Perfume Review: Serge Lutens Mandarine Mandarin
I believe that I am the last person in the perfume universe to try Mandarine Mandarin. Two decants got lost in the post and I thought the scent was jinxed, but a generous friend lifted the curse by successfully sending me a sample. And here I am, all aflutter, testing the latest Serge Lutens creation…It is dark, sweet, and as complex and mysterious as I like Lutens’s scents to be.
Mandarine Mandarin goes on my skin through three very distinctive stages. It starts with a sweet citrusy-floral accord. I smell honeyed orange blossom, over-ripe mandarins and oranges. A slightly green and softly smoky/spicy note is woven into the citrusy sweetness preventing it from being completely jam-like. As time passes, the citrus accord subsides and the green-spicy aspect grows stronger, and we are suddenly presented with stage two, which, although as sweet as the first one, is much darker, much more substantial, much stranger than only slightly quirky top notes. Here I smell the remains of orange blossom, strongly brewed Lapsang Souchong, a rose that is as black as the night, lots and lots of smoky honey and an ingredient that seems to be a hybrid of celery and immortelle. It has the bright, crunchy greenness of the former and the spicy meatiness of the latter. It is odd, it is somewhat out of place in a blend called Mandarine Mandarin, and it makes the scent unmistakably and very appealingly “Lutens”. This dark-sweet-spicy-meaty stage lasts for a long time, perhaps 5-6 hours at least, before evolving into the drydown that is much more subtle then the rest of the scent. This final stage witnesses the return of citruses, it has a slight herbal undertone and a general cologne-like feel.
Mandarine Mandarin is to me Lutens at his best. It is a strangely-beautiful perfume with rich “texture”, depth and complexity. I like it a lot. It isn’t one of my most beloved Lutens perfumes (although it is too early to tell, his scents have a tendency to sneak up on me and suddenly madly infatuate me) and I am not sure yet if I want to jump through the hoops trying to obtain the bell jar…but I cannot help but admire it’s tasteful, sophisticated opulence.
Mandarine Mandarin is part of the exclusive line and can only be purchased at Les Salons du Palais Royal in Paris, €100.00 for 2.5oz.
The image is from salons-shiseido.com.