Distinctly British fragrance house Jo Malone London has no trouble finding inspiration in the environs of its homeland (from Wood Sage & Sea Salt’s nod to the rugged coastline to Blackberry & Bay’s remembrance of traditional English gardens), but for its latest trick, the brand is peering into the country’s past. The brand’s Rock of Ages quintet of scents summons major historical periods to fragrant life like an olfactive Way Back Machine—plus one modern-day reference for good measure. To help illustrate the five past and present periods, we’ve chosen our favorite cinematic beauty moments that perfectly embody each era.
Tudor Rose & Amber (1485-1603): Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth
With her flowing Titian locks and porcelain skin (whitened still in real life by a toxic combo of white lead and vinegar), Blanchett’s Virgin Queen looked the part of the English Rose, which just happens to be a key note in the Tudor Era-evoking scent. Amber, clove, and ginger add the right amount of richness to the time period illustrated in the movie with opulent gowns, elaborate hairdos, and meticulous beauty routines.
Lily of the Valley & Ivy (1714-1830): Keira Knightley in The Duchess
Representative of the decadence of the time, the debs of the Georgian period adored a gravity-defying ’do, and the Duchess of Devonshire was no exception. Knightley’s vertiginous powdered wigs, often with decorative baubles perched on top, nearly rivaled the volume of her character’s gowns. Like the captivating and headstrong noblewoman and the decadent age, this blend of green ivy, lily of the valley, and cassis is enchantingly unique.
Pomegranate Noir (1837-1901): Winona Ryder in Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Victorian times might have been prosperous and peaceful, but Ryder’s Mina was neither. But when she’s not pining for her waylaid fiancé or fending off the advances of the undead, she hangs out with her bestie Lucy, pulls off a bustle with pizzazz, and balances fascinators on her head. The opulence of this epoch is reflected in this fragrance’s juicy pomegranate, pink pepper, and Casablanca lily.
Geranium & Verbena (1901-1919): Helena Bonham Carter in A Room With a View
Bonham Carter’s Lucy keeps her bodacious curls pinned back in public, as a sort of metaphor for her life in Edwardian England. A brief moment of la dolce vita while on holiday in Florence gives her a glimpse of the freedom that awaits her outside of the chaste homeland. (Kissing a man who’s not your beau—like whoa!) But this scent’s crisp, clean blend of verbena, basil, and vetiver suggests the buttoned-up virtue of the early 1900s.
Birch & Black Pepper (2015): Cara Delevingne in Kids in Love
We haven’t seen the latest Cara D. vehicle, but the premise—a bunch of beautiful, rich kids running amok on the London party scene—sounds like loads of fun. Is she perhaps playing a version of herself? Unclear. But this fragrance, an unexpected take on modern-day life in the city, is as coolly crazy as the goings-on at one of those unbridled events.