Created by Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen and inspired by the mandrake plant, Mandragore was launched as a unisex fragrance by Annick Goutal in 2005. I can honestly say I believe Annick Goutal to be my favorite perfume house. I have not tried one scent I find utterly un-wearable, including the heady frangipani-laden Songes, the happy ode to peonies Quel Amour and the mysterious citrus combination Les Nuits d’Hadrien. Therefore I anticipated finding another love in Mandragore, described as “rare and subtly vibrant” on Annick Goutal's website.
I must preface by saying that I tried this fragrance in the EDT formulation. I have found Annick Goutal’s fragrances to be best enjoyed in the EDP, due to their use of natural ingredients. Therefore, my review may be somewhat uh … watered down by that fact. The mandrake plant itself has inspired legends, spells, witchcraft and even a play by the re-known womanizer and Florentine politician, Machiavelli. The bottle design evokes mystery, masculinity and power. Combined, these facts certainly promise a bold, spicy, mysterious scent.
The top notes burst forth quickly, of which bergamot stands out for the first full minute. Eventually the star anise and ginger become detectable but very faintly so. They never quite blend to create a distinct aura but rather intrigue the wearer enough to wait for the heart and dry down. The second phase is a minty, tea-like aroma, unexpected and on my skin smelling slightly similar to burnt rubber; certainly not an ambiance I aspire to unless I’m playing the part of Cha Cha in Grease. At the base the powdery mandrake appears with a tiny bit of ginger. To me, this is the most interesting aspect of the fragrance but it requires continual sniffing of my wrist. Definitely not the bold, brazen and masculine blend I anticipated.
Overall, Mandragore is pleasant, more feminine than I expected, unique and interesting. I can still adhere to my first statement regarding Annick Goutal’s scents. I do not find Mandragore un-wearable at all. It is charming, in a weird sort of way, like the mandrake itself. If you like your scents very close to the skin, this one is for you. And despite the murky, mysterious bottle design, Mandragore will be enjoyed most by those wanting a transparent scent during warm summer days.
Annick Goutal Mandragore is available at Saks, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and other distinct deparment stores. It is also widely available online. 3.4 oz. EDT retails for $99.
Image sources: nordstrom.com, m-w.com