Old-school green aftershave
The opening of Lime Basil & Mandarin by Jo Malone reminded me a bit of L’homme de Grès; that similar sort of really pungent, decidedly “virile”, kind of old-school and really bitter lime-green note supported by a woody, somber, almost chypre (in a really subtle way) base. At first the mandarin is not really there and neither is basil to my nose, but in a matter of minutes the bitter and fresh “head of the head notes” vanishes off and the fragrance starts to warm on skin – at that point you surely get a slightly sweeter, more aromatic-floral blend which seems comprising also something like neroli. Still no basil to my nose, weirdly enough I get thyme and sage more clearly; overall, basically a sort of aromatic green fougère centered on lime-orange with a subtle and to me, quite masculine woody-herbal-musky base smelling quite dark, slightly waxy and also slightly camphorous. And kind of “humid” too.
Also, I think I clearly get here the sort of aftershave vibe I get from many British fragrances based on classic structures (like those countless “West Indian Limes” colognes by Truefitt & Hill, Taylors of Old Bond Street and similar “gentleman’s grooming” brands) – although it may be just pure suggestion. Surely anyway something way less fresh than one may assume by reading the name. Overall, in my opinion Lime Basil & Mandarin isn’t bad at all, almost quite good actually; the only negative thing for me is that I get a whiff of something annoyingly and persistently synthetic that somehow “ruins the magic”. For me, citrus-green scents – more than others – need to be as much natural as possible to smell pleasant, fulfilling and compelling, to avoid smelling like floor detergents or cheap soaps. This doesn’t really make it for me, at least not entirely; it smells decently good, but I feel it would have been way better if part of the efforts was also financial - I mean in raising the budget and picking better materials. Still quite nice overall, just don’t expect something neither fresh nor particularly solid or refined.