The latest fragrance release from Jo Malone is Peony & Blush Suede, a fruity floral developed by perfumer Christine Nagel. Its official description reads: "Peonies in voluptuous bloom, exquisitely fragile. Flirtatious with the juicy bite of red apple and the opulence of jasmine, rose and gillyflower. Mingling with the sensuality of soft, blush suede. Luxurious and seductive."
Peony & Blush Suede does open with apple, but it's a pleasantly cider-y apple, not anything like the Jolly Rancher green apple note that shows up in so many mass-market perfumes. The rest of the fragrance is a soft floral with musky underpinnings. The peony is honeyed and a touch dusky, not the lemony-bright flower that some other peony fragrances have tried to evoke. There might be a touch of pink pepper in the fragrance's heart, as well, because something is a bit nose-tickling. The "suede" is not actually leathery; it's a slightly powdery musk that merges with the rose and peony to deepen and extend the fragrance.
Peony & Blush Suede might not win over anyone who was really looking forward to a fruity fragrance, or who likes her florals to be very airy and clean, but it will probably appeal to wearers of feminine florals who have just browsed the Chloé and Balenciaga counters and not found anything quite to their liking. (Weirdly, something about it also reminds me that Jo Malone is an Estée Lauder company — perhaps I'm being reminded of Pleasures, which also features a peony note?)
Overall, Jo Malone's recent launches have made a favorable impression on me. Wild Bluebell left me cold, but I enjoyed Blackberry & Bay and I thought the London Blooms trio was very pretty and right on-target for the Jo Malone brand. Peony & Blush Suede gets another nod from me: it's well-made and it does exactly what it promises, and it carries on the Jo Malone tradition of infusing English-garden themes with a contemporary sensibility.
Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede is available in 30 ($60) and 100 ml ($115) Cologne and in matching bath, body and home fragrance products. For purchasing information, see the listing for Jo Malone under Perfume Houses.