Though I admit I haven’t tried them all, I have yet to meet a Jo Malone fragrance I didn’t like.
“Like” for me does not necessarily mean “I need to own it.” “Like” simply means I found the fragrance pleasant and interesting. “Like” encompasses both “nice, and if I saw it on sale at a good price / won it in a contest /received it as a gift, I know I would use it” and also “nice, but not one I feel compelled to own and wear.”
“Love” is the descriptor for “where’s my credit card? I must have it NOW.”
Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir is a Love and a repeat buy for me, so when I saw a solid of it available on Ebay for a crazy good price, I snatched it up before looking into the particulars.
I somehow missed the announcement of the Jo Malone Fragrance Combining Palette a couple years ago, and encountering the solids on an Ebay search was my first exposure to it. So I’m late to the game here and to some extent, the Jo Malone fragrance market in the US has moved on already. Just a few scent choices are available on the US site of Jo Malone, and the department stores that carried the palette and solids appear to be phasing them out. The UK Jo Malone site and Selfridges offer a few more fragrance options, including the Pomegranate Noir, Oud & Bergamot and Mimosa Cardamom. But your best bet (and mine) for sourcing any of these is still Ebay. The widest selection, lowest prices and deals are on the auction site.
As I mentioned above, I sprang for Pomegranate Noir without looking at the particulars. I purchased it late last summer, thinking I’d be able to use the fragrance immediately and maybe buy the metal palette case later (or not). Turns out that was not a viable option. The packaging on the solid scent was clearly not designed for use without a case. It’s flimsy plastic, with a little pin tool to help with insertion/removal into the case, and what appears to be a couple magnets in the bottom to help it stick to the case. The “lid” is really just a sticker. They enclose it all in a nice heavy paper envelope, but the envelope and lid are not strong enough to protect the perfume from physical damage or prevent it from drying out once opened.
Once I resigned myself to the fact that the palette would be a necessary purchase, I kept my eyes peeled for a palette to turn up on Ebay. In the meantime, knowing the palette holds two scents, I let my husband select a second set to add to the palette when we got it. He chose a fragrance neither of us had sniffed before, Wood Sage & Sea Salt. It was a blind buy for us, but we perused the reviews on Fragrantica and perfume blogs to help guide our decision, and in the end, the price was affordable enough for a gamble.
Wood Sage & Sea Salt is a good strong “Like” for both of us. (I should mention Pomegranate Noir is also a “Love” for my husband.) Neither of these scents are new and I don’t really have anything to add to the conversation by reviewing either one, so I won’t get into too much detail on the scents themselves, other than to say both work well in the solid format. The solids are beeswax-based and have a decent spreadable texture that absorbs quickly into the skin, with moderate sillage (even on the Noir, which I recall was very strong in the liquid) and longevity in the six-hour range.
As far as scent pairings go, Wood Sage & Sea Salt doesn’t layer especially well with Pomegranate Noir. It’s not unpleasant, but somehow the layering dampens down the things I like most about each scent individually, while also creating a sum that is not necessarily better than the parts. This combo is actually suggested by the brand, but they also suggest Lime, Basil & Mandarin and English Pear & Freesia for pairing with the Noir. Both of those scents are available in the solid format and may work better for layering.
However, the layering of my two scent choices was just one of my thoughts when deciding to build my palette. After I realized they wouldn’t be usable without the case, my thoughts when sourcing these reflect an optimistic view of future travel capabilities. At some point, we will be able to travel again, within the U.S. and hopefully internationally, too. The two fragrances in the palette would be perfect for a weekend get-away, giving each of us three fragrance possibilities (more if you start playing with the proportions), all without taking up much space. Adding in a third liquid travel size or sample that could be layered with either or both scents, and again playing with proportions, greatly increases the number of fragrance combinations to… well, more than I would need for the longest trip I might ever take!
The solids are easily found on Ebay, at better prices than department stores or the Jo Malone boutiques (where they’re still not badly priced), but alas, the case has turned up only once on Ebay and it was being sold as part of a set with multiple solids, some of which I already had, and for more than I wanted to spend anyway. I ended up paying $36 on the Neiman Marcus website just to get the case. There might be other hacks you could do for a case (the solids look like they would fit in an Altoids tin, for example), but it likely won’t be as durable and elegant as the official case. It’s a shallow swing-top compact made of solid black metal, with a lid that slides sideways to reveal the two solids. I know the fragrances will be well-protected even in the cargo hold of an airplane (or when getting bounced around in my purse, which may actually be the bigger risk), and the case itself will slip easily into a corner of a suitcase or cosmetics bag, leaving plenty of room for souvenirs.
Here’s to future travels!
All photographs admittedly kinda crappy and by me.