Pomegranate Noir was created for Jo Malone in 2005. It took some time to reach Australia and I believe was only sold for some time in the UK. A friend returned from London with a bottle and raved about the scent. Anticipation for the perfume built until finally I received a call from the brand’s concession store in Melbourne, which was at the time my home. During lunch I went down to the counter to test the fragrance. I did one loop around the department store and came back to Jo Malone. Sold! In hindsight had I done a second loop I may well have changed my mind. But no love is lost and I am happy to have this unusual fragrance in my collection. The camphorous note is a little too intense for my liking and for this reason I enjoy wearing the scent to dinner or for short periods instead of an entire day. To me, this was an interesting choice for Jo Malone, a house that usually sticks to the safer side of ripe fruit and cheerful florals. Here the boundaries have been pushed to overripe fruit and a mysterious wood/camphor accord that does not fully explain itself by the notes listed by the brand.
Pomegranate Noir begins with a fruity accord smelling like someone who has been doing an all-nighter on vodka and cranberry. This quirky, boozy opening, although sounding dreadful, is actually intriguing. This tart accord is constructed with notes of pomegranate, raspberry, plum and pink pepper. With time notes of opoponax, frankincense, patchouli, musk and spicy woods come through. This combination of resins and wood, particularly patchouli and frankincense is perhaps where the camphorous note emanates from. On my skin and less on paper, Pomegranate Noir can smell similar to moth repellant. I thought this would also be akin to people repellant but often, I get compliments when wearing it, so I wouldn’t count this one out as a ‘scrubber’. Try it for yourself is my best suggestion.
I prefer this as a summer scent. It has a wintery feel, so it becomes nicely contrasted by the summer heat. It can be blended with other Jo Malone scents and it is popular to do so with Vintage Gardenia. It is a mysterious and changing scent that is balanced precariously between fruit and resin/wood. At this stage I am not sure who would be the most suitable candidate to wear this Jo Malone oddity. It is a fine scent and I hope to one day be walking the street only to catch the faint silage of Pomegranate Noir. To follow my nose to its wearer and think, ‘ah yes, this is who the scent was designed for, what a perfect match!’
Comme des Garcons Harissa- the fruit and resin mix has some similarities with the tomato-like qualities of Harissa. Etro Messe de Minuit, Diptyque Eau Duelle.
Perfumer: Beverley Bayne, CPL Aromas
Bottle designer: Isabella Ettedgui, Jo Malone studio
Release date: 2005
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Woody Oriental