Jo Malone fragrances are often mentioned as a sort of getaway to niche perfumes. I'm not exactly sure how wearing Lime Basil & Mandarine (or Sweet Lime & Cedar, I often mix up the two and had to label my samples carefully) prepares one to Serge Lutens or Frederic Malle. However, I'm willing to admit that the Jo Malone line (nowadays owned by Lauder) might give some the first glimpse of what thoughtful perfumery can and should be.
Lime Basil & Mandarin is a simple perfume or cologne or whatever you want to call it. It's a green citrus over dry vetiver, with no twists or turns other than the moment the lime softens into a mandarin. It's really nice. I like it a lot because, really- vetiver and green stuff- what's not to like? Like most Jo Malone perfumes, including those that are utterly not my thing, it's very well done and is dreck-free. Just crisp, refreshing herbs, fruit and grassy vetiver that is quite prominent from the very beginning.
The biggest complaint one hears about Jo Malone perfumes is the lack of tenacity. I'm always surprised that Lime Basil & Mandarin is actually among the ones that cling to my skin the longest. Must be the vetiver. The thing is that it's boring. There's very little story there or anything to hold my attention. I much prefer the line's bath and body product, and in fact, there's a Lime Basil & Mandarin dry body oil that might be quite heavenly on a hot summer day.
Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin ($55, 30ml) is available from Nordstrom, Saks, Neiman Marcus and jomalone.com.
Art: Lime Water by Craig Stephens