The Kohdo Wood limited edition collection made a brief appearance in 2008 and has been re-introduced again this year. I managed to miss it last time, so I cannot compare the fragrances, but I assume they were not reformulated. The fragrances are homage to Kohdo, "the ancient Japanese art of incense appreciation". Both, therefore, have a resinous undertone, however, lovers of hardcore incensey incense should not expect to get their fix here. Incense is fairly subtle in both perfumes (stronger in Dark Amber) and serves more as a balancing tool.
In the case of Lotus Blossom & Water Lily it balances the fresh wateriness of the floral accord keeping it from becoming too aquatic and too transparent. It gives body to the ethereal composition and infuses it with a hint of darkness. I wrote before that I am in a mood for fresh floral fragrances right now, and LB&WL is exactly what I am in a mood for. The scent is a sip of cold water on a hot day. It is a gauze of pure-white, fragile petals...I could go on. I love it. Jo Malone copy warns about "aquatic nuances", but, even though present, the watery element is not agressive. It is, moreover, a necessary and attractive part of the composition. That wateriness is what evokes an image of lotus and lily, what gives the scent its transluscency and what contrasts so beautifully with the darkness of incense. Sometimes ,the scent is completely dry, cold and "pure" on my skin, sometimes ,the sweetness of freesia, mandarin and lily is more apparent. I love it more when it is coldly innocent.
Dark Amber & Ginger Lily is indeed a dark(er) scent. The black angel to the snow-white one of Lotus Blossom. It is sweeter, more full-bodied, a sensual, languid fragrance. It starts with a hit of pepper and ginger, which simultaneously announces both incense (which, to me, has a very obvious peppery undertone) and lily. The floral accord, which includes rose and jasmine, is ripe and candied and brings out both the balsamic sweetness of amber and the heady honey-like quality of ginger lily. Were there no incense to keep it in check, it could have been too sweet. As it is, every ingredient in the composition makes sense in regards to every other ingredients, everything is in there for a reason; I love it when a scent is so well-blended. I don't want to scare anyone off by repeatedly using the word "sweet". DA&GL is indeed sweet, but it is Jo Malone sweet, as in - still rather transparent. To bring down the sweetness, layering with Lotus Blossom works wonders.
Both are available for a limited time at Jo Malone boutiques, Bergdorf Goodman, etc., $55.00-$100.00. The collection also includes bath oil and candle in both fragrances.