Perfume is incredibly personal, so choosing the best Jo Malone perfume is a tricky task. But our beauty team has been busy spritzing and sampling to bring you our comprehensive list of the top Jo Malone fragrances. The iconic British brand creates some of the best perfumes for women, and its unisex offerings also make a fantastic purchase to see you through the winter, Christmas gifting, and even wedding season.
“Jo Malone London is interestingly one of the only brands where I ask someone, ‘What perfume do you wear?’, and they answer: ‘Jo Malone” – they don’t specify which one,” says Jo Fairley, perfume expert and Editor of the digital fragrance magazine The Scented Letter. But even if your friends won’t share the exact details, we have all the intel you need.
To make this list as helpful as possible, we've interspersed the brand's best-sellers in with even more personal picks of the best Jo Malone scents right now. So whether you want to know how to choose a perfume that's a crowd-pleasing classic or want a niche tip-off by a beauty insider, consider this your definitive list of the very best Jo Malone fragrances money can buy. And if you're on the lookout for a great saving this festive season, you can take a scroll through our carefully curated list of Jo Malone Black Friday deals.
The 12 best Jo Malone perfumes
Top note: King William Pear
Heart note: Freesia
Base note: Patchouli
Jo Malone's most popular scent, English Pear & Freesia is a light and fresh scent that combines the aforementioned notes on a base of patchouli. At the risk of stating the obvious, it really does smell how a freshly cut pear should – crisp, fresh, and uplifting.
This fruity perfume sums up everything we love about Jo Malone London as a brand, who are masters of creating modern and surprising blends out of quintessentially English ingredients.
Top note: Lavender
Middle note: Omumbiri Myrrh
Base note: Tonka Bean
Due to its warming nature, we would traditionally think of this as one of the best Jo Malone fragrances for winter. Jo Malone's Myrrh & Tonka is one of the brand's Cologne Intense offerings – richer, deeper perfumes created using precious ingredients. Due to that intensity, they also last longer on the skin and need topping up less.
Myrrh & Tonka may not have the household recognition of some of the other most popular Jo Malone scents, but we love the rich, velvety, and ever-so-slightly sweet elements, with warming notes of vanilla, almond, and lavender.
Top Note: Pomegranate
Heart Note: Casablanca Lily
Base Note: Guaiacwood
If there's one Jo Malone scent you've heard of through friends, family, or co-workers, it's likely to be this fan favourite. With top notes of fruity pomegranate and plum paired with pink pepper and spicy woods, this warming classic somehow still has a balance of crisp freshness too.
A truly iconic scent that most of us will have come across at some point, this classic option also comes in a cute solid duo (one of the best solid perfumes we've seen) and would make an impressive gift if you want a guaranteed hit present for your loved one's special milestone.
Top Note: Mandarin
Heart Note: Basil
Base Note: Amberwood
Lime Basil & Mandarin is completely unique and unlike any other fragrance we've smelled (well, except all the copycat dupes it has spawned over the years, which still can't hold a candle to the real deal). Fresh yet calming, it smells like a summer holiday in a bottle.
Mouthwatering notes of lime and green, herbaceous basil are the first thing you will smell. Later, they dry down to a warm, woody base that lingers on the skin for hours. It is clean yet also highly aromatic and loved by men and women alike, including none other than supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
Best for Brides
Top Note: Red Apple
Heart Note: Peony
Base Note: Suede
Instantly recognisable, Peony & Blush Suede is one of Jo Malone London's most iconic scents. The blooming heart of peony and unexpectedly soft, leathery suede base are topped off with red apple for a crisp, fresh finish.
Brides love this mixture of femininity and modernity, but you don't have to be walking down the aisle to wear it. Peony & Blush Suede's inherent softness makes it a perfect daytime scent, offering a nice mood boost without overwhelming whoever sits next to you on the train.
Best for summer
Top note: Williams pear
Heart notes: Sweet pea
Base note: White musk
This scent has a strikingly similar name to the best seller at the top of our list – Jo Malone’s iconic English Pear & Freesia. This fragrance is a reimagining of that classic, as the brand's Global Head of Fragrance Céline Roux wanted to put a fresh spin on the scent by pairing (see what we did there) English Pear with a different bloom. The result is a softer version of the original, as the sweet peas bring more outdoorsy notes while the white musk is both powdery and clean at once.
Both fragrances now contain 100% natural pear fruit extract, sourced from within the food industry where pears are steamed for their juice. The result here is a sweet, sunny fragrance that’s crisp enough to almost bite into and practically fizzes with freshness. A modern classic that encapsulates the joys of summer.
Top note: Blackcurrant
Heart note: Poppy
Base note: Barley
If your preferred kind of perfume is something ultra-feminine and sugary sweet, then Poppy & Barley will get your vote. The story behind the scent is intended to be dancing across England’s meadows, and it definitely evokes that kind of Enid Blyton childhood that even if you didn’t experience it, you can definitely picture. Think hands sticky with juicy, ripe blackcurrants picked straight from the bush and frolicking in a field of poppies on the warmest months of the year. So far, so storybook.
The barley is the more unexpected element here, which adds some woodiness and a hint of musk that stops it from feeling sickly. It’s good news if you’re anything like us and find those solely floral fragrances intoxicating and gorgeous at the start, only to feel like you’re enveloped in a sugary smog after five minutes. The perfect scent for summer, or to remind you of longer, warmer days when they’re shorter and colder.
Top Note: Bergamot
Heart Note: Cucumber
Base Note: Beeswax, Vanilla, Musk
If we asked you to name two things that were quintessentially British, we’re pretty sure that a proper brew (most likely an Earl Grey) plus afternoon tea-ready cucumber finger sandwiches would both feature pretty high on the list. They’re also really interesting (and remarkably fresh) fragrance notes, which is maybe why they got the call-up over some of our other national dishes. Scones & Jam or Pie & Mash don’t have quite the same elegance or allure do they?
When you first smell Earl Grey & Cucumber you’ll find it’s overwhelmingly citrusy (that’s thanks to the bergamot) making it the kind of lively fragrance that helps you to start the day with a bit of zing and spring in your step. The greenness of the cucumber comes through after a moment, and it dries down to something sweeter thanks to the beeswax at the base. If you’re looking for a unisex scent, don’t let the mention of more sugary notes put you off. The honey blend is mixed with a touch of tobacco for a splash of smokiness that will appeal to all.
Top Note: Cardamom
Heart Note: Mimosa
Base Note: Tonka Bean
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to try Jo Malone’s Mimosa & Cardamom Cologne you’ll know that it doesn’t make the best first impression. It’s a bit like a brash guest at a party, coming in all bullish with invasive questions and shouting too loudly over the music. Give it a minute to settle though, and it dries down into a scent that’s still intense, but much softer.
The key fragrance notes within the perfume are cardamom, a spice with a hint of lemon, mimosa, which is warm, floral and honey-like, as well as tonka bean, which brings vanilla notes. The result is a scent that’s hard to put your finger on. It’s indulgent, spicy and slightly sweet all at once. The best thing we can liken it to is a chai latte, but it’s more honeyed and less sugary than that. It feels cosy and inviting and is guaranteed to have people asking what you’re wearing when they hug you – whether or not you share your scent secret is up to you.
Best for evenings
Top note: Cypress
Heart notes: Cedarwood, vetiver, amber
Base note: Moss
A lot of scents designed to be worn in the evening go down the super-rich floral or 'whack you around the chops with spice' route, but this is different. It's incredibly fresh, but not in a zesty way, more like a 'bracing walk through a Nordic forest' way. It's crisp and green and feels just right for the point when the sun is carousing downward and the night still feels full of promise. This is – as the name suggests – intense, but it never feels too much.
This has, as well as cosy, resinous amber, a great herbal hit of cypress at the top, and a musty, mossy botanical base not unlike the best lavender perfumes. It's a little punchier than you might expect and really lasts the distance, which is handy as that means it works just as well for day as it does for night. The notes sound traditionally masculine, and this will certainly appeal to men, but we strongly believe fragrance has no gender and absolutely love wearing this.
Top Note: Ambrette Seeds
Heart Note: Sea Salt
Base Note: Sage
Picture the scene: You're on a staycation, and this year you were organised enough to book a seafront cottage in that pretty coastal town that's an easy drive from home. You head out for an afternoon walk, the wind is blowing up the dunes, pulling salty sea air into your lungs, and with it, a whoosh of green, herbaceousness into your nose. This, you think, is living. You Google house prices in the area, get a shock, put your phone away and keep on walking and breathing.
Are you still reading? Good, because this is that. As in, that's the smell of this Jo Malone fragrance. Fresh and breezy with a slightly mossy chypre hum. It doesn't smell like anything else, it's not fruity or floral and it also makes one of the best men's colognes. Spray this on and other people will ask what you're wearing, you may not want to tell them so they don't copy you, and we won't blame you for that.
Top note: Clove
Heart notes: Damask rose
Base note: Oud
In contrast to its Cypress & Grapevine cousin, this is as rich and luscious as a scent can be. If you are familiar with any of the best oud perfumes, you'll know this precious ingredient is very, very distinctive. Fans can recognise it a mile off and that's a very good thing indeed because lovers of oud know another thing – this stuff smells expensive. That's because it actually is expensive as an ingredient, but also because there's an opulent energy about oud that is simply undeniable.
Back to this specific oud perfume, Jo Malone has cleverly blended it with lots of rose, which does great things for both ingredients. It tempers and feminises oud's smokiness and it elevates the rose from prim and proper floral to something a bit naughtier. It's a match made in heaven. It would be fair to say this is more of an evening perfume due to its power and headiness. But then again, if you want to smell rich and sexy during the day who are we to argue with that?
How we tested the best Jo Malone perfumes
To put together our list of the 12 best Jo Malone perfumes, we tested a selection of the brand's scents for a number of months. And because those bottles can last a long time, you could say we're still testing! Our expert team of editors has also interviewed experts from the Jo Malone London team to hear more about what makes their scents to special, and we've included quotes (and their best-sellers) below.
Fiona McKim, our Beauty Editor, tested the perfumes you see above, and our Acting Digital Beauty Editor Aleesha Badkar has also samples a range of the brand's top scents, which meant we were able to compare notes.
When testing, we looked for unique notes that warranted that pretty high price tag, as well as longevity. We also took note of how strong the scent carried on our skin. Some may prefer a perfume that sits subtly throughout the day, whereas others would prefer an intense cologne that turns heads and wins complements throughout the day.
Why is Jo Malone so popular?
Like many great fragrance brands, Jo Malone London is hugely popular not for one big reason but a multitude of smaller ones. The first – and most obvious – explanation for this brand's popularity is that the perfumes are just really lovely.
As well as nailed-on classics like Pomegranate Noir and Lime, Basil & Mandarin, this brand consistently releases excellent new fragrances that fit within its fundamental principles – gender-neutral, luxurious, ingredient-focused, quintessentially British. These are not generic fruity-floral blends that smell like everything else, Jo Malone perfume is willfully distinctive. That means you won't love everything, but there's something here that everyone will love.
“I am lucky enough to know the inner workings of their perfume teams, and to see their creative journey is truly an honour,” says fragrance expert and journalist Alice du Parcq. “The perfumers they work with are some of the best in the world – such as Anne Flipo, Yann Vasnier and Mathilde Bijaoui – and they work with the most beautiful sustainable raw natural ingredients blended with supreme high-tech synthetics and clever methods such as headspace and CO2 extraction. I also think the brand is so popular because they keep the names simple and literal, but with a romantic rhythm that lures you in. They capture a perfect balance of sophisticated quiet elegance, with slightly bonker English eccentricity – you can see that perfectly in the visual campaigns. They maintain this cool, fun and chic identity, and they transcend trends, so you always feel that your favourite Jo Malone London perfume will forever be relevant.”
This aside, Jo Malone London's branding is also incredibly strong – that recognisable, chic packaging makes it desirable and very giftable. “Who wouldn't want to be gifted a cream box with thick black grosgrain ribbon?” adds Du Parcq. This is also a brand that maintains popularity by releasing just the right amount of newness on a drip feed throughout the year. Seasonal limited editions, artist collaborations, and one of the most covetable Christmas collections of the year, every year, keep customers coming back for more.
What is the most popular Jo Malone scent?
We asked Jo Malone's in-house experts to find out the top five most popular Jo Malone scents. While fragrance is incredibly subjective, it can be useful to help identify which scents would work well as a risk-free gift, or as a starting point for those who are new to the brand.
The most popular Jo Malone scent is English Pear & Freesia, and we can see why. "When you smell English Pear & Freesia, you’re instantly transported to an orchard where juicy fruit mingles with blooming flowers. There’s something unexpected about the combination of key ingredients and it’s got that freshness and elegance we’re known for," says Celine Roux, Global Head of Fragrance for Jo Malone London.
Another fresh scent, and in fourth place for the brand's best-sellers, is Lime Basil & Mandarin. "It has become synonymous with the Jo Malone London brand," says Jo Malone London Fragrance and Lifestyle Expert, Emma South. "It was one of the very first fragrances created over 30 years ago which set the aesthetic template for everything that followed: highest quality ingredients in simple yet elegantly wrought formulas, always with an unexpected twist – in this case with the vibrant, peppery overdose of freshly torn basil. Its tantalising, zesty character has an enduring vitality, and it is still one of our very top scents year-round."
In second place is Myrrh & Tonka Cologne Intense. It "exudes the scent of sun-baked earth entwined with mesmerising myrrh and it is our rising star both literally and figuratively. Created in 2016 it steadily climbed to join the top 5 scents, it is popular irrespective of gender and paints a scene of the Omumbiri myrrh harvest under starry desert skies."
South also discusses Pomegranate Noir, another of the brand's all-time best-sellers. "This fragrance is really original as fruity scents tend to be sweet and gourmand but Pomegranate Noir is woody, sensual, and dark.
A lot of heady flowers and woods were used to create this enigmatic, sensual scent. The seasons certainly influence our tastes and as the temperature drops, we reach for warmer layers of scent. Iconic Pomegranate Noir, a jewel-bright cocktail of ruby fruits, spice and incense, overtakes everything during the winter months and this is a trend we see year in year out."
Which Jo Malone fragrance is best for weddings?
Jo Malone stores famously offer fragrance scaping sessions for weddings, and its most popular scent for brides is also one of our favourite feminine offerings.
"Peony and Blush Suede is the most popular wedding scent for brides," says South. "It bottles abundant, unfurling peony petals in every shade of pink accompanied by the flirtatious bite of juicy red apple."
Which celebrities wear Jo Malone?
Jo Malone London is a cult brand with a loyal following – many of which are celebrities. “Sofia Richie Grainge recently went viral talking about her favourite Jo Malone London scent ‘Wood Sage & Sea Salt’,” says South. “It is already one of our universally loved scents, a fragrance for any mood and occasion, clear-headed with the mineral bright scent of a windswept shore. Previous Jo Malone London celebrity fans have included Poppy Delevingne, Karen Elson and even Kate Moss.” Rumour has it that Catherine Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge, is a fan of Jo Malone London Orange Blossom, and Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex, wears Wild Bluebell as her everyday perfume.
How long does Jo Malone scent last?
Jo Malone scents come in two strengths, cologne and cologne intense, with different lasting powers. Cologne or eau de cologne is one of the lightest styles of fragrance available, typically they contain between 2-5% pure perfume oils and last a few hours before needing to be topped up. This can also vary depending on what perfume notes are included in the cologne, for example, citrus dissipates quickly, while woods and musks tend to last longer on the skin. Jo Malone's Cologne Intense range ramps up the lasting power by using precious heady ingredients in higher concentrations. So you can expect to get right through the day with a lingering fragrance when you select one of these scents.
Which Jo Malone perfume is the lightest?
Some of the lightest Jo Malone perfumes in simple terms – e.g. how they smell – are Earl Grey & Cucumber, Basil & Neroli, and Fig & Lotus Flower. If you are looking for a light, fresh Jo Malone perfume (or from any brand truth be told) it's best to seek out either citrus, green or aquatic compositions. Typical citrus notes used in perfumery are fruits like lemon and lime as well as zesty botanicals like neroli and or bergamot. Or seek out green herbal notes such as basil, cypress, and violet leaf or splashy blends designed to replicate the ocean.
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As woman&home's Beauty Channel Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about brilliant finds on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair experiments and cute shih-tzus). Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013 under industry legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know (learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism). She has since covered every corner of the industry, from interviewing dermatologists and celebrities to reporting backstage at Fashion Week and judging the w&h Beauty Awards.
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