Scrolling down through Fragrantica these days, past all the adverts (so many adverts!), zigzagging charts and graphs and trend flows and intros and statistical mania – to get to the perfume you want to read about – is like reading War and Peace. Exhausting. Looking for a review on Vetiver Pamplemousse – which I had just bought in a shopping mall from Zara on my way to work in North Yokohama – I felt that approximately ten years of my life had passed before I eventually found what I was looking for (on a computer you can whizz down: on a phone it is much more orthopedic).

Scrolling back up again, feeling my hair turn grey as I waited impatiently to get back up to the top, I understood the reason for my exasperation: on the Fragrantica data base there are 641 registered perfumes from Zara (who knew? I am not sure if I have even smelled one of theirs before : perhaps just non-interestedly picked up a ‘Zara Man Night’ or something of the type: like fast fashion, Fast Perfume also steals all the ideas for the Designers or even Niche competitors – and flogs it unmemorably for a much more reasonable price) – but I did remember someone recently here recommending a scent from the brand – was it this, or Bohemian Bluebells? They also had that one, but no tester; ; only the main range had sample bottles – less attractive – and I almost had another L’Eau D’Issey MK II experience in my workwear when a curiously bedraggled individual, who looked a bit like a bandaged up sparrow, all masked up and pigeon toed and sociophobic came decisively towards the fragrance shelf and gave herself at least six full squirts (I think it was actually more like eight but I am wary of exaggerating any further), of the sweetest, most nauseating candy-numb generic gourmand floral that I worried had got all over my suit (Mr Chapman does not do knock offs of Flowerbomb). I fortunately managed to get out of the way just in time: a young couple prior to that, like me, had been hanging around by the Jo MaZara Emotions, but not being able to try them, had eventually gone for an eenie meanie money mo selection process picking one of them randomly, and walking off hand in hand giggling into the sunset.

With a bit of time to spare, my eyes swept past the Fleurs de Patchouli and the Sunset Amalfi, alighting on the Vetiver Grapefruit, and I thought to myself: : : : shall I? Summer is coming. It might be nice. Then again, it might be something I dislike and won’t be able to stand wearing, such as Terre D’Hermès or Pamplemousse Rose (the Ellena grapefruit is sour and chemical unpleasant for me; I don’t like any of that type, Un Jardin Sur Le Nil etc; the full endocrinic citrus) – but looking at the side of the sensibly sized 10ml rollerball and seeing that it was only ¥1,100, or eleven dollars, I thought what’s not to like?

Retiring to a disabled toilet within the ABC Mart shoe shop to take off my mask and tidy up my windswept embarrassment of a hairstyle – I haven’t been to a barber for over a year and don’t want to either – I thought I would have a special maskless preview of the fragrance: just a stroke before heading to the office. The great thing with a roll-on like this is that you can manoeuvre the miniature metal ball just the tiniest fraction on the back of the hand to test the waters (some sprays, as you know, are more like garden sprinklers – they like to give you a full hose down, the only problem being of course if you absolutely hate the thing).

This, I like. Very much. What fantastic value! Neither essential oil – vetiver or grapefruit, is particularly expensive, but if you were to try and make this yourself with undiluted oils, you would have a sulphurous unwearable oil slick that would take days to smell decent. You need a perfumer: dilution; proportion, fixers, maceration, and Jo Malone’s watery, uncluttered style to get a nice balance, and this does the job extremely well ; a very natural vetiver, just how I like it, but destrengthened a little to make it less intense for those around you, and a grapefruit that actually smells like the fresh fruit. Light. Cheering. Perfect for the work space, it is not long lasting nor complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. A great buy.


Filed under Citrus

28 responses to “A BARGAIN : : :::::VETIVER PAMPLEMOUSSE by JO MALONE for ZARA (2019)

  1. My bottle of Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay smells more of grapefruit & vetiver to my nose. I get the meerest hint of blackberry & a tinge of very myrtle-ish bay laurel. I bet that’s what Zara duped.
    Nepal is under full lockdown for 2 weeks. Thank you India for your arrogance in holding super spreader political rallies and massive religious events despite rising Covid cases.

    • It is all extremely worrying – I was reading about it all this morning.

      Take all precautions and no risks.

    • It’s amazing how different countries have their own insanities. In the UK and the US – refusing to wear masks etc (unfathomable); in Japan, a refusal to lock things down when they need to be: India’s case is really dangerous. I am really worried about it. But felt like comedy today instead of writing a heavy number.

  2. Robin

    Sounds like a cheap little thrill. Can’t argue with that. Nice light post on another heavy day on planet Earth. Thanks, N.

    Bibi, I’m sorry you’re on full lockdown. It’s a tragic situation, doubly so for its avoidability.

  3. Great post, and I’m glad you tried and liked it! I got the Zara Emotions discovery set, and think they’re great value. I liked this one, and Ebony Wood, too.

  4. What a great value that was!! Who knew Zara had so many fragrance offerings through the years? 641???
    This was a nice and light read on a day in which humans prove how truly stupid the species can be. If only people would do the right thing and take precautions and take this thing seriously.India Is having some huge religious pilgramage as we speak, and they foolishly think by all trudging along on it they will be miraculously protected, which we know they will not be. They will just become a nation of superspreaders and variant spreades the likes of which the world has never seen. I won’t even go into Japan and other countries foolishness, and that’s not including all the anti-vaxxers in the US who refuse to be vaccinated.
    You can probably feel my disgust, as I am sure it is palpable through the interwebs.

    • It is, and I am fine with it as I share it!

      I have been in a frenzied state all year.

      • You have every right to be.

      • But the problem is, I have done it all quite publicly, which in a way is kind of embarrassing. I have put up some seriously intense pieces on here, some insane. And nothing has really changed, and the virus is getting worse, but for me personally at least, this year’s schedule at school features less ultra-dangerous physical situations with more space and more opportunities to open windows, so I can feel the hysteria going down a notch, possibly. I just want a vaccine, and for everyone to get a vaccine that works, so we can move on. In the mean time, if people behave like assholes and don’t act sensibly, then we will continue to use the Black Narcissus not only as a perfume forum but a Soap Box For The Sane.

      • I love the intensity of the pieces you have posted here. Times like these demand intensity! I am happy so.e things are becoming better in your workplaces, but I don’t understand why Japan isn’t rolling out the vaccine? You would think they would have had it moving already. Why the delays? I hate to say it but I am positive people will continue to act like assholes and make life difficult. In my home country the majority of people I hear from seem to think the vaccine is all a government plot, or that their own immune system will suffice. It is truly madness.

      • I know. The idea that it is not real is….unreal.

        Japan is grotesquely cautious in everything: on the one hand it is a positive attribute: attention to detail, treading carefully….which is why it is a wonderfully efficient and unviolent place to live.

        On the other hand, for me there is almost some kind of ‘racial superiority’ thing inherent in the idea that although the vaccines have been tested everywhere, Japan must have its own, incredibly convoluted tests before it approves anything – plus there is no one who has the balls to just push anything through as everything is covered in bureaucratic cobwebs. At least Trump got things moving.

      • Such a shame. I always thought of Japan as being so advanced in so many ways, but in this instance they are in the Dark Ages.

      • It is both extraordinarily advanced and not. And that also of course depends on the person’s cultural perspective.

        I think there have been vaccine scandals in the past, and the public is wary of being injected with any old crap so the government it being ultra-cautious. Personally I find extreme indecisiveness unbelievably irritating. I think the fact the Olympics are coming should simply make the government simply FORCE the medical companies to hurry the fuck up.Honestly, I know from experience how long meetings take here, how long it takes to form a consensus about anything. Everything must be done in the proper way, which is fine, except in a pandemic.

        Let’s all exhale a collective primal scream: : : :



  5. emmawoolf

    I have this little number. Am wearing it today. It’s cheap and cheerful. Just what we need. I think I might have mentioned this range to you a while back. I bought mine (a 10ml roll-on for about a fiver) in those halcyon pre-pandemic days of 2019, in the Cambridge branch of Zara. Just down the road from your former gaff in fact. A blind buy, as there were no testers available (will perfume testers ever come back? I doubt we’ll ever have them again.) Sending love xx

    • It was you!

      A really good cheapo of high quality. I am going to buy all the stock when I go back as I know I will use it. Fancy the body lotion as well.

      It’s funny, because you sent me the Ja Molane Vetiver Cologne back in the day which has a lovely top note but too much musk: this does away with all that and is just light and easy. Love it.

      • emmawoolf

        Yes, me too. I’d like you to try Bohemian Bluebells, the very name of which makes me want to get my skipping rope out and sing In and Out/The Dusty Bluebells/. Supposedly JM favourite in the range, but it smells too fusty old lady lavenderish for me. The others get good reviews. Happy you like it! x

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