If it didn’t work the first time…

I read that this perfume was about to be released. I’m a little surprised to see it on the counter already, but since it’s there, of course I want to try it. I do not expect much but, against all odds, I still have a faint hope that it will be good…

“It’s a great new perfume featuring … “<here goes a list of notes> – announces an SA materializing at my side, –“It’s not available yet, you know. It’ll release next month. But I can pre-order it for you…”

I’ve heard a variation of this line a dozen of times. And every time I feel baffled: why?!! Why would I possibly want to pre-order the scent that I just smelled for the first time? It’s not something exclusive or limited. They do not offer any type of deal or a discount. So why to pre-order now if in a couple of weeks it’ll be in all the stores for me to buy on the spot or to spray in abundance and think until the next holidays if I want it?

My standard reply usually is: “I’ll think about it, but meanwhile could I get a sample of this great new perfume?” Not a single time I left without it.

Jo Malone Basil & Neroli is a typical Jo Malone perfume: it’s not unpleasant, not complicated, and becomes a skin scent within a couple of hours, leaving you free to choose whatever you want to wear next. I think it’s rather appealing for the opening five minutes: it’s juicy, moderately sweet and very uplifting. But then it gets just flat on my skin.

While Basil & Neroli still might be considered a unisex perfume, at least initially it is more feminine then Jo Malone’s staple and “a modern classic” (even if they say so themselves) Lime Basil & Mandarin, which is strange, if you think about it: shouldn’t the fruit (mandarin) be sweater than blossom oil? But 30-40 minutes into the development I’m not sure I can really tell them apart unless I smell them side by side.

Speaking of Lime Basil & Mandarin, being a Jo Malone fan, for years I tried that perfume again and again hoping I’d change my mind but kept on strongly disliking it – until I got Lime Basil & Mandarin soap as a part of a GWP. I simply love it! The combination that felt too masculine as perfume is just perfect for daily washing rituals. A couple of months ago I got anxious that there would be soon just a sliver left from my current then bar of LB&M – and hurried up to buy a replacement bar. Today I’m still using that first bar, and from the way it looks, there is another month or two in it. So if you were to wait for one of the brand site’s good deals, which happen from time to time (like 3 samples or, even better, a 9 ml travel bottle with any purchase), with free S&H that soap might be the best $20 spent.

Rusty and Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin Soap

As for Basil & Neroli, I can’t think of a reason to even try it – unless you’re looking for a citrus piece for your perfume wardrobe, or find yourself in a store or an airport’s Duty Free with absolutely nothing else interesting to test.


Image: my own

WTD, Episode 3.3: Nectarine Blossom & Honey, Lime Basil & Mandarin and Pomegranate Noir by Jo Malone

Nectarine Blossom & Honey by Jo Malone – created in 2005, notes include nectarine, peach, plum, blackcurrant, vetiver and acacia honey.

Jo MaloneThis perfumes plays tricks on me: there is at least three people on whom I like this perfume very much – I smell, recognize and enjoy it whenever one of them wears it, alone or in combination with other scents (it layers nicely with Vanilla & Anise or with Grapefruit). It smells so good on my co-worker, but on me… I tried it on multiple occasions hoping it would smell different. But time after time it’s too fruity, too sweet, too… I can’t stand it. And still, on others it smells great. So I encourage everybody to try it on your skin before making a final decision.

Lime Basil & Mandarin by Jo Malone – created in 1999, notes include lime, mandarin orange, bergamot, basil, caraway, lilac, iris, patchouli and vetiver. This is one of my least favorite colognes in the line. I do not think of it as of poorly done or unbalanced perfume. It’s very clean, citrus-y and inoffensive. But it’s too… masculine(?) for my taste. Not in the meaning of being strong, manly or assertive but rather of non-feminine, simple and perfume-shy character. A woman could easily wear it I just don’t see why she would want to do so. It’s said to be a good layering element so if you happen to get it somehow give it a try (Jo Malone’s site suggests, for example, to combine it with the cologne I’ll describe next) but I’m done with it and the remaining portion of a sample will probably just die in my collection.

Pomegranate Noir by Jo Malone – created in 2005, notes include raspberry, plum, pink pepper, pomegranate, patchouli, frankincense and spicy woods. This was my first full bottle I bought from the brand. I like both the idea of a pomegranate in a perfume and this cologne’s scent. Unfortunately, these two aren’t connected in this creation. During the season usually I eat a half of a pomegranate a day so I think I’m very familiar with this fruit’s smell. I do not find it in the perfume at all. For me it smells like a combination of dried fruit and patchouli with woody undertones. I like it but I do not think it lives up to the name, to any of its two parts – neither it has a proper fruit, nor it’s really dark. It’s not as light and airy as many others Malone’s scents, but it’s still very sheer. It wears nicely in a colder weather. I have less than one fifth of the perfume left in my bottle. Will I go for the next one once it’s gone? I do not know.

Read real reviews at NST for Nectarine Blossom & Honey and Pomegranate Noir, at Perfume Smellin’ Things for Nectarine Blossom & Honey.

Image: my own

See all episodes:
Weeklong Test Drives, Season 3: Jo Malone
WTD, Episode 3.1: Kohdo Wood Collection by Jo Malone
WTD, Episode 3.2: Tea Fragrance Blends by Jo Malone
WTD, Episode 3.4: In the Search for the Perfect Linden
WTD, Episode 3.5: Orange Blossom by Jo Malone