I walked up the stairs where my roommate James’s door is the first one to meet head-on. He was wearing no shirt, a pair of jeans and a toque. I remarked that he was naked and he replied only half, then put a shirt on as I explained that the strange part was to be wearing a winter hat with no shirt.
We were talking in the kitchen about who only knows—boys, scandals, ice cream—when I walked into my bedroom to find a little white bowl on my dresser, the kind that James has maybe 10 of, one of which holds a little heap of salt and sits in the kitchen for seasoning, which contained 10 fragrance sample vials. Little sprays, a plaster Christmas ornament (or holiday, for the PC) and a little plain business card saying, “Happy Christmas xox James.”
They were 10 different Jo Malone samples.
I ran into the other room to thank him and he looked at me with his classic Wallace and Gromitt grin, chin slightly down.
So now I have the task of trying 10 fragrances that I’ve never smelt before, though they’ve existed for quite some time. I’m tardy to this fragrance party.
English Pear and Freesia
Clean bathroom. Hotel bathroom. The initial spray, I hate to say, is overly perfumey. Soap, alcohol, weak white florals.
Fressia is not a white floral. The perennial, conical flower comes in a variety of colours, though snow is one of them. Yellow, purple, pink, orange. The leaves have been described as swords, and indeed they shoot up like common blades of grass.
If I did not know by the name what notes this scent was supposed to evoke, I’d have guessed peony, musk and maybe a touch of green apple (the website lists, “King William pear, freesia and patchouli”). I’d give this to my [non-existent] twelve-year-old niece as a gift and regret whenever she wore it.
It may seem harsh, but there just isn’t anything original happening. I confuse the scent with a bit of clean laundry and find the sillage hard to detect from my décolletage.
I’m easily reminded of the flat-floral, Jour d’Hermes. I adore Hermes, but their fragrances can sometimes fall victim to upper-class tastes.
Given it is “English” pear, a fruit I don’t think actually exists, I can visualize the scene that the house is going for: a balmy May day, finally warm enough for the women to wear sleeveless white dresses to the garden party where the gents don seersucker and suck back Pimm’s cups. This scent would be perfect for selling your soul or any event where poise and fake smiles are necessary.
In summation the fragrance is green, and maybe even bright on the right skin or to the right nose, but unremarkable.
Review and photos by Sara King-Abadi, Journalist