Back in August, when Superdrug announced a new affordable fragrance collection called Bloom, I couldn’t help but chuckle.

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With its sleek, clear glass bottle and black lettering, the inspiration behind the Mandarin and Lime Basil eau de toilette was blatantly obvious to anyone with even the vaguest knowledge of the perfume world.

Bloom Mandarin and Lime Basil Scented Candle

That’s right, the £5 fragrance was an obvious, ahem, homage to Jo Malone’s Lime Basil & Mandarin cologne, while the Berry Cassis and Fig scent bore more than a passing resemblance to Jo Malone’s Wild Fig & Cassis. The Bergamot & Cucumber doesn’t have such a clear counterpart, but you get the point – and there were candles too, another Jo Malone signature.

“Fragrance is one of life’s little luxuries, but when times are tough it’s hard to justify shelling out for a designer brand,” said Superdrug at the time, and it turns out they were right, because the limited edition fragrances promptly sold out.

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There are still candles in store, but can they really live up to their £45 Jo Malone twins? I managed to get my hands on a Mandarin & Lime Basil candle and a bottle of Jo Malone’s Lime Basil & Mandarin cologne to put it to the test.

Bloom Bergamot and Cucumber and Berry Cassis and Fig Scented Candles

The packaging

The packaging is very pretty, but where Jo Malone candles come with shiny metal lids and black grosgrain ribbons, Bloom candles have a black ribbon printed on the box and come in small frosted glass holders.

jo malone lime basil and mandarin candle
(Jo Malone/PA)

The scent

The scent has a real emphasis on the savouriness of the basil amplified by wood and leather notes, giving it more of a traditionally masculine feel. In fact, the mandarin and lime are almost lost, which becomes particularly apparent when you get a whiff of the Jo Malone equivalent. Lime Basil & Mandarin is really bright and zesty, with basil and thyme notes that take a back seat, but add a mellow greenness to the fragrance.


If only every day started with Lime, Basil & Mandarin #FragranceCombining

A post shared by Jo Malone London (@jomalonelondon) on

The Price

Price wise, obviously Superdrug comes out on top. Bloom candles are £10 for 130g, which works out at £7.70 per 100g, while Jo Malone candles are £45 for 200g, which equates to £22.50 per 100g.

My verdict? Honestly, the Bloom scent doesn’t hold a candle (as it were) to the Jo Malone original, but it’s still a very pleasant scent and one that works well for home fragrance. The candles are actually half-price at the moment, and as they’re limited edition, they won’t last long. If you want to snap up this £5 fragrance bargain, you’d better be quick.

Bloom Collection Mandarin & Lime Basil Scented Candle, £5 (was £10), Superdrug.