Sharper and more citrusy than a true pomelo, Jo Loves Pomelo is nonetheless a close olfactory rendition of that round green fruit whose generous girth is ubiquitous during the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) here in Singapore.
Also known as the Mooncake Festival, this day – traditionally celebrated to mark a bountiful harvest – falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, when the moon is at its roundest and biggest. I’m guessing pomelos are a popular fruit during this festival because of their size (they’re the biggest in the citrus family) and rotund shape.
Here are the notes of this fresh scent:
Top: Pink Pomelo, Rose
Heart: Clove, Vetiver
Base: Suede, Patchouli
I don’t have a recollection of how a pink pomelo tastes or smells, so I’m basing my thoughts on this fragrance on my impression of the pomelos I’m familiar with – the ones with pale green-yellow flesh.
The pomelo has always been a mild citrus fruit to me, compared to its zestier cousins like oranges and grapefruit. In my experience, a well-ripened pomelo tends to be sweet (though rarely with intense sugary concentration) and I’m particularly fond of how the big segments break off easily into bite-sized pieces, the closely-packed translucent sacs releasing their juices in my mouth. I love the pleasure of biting into the globules of suspended liquid – barring eating a dry pomelo, they often burst with such juice de vivre! ;)
Unlike the flesh, the membrane that envelops the segments carries a dry bitterness, as does the thick and spongy rind.
Pomelo is clean and crisp; it’s my best friend made up of memories and moments. It’s that feeling of fresh linen sheets or a glass of bubbling fizzy water with a slice of lime and lots of crushed ice. I spray Pomelo onto my skin a couple of times when I go into the office, when I’m out and about and again before lunch or cocktails. Like me, Pomelo has a masculine side to it, it’s confident and sharp.
– Jo Malone
Characteristic of Jo Malone’s concoctions, Pomelo is straightforward yet unique at the same time. It’s undeniably sharp and citrusy but there’s a tempered undercurrent that stops it from being unpleasantly astringent, probably the work of the subtle heart and base notes. These same notes give the scent that wisp of dry bitterness which calls to mind the pomelo rind, an accent that makes the fragrance that much more authentic.
I vaguely recall mentioning that it was a touch too sharp for my liking, when Iris first gave me a sample vial to try. It’s since grown on me, that sharpness – rather than being acutely tart, it is a clean and fresh sour accord; more tangy than acerbic.
This sparkling scent actually reminds me of Jo Malone London Lime Basil & Mandarin* but with a slightly less dry/bitter edge. It’s less complex than the latter and has a more tropical zing. It’s been compared to Jo Malone London Grapefruit too but I’ll have to smell that again to verify this.
I’d read a review that describes it as being the dark side of citrus but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that. It’s rounded off with a woody-musky touch that’s somewhat soft…like a cloud on the cusp of evaporation but not quite there, versus a resinous haze. To me, this scent is clean and crisp for the most part – a bright and concentrated burst of refreshing citrus, joyous and effervescent.
For non-Asians, it might be reminiscent of the exotic Orient, an antithesis to the sometimes-sordid connotation of that particular phrase. For me personally, a whiff now and then reminds me of Thailand – more specifically, Bangkok – because of my scent memory of the city’s mouthwatering array of citrus fruits and also because I’d worn it during a recent trip there.
It actually lasts quite decently for an eau de toilette (I can smell it on myself even after a few hours of wear, indoors and outdoors) and has a fairly strong sillage – it surprisingly lingers for some time in my living room where fresh air often visits by way of my open windows and front door.
The uplifting olfactorial notes are perfect for our tropical climate; they cut through the humidity perfectly. I’ve been using it very often lately, thanks to the muggy weather we’ve been having, and am enjoying it a lot.
As with all of Ms Malone’s products to date, the glass bottle bears her signature aesthetics – it’s clean, sleek and chicly simple; the typeface perfectly complementing the flaçon.
Unlike her beige/black packaging of old, this new brand has a cheery yet sophisticated-looking box, the red hue perfect for the festive season…and any occasion for celebration, really!
This is a press bottle but I’m certain I’ll be replenishing it when I’m done because I love the jus as much as I love that it is an uncommon fragrance to own. I have my eye on Green Orange & Coriander too, so it might just be my next Jo Loves perfume before that happens. ;)
This fragrance retails at £45 (30 ml) and £95 (100 ml) on the Jo Loves website. Shipping to Singapore is £20. Do note that 100 ml bottles cannot be sent overseas due to international shipping regulations.
The postage is somewhat steep, so do take advantage of the brand’s free sampling policy to try before you buy: 2 sample vaporiser vials of your choice + spritzed blotters if you’d like to try more. Just email them with your choices. :)
* In 1999, Jo Malone sold her eponymous brand, Jo Malone London, to Estée Lauder and remained as Creative Director of the company till 2006, when she left to pursue other olfactorial interests that led her to develop Jo Loves in 2011. The fledgling brand set up a memorable pop-up shop at Selfridges in 2011 and will be opening a brick-and-mortar store in October 2013. The Jo Loves boutique is located at 42 Elizabeth Street in Belgravia, West London.