Mandragore (French for mandrake) is one of my favorite summer scents. This perfume is fresh, spicy, and woodsy. This scent is based on the mystical/mythical mandrake, a howling killer, some serious symbolism and folklore here. The “idea” alone of this fragrance could hook me, luckily the fragrance did too.
At first the fragrance is very citrusy thanks to a heavy hand of bergamot. Bergamot is a note used in most fragrances and is “generic” at times. It isn’t in this blend. It’s zesty, bubbly, green, and fresh. In the beginning, it is very refreshing. It’s bergamot with muddled, fresh mint. It smells like it just came out of my herb garden. It’s very herbaceous. The top notes remain refreshing even though the rush of mint quickly fades. Bergamot still remains but it is slightly spicier than before. It is spicy in a foody, tea way with ginger and bergamot, reminding me of a refreshing brewed elixir. Now let’s greet the black pepper! Mandragore gets spicier while remaining fresh and green. This actually reminds me of the herb chervil. It’s “green” anise. The dry-down is beautiful but disconnected. It’s rich, woodsy with a floral aspect. There is a faint green violet and iris. Very, very faint mingling with all of the roots. Mandragore is an eau de cologne. Very light wearing and my skin castes as smell that eats Mandragore immediately.
It’s a nice fragrance based on a “heavy” plant associated with fertility, sex, magics, and death. When the Old Testament speaks of you and when William S. Burroughs and Thomas Pychon mention you and when Iron Maiden and Danzing sing of you, then you’re a culturally significant plant, embedded deeply in our folklore. And now it has a fragrance. Does Mandragore fit with what I would expect from a bewitching mandrake root? Not in my mind, but oh, well. FYI – I sniffed the grounded, powdered root at an apothecary. It smells like pale dirt. It doesn’t smell good at all even by my dirty standards.
Notes listed include: bergamot, star anise, peppermint, sage, ginger, black pepper, boxwood, mandrake powder, ciste roots, and labdanum. PERFUMER – Isabelle Doyen
Give Mandragore a try if you a want a fresh, spicy citrus or if you like like herbal scents like Malle Geranium pour Monsieur, Diptyque L’eau de Hesperides, Heeley Menthe Fraiche, and/or DSH Perfumes Menthe Moderne. Mandragore is easily unisex.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – I own a bottle because it is easy to wear in warm weather (bought it for 50% off at Fragrancenet). It is one of my favorite summer scents. I also respect this fragrance because it is light and herbaceous and isn’t “noir” like one would expect from something laced with mandrake. In a strange way, I find this edgy. But, there is no mystery. I think it is quite unexpected to take the mandrake and make it an eau de cologne. But, in all honesty, I’m still waiting for the perfect “mandrake” perfume.
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