Perfume Review: Chypre Rouge and Mandarine Mandarin
Review by Tom
Luten's newest, after long build-up now on our shores (thanks to Columbina for the sample). The first dab on my arm made me think of Framboise, the raspberry liqueur. Not that it actually smells like raspberries, but the boozy sweet hit reminds me of the smell of it. Almost immediately, Immortelle asserts itself, drier than the immortelle in Sables and something that smells like strong fresh thyme.
Slowly, a mossy, pepperiness joins in, but never really develops much further. I don't get the licorice notes that Columbina gets (and hates), and I don't get the promised almonds. I get a pleasant mossy chypre that is rather sweet and rather... red. I hate to say it, but I am rather indifferent to this one, leaning towards not liking it. It's sweet, it's red, it's only vaguely mossy and I find the immortelle at the same time overpowering and rather...dull. As I type this, I am checking the sky for storm clouds lest I be hit by lightning for finding a Serge Lutens creation dull, but there you are. I will give this one more of a try later on, since I've had Serge's that I have had to try several times before the "eureka!" moment, but I am not pawing at the counter at Barney's, charge card in my teeth, murmurring "gimme" over this one. If that moment happens in the interim between me typing this and it being put up, I'll let y'all know..
P.S.- the moment never came. It's nice on me, but not wonderful.
It's been a perfume weekend at Casa de Pansy (and yes, you'll have to scroll down to the beginning of my blog to get the reference: why yes, I am a post whore. And an attention junkie.). I came home Saturday evening to find (finally) my sample package from Nez a Nez, as well as a sample I'd gotten from eBay of:
I spritzed myself this am and sniffed throughout the day. It starts with an almost Christopher
Brosius-like accord: exactly like tearing into the first Satsuma of the season in late fall. You can
smell the tart juice and the bright oil of the peel. I also get something that smells a bit like orange flower, but it's just a whisper like the ghost of summer on a fall day. After a while, the Madarin/Satsuma bit starts to take a backseat to the spices (I smell clove and nutmeg) as well as some smoky tea. Labdanum is in there, adding depth and mystery. At the end there's musk, not a lot, but enough to ground this scent is a way that's just captivating. I like this one far more than Chypre Rouge, and frankly cannot fathom why this is in the exclusives and CR isn't. Perhaps that's me being selfish, but this would be a perfect late fall/early winter scent that I would happily pop for if it was at Barneys, but am not going to go the operatic friendship-straining depths (aren't y'all glad you only know me on the internet?) that I was willing to go to over MKK or Chene. While I like it miles more than Chypre Rouge, I wouldn't recommend you doing so either.
I got home to send this (yes, I do write on company time, In my job, if you're typing, you're working) and read Patty's excellent comments. She nailed what I felt about the two "Mandarine-Mandarin is everything I wanted Chypre Rouge to be, though they aren’t the same in composition..."
Mandarine-Mandarin reminds me of the holidays in a way- Satsumas in your Christmas stocking, spices, wreaths, cashmere blankies and warm hearths. Wonderfully comforting.
I may have to rethink that importuning on my friends thing. Now who do I know who's going to France?
Chypre Rouge is now available Barneys at $120, since like Daim Blonde it is a Haute Concentration. Mandarine-Mandarin is only available at the Paris salon for 100 Euros. How I wish it was the other way around.