Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia Cologne — An Ode To Keats And Autumn
In his classic poem “Ode to Autumn,” British romantic poet John Keats referred to fall as the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,” which conspired with the sun to “fill all fruit with ripeness to the core.” Inspired by Keats’ notion of fruits at their ripest point, perfumer Christine Nagel envisioned a fragrance anchored by the pear’s juiciness. Though many fragrances incorporate pear notes, few count on this to be their foundation (not counting less refined fragrances like Victoria’s Secret Pear Glaze EDT Spray, which ultimately smells like alcohol minutes after spritzing). Doing so effectively, then, was part of Nagel’s challenge when developing the new Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia Cologne.
I tend to associate pear with spring and summer, particularly since I often treat myself to crisp pear, walnut, and blue cheese salads when the temperatures rise, relishing in the coolness and saltiness of the crumbled cheese and how it harmonizes with the contrasting watery juiciness of the pear slithers. My challenge, then, was transforming my frame of mind to think of pear as an autumn-appropriate treat. To capture a pear at its maximum level of ripeness, Nagel started by attempting to recreate both the crisp, tangy exterior of the skin and the supple, moist, succulent quality of the fruit’s interior. White freesia blooms were then added so as to capture the aroma which would be wafting in the air within an orchard moments after the pears had been plucked from their trees. Wild roses and quince complete the fragrance’s heart, while base notes of patchouli, white amber, and musk add a woody warmth.
So is the fragrance worthy of its own Keats-style ode? Well, it’s a decidedly feminine and understated scent that’s alluring in its chic simplicity — fresh, dewy, and appetizing. That being said, the pear scent is more fleeting than I’d like. When you first spray the fragrance, you’ll be captivated by the succulent pear note and the moist, green quality of the accompanying rhubarb note. But soon, that layer will practically dissipate as the white freesia takes center stage and the floral aspect of the scent begins to push the other notes to the background, like an olfactory Diana Ross. Still, a juicy quality permeates the freesia and, since this floral scent is lighter and more elusive than that of other blossoms, it effectively captures the transient nature of the autumn season, seeming to hover over the skin like the mist in Keats’ poem.
Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia Cologne,$55 for 30ml and $100 for 100ml. Available at JoMalone.com, Jo Malone shops, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and select Nordstrom and Bloomingdales stores nationwide.