Jo Loves Pomelo : Perfume Review


Andy reviews Jo Loves Pomelo and also discusses why grapefruit paired with vetiver is such a successful combination (with plenty of other perfume examples).

Jo Loves is the perfume company that Jo Malone founded independently in 2011, five years after leaving the Jo Malone brand as creative director. Estée Lauder’s infamous acquisition of Jo Malone was very old news by the time I developed an interest in perfume. And yet even today, as I indulge in the original lineup’s signature creams and bath oils, I can’t help but be reminded of the difficult decisions Jo Malone must have faced, to trade authority over her brand and her name for a piece of the Lauder fortunes.


Now, as I orient myself to the pefumes from Jo Loves, Jo Malone’s newest personal business venture, I feel as though I am getting an authentic look at Jo Malone’s own creativity, as this focused collection feels personal, even autobiographical. Pomelo, the first perfume launched by Jo Loves, pleases and excites me, and is a particularly striking example of its creator’s talent and originality.

Fitting to Jo Malone’s signature fragrance style of simplicity and freshness, Jo Loves Pomelo is one of the most delightful citrus fragrances I have smelled recently. Like any good cologne, Jo Loves Pomelo provides ample refreshment, but where it really exceeds is in its intertwining of the shining citrus with a foil of earthy vetiver.

Since pomelo and grapefruit have a natural affinity to vetiver, these notes are often used together. In fragrances like Lalique Encre Noire and The Different Company Sel de Vétiver, accents of grapefruit add sparkle and zest to vetiver’s naturally saltiness. In contrast to these vetiver-dominated examples, however, Pomelo takes a decidedly different approach, emphasizing its namesake note, and using vetiver as a beguiling point of contrast to the sweetness of citrus.

This isn’t to say that the vetiver in Jo Loves Pomelo isn’t a prominent player—the variety used here is dry, peppery, and green, and it works in synergy with the pomelo to the point that I have difficulty at times smelling where the pomelo ends and the vetiver begins. In my limited experience with pomelos, they are sweeter and less acrid than grapefruits, and in that vein, Pomelo takes on the citrus notes with a sweeter, fruitier approach. Pomelo feels authentic to the fruit, and this means that it skips some of the rougher, sulfuric notes that can make grapefruit perfumes challenging.

When I first spray Pomelo, I smell a burst of sweet-tart citrus that makes my mouth water. It is the kind of uplifting scent that widens your eyes, and more importantly, makes you want to sniff a little closer. The citrus impression lasts well throughout the development, but as time goes on, the initial pale impression of dried vetiver roots comes into clearer focus. I love experiencing the transition of the fragrance from top to drydown, because even once the opening punch of citrus begins to fade, the vetiver becomes increasingly smooth and sensual. This is one fragrance you’ll want to experience on skin, because the natural saltiness of the woody basenotes seems to interact with the skin in a way that is completely lost on the blotter.

When I smell Pomelo, with its distinctive grapefruit-vetiver character, I think of the similarly suave pairing explored in Cartier Déclaration, a fragrance that paints a portrait of bitter orange and spices and surrounds it in a smooth cedarwood frame. To that end, if you’re a fan of fragrances which pair woods and citrus, an admittedly broad category, you might find Jo Loves Pomelo particularly enjoyable. Like many of these fragrances, Pomelo has good lasting power and moderate sillage, so many are likely find it quite versatile.

As one would expect of a brand created by Jo Malone, the matching body products in the Jo Loves line seem especially promising. As for Pomelo, I’ve only tried the body cream, and I found it an especially indulgent way to extend the life of the perfume or simply as a treat all of its own. I can think of few nicer ways to unwind than to massage some of this generously-scented cream into tired palms, cup under the nostrils, and inhale, for an instant, energizing boost.



  • Solanace: Enticing review, Andy! November 18, 2015 at 8:17am Reply

    • Andy: Enticing is exactly the right word for this fragrance–it’s the sort of scent that I imagine would make people want to be around anyone who’s wearing it! November 18, 2015 at 3:37pm Reply

  • limegreen: Andy — Thank you for such a great and eloquent review of one of my favorites! Pomelo, the fruit, always struck me as more fragrant to the nose than grapefruit, certainly less juicy to eat. I’ll have to try to detect when the fragrance morphs into the vetiver stage.

    It’s a shame that Jo Malone (the person) decided to keep Jo Loves a small venture, with limited distribution (the shipping cost from the UK to the US is high), which in turn makes you wonder that having had the Lauder experience, she wanted the boutique kind of quality control. I read an interview where she mentioned that her buyout agreement with EL included not being involved with a business or even an endorsement of any product for 5 years. It meant that even if she were not paid for it, she couldn’t say she liked a mascara or something in an interview.
    Fun fact — on her blog, she indulges by spritzing (pouring?) Pomelo in her household cleaner and mops the floors with it, to fragrance her house. Of course she has access to gallons of the cologne, one imagines! 🙂 November 18, 2015 at 9:25am Reply

    • Andy: Glad I could give my take on this top favorite of yours!

      I remember you mentioning that Jo uses this fragrance in all sorts of unexpected ways–I recall that she sprays her suede boots with it, and now I hear she mops her floors with it? Jo must have the most beautiful smelling house (and shoes) on the planet!

      Perhaps I’m recalling incorrectly, but I remember reading too that the buy out agreement also stipulated points that Jo was not to do so much as go buy herself cosmetics at a department store counter, as such an action would be considered to fit the description of “endorsing” a particular brand or product. Alarmingly extreme terms, if you ask me! November 18, 2015 at 3:46pm Reply

      • limegreen: That is approaching a paranoid level! I’m vaguely recalling that she was saying she could now say how much she liked MAC mascara, and it would have been harmless because MAC is a Lauder company, too. The interesting part of this is that EL was so worried about JM’s personal influence!
        (If I had the guts, I would spray Cuir de Lancome on my boots!) November 19, 2015 at 2:09pm Reply

  • zoesmama: I purchased Atelier’s Pomelo Paradis because I love the smell of pomelos, and I thought it would possibly smell like one particular scent memory that haunts me to this day. About 25 years ago, Claire Burke had a Pomelo-fragranced potpurri and room spray, both of which I bought a couple of times. It was rich and utterly delicious. Of course, it’s long disappeared and unavailable anywhere on earth, so I’ve been looking for something that smells like it, with no success. I would love to try this Jo Loves Pomelo fragrance. I live in eternal hope that I’ll find that lost smell I remember so fondly. November 18, 2015 at 10:38am Reply

    • Andy: It’s so frustrating when favorite products are discontinued in this fashion. I wish you all the best on your hunt for *the* pomelo perfume of your dreams–if you do, in your search, find the perfect pomelo fragrance, be sure to let us know! November 18, 2015 at 3:49pm Reply

    • Lee Baynard: I remember Claire Burke’s Pomelo fondly also. It was truly unique. I had it in potpourri, room spray, and candles. Did you know that for a very limited time they produced Pomelo in a perfume? It came in a lovely glass bottle with the Claire Burke insignia. I still have the bottle, and use it SO sparingly because I never want it to be gone. March 21, 2016 at 12:01am Reply

      • Andy: What a great memory! I had no clue the home fragrance was ever made into a perfume, but given that Pomelo seems to have had so many fans, I suppose it’s not surprising. March 22, 2016 at 5:52pm Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: What about Jo loves Gardenia?
    (Maybe that’s the one for Lady Dedlock). November 18, 2015 at 11:06am Reply

    • Andy: I just retested Jo Loves Gardenia recently, and it’s very nice. It skips that syrupy, buttery richness of many other gardenia fragrances, but it is nonetheless lovely. I think your pairing of this perfume with Lady Dedlock may be perfect! Gardenia is similarly all about elegance and restraint, although I don’t think Gardenia has any shocking hidden secrets yet to be revealed (but like Lady Dedlock, I suppose you just never know…). 🙂 November 18, 2015 at 3:57pm Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Haha, dear Andy, you are a Dickens reader!
        I think you are perfectly right with your thoughts on the real Lady Dedlock.

        I was referring to our Lady Dedlock here on BdJ. She asked for ”the perfect gardenia” in Recommend me a perfume.

        I think Jo love Gardenia would also nice for a humble Cornelia Blimber… November 18, 2015 at 4:09pm Reply

        • Andy: Oh gosh, how embarrassing! Yes, what a way to reveal my Dickensian leanings–and I hope that our Lady Dedlock here or you might enjoy this fragrance too. I’d revise what I said above just a little–Jo Loves Gardenia isn’t lacking richness, but it’s not “thick.” November 18, 2015 at 4:16pm Reply

        • annemariec: I thought you meant Dickens’ Lady Dedlock too until I saw your further comment. Still, I’m having fun thinking about a perfume for the Bleak House character. It would certainly have to have some human warmth underneath that icy exterior. Hidden secrets indeed. November 18, 2015 at 7:23pm Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: Another Dickens reader, great! I agree, Annemariec, inventing perfumes for characters in novels is fun. Mentions of perfumes in literature are abundant, by the way. But nowhere in Dickens. He certainly had a nose, there are beautiful descriptions of smells in nature in his works. But his characters don’t smell. I suppose he did not like artificial perfumes.
            So, out of respect for Dickens, i don’t perfume his characters…maybe only Sara Gamp (brandy).

            Do you have a favourite Dickens? November 19, 2015 at 4:11am Reply

            • Andy: That is a keen observation, and one I have never picked up on till now. It almost seems odd to me that scent wouldn’t have played a role in Dickens’ characterizations, as he spends so much time developing his characters and describing them each in great detail. Perhaps having a “noticeable” scent had a different cultural connotation at the time? November 19, 2015 at 6:00am Reply

              • Cornelia Blimber: That’s an interesting question, Andy! November 19, 2015 at 7:14am Reply

                • Cornelia Blimber: Hi Andy…a lady could wear perfume in the 19th century. At least Lady Audley has ”perfume bottles” (Lady Audley’s Secret, Elizabeth Brannon 1862). (Penguin, p. 393). November 25, 2015 at 1:03pm Reply

  • Aurora: I enjoyed your post very much, Andy. Pomelo or grapefruit is a great astringent addition to some perfumes, I think of the note for Jour for eg which would be too sweet otherwise. DKNY Women is another one with a very realistic sharp citrus note but the pairing with vetiver you described is very tempting. November 18, 2015 at 6:07pm Reply

    • Andy: For some reason, I tend to take the grapefruit note in Jour d’Hermes for granted, but you’re absolutely right, it helps create a gorgeous, bittersweet balance. And I would never have guessed a nice grapefruit note was hiding out in DKNY Women! I’ll have to take a sniff next time I’m at the department store. November 19, 2015 at 5:47am Reply

  • sunnlitt: Oh, I have been wanting to experience this since I first read of it.
    However, I don’t know of any access to it here in the U.S.
    Does anyone have any ideas?
    Thanks. November 18, 2015 at 11:23pm Reply

    • Andy: I would typically recommend the sampling sites in that case (surrender to chance, perfumed court), but I’m not sure if they’d have Jo Loves either. Unfortunately, at this point, the distribution of the brand is very small, and their shipping costs to the U.S. are quite high. As limegreen mentioned above, it seems like the Jo Loves brand is positioned intentionally as a boutique, hard to find brand, but I do nonetheless hope that as the brand gains more attention, its distribution will spread a bit more. November 19, 2015 at 5:57am Reply

    • Heartlands: I am an avid Bois de Jasmin reader and perfume explorer. I was reading through the thread and hope it is not too late to mention that the Net-A-Porter website has a range of Jo Loves fragrances available stateside, for free shipping and arrives in 3 days. I just got my beautiful Pomelo today. Hope this is helpful! August 24, 2016 at 7:38pm Reply

      • Andy: Thank you so much for sharing this information, very helpful to those of us ordering from outside the UK. Enjoy your new Pomelo! August 25, 2016 at 11:47am Reply

  • Carolyn Middleton: I was lucky enough to be sent a freebie sample size of Pomelo when Ms Malone first launched it – my husband used it on a long weekend trip to the US for a wedding & really liked it; then recently Red Truffle 21 was launched & again, I signed up for a free sample – unusual fragrance, not for me, but again, my husband loved it. I’m off on my annual London jaunt on 1st Dec so bottle size permitting (I try to only have hand luggage on the flight) I may pop by the shop & pick some up. Her Fresh Sweet Peas is delightful, as is No. 42 The Flower Shop (which has an interesting story). I was delighted she started up again & I look forward to sampling quite a few fragrances next month. November 21, 2015 at 11:29am Reply

    • Andy: I have not smelled Red Truffle 21, so I’m glad to hear your thoughts on it. How lucky you are to leave for London soon, have a safe trip and have exciting, scented adventures! November 24, 2015 at 10:50am Reply

      • Carolyn Middleton: Thank you for your good wishes, Andy. I’m sorry to not be able to give you more info on Red Truffle 21 but my husband hasn’t actually worn it yet! I’m hoping to pop by Bloom Perfumery’s relatively new shop, also Shay & Blue & possibly Lyn Harris’s Perfumer H. Thankfully my friend is tolerant of my obsession, especially if she is offered a cup of tea or a glass of fizz while I sniff away to my heart’s content! November 24, 2015 at 12:04pm Reply

        • Andy: Sounds like a great shopping itinerary! And what a tolerant friend–on a trip I took to London this past spring, a friend I was traveling with was all too good about humoring my fragrance obsession, even during the moments it spiraled out of control. 🙂 November 24, 2015 at 12:30pm Reply

  • Ann: Chiming in again…but I recently tried L’Occitane’s Pamplemousse-Rhubarbe edt and found it quite wearable! It is like what I had hoped the Guerlain Pamplelune would be like… refreshing, tart, grapefruit sans sulfur. I mention it as another option… not a holy grail (but I did buy an FB 😉 ) for anyone looking for grapefruit options… one caveat– it is an edt, but I’d say it wears more like a cologne…on the light side. November 24, 2015 at 11:02am Reply

    • Andy: Is Pamplemousse Rhubarbe from the Pierre Herme collection that I just heard about recently? If it’s the one I read about, it sounded so good! November 24, 2015 at 12:32pm Reply

      • Ann: Yes! That’s one! November 24, 2015 at 2:23pm Reply

  • Gui: According to an insider, this one was created by Christophe Raynaud, from Givaudan. I love the simplicity of Jo Malone’s creations… but I was a little disappointed to know that she is not the actual perfumer… because her marketing always says that she is a self-taught nose and she creates the fragrances herself. It’s funny because, in the end, you get to know that it is not only “her” style. Actually, several perfumers work with her to construct this “light and simple” profile… and she really is the “designer” and not the “creator”. July 19, 2016 at 2:31pm Reply

    • Andy: Interesting–admittedly, I’m not familiar with this perfumer, but I love this fragrance no matter who created it. July 19, 2016 at 3:26pm Reply

      • Gui: So do I. Actually, I am a huge fan of Jo Malone, the person… and also most of her fragrances. Raynaud also created Jo Loves Orange Tulle and Paco Rabanne One Million… a very different olfactory profile, right?! July 19, 2016 at 3:33pm Reply

  • Gale: Jo Malone had been my favorite perfume line for years until she sold to EL. The iconic scents were “dumbed” down and in my opinion, ruined. When I read that after her five year “no compete” clause was over she planned to launch a new line called, Jo Loves, I was thrilled. I just purchased Red Truffle, 21 and was, well, in a word, disappointed. It is a pungent, overwhelming scent of burning,wet leaves. I can’t return it so I am stuck with an expensive, unwearable perfume. Perhaps when Jo Loves gets to the U.S. I will be able to test her new scents before I buy. I am not ready to give up on this lady’s undeniable talent with scent. December 11, 2016 at 11:13am Reply

    • Andy: So sorry to hear that Red Truffle 21 didn’t work for you. Given how difficult it is to find Jo Loves in the U.S., I can only imagine your disappointment. Interesting you mention it though, as 21 has been on my to-try list; now I’m not so sure I’ll like it any more than you did. December 11, 2016 at 3:30pm Reply

What do you think?

Latest Comments

  • Kim in One Summer Day in Our Ukrainian Village: Dear Victoria, I am so deeply saddened to read about the tragedy that struck your village. Distance is what makes the situation worse as it is times like these when… June 14, 2024 at 3:45pm

  • Maria Perry in One Summer Day in Our Ukrainian Village: Dear Victoria, What terrible news and I am so so sorry for your neighbor. It is devastating to hear about the war in Ukraine, but so important to have recounts… June 14, 2024 at 12:11pm

  • Victoria in What is a Rushnyk?: Thank you very much. You can try looking for a rushnyk on Etsy. A number of Ukrainian artisans have shops there. June 14, 2024 at 11:59am

  • Victoria in What is a Rushnyk?: It was such a lovely museum. A volunteer effort. June 14, 2024 at 11:58am

Latest Tweets

Design by cre8d
© Copyright 2005-2024 Bois de Jasmin. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy