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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Jo Malone Black Vetyver Café: Perfume Review

By Beth

The other day I had a completely delightful experience when my darling “second son” Zach and I went shopping for fragrance! Zach is my son Alex’s closest friend and they are as different as can be, but they share a bond that goes back at least 16 of my sons 21 years. When I say that they are different, I really mean it as they are truly like night and day. Zach is a uber conservative economics student living in Baltimore and attending Johns Hopkins and Alex is a totally liberal environmentalist living in Southern California whose lifelong dream is to go to the Scripps School of Oceanography and work with Paul Watson on a Sea Shepherd mission afterwards having an eco pirate tattoo emblazoned on his forearm . They love each other passionately and argue incessantly about everything .

To site examples, my son’s idea of a shopping excursion is a quick trip to the Gap with a short stop at Next, for some fashionable hemp tennis topsiders while Zach adores Brooks Brothers and has his shirts custom made in Beijing. Alex’s idea of a wonderful vacation is 2 months of Scuba diving in Central America with rarely a shower and only then with Dr. Bronner’s Almond soap. Zach loves a more formal excursion, of course preferring Paris and Prague and only staying in hotels that offer incredible cuisine. Alex is mostly vegetarian whose favorite gourmet meal is Chipotle, whom he will support because everything they use “is free range mother!” He loves my cooking but has no tolerance for long-winded foodie conversation as it takes to much time away from Ultimate Frisbee!

Alex wears Burberry’s London, a fragrance that smells absolutely wonderful on him (a bit like a balsam forest) but as of last week Zach hadn’t found a fragrance that suited his disarmingly metrosexual attitude. Alex and his father left last Thursday to embark on a 4 day journey across 8 states with all of our belongings in a large truck , leaving me with a lot of extra time on my hands. I called Zach to see if he’d like to spend a day engaging in some mindless after holiday sale shopping. Of course he said yes and after a delicious breakfast of Eggs Benedict and some wonderful conversation we found our way to the mall.

Let me tell you, if you really want to have some fun take a favorite 19 year male fragrance shopping! We started at Sephora , sniffing and laughing and he actually took the process very seriously. We tripped through the Chanel’s, the Givenchy’s and the Guerlain’s. We sprayed the Hermes, tried the Aveda’s (way too organic for him!) but sadly nothing tripped his fancy. We went to Nordstroms, dallied through Dillards and eventually ended up at Saks 5th Avenue. I walked over to the Jo Malone counter to get a whiff of my favorite French Lime Blossom, which is what I adore wearing in Cleveland when the temperature dips below 20 degrees and suddenly it happened. Zach was intrigued.

At first I thought that it was the array of gorgeous bottles beckoning with scent sticks but upon further inspection it was the darling blonde sales associate who had caught his eye. She came over to greet us with a sweet smile and inquired as to our reason for being there. I told her that we’d come on a mission, to find Zach a scent that he’d love to wear at school. From then on it was easy. She proffered him with scent strips, stood very close to him and discussed each fragrance with him looking soulfully into his eyes. Nothing was working until she picked up the Black Vetyver Café. With a flourish, she sprayed some on his wrist, gently reached for the aforementioned wrist , and blew lustfully upon it practically fluttering her eyelashes on his skin. Did I mention that Zach really is quite cute. It was absolutely hysterical watching my very sophisticated son practically falling onto his knees with pleasure. “Hmmm, she proclaimed, this is incredible “ and it was. The combination of coffee, black vetiver and temple incense suited him perfectly and blended beautifully with his skin scent leaving a note of burn’t caramel along with the spice. I bought it for him, feeling very pleased that we’d accomplished what I’d thought might be a difficult feat. He loves it and I must admit that it hadn’t been a scent that had done much for me in the past. I guess that I’ll never truly know if it was the cologne that beguiled or the lovely winsome creature that was kissing his wrist, a perfectly hysterical conclusion to an absolutely fabulous day !

Like all Jo Malone fragrances Black Vetyver Café’ can be layered. Mixed with the Wild Fig and Cassis , it is wonderful, but I’ve enjoyed layering it on my husband with a simple Kiehls 1921 musk which smells absolutely decadent on him, but trust me, the little wrist trick helps too:)



Blogger Flora said...

LOL - Beth, what a great story! So nice that your son is open to these things and is not the type to pick up a bottle of Axe instead. Such good taste for a 19-year old too, and I find that the Jo Malones do lend themselves to unisex use - even my favorite of the lot, Vintage Gardenia, cools its wheels with lots of incense to balance the floral.

1:32 AM EST  
Blogger Alyssa said...

Hee, hee! It sounds like the SA was just as pleased as Zach was. And you could do a lot worse than Black Vetyver with a custom made shirt and Brooks Brothers tie!

4:13 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh that hussy at Jo Malone! :-)Thank you for a great story!

9:11 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Black Vetyver Cafe is a favorite of mine, as well. I enjoy layering it with Nutmeg & Ginger and Vintage Gardenia Body Cremes (not all at the same time, of course). Both change the mood of the fragrance in different ways.

9:55 AM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Hah..Flora, my real son Alex picked up a bottle of AXE about 2 years ago and had the most horrible allergic rash response :) I warned him!!!!!! I belly laughed for days, I am the worst mother.
Zach, the son that I did not have to birth really does have great taste although a bit too conservative for my nature. College is changing that a bit though.....

10:21 AM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...


I told him that he should have asked her out but he was too nervous:) The nice thing was that the Black Vetyver really added something a bit indecent to his persona which he really needed!

10:25 AM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...


She was fabulous!!!!!!! I loved watching her in action! If I'd seen that when I still had my business I would have paid her double what she was making and let her loose among my male customers...she would have made a fortune!

10:29 AM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

I never thought about it with the Vintage Gardenia, (another favorite of mine)..Fabulous suggestion which I will immediately try! Thank you for the inspiration!!!!

10:31 AM EST  
Blogger March said...

My husband ran off with this one! And he hasn't done that much (that was the first bottle he swiped.) It doesn't last long on my skin but I love to spray it in the air in the bedroom or bath. I really should try it layered with one of my fig scents.

2:30 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zach is a uber conservative economics student...attending Johns Hopkins...and has his shirts custom made in Beijing - they don't teach proper economy on Johns Hopkins these days ???

3:48 PM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Thank you, I now have a very good justification to swipe my husband's Creed Royal English Leather, Your husband has set the precedent:) !

5:34 PM EST  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Zach is also a raging Gemini...a mass of contradictions which is probably why he can tolerate my son who is absolutely the opposite of him:) He's an only child who's father perished in a horrible explosion in China several years ago , leaving him quite well off but alone except for his mom who's pretty cold.
Consequently he's spent the last part of his life on a bit of a pilgrimage around the world retracing his dad's journey. hence the custom made shirts and the Brooks brother's attire. Fortunately Johns Hopkins is loosening him up a bit;)

5:39 PM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

I love your wicked wicked ways !

A lovely way to spend the day.

Lyrical tale, told by the master.

7:50 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha! No surprises – this is very citrusy. It is quite natural smelling, and thus I enjoy it a lot. There are lovely green and light herbal notes, a hint of pine/mint from the rosemary and another grassy hint from vetiver. These give the scent very good longevity, and the citrus finds a way to linger too. I like this very much! JM scents are designed to layer, and I have no doubt this would add sparkle to many scents. I think it stands well on its own, as well. I am not sure where to buy them. I have only one store near me in philly called Touch of perfume. Looking for some suggestion where I can get best perfume here.

12:46 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beth, thanks for the very entertaining story, you just confirmed one of my theories: amazing things can happen when perfume is involved.

5:36 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HAH! Beth, the fragrance may be great, and most guys like vetiver, but let's face it, what sold him was the deliberate manipulation of the sales associate. 19 year old boy (come on, nobody's a MAN at that age anymore!), cute sales rep., bodily contact, a little eyelash flutter, cha-ching, SOLD!. It's called sales or if you like, Prostitution. If Salma Hayek came up to me and sprayed Pine-Sol on my arm and said it was her new fragrance, I'd (for a moment) be interested, and I'm 46.

1:08 PM EST  
Blogger cpk said...

I have also layered BVC with Wild Fig and it is amazing. I am glas somebody else thinks the same. It feels like a 70's masculine fragrance without the huge sillage

12:18 PM EDT  

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