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Monday, January 05, 2009

LesNez Manoumalia: Perfume Review No. 2

There is such a thing as an objectively good perfume. It is the one that, whether you like it or not, you find interesting, evocative and well-constructed. But there is also no way to disregard one's subjective feelings, memories and tastes du jour. Manoumalia, the new creation for Les Nez by Sandrine Videault (pictured) is a good perfume. And I am not attracted to it at all.

Why it is good...Inspired by the South Pacific island of Wallis, it certainly seems to bring to mind the tropical atmosphere, the smell of rich soil, of sweet petals, of humidity. Blending green, rooty vetiver and languid exotic flowers (fagraea, tiare, ylang-ylang), the perfumer achieved a striking yang-yin, darkness-light sort of contrast of earthy, practically dirty and creamy-floral notes. One could also say that the earthy notes here serve to underscore the "darkness of white flowers", which I usually can't help but admire, rendering their dirtiness in a vegetable-mineral rather than animalic manner. Manoumalia is moving, original, memorable...

Why I am not attracted to it...I wish I knew. Usually drawn to a good contrast (and it is really good in Manoumalia), right now I am just...not in a mood for it. I am not in a mood for earthy or creamy-floral. To be honest, the only two scents I crave at the moment...and the names will come as a shock to those who know me...are Mûre et Musc Extrait and Shalimar. Nevertheless, I ask you, dear reader, not to mind my subjective and fickle feelings and to trust me that this is, objectively speaking, a very good perfume, and to go and try it.

Look for Manoumalia at

For another opinion, please refer to Tom's earlier review of Manoumalia.

Image source, LesNez.

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Blogger tmp00 said...

I can understand that. I think the fact that this is something that I don't really see me wearing made it a hit with me. I could wear it, which is a lot for a white flower frag. I just love the whole reboot of the Dorothy Lamour-ness of it. I do love that it inserts a bit of gleeful tropic heat into my uninsulated mid-fifties temps apartment.

That and they didn't go coconut.

12:33 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I agree, thank goodness for the lack of the coconut cliche.

7:51 AM EST  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

[breathes sigh of relief]
Sometimes when I think/write about simply not "connecting" with a perfume...or not intrigued by one that would have had me happily applying a month ago, but I don't feel I am abandoning yet...I wonder if I'm moody, inconsistent, fickle, or ignorant.

The CdG Stephen Jones is one of those "wow, this is cool and well done" fragrances that I haven't wrapped my heart around. Yet. Or never. We'll see. :)

8:42 AM EST  
Blogger March said...

Hah. I know exactly how you feel, and it underscores the emotional side of perfumery, and I would try to discuss that more except I am still picking myself up off the floor in shock at your Mure :-O

9:55 AM EST  
Blogger Ducks said...

Oh, I do want to try it. But I understand.

Shalimar! I have a co-worker that wears it and it is sublime on her. And as for the berries... yes, I am shocked, but my better half really loves that one, too.

11:42 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The idea of this sounds fabulous (darkness of white flowers/earth in contrast? oh wow!) & even more fabulous for someone stuck in the doldrums of a NYC winter ... except, I hate vetiver. So, probably not. And yes, I very much understand knowing that something is a Great perfume & also standing firmly behind, "not for me, not now".

12:22 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your description of what Manoumalia does and does not do for you makes me even more curious about it - it certainly seems like a new approach to a white flower scent.

(I love Mure et Musc so I totally get that - but Shalimar?!)

4:00 PM EST  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

Flora, Hey!

(stomps foot, mock pouts)
Don't question Shalimar...

(with a wink of an eye and a grin that allows for different strokes for different folks...)

Maybe I'll go home and lay some Shalimar over whatever remains of this morning's Nu...(Okay, now *I'm* feeling queasy... ;) )

5:27 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I actually felt exact same way about S. Johnes. I get it intellectually, but it leaves me cold.

8:44 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I knew you will be all: nyah ha ha. BUT, I must note that the extrait is very different to me than the rest of 'em mures.

8:44 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

So you are not a big fan of Shalimar yourself?

8:45 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

it is quite vetiverry, yes.
But maybe vetiver is not for you not now, but later :-)

8:46 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

it is a must sniff, for sure!

8:46 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Nu makes a great base for a lot of scents. Just sayin' :-)

8:47 PM EST  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

You know, as soon as I hit "publish," I knew that perhaps I had too quickly closed the door on layering when it came to Nu...

...but I had fresh samples, so tried something else. ;)

Come to think of it, maybe it's Nu I want under my non (or ever so lightly)-candied violet? hmmm...

9:32 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I think it would go super great with candied violets! Which ones, Bois de Violette?

9:55 PM EST  

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