One Thousand Scents

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Scentroulette Day 25: Serge Lutens Mandarine-Mandarin

Found it!

There are many possible reactions to a scent, but when I come across one that makes me either laugh out loud or gasp "Oh my god!, then I know I have myself a winner. Laughter was my delighted first reaction to Serge Lutens' 2006 creation Mandarine-Mandarin; it is enchanting.

Not sweet enough to be truly gourmand, the scent still has a lip-smacking quality because until it reaches the very base, it is composed entirely of foodstuffs. The top is a breezy swirl of citrus paired with, because this is a Lutens scent, the fresh rooty-spicy-vegetal scent of raw parsnip, which sounds off-putting but is a remarkably pleasant odour. The citrus soon deepens into marmalade, slightly bitter, slightly sour, paired with, because this is a Lutens scent, curry, and a persistent eddy of smoked tea. And underneath it all is warm, creamy-silky ambergris and tonka bean.

Mandarine-Mandarin is the most purely joyous Lutens I have ever smelled. It's not a childlike bright-yellow sort of joy: it's complex, with undercurrents and eddies, and maybe even tinged a little with sadness, but it is joy nonetheless.

Mandarine-Mandarin is currently available only in the Exclusive line, which means that if you don't have access to the Serge Lutens store in Paris, you probably can't have any. Unfortunately for me, I am going to be in Paris in a few weeks, and there is a small chance that I am going to Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido, and there I will be confronted with a bottle of this stuff--only €110, about $145 Canadian, well within reason--along with many other irresistible Lutens concoctions, all equally tempting because they are unavailable anywhere else, and then what am I going to do?

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