Into the magical oaks…

The master perfumer Yann Vasnier and Jo Malone London’s perfume production vice president Celine Roux introduce us to the mythical magic of the forest and reveal everything about the two new fragrances of The English Oak series.

By Evi Georgiou

Jo Malone London makes our daily life a little more magical at this time of the year and introduces us to the magic of the forest and the power of the mythical oak with their new collection of fragrances, The English Oak, based on the English oak. English Oak & Redcurrant and English Oak & Hazelnut are undoubtedly two of the most special perfumes we have ever smelled. You feel as if their creator takes you by the hand and drives you on to his own secret path in the forest. As we wanted to learn the story behind the inspiration, we talked to Yann Vasnier and Celine Roux, the duo “responsible” for this rebelious encounter. How did The English Oak story begin? Y.V. Three years ago I sat down with Celine and shared a very special accord with her, which she instantly loved. The idea of the forest and English Oak was something Jo Malone London had wanted to explore, so it was perfect timing. This was the start of English Oak & Hazelnut. C.R. The inspiration started with the English oak tree. A powerful and noble symbol, which lies deep in the heart of the English woodland. A place of mystery and enchantment, where legends take root and imagination takes flight. And nowhere better captures this magic and mystery quite like Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, famous for its tales of wandering knights and outlaws – and Robin Hood, of course! So, this was where we began… Were you always planning to make two fragrances or did it evolve? Y. V. The brief began with one fragrance, but as we experimented we discovered an equally compelling scent combination. The original concept, English Oak & Hazelnut, was spicy and woody with a more angular feel while the second took on a rounder and juicier character. This became English Oak & Redcurrant. In the end we loved both equally, and that’s how The English Oak collection was born. How did you feel about oak as an ingredient? Υ.V. Oak is a beautiful, noble wood. It’s powerful and iconic. In perfumery you often find sandalwood and cedarwood, but oak has something unique. It’s majestic and mysterious. Oak exists as an ingredient, but for this project we created an exclusive variant of the wood; a roasted oak. Our Roasted Oak Absolute has a beautifully rich, smoky feel that adds real depth to a fragrance. And like any rich wood, there’s an addictive quality and sweetness to it due its phenolic nature. I was very excited to work with it and create something unique for Jo Malone London. C.R. Oak has a fairytale-like quality, which perfectly captures the magic of the English forest. Its twisting roots and branches, dating back hundreds of years, are filled with ancient tales and stories.

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