Atelier Cologne Pomelo Paradis—and Notes on Grapefruit Perfumes

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Andy on his favorite grapefruit perfumes (with a review of Atelier Cologne Pomélo Paradis).

When I feel tired, fresh grapefruit able to work magic on lifting a mental fog. And to that end, Atelier Cologne Pomélo Paradis opens up promisingly—for a few moments when I first apply, I’m in a fantasy of my own, inhaling the scent of seaside citrus groves, jasmine, and herbs in the salt air. The grapefruit note is refreshing and vivid, made sweeter by a honeysuckle-like accent. A light touch of minty herbs keeps the citrus cool and clean.

pomelo paradis

However, the wholesome cleanliness of Pomélo Paradis becomes bland as time wears on. For a citrus cologne, the lasting power is fine, but nowhere near as good as that of Orange Sanguine or Cedrat Enivrant, the two other citrus-centric fragrances that Atelier Cologne fans will already know. What’s more, Pomélo Paradis is thin and reminiscent of cheap soap. For all its initial sparkle, the perfume falls flat in a matter of minutes.

If there weren’t already such a great selection of delightful citrus perfumes, would I have found Pomélo Paradis charming? Perhaps. But it’s doubtful I would have found it craveable. In fact, when I consider Pomélo Paradis next to almost all the other grapefruit perfumes I can think of, most of which can be found at a well-stocked department store counter, it seems even less exciting and forgettable.

Starting from the top, my first choice for a perfect grapefruit fragrance is Guerlain Pamplelune. But depending on which way your skin chemistry skews, Pamplelune may either be your gold standard of ruby-red perfection or putrefaction. Either way, it’s an undeniably memorable fragrance. And if you ended up on Pamplelune’s bad side (in other words, it smells like garlic on you) or if you have an especially soft spot for grapefruit scents, try Hermès Eau de Pamplemousse Rose. If you find this grapefruit cologne too tart and acerbic, I’d next recommend the creamy muskiness of Jo Malone Grapefruit, evoking a soft texture akin to the spongy pith that clings to the oily yellow peels (I especially like the scented body cream).

I prefer the aforementioned perfumes to Pomélo Paradis, and furthermore, even find myself more drawn to the interesting citrusy accents found in some less singularly grapefruit-focused fragrances. If you like your grapefruit backed up by some heartier notes, I can’t highly enough recommend Jo Loves Pomelo, which explores the natural affinity between its namesake bittersweet citrus and vetiver. Pomelo is so smoothly blended as to make one question where the grapefruit (or pomelo, if you prefer) ends and the vetiver begins. And while the grapefruit is less pronounced, this pairing is also explored in Terre d’Hermès, which may be worth a test if you find the combination of citrus and vetiver especially captivating.

sur le nil

Or, if the thought of splashing fresh fruit with grapefruit juice sounds more to your liking, don’t forget to consider Hermès Un Jardin Sur La Nil, which marries the dry effervescence of grapefruit to mango. For those who don’t mind a bit more sweetness—and seek proof that interesting fruity-floral perfumes do exist—another personal favorite is Prescriptives Calyx, which starts smilingly with a mouthwatering squirt of grapefruit added to guava and passionfruit.

If there’s anything my recent foray into grapefruit perfumes has revealed though, it’s that, thank goodness, there are plenty of choices to explore if you crave this uniquely bitter citrus note. When a sparkling-clean, effortlessly wearable grapefruit cologne is what you’re after, Pomélo Paradis might be the perfect selection. And if this perfume is your first choice, I could not fault you either—while it doesn’t work for me, any grapefruit fragrance is better than none at all.

Note: While the two fruits are different, and smell somewhat different, I’ve referred to pomelo fragrances above as smelling of grapefruit, mainly because I don’t think I can tell the difference between grapefruit and pomelo as perfume notes. Please see Citrus Perfume Notes guide for more details.

Do you like grapefruit notes in perfume? Whether or not you’re drawn to these fragrances, I’d love to hear what you think, and as always, recommendations are welcome.

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68 Comments

  • Alicia: While n Spain grapefruit is called “toronja”, in many countries in Latin America it is called “pomelo.”
    I love grapefruit fragrances, and this past summer I went through a full bottle of delightful Pamplelune, and a smaller one of Hermes Pamplemousse Rose. Guerlain Pamplelune is also my gold standard among grapefruit fragrances. Andy, thank you very much for this article, which I truly enjoyed. November 5, 2015 at 7:41am Reply

    • Cornelia Blimber: Very good article, Andy. I love detailed and well thought perfume reviews, like this one.
      I don’t like grapefruit focused perfumes, but I appreciate grapefruit as a note, giving some freshness to a perfume, like in:
      In Love Again
      Shaal Nur
      Kelly Caleche. November 5, 2015 at 8:11am Reply

      • Andy: Cornelia, I’ve been meaning to try Shaal Nur, and your mention of a grapefruit accent makes me all the more curious to try it! November 5, 2015 at 11:01am Reply

    • Andy: Glad you enjoyed, Alicia. You must have smelled great all summer, and thank you for the information on these linguistic variations on the word “grapefruit” in various parts of the Spanish-speaking world! November 5, 2015 at 8:57am Reply

  • Kandice: I have to agree with you. I tried this perfume with high hopes but was let down rather quickly. Thanks for the other suggestions. I’ll have to give some of those a try. November 5, 2015 at 8:24am Reply

    • Andy: Yes, between the recommendations in the comments and above, I hope you’ll be able to find the perfect grapefruit perfume for you! November 5, 2015 at 11:04am Reply

  • Patricia: I love grapefruit fragrances, Andy, especially now that I can’t eat it due to medication interactions :(. One of my favorites is Hermes Jour d’Hermes, which combines grapefruit with a floral bouquet. November 5, 2015 at 9:17am Reply

    • Andy: I remember you telling me about the medication interaction, Pat, and I bet it’s made you even more resourceful about finding the best grapefruit fragrances out there. Jour d’Hermes is a great one that I missed–I’m always reminded of white grapefruit when I smell that one! November 5, 2015 at 12:01pm Reply

      • Patricia: And I like all the ones you mentioned with the possible exception of JM Grapefruit, which has too much of the bitter pith to suit me. Thanks for a great grapefruit article! November 5, 2015 at 1:22pm Reply

        • Andy: Glad you liked it! 🙂 November 5, 2015 at 3:51pm Reply

  • MBerry: Am I the only one who has trouble with Orange Sanguine? I LOVE the opening, but there’s something in the drydown that I find iritating, almost itchy to my sinuses. I have a similar reaction with Cedrat. Perhaps a mild allergy? November 5, 2015 at 9:21am Reply

    • Andy: It’s not just you, I can’t wear Orange Sanguine either. The drydown absolutely grates on me! I think Victoria once theorized that it might have to do with the musks they use in the base. November 5, 2015 at 12:04pm Reply

  • Bastet: I too consider Pamplelune the very best of grapefruit perfumes (not that I’ve tried them all), but I also like the grapefruit note in Eau de Cartier Zeste de Soleil. Both got a lot of wear this past summer. November 5, 2015 at 10:00am Reply

    • Andy: Haven’t tried Eau de Cartier Zeste de Soleil, but I love the name! Sounds absolutely perfect for the summertime. November 5, 2015 at 12:06pm Reply

  • Jillie: A very interesting read, Andy (and a great picture), and I am happy to see love for an old faithful of mine, Calyx, which seems to be divisive in the perfume community. I am pleased to report that since being produced under the Clinique name it hasn’t suffered too much from reformulation and I have enjoyed wearing it again.

    I think that the Jo Malone Grapefruit is much under rated and this was amazing in hot weather – fizzy and refreshing but also long lasting, which is a bonus! November 5, 2015 at 10:07am Reply

    • Andy: I’ve never tried Calyx in its original state, but I’m glad to read that you find it true to the original formulation. I don’t tend to like very fruity perfumes, but Calyx is a notable exception. November 5, 2015 at 12:09pm Reply

    • Neva: Hi Jillie, I remember Calyx from the times it was by Prescriptives. Haven’t seen it since then and I wonder if it can be found in Europe…Do you perhaps know? I had a bottle back then and liked it very much, but didn’t know it had a grapefruit note. Anyway I’d love to smell it again. November 5, 2015 at 2:27pm Reply

      • Jillie: Hello Nava! I’m in the UK and my new Calyx was bought here. Where are you? November 6, 2015 at 5:21am Reply

  • Sara: My favorite one is indeed “Le Pamplemousse” by Miller Harris.

    All the best! November 5, 2015 at 10:20am Reply

    • Andy: I think I sniffed Le Pamplemousse briefly at the boutique in London this summer, but I’ve forgotten what it smelled like, so thank you for the recommendation! All the best to you too, Sara. November 5, 2015 at 12:11pm Reply

    • Judith: Mine too! I will try and track down a Jo Loves… Pomelo is my favourite fruit by the way. November 6, 2015 at 6:42pm Reply

  • Scented Salon: This brand has quality offerings. Their Gold Leather is a dupe for the ultra-expensive Clive Christian C for men. Vanille Insensee is a great vanilla smoke perfume and the new Saphir Oud is a totally different take on the oud theme. November 5, 2015 at 12:54pm Reply

    • Andy: It’s funny you mention Gold Leather. It never struck me before, but then, this autumn, I suddenly got a strong craving for a perfume with booze, stewed fruit, and leather, and Gold Leather was just the ticket! November 5, 2015 at 3:43pm Reply

      • Scented Salon: To me, it smells more of red wood. I love it but for some reason don’t reach for it very often either. November 6, 2015 at 9:22am Reply

        • Andy: I can understand why you might not reach for it often. It is a rather “specific” scent, isn’t it? November 6, 2015 at 8:06pm Reply

  • Tati: Thank you for these suggestions. I’m more a neroli citrus girl, but I have enjoyed a bottle of Guerlain Pamplelune this past summer. I’ve just started on the Jo Malone body lotions (mimosa, yum) so I’m excited to try JM Grapefruit lotion. November 5, 2015 at 1:44pm Reply

    • Andy: I too love neroli, especially Atelier’s Grand Neroli, it’s very green and citrusy. Enjoy the Jo Malone body lotions, they’re such a treat! November 5, 2015 at 3:49pm Reply

  • Elisa: Pamplelune really is perfect! My other favorites are L’Eau Mixte and Moschino Funny, which both have a lot of blackcurrant thrown into the mix.

    I agree with your assessment of Pomelo Paradis — pleasant but kind of dull and thin. November 5, 2015 at 3:57pm Reply

    • Andy: Blackcurrant can go either way for me, but both of these sound great! I can just imagine the bitterness of grapefruit and the sour greenness of blackcurrant working well together November 5, 2015 at 4:19pm Reply

  • Austenfan: I love grapefruit in perfume and agree that Pamplelune is a gorgeous rendition. Other grapefruits that I enjoy are Balle de Match by Parfums de Nicolaï (now called Eau des Sports I believe), l’Eau Mixte and Parfum d’Empire’s Yuzu Fou. And I am one of the few people who doesn’t enjoy Orange Sanguine; gorgeous opening, flat drydown. November 5, 2015 at 4:06pm Reply

    • Andy: I have trouble keeping track of the fragrances by Parfums de Nicolai, and didn’t realize that the collection contains these two grapefruit scents! I will have to give a sniff around these. (and nope, Orange Sanguine isn’t for me either) November 5, 2015 at 4:23pm Reply

      • Austenfan: They are worth a try and so is Yuzu Fou. Have you tried any of the other Parfum d’Empire perfumes? November 6, 2015 at 12:48pm Reply

        • Andy: I do love Cuir Ottoman! I wouldn’t expect Parfum d’Empire to make a great citrus, as I think of their general style as characterized by heavier, denser types of fragrances, but I love the idea of a yuzu-inflected perfume. November 6, 2015 at 7:30pm Reply

          • Austenfan: They do however. But it’s not a lightweight thing. (it gets 4 stars in The Guide). Another Grapefruit I forgot about is 1873 from Histoires de Parfums. Similar to Pamplelune, and very good. November 7, 2015 at 3:55am Reply

            • Andy: So many unexpected, fantastic recommendations. Thank you! November 7, 2015 at 11:25am Reply

            • Victoria: I also find 1873 very interesting. It doesn’t have the earthy, sulphuric aspects of Pamplelune, but it’s not a pale, bland thing either. November 8, 2015 at 12:06pm Reply

  • limegreen: I love these perfume note articles, thanks so much, Andy! I’ll have to try some of the ones mentioned in your post and in the comments.
    Pomelo Paradis was disappointing for me, but perhaps because, as you say, some other Ateliers are shinier for me (Cedrat Enivrant) and it paled in comparison to the many citrus fragrances I love. Jo Loves Pomelo really sets the bar high! I remember a review, can’t remember whose, that said JL Pomelo was the hipper younger sister of Jo Malone Grapefruit. 🙂
    I would add Parfums de Nicolai’s Cologne Cedrat as lovely refreshing and relatively long lasting grapefruit. ($40 bargain price for 100 ml, too, less than a 30 ml bottle of almost anything!)
    for a changeup, Jo Malone Assam and Grapefruit is quite nice (I think you did not think it was much of a tea fragrance, but if one thought of it as a grapefruit variation…) November 5, 2015 at 4:20pm Reply

    • Andy: You know, I have relatively few citrus perfumes compared to many, and I think it’s the result of my unintentional tendency to dismiss or neglect to test fragrances like Cologne Cedrat (“just another cologne,” etc.). But considering how much I like Cologne Sologne, it’s probably worth a try!
      And you’re right, I did find Assam & Grapefruit much more citrusy than I expected it to be (I anticipated something much more along the lines of Jo Loves Pomelo’s vetiver tinged rendition) November 5, 2015 at 4:27pm Reply

      • limegreen: Oops — got carried away, Cologne Cedrat is not a grapefruit fragrance! (Had citrus on my brain…)
        As with so many Nicolai fragrances, it flies under the radar. Cologne Cedrat is drier and woodier than Cedrat Enivrant, which has the the smell of lemon zest. November 5, 2015 at 5:43pm Reply

        • Andy: Makes little difference! A dry and woody take on citron/cedrat/lemon sounds great too! November 5, 2015 at 6:38pm Reply

          • Austenfan: And if you would like a Cédrat to last a little longer you might want to try Cédrat Intense. November 6, 2015 at 12:49pm Reply

            • Andy: Ah, yes, I should have known Nicolai would have a Cédrat Intense! November 6, 2015 at 7:31pm Reply

  • Katy: Guerlain Pamplune is my favorite and only grapefruit centric perfume. I find it such a brilliant orchestration of grapefruit and patchouli that I am not interested in anything else. Complete satisfaction. How often does that happen? November 5, 2015 at 7:12pm Reply

    • Andy: You’re so lucky to have found your “one and only” grapefruit perfume in Pamplelune–it’s pretty perfect to me, but I’m too promiscuous where perfume is concerned to commit to that one alone! By the way, I imagine you might like Atelier’s Mistral Patchouli if you like the combination of patchouli and grapefruit–perhaps you’ve tried it? November 5, 2015 at 9:08pm Reply

  • nozknoz: I like grapefruit notes but haven’t found a perfume I really love yet. Interesting that you mention Jo Loves Pomelo, as here were very positive comments about it recently on Now Smell This. I was intrigued but haven’t figured out where to find it in the U.S. yet. November 5, 2015 at 8:56pm Reply

    • Andy: A sample was kindly passed on to me, so I’m not entirely certain how is best to sample Jo Loves perfumes in the U.S. I think the brand’s distribution is still quite limited, but many of the fragrances in this line are quite nice. November 5, 2015 at 9:15pm Reply

  • solanace: Nice article, Andy. I love Eau de Pamplemousse Rose and now I want to try the Jo Loves rendition. Pamplelune unfortunatelly makes me smell like I just arrived from a 36 hours bus trip across the continent. A cheap treat is The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit body botter, which I find delicious. November 6, 2015 at 10:42am Reply

    • solanace: Body butter, of course. Sorry, typos keep eluding me. November 6, 2015 at 10:44am Reply

      • Austenfan: I actually prefer Body Botter. Your typos always kill me. Botter, reminds me of bother, which in turn reminds me of Piglet. ( of Winnie the Pooh fame). November 6, 2015 at 12:51pm Reply

        • solanace: May my incapacity for dealing with portable devices provide abundant material for a soul with sense of humour.

          I keep reading your praise of L´Heure Exquise and it drives me crazy curious, since it´s not easy to come acoss here and I love iris . How do you read it, could you tell me if it´s warmer or cooler, sheer or dense? November 6, 2015 at 3:53pm Reply

          • Austenfan: Are you familiar with No.19? It’s much more informal than the Chanel, and as a result I find it a lot easier to wear.

            It’s athmosphere is wistful and melancholic. It’s definitely warm but not as overtly sensual as, say Songes. I find it neither sheer nor dense, but somewhere in between. If you are ever able to try it, do try the EDP it’s much more rounded than the EDT. November 6, 2015 at 5:40pm Reply

            • Solanace: Thank you, Austenfan. I find No 19 just a bit cold for my taste, so this sounds perfect. Will try the EDP when I have a chance. November 7, 2015 at 2:22am Reply

          • Andy: Austenfan’s description of L’Heure Exquise is perfect, absolutely spot on. I merely wanted to chime in and comment that I too enjoy wearing it, and find it to be like a soft cardigan equivalent to No. 19’s fitted blazer, so to speak. November 6, 2015 at 7:39pm Reply

    • Andy: That Pink Grapefruit body butter sounds like a terrific cheap thrill, and I’m glad to hear that you’ve found other grapefruit favorites despite Pamplelune’s unfortunate turn on your skin. November 6, 2015 at 7:36pm Reply

      • Solanace: The body butter smells much rounder than its cologne or liquid soap counterparts. And l’HE sounds delightful, I prefer a soft cardigan over a tailored blazer any day! November 7, 2015 at 2:26am Reply

  • iodine: Love grapefruit in fragrances. My very first niche fragrance was the now discontinued Pamplemousse by Comptoir Sud Pacifique- great, perfect balance between bitterness and juicyness but, alas, lasting twenty minutes!
    Lately, I enjoy the grapefruit opening in the only Atelier Cologne fragrance I really like, Mistral Patchouli (and yes, I find something evil in the drydown of Orange Sanguigne, too). Or the grapefruit shade of some vetivers, Sycomore and Diptyque Vetiveryo, for ones. November 6, 2015 at 11:42am Reply

    • Andy: I love Mistral Patchouli too, it’s my ultimate summer fragrance–I live near the Atlantic Ocean, and it reminds me of the scents of the seaside near my home. I’ve become very sensitive to grapefruit notes in vetiver fragrances over time, and now I find a grapefruit rind-like note even in the dark, smoky vetivers like Encre Noire. November 6, 2015 at 7:44pm Reply

  • Ann: I am definitely of two minds about grapefruit scents. Of those you’ve listed, I LOVE Eau de Pamplemousse Rose. The others did nothing for me, and I had an awful time with Guerlain’s Pamplelune. Stupidly I blind bought it (I am so much wiser now!) and turned around and resold it on eBay within a week–I don’t remember garlic, but I do recall sulfur and cat pee among its chief problems for me. I know that it works great for other people though.

    But, the reason I am chiming in is that the other day when I was testing a sample of something that was fabulous and then it was gone, I had a total flashback to my 9 year old self scraping change together for a pack of “sugar” gum–totally forbidden to me… Whatever it was that I purchased was soft, grapey, candy, fruity wonderfulness that completely transported me…for 60 seconds. And then I found I was chomping away on some thin flavored tough material. I did what every self-respecting 9 year old would do—I spit out the gum and started on another piece. But when the pack was finished, I was pretty much cured of ever wanting to buy gum again. I feel that way about very fleeting fragrances… I console myself by respraying the lively beginning…but after a while the thrill is just gone… November 6, 2015 at 1:18pm Reply

    • Andy: Glad to hear your Pamplelune disaster was able to be resolved without much trouble.

      I love your analogy of fleeting fragrances to sugar chewing gum–I can remember doing something very much like that as a kid! Something like the fatigue you’ve described happened to me with Jean Nate recently. I kept spraying it on throughout the day so I could keep enjoying the cheery scent, and by the next day I could hardly stand to smell it any longer. Luckily, it’s so cheap that I can just set it aside and hope a craving hits again sometime. November 6, 2015 at 7:55pm Reply

  • Judith: Any love out there for Peace, Love and Juicy Couture? The spelling looks wrong but it has grapefruit going on and stays bright and sour all the way. Also in a very decent body cream. November 6, 2015 at 6:52pm Reply

    • Andy: I’d never heard of Peace Love and Juicy Couture before, but I just looked it up and it sounds unique and appealing–sour blackcurrant and citrus–yum! November 6, 2015 at 8:05pm Reply

  • Ida: Jo Malone’s Blackberry & Bay has non-offensive grapefruit in it. It’s not a particularly exciting scent, just pleasant, I’d say. November 7, 2015 at 3:58am Reply

    • Andy: I’ve never noticed the grapefruit in Blackberry & Bay, I’ll have to look for it next time I wear that one! November 7, 2015 at 11:23am Reply

  • Elisa P: Grapefruit is my favorite citrus fruit, eating-wise. I like it in perfume as well, though I’m not particularly drawn to citrus colognes. I had the same experience with PP. That first spray is “Wow!”. Like jumping into a swimming pool on a hot day. But as it faded, it bored me. Like Patricia above, I do enjoy Jour d’Hermes’s grapefruit freshness, and the florals make it more interesting to me.
    I lived in Israel for a year where pomelos are pretty common and delicious. Similar in flavor to white grapefruit, but they’re the size of a cantaloupe with a thick skin and the segments have a tough pith that you peel away, then eat the juicy innards. November 7, 2015 at 11:31am Reply

    • Andy: I occasionally see pomelos in the stores for a brief time every winter, but they usually don’t look so great. Great to hear your take on the fruit from your time in Israel–what a treat that must have been! November 7, 2015 at 4:28pm Reply

    • Victoria: And you can candy the pomelo skin. I first tried it from a Thai pastry shop, but now I’ve started making it myself. Since pomelos cost their weight in gold in Brussels, it makes sense to use all parts of the fruit when I get a hold of them. November 8, 2015 at 12:07pm Reply

  • Teeny: Thanks for the wonderful review! I happen to be wearing Pomelo Paradis on this very dreary, rainy day. I bought the one ounce bottle and loved it so much that I purchased the large bottle! I know it’s fleeting but worth the opening blast of sheer delight on blah days. I just carry the small refillable bottle in my purse to refresh the fragrance. Off topic but the one perfume I dream of trying is Serge Lutens / Tubereuse Criminelle. Perhaps one day… November 7, 2015 at 11:45am Reply

    • Andy: I can just imagine how uplifting Pomelo Paradis would be in dreary weather. And thanks for sharing your take, I love to hear from those who love a fragrance I didn’t, and vice versa.

      Tubereuse Criminelle is a fascinating, devastatingly beautiful perfume–good luck in your quest to sample this true gem! November 7, 2015 at 4:33pm Reply

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