Heat Wave and Earl Grey & Cucumber

Earl Grey & Cucumber by Jo Malone | Illustration by The Perfume Magpie

Earl Grey & Cucumber by Jo Malone | Illustration by The Perfume Magpie

It’s summer. This is Spain. It gets hot. I know.
But it has been insanely hot even for this place. When the mercury rose to 47.0 C, I felt like a chicken (or magpie) slow grilled on a kebab rotisserie.

In the midst of this heat wave, I had a little business to attend to in my regional capital Valencia, I left my little mountain village for the muggy city air for 2 days.

Somehow it smelled like everyone on the street was wearing Prada Candy, or at least one of those sweet sugary perfumes in the city. In the 35 degrees heat coupled with 89% humidity, it was unbearably sweet and sticky. A lot of these caramel coated people were heading towards the shops with bright red “rebaja” signs.  “Rebaja” in Spanish means “go and hit the shops”. Well, it actually means “sale” or “reduction” to be precise. My intension was to join the crowd to this biannual pilgrimage to the shops but just observing a mile long queue of people snaking down the arrays of clothes to pay for the finds was enough for me, I just turned around and went back into the street.

Then I spotted a neat looking Jo Malone store surrounded by the high street shops. To be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of Jo Malone fragrances. The first time when I tried a few, I thought they were a bit too linear and lacking the lasting power. But the inside the store looked so cool and the neatly arranged bottles were so pretty and inviting in the evening light. Above all, there was nobody inside… I told myself that everyone deserved a second chance and walked into the pristine looking shop.

Jo Malone store in Valencia, Spain | Photo by The Perfume Magpie

Jo Malone store in Valencia, Spain | Photo by The Perfume Magpie

In the store, I first tried Peony and Blush Suede. This was a surprise. It smelled so much stronger and heavier than the other Jo Malone I sampled before. Sweet florals with a touch of dryness. Not bad. Next was Wild Fig & Cassis. It was so green and leafy. It reminded me of Philosykos but sweeter and more powdery. Unfortunately, it wasn’t my cup of tea. Then Cologne Intense Tuberose Angelica. I liked it a lot. It was a smooth tuberose fragrance with herby angelica note. But do I need another tuberose fragrance? I also tried Dark Amber & Ginger Lily, also from the Cologne Intense line. I loved the combination of its sweetness and the bite. It was complex with multi facets, almost un-Jo Malone. I asked the nice patient guy at the store if they had this in 30ml bottle. Apparently not. When I was about to walk out with the test strips in my hand, I spotted Earl Grey & Cucumber on the shelf.

10 minutes later, I was walking down the street carrying a sleek cream bag adorned with a black ribbon.  My partner asked me which fragrance I bought. “Earl Grey & Cucumber”, I said. “I could have crushed loads of cucumbers from our veggie garden! Mix some tea and flowers and fruits, it would have been the same!!” was his reply. Never mind. He is not a perfumista.

Earl Grey & Cucumber is a well balanced cologne.  It is fresh, yet, gentle and cocooning. The zesty and slightly bitter opening soon settles into the heart of this fragrance; a cool sweetness.  Yes, it’s cool and sweet at the same time. I don’t normally enjoy aquatic note in fragrance but it is not in your face in Earl Grey & Cucumber. It adds nice simmering effect to its aromatic musky elements of this fragrance. The honeyed note intensifies as it dries down, but it never becomes overly sweet. The actual tea isn’t listed in the ingredient but it has got a distinct tea feel. It might sound weird but the image I get from Earl Grey & Cucumber is a perfect tea & waffle breakfast in the beautiful country garden. A crispy summer morning, dew still on the petals, everything is waking up and the flowers start to open in the warming sun light. On the table in the blooming garden, there is a fine looking bone china tea set and you suddenly catch the aroma of the tea and the waffle in the gentle breeze…

It was an impulse purchase.  Like the other Jo Malone colognes, it is delicate and it stays close to the skin after the initial blast. The lasting power isn’t too great but this lasts longer than other Jo Malones I’ve tried. On my skin, it lasts about 4 hours. In the summer months, I have multiple showers throughout the day, so the longevity isn’t an issue anyway. It is nice and refreshing in the summer heat and I really enjoy wearing it so far. When the weather gets this hot, my taste in fragrance changes and many of my favourite fragrances get pushed aside into a no-go area. Earl Grey & Cucumber turned out to be a good addition to my summer fragrance collection. I should also add that I managed to revise my unfairness against Jo Malone colognes.


Earl Grey & Cucumber was launched in 2011.

Nose: Christine Nagel

Notes: Apple, Bergamot, Jasmine, Aquatic notes, Cucumber, Angelica, Davana, Vanilla, Beeswax, Cedar and Musk.

It is available in 30ml (£42.00) and 100ml (£85.00) Cologne from Jo Malone London.

Read what others are saying about Jo Malone Earl Grey & Cucumber.
The Scent Critic, Perfume Shrine

Disclosure: Review is based on a 30ml bottle I own.

27 thoughts on “Heat Wave and Earl Grey & Cucumber

    • Thank you, Mr. Hound. I just love tea, to drink or in fragrance. It’s been over 40 degrees almost every day for about 3 weeks so far and it seems like we are having this heat for a while!! Anything to make me feel cooler, I’m having it. 🙂

  1. In case you haven’t noticed yet :), I am a Jo Malone fan: I’ve tried 47 (forty seven) of their perfumes on skin and own (either a FB or at least a sizable decant) more than half of those.
    I like Earl Grey & Cucumber: it’s a perfect summer perfume. When it’s that hot you might consider putting it in the fridge and use as a cooling mist.

    • I did know you were a Jo Malone fan but 47!? What an achievement!! Have you tried any of Jo Loves line? Now that my second encounter has been a good one, I’ve been thinking about trying some more of Jo Malones.
      I’ve just put my Earl Grey & Cucumber in the fridge. Sound like a great idea. Why didn’t I think of that! 🙂

      • I tried the first four of Jo Loves’ perfumes and though I thought they were very pleasant I didn’t love any of them enough to try to figure out how to get a bottle (they aren’t available in the U.S. and there’s no chance I’m paying for the international delivery for a cologne). I still have the samples so if I ever go through them (Gardenia is my favorite), I’ll see what to do. I’m curious about their next set but, again, not paying for the delivery.

  2. Overall, I’m not a big Jo Malone fan either but now and then there is a scent that caches my nose. I do like Pomegranate Noir and did use up a bottle of it. Earl Grey & Cucumber seems perfect for the summer. I like tea scents too.

    • Pomegranate Noir, check! I’ll definitely try it. There’s something about tea scent. It’s fresh and comforting at the same time. There’s a great tea shop, as in selling tea leaves, in the town nearby. The smell in the shop is divine.

  3. Considering that I’m a big fan of Earl Grey tea, cucumbers and waffles, this sounds quite delightful, Magpie. I love your description of it reminding you of waking up to a waffle breakfast in the countryside, on a summer’s morn when the lawn is dewy. After a thoroughly rainy, swampy couple months in Pennsylvania, we finally are enjoying some sunshine and some beautiful mornings like the one you describe.

    Have you ever tried Jo Malone Saffron Intense? It’s not as intense as it sounds – in fact, it’s wistfully exquisite. If I ever purchase a bottle of Jo Malone fragrance, that will be the one for me. Your review of Earl Grey & Cucumber sounds reminiscent of it in some regards, as I get a waffle note in the Saffron Intense.

    • Thank you, Suzanne. 🙂 I haven’t tried Saffron Intense. I make sure to try it, it sounds lovely. Now I have a few more Jo Malones I want to try, I need to plan another trip to the city. Great excuse!

      We had a totally opposite couple months to yours. Too sunny & too hot. We finally had some rain yesterday for the first time in over 8 weeks!

  4. 47C is insanely hot. ;( I was complaining about 36C on my travels but that is rotisserie temperatures all right. I own the Dark Amber and Ginger Lily in the 30ml size(!), though it is mostly gone now. I am glad you liked it too. Undina gave me a sample of Earl Grey & Cucumber and I must fetch it out and see how it goes on in the pleasant 20C temperatures we have at the moment back home. You have also alerted me to the scent with tuberose which was not on my radar at all, so thanks for that!

    • 20C? I’ve forgotten what it is like to be in that temperature. 😉 It’s not my intention but my skin is getting darker and darker every day. When I visit UK in October, I might have a great shock.
      Dark Amber & Ginger Lily is the one I’ve got my eye on now. If I can’t find the smaller size, I will certainly get a decant. I’d love to know your take on Earl Grey & Cucumber in the cooler climate. In fact, I want to try it in the different weather other than just under the sun!

  5. I also love Earl Grey & Cucumber and have written about it in my own blog; I definitely agree it has a crisp, garden-like essence.
    (Btw I adore your arty work!)

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