Mandarine Mandarin was launched by Serge Lutens last year; like most of the line, it was created in collaboration with perfumer Christopher Sheldrake. The notes include Chinese orange, nutmeg, clove, candied mandarin, orange peel, smoky tea, rock rose, labdanum, tonka bean, musk and ambergris.
Out of the last handful of releases from Serge Lutens, there has only been one I've been really dying to own, and that is the much maligned Miel de Bois. The rest (Borneo 1834, Cedre, Gris Clair, Chypre Rouge), well, it isn't that I didn't like them (ok, I didn't like Borneo at all) so much as that I didn't adore them enough to want a bottle. They have all been interesting, mind you, I just don't adore any of them.
Mandarine Mandarin, happily or not (my wallet is certainly pleased) falls into that category: nicely done, very much enjoyed trying it, don't need a bottle. It opens on citrus, and for a few minutes it is exuberant and juicy and summery. Then, the citrus thickens into something richer, more honeyed (think orange candy or crystallized peel, not fresh juice) and we move into a rich ambery heart of spiced florals with a wisp of smoky tea running through the center. It is more murky than bright, more dry than sweet, and while it is more of a fall/winter fragrance than the opening might suggest, it is not at all heavy or hard to wear.
It is a lovely scent that simply doesn't speak to me at all. I had so little interest in it either way when I first tried it that I set my sample aside; this is now my fourth or fifth try and still: nothing. So that is that. Do comment if you love it, I am sure I have not done it any kind of justice.
Mandarine Mandarin is in the exclusive line; the bottle shown was a limited edition version of the classic bell jar, and I've no idea if it is still available. I want one very much, just please fill it with Iris Silver Mist.
For buying information, see the listing for Serge Lutens under Perfume Houses.
Tomorrow: Serge Lutens Rousse.