March 4, 2018
Frederic LeightonThe Return of Perspephone 1891
Once upon a time, on a bright spring day, Persephone, the Daughter of Zeus and Demeter (Goddess of Grains and Harvests), was playing with her friends in a field of flowers. Persephone's uncle Hades, King of the Underworld, just happened to be in that same meadow, walking his monstrous three headed dog Cerberus. When Hades spied Persephone he immediately fell in love, abducted and married the girl. Demeter, discovering that her daughter was missing, vented her rage and sorrow by destroying the world's crops with fires and droughts. In order to appease his wife, Zeus, who had been privy to the abduction from the beginning, sent the messenger Hermes to the underworld to make a deal with brother Hades. It was arranged that Persephone would be allowed to spend two thirds of the year with her mother, (the Goddess of all growing things, grains and the harvest), but would have to live the remaining months with her husband. Accepting this compromise, Demeter agreed to restore the earth and let the seeds and grains sprout once more, but only while her daughter was with her. To this day, when Persephone reigns as Queen of the Underworld (the time we know as winter), crops will not grow and flowers will not bloom. Fortunately, every year Persephone, the Greek Goddess of Springtime returns to live with her mother. I can imagine Persephone wearing Jo Malone Poppy and Barley.
Poppy Time by Walter Crane, 1893
"The English fields were trim and neat.
And everywhere, and everywhere,
Were poppies in the wheat…" – Louise Townsend Nicholl from “Sands MacCree
Arthur Hughes, The Long Engagement, 1854-59
Jo Malone Poppy & Barley is one of the five limited edition fragrances from the English Fields Collection. It opens with a bouquet of wood violets, much loved of ancient Athenians and a favorite flower of English poets and painters.
"We are violets …Love’s dropp’d eyelids
And a kiss, – Such our breath and blueness is." – Leigh Hunt from "Songs of the Flowers" (1836)
The Message – Thomas Cooper Gotch
From the start of Jo Malone Poppy and Barley, the violet's sweet, cool, blue and flirty ionones play hide and seek with a brilliant poppy accord created by perfumer Mathilde Bijaoui of MANE. As most gardeners know, poppies (have very little, if any scent. In order to convey the bright red colors of poppy, the flower of sleep, remembrance and resurrection, the perfumer uses facets of deep red rose, spicy carnation and green leaves. This initial floral bouquet is zipped up and colored with the minty, fruity, tangy character of blackcurrant. Throughout the life of Jo Malone Poppy & Barley the floral bouquet never fades, but at about ten minutes the flowers are enfolded and wrapped in evolving layers of green barley stalks, grains and the yeasty warmth of barley malt and bran. A nostalgic impression of the English countryside, of fields of waving green and golden grain dotted with flaming red poppies, creates a romantic aura on skin and clothing that lasts for six hours and more.
Jo Malone Poppy and Barley photo by Gail
"On either side the rivers lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
To many-tower'd Camelot…" – Alfred, Lord Tennyson from "The Lady of Shalott" (1833)
To the very end the scents of flowers and barley dance and play until, at last, my dreams of Greek myths and English legends and landscapes disperse and disappear on a breeze of powdery musk. Notes: Blackcurrant, Poppy Accord, violet flowers, barley, barley malt, bran and white musk.
Disclaimer: I would like to thank Jo Malone London for the beautiful bottle of Jo Malone Poppy & Barley. My opinions are my own.
Gail Gross – Senior Editor
Art Direction – Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief: I used art from British Pre-Raphaelite painters, just as Gail wove in quotes from British poets