Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Serge Lutens Mandarine-Mandarin

I'm a serious coffee lover. Last spring we tried switching over to tea. My husband enjoyed the experience thoroughly, and I cheated by resuming my daily Starbucks habit. We recently bought a new coffeepot, and we're putting it to good use, so I no longer have to sneak around.

That said, I do enjoy tea, and I confirmed my own suspicions: green tea and white tea may be the best for my health, but if I'm going to drink tea, I want it dark and spicy. While the white teas mixed with rose petals and violet leaves are lovely to look at and smell quite nice, they are close to water in terms of taste. I much prefer a black tea with some orange and clove, something substantial for my nose and my tastebuds.

And so why all the blah blah about coffee versus tea? Well, a few weeks ago I read Colombina's review of Serge Lutens Mandarine-Mandarin, and I was so taken by it, I immediately hopped over to eBay and bought myself a 5ml decant (from the terrific Patty of Perfume Posse)--unsniffed! I've never been moved by the descriptions of tea-based fragrances. Some of them sound interesting enough, but not enough to make me want to buy. This one is another story.

The notes in Mandarine-Mandarin (filched from Ina's review on Aromascope...I'm just the last person in the world to catch on to anything, as you can tell) are: Chinese orange, nutmeg, candied mandarin, orange peel, smoky tea, rock rose, labdanum, tonka bean, and ambergris. The "official" description from Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido says Mandarine-Mandarin is comprised of "living and eternal scents of sorbet and crystallized fruits." I find this interesting because to me, this describes a chilled scent. I'm really not getting the sorbet thing, so perhaps someone can enlighten me, but the crystallized fruit...Have you seen the fruit crystallized in sugar for the holidays? In that case, yes. Hardened, preserved, slightly sweet, beautiful.

I don't mean to imply that this is a sweet scent. It's smoky, and the tea note is prominent all the way through to the end. I don't get the celery that some people pick up. The top is heavy with orange peel, and I wonder if it's the bitter part of this oily, sweet experience that evokes the celery note. It's slightly sharp, but evolves into honeyed spiced smoke. This hits the mark that Arabie missed for me by being too heavy on the nutmeg and clove. I'll have to be as stingy with this, as it's part of the [EXPLETIVE] non-export line. *sigh*

*photo from salons-shiseido.com