologne?
Most people find it too strong, or too masculine for their tastes. That’s fine by me. But if Jo Malone London stops making this, I swear, I’d boycott the brand :P