Coming up roses for Valentine’s Day

An ancient symbol of love and beauty, many ‘live’ roses smell delicious and delicate. But that balance can be lost with distilling and bottling. The magic goes and, all too often, rose ‘in a jar’ is more scented drawer liner than essence of romance.

Not so with the Jo Malone London rose family, where my particular favourite is Velvet Rose & Oud.

Velvet Rose & Oud has just enough floral to be feminine and romantic. At its heart are damask roses, and they’re picked and distilled at dawn to be at their finest – a back story that, for me, conjures up images of courtly love and chivalric knights.

The damask roses are grounded with earthy, rich and resinous oud.  It gives the fragrance an intensity and depth that takes it from pure feminine towards femme fatale: sultry and seductive. The top notes of clove don’t stand out on my skin, but there’s plenty of warmth in the scent and I don’t smell in any way ‘mulled’.

The fragrance is at its most sensual in the Velvet Rose & Oud Body Crème (£60 for 175ml) where the super-rich texture adds to the whole heaven-scent experience. The sumptuous fragrance of the cream alone is treat enough for me, but, as the fragrance unfurls, you can extend the bouquet with the Velvet Rose & Oud Cologne (£105 for 100ml) or try combining a base layer of the Velvet Rose & Oud Body Crème with the lighter and more zingy Red Roses Cologne (£86 for 100ml or £43 for 30ml) – whatever tickles your olfactory fancy.

Available from the Jo Malone London store in Windsor, the Jo Malone London concession in John Lewis High Wycombe, or from

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