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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Perfume Review: L'Artisan Mandarine Tout Simplement

Having grown up in the secular Soviet Union, I have always considered New Year to be a bigger holiday than Christmas (I must admit, I still kind of do). In fact, our family did not celebrate Christmas at all. New Year’s Eve was the day of the year to which I looked forward the most, because that is when I got presents brought by Grandfather Frost a.k.a. my dad hastily dressed up in a rented costume in the hall. The tree, lovingly decorated by my perfectionist of a mom, was always fantabulously, minimalistically elegant. And of course, the smells of New Year’s Eve were fantastic. To conjure that aroma, one would have to combine the scent of pine, mandarins, salad Olivier (I haven’t been to a single celebration in a Russian house that did not have this ubiquitous classic), “herring under fur coat”, Chicken Tabaka, my mom’s delectable tart Napoleon and champagne. This is not necessarily a fragrance I would want to wear on my body, but I would pay any sort of money to someone who would recreate the smell of New Year holiday as a room scent or a candle for me. Christopher Brosius, are you listening? We could call it Memory of Happiness.

According to a recent survey, 78.9% of Russians cannot imagine New Year without mandarins, 76.3% must pop open a bottle of champagne right at midnight, and 75.2% have to have Olivier on their table. If I had to be content with just one of those New Year Musts, mandarins would be my smell of choice for achieving the New Year atmosphere. Last year, I reviewed Antica Farmasicta’s Vaniglia, Bourbon & Mandarino di Sicilia. This year I salute to Mandarine Tout Simplement by L’Artisan. I hope someone releases another nice mandarin scent in 2007, so that I could have a similar post next January.

The beginning of Mandarine Tout Simplement is quite simply the truest, most realistic mandarin smell I have ever encountered save for the peeling and biting into the actual fruit. It has a slight fresh, green aspect to it, as if the mandarines in question come freshly picked, with a couple of leaves still attached to them. Unfortunately, on my skin, this mouthwatering mandarin-ness lasts 10 minutes at most. After that, the scent, although still mandarin-like, acquires a dry, woody note and generally becomes “paler” and rather less exciting. Sprayed on my hair, however, the mandarin part of the fragrance lasts a very long time and the scent itself lingers all day long. This is not a complex, deep creation, nor does it pretend to be. It is incredibly enjoyable, a happy, bright delight of a scent. I never want to be without it, especially during the Holiday Season.

Mandarine Tout Simplement is available at BeautyCafe, $125.00 for the whopping 250ml.

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Blogger tmp00 said...

Salade Olivier! During my parents groups Russian love affair this was a staple for winter parties; I'd love to try to re-do it, but where would I find brined cucumbers? God it was delicious- us kids would clamor for a batch just for us.

Of course, Christmas in New England just wasn't Christmas without a couple of Mandarins (we called them Satsumas) in the stocking. I still buy a small case every December- I'm still eating through mine!

I love the review, but I have to admit I love the recipes even more: had you posted this on Sunday I might have had to try the "herring under fur coat" for New Years...

11:17 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Wow! You know Olivier! Listen, any gherkins would do, kosher style, Polish, Russian, whatever your local supermarket stocks. Herring under fur coat is probably my most favorite "salad" in the whole world, very easy to do too, but it would be better if you could find herring without any sauce. I couldn't find such a thing here and used herring in wine sauce, and that "foreign" undertaste it bothered me a little.

11:21 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I think you might have to substitute well soaked and drained salt cod or send away to Philadelphia for the real deal. We have a large Russian population in West Hollywood, so I may just scope out some of the shops there, if I find some I'll let you know.

American herring in wine sauce is wonderful in itself but would totally upset the balance of that dish- the beets would get a metallic taste and the eggs would taste off.

My best friend and I cater sort of for fun and sort of semi-professionally. I am totally stealing Olivier for our next 'do: in butter lettuce cups with some of her husbands special Vodka (boutique made in Monrovia, CA with rosemary and no doubt in a bathtub..)

Hooookay, de-hijacking the blog and back to the perfume.

11:32 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is Olivier salad the thing I know as *French salad*? with potatoes, carrot, peas and cucumbers, all chopped to small pieces and with an egg-mayonnaise-oil-vinegar dressing? if it is, it was (and still is) a part of my mum's festive repertoire, too ;).
M, have you already tried Il Profvmo's "Mandarine"? lovely, juicy tangerine scent, very ripe and true to its name and actually quite long lasting for a fresh citrus. if there's no new mandarin release until next January, you might review this one :).
hope you feel better with your cold! (((hug)))

1:39 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Must try this spraying-in-the-hair thing. I love the opening of this, but it doesn't last on my skin. Must try the Olivier, too--it sounds great!

7:33 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely description of your memories of the New Year festivities! I hope your cold is better.

Seeing how I avoid most citrus, I doubt I'll love this scent, but I do love real mandarins!

8:00 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I had no idea you cater and cook, I am so impressed!!
I think the Olivier will prove popular. I've cooked for on-Russians many times, and everyone seemed to love it (not so much the herring thing :-)) It's basically just a more complex potato salad, really.

8:30 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Does your mom also add meet of some sort there? But anyway, it does sound like the same thing. In Russia we call it Winter Salad. My DH calls it Russian Salad :-)
I am totally going to get some of Il Profumo's Mandarin, thank you for the info!

8:31 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Olivier! Such memories. But I could never do herring. Shudder! We had it constantly since both of my parents were addicted to it. :-( But chicken tabaka I did love before I went vegetarian at 16. And, sacrilegious as this may sound, I've never loved eating any citrus fruits, although I do like smelling them in a bowl. MTS is nice on me, but not essential. Evergreen scents like Chene and Mazzolari are the ones I mainline at this time of year.

8:31 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Sprayed in the hair, it really lasts all day long. Actually most fleeting things do, even the elusive Pierre de Lune. :-)

8:32 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, I am already feeling better! Here is another little salad thing that I absolutely love and forgot to mention: cheese salad, which is basically grated (cheddar) cheese, lots of grated garlic and mayo. And that's it. Great stuff, I promise, wonderful on little canapes :-)

8:34 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

This is such a gentle scent, and it has none of the bracing quolity of many citruses, I thnk you might even like it.

8:36 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

My DH shudders too. I told him If You Love Me You Will Eat Some this year, so he had a spoonful, poor thing :-) But one Russian he is scared of the most is kholodets. Tee hee.
Yes, definitely evergreen scents too! Instant New year.

8:38 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

OMG. Kholodets. I can't even deal w/ the visual, much less the concept of eating it (even when made w/ just plain meat and not pig's feet). As adventurous as I may be in other things, I have always been a total wimp when it comes to food. I swear that weekly meals of tongue contributed significantly to my becoming a vegetarian so early in life.
Mr. C deserves major praise for taking a spoonful. I'm afraid that only the promise of getting me the coffret could have made me eat something like the scary green wiggly salad DH's family serves. Yes, I can be bought. :-)

9:10 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Yum, kholodets, yum, tongue!!! So would you eat a spoonful of kholodets for Le Coffret? :-D I am actualy extremely picky when it comes to food, especially meat. I cannot stand when meat has...things in it, like, chewy beets, you know what I mean?...ugh...but somehow that stuff never bothered me in kholodets :-)

9:14 AM EST  
Blogger priscilla said...

Good morning! I love this one for summer. The only problem I had with it was the lasting power, but I didn't think of spraying it in the hair (most likely because I only have a dinky sample vial). Have a lovely day!

10:22 AM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

Um, I thought everyone sprayed in their hair? I'm feeling absurdly pleased with myself right now - it always lasts longer on the hair (like the clothes.) Of course, "they" tell you not to do it, because of the drying alcohol -- but what do They know? You're not soaking in it... of course I wash my hair maybe twice a week, so it always smells like some sort of perfume ...

The opening on MM is amazing. I like orange frags a lot, and it's obviously very, very difficult to do a good one.

10:25 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

This one, Ananas Fizz and Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, are three favorites of mine that don't last. But the thing with the hair works wonders. :-)

10:40 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

"They" are obviously the over-cautious people afraid of every tiny little thing. Life is dangerous. Fatal, really. *defiantly douses hair in MTS* :-)

10:43 AM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Too short lived for me (the fun part, anyway) and I get sooo much more lasting power out of either Ananas Fizz or Sur Le Nil. I join you in wishing for another mandarin scent in 2007!

11:01 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Yeah! And lets hope this one lasts :-)

11:12 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me, the name of the salad is "Russian Salad", but I don't use eggs:). I agree with you, it is the truest mandarin scent, unfortunately too simple on my skin:(

11:57 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

That's what my husband calls it too :-)

12:10 PM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

M -- duh, what I meant to write was MTS -- I have Mandarine Mandarin on the brain sometimes. Also Fleurs d'Oranger AND Fleur d'Oranger... and some others... Theorema ... is there anything happier than an orange smell?

2:54 PM EST  
Blogger Caitlin Shortell said...

Happy New Year! Mandarins have a touch of the scent of snow in their juice, in my humble opinion.

3:17 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Nothing happier than on orange or a mandarine smell for me either.

4:20 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Ah, so beautifully said!

4:20 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I did not attemtp Tabaka this is never quite as good as my mom's :-) Nothing is ever as good as mom's food, is it? :-)

4:21 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salade Olivier (minus the chicken) is surprisingly popular as a tapa in Spain, but even more so with EVERYTHING in Portugal. How did that happen, I wonder...

I'll have to try the herring - it's one of the cheapest fish to buy at the fishmonger's here.

I love the smell of mandarins (which I think are different to satsumas - the latter have a looser skin and don't have the same fruitiness to them - more of the standard zesty quality of a sweet orange). But I could be wrong...

Glad you're heading into the world of better.

5:54 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am sure Olivier is the brainchild of soem French chef, Olivier :-)
I hope you are feeling better too!

8:40 AM EST  
Blogger Gaia said...

I miss my mom's tart Napoleon. It did taste like happiness. Though the salad- this I could do without (we called it "Russian salad" at our house, though my mom is from Lithuania, and it tasted way too foreign to me).

I wasn't excited by this offering from L'Artisan. It was nice, but didn't take me places and was gone from my skin way too soon.

10:12 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Yeah...a slice of Napoleon is a slice of heaven *sigh*

10:29 AM EST  

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