Sunday, March 11, 2007

Annick Goutal Mandragore

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.

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Anonymous said...

Nice review, T! I just sniffed Songes briefly on a strip this week, and my first impression was that it was more sophisticated and ladylike than what I feel comfortable wearing, but I didn't try it on my skin. I re-read your review of that one when I got home, and after reading this one, I'm wondering if I should at least give some of them skin time! Since the house is such a favorite of yours, someday maybe we can go sniff together and you can walk me through the collection as an educated nose. :) Have a great week! L B-D

ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

Thanks Linda! Songes is definitely a heady floral that I wear in my prim and proper moods. I would love to go sniff together and I may even have some ideas of a few you would like. I love this house and I believe they're best experienced at Neiman Marcus - the SA's there are very knowledgeable. Let's make a date. You have a great week also!


Marina said...

I liked Mandragore. But I guess, since I have felt compelled to buy a bottle, I haven't liked it *that much*. I too find Goutal's creations to be very wearable with the exception of Eau de charlotte, which I just cannot take on my skin. :-(

ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

Good Morning Dear M.,

I agree. Like not love for me. It's interesting, somewhat pleasant but not a show stopper. Eau de Charlotte is not one of my faves either. Of the 28 plus fragrances though, I can wear most. Pretty great when compared to any other house I've tried! Have a fantastic day! :-)

IrisLA said...

Someone in our sniffa group bought Mandragore on Saturday. It smelled fabulous on her. I'm surprised to read that it's considered unisex. It seemed very feminine to me.

chayaruchama said...

I'm sorry it didn't work for you !
Ironically, this smells divine on the three men, and me, in our house.
A knockout.
I'm sorry !
Next time, smell the Eau de Ciel-
Your skin should LOVE it ..all the linden.
[I love it, too]

Kisses !

ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

Hi Iris,

Vic said you ladies had a wonderful time! So glad to hear it!!


ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

Chaya Ruchama,

I really think I need to try the EDP and I can only imagine how fabulous your home smells!! And I will smell Eau de Ciel next time ... possibly my next AG purchase?

Kisses to you!