Finding a house with a very definite character in its perfumes is a great pleasure for me. Immediately recognizable, the “house texture”, is for instance very strong in all Ormonde Jayne perfumes, from the resinous Tolu to the floral Frangipani. Well, Jo Malone and Pomegranate Noir have nothing to do with the previous statement! This is the perfect example of “the odd one out”.
I met Pomegranate Noir in my early days in Perfumeland. I was on a business trip to London and I was wandering in Harrod’s when I saw the Jo Malone table with all identical bottles standing next to each other. The name caught my eye ( I fall easily for all things Noir) so I sprayed it on me. And it was love at first whiff. Pomegranate Noir is one of these fragrances that smell very differently and I will always remember the first time I smelled it.
I was lucky enough to be included in a recurrent blogging event taking place in La Gardenia nell’ Ochiello where Ermano, the host, sends 3 blind samples to fellow perfume lovers and asks them to draw a chinese portrait of the perfume. The first vial for this years Blind Sniff Roulette was labelled “1” but it took me a split second to recognize Pomegranate Noir. However there is no greater pleasure than to get reacquainted with a an old love in the dark. All preconceptions forged by years of loving cohabitation are caught off-guard. No time for the mind to focus on what it is accustomed to love. Notes that have been forgotten or deliberately ignored stand in the lime light. I assure you there is no better way to appreciate a perfume you already love than to blind sniff it and the best way to do this is by letting friends and loved ones raid your perfume bottles. Let them wear what they want and then try to recognize what it is. You will be amazed by how different your perfumes smell this way and it isn’t only skin chemistry, it’s also mind associations that work differently this way.
What is truly remarkable about Pomegranate Noir is that it is the right perfume in the wrong line. Jo Malone colognes are light, simple, bright, even thin maybe. Definitely not ground-breaking. Pleasant but not remarkable. They are made explicitly to encourage layering with each other so they have to be simple. Longevity and sillage are not their strong suit. Pomegranate Noir is a masterpiece. Unique and memorable in every way. Adult, brash, moody, dark, mysterious but at the same time familiar, comforting and introverted. People who frequent the Jo Malone displays are probably shocked by this one and potential lovers will never go near the Jo Malone stands. If you read the official note listing you would think that this is another “everything but the kitchen sink” fragrance but nothing can prepare you for the unbelievable balance and depth of this composition. It was one of the last perfumes of the Jo Malone line composed by Jo Malone herself before the company was sold and this gives me great hope for her new creations under Jo Loves which I have not sampled yet. You can read my take on this and my chinese portrait if you click on the link to La Gardenia nell’ Ochiello. All I want to say here is “close your eyes and smell”! Everything smells better when labels are out of the way. Both literally and mentally.
Notes from fragrantica.com: raspberry, pomegranate, plum, rhubarb, watermelon, lily-of-the-valley, jasmine, rose, pink pepper, clove, olibanum, opoponax, guaiac wood, virginia cedar, patchouli, musk and amber.
Notes from my nose: camphor, clove, pomegranate, patchouli, incense, cedar