mercredi 26 août 2009

Annick Goutal Mandragore Pourpre: Motion in the Potion




Mandragore is an oddball little scent: a sparkling bergamot rendered both candy-like and vaguely un-edible by the adjunction of star anise, black pepper, ginger and mint. A poison – or potion – disguised as a sweet. The effect is that of chewing on a citrus rind and burning your tongue with the pungent, fragrant oil. Perhaps that’s the idea behind giving such a perky fragrance the name of a fetid-smelling plant, known for its toxicity as well as its hallucinogenic, aphrodisiac and magical properties (fecundated at the foot of the scaffold by a hanged man’s sperm and extracted at the full moon, the man-shaped mandrake root could turn into a homunculus who would bring its owner great wealth and numerous offspring.)

Camille Goutal has said that the idea behind the name had a lot more to do with reading Harry Potter than with black magic. But I suspect someone at Goutal may have had a sly sense of humour when they presented Mandragore in a purple bottle, and added “pourpre” as an adjective to the name of the new flanker: “Mandrake Root” is a song from Deep Purple’s debut album in 1968. Not necessarily a fragrant association, but there you go: this is the Wikipedia school of blogging. Though I kind of like the idea of a Deep Purple perfume.

Mandragore Pourpre is to Mandragore what Les Nuits d’Hadrien are to L’Eau d’Hadrien: an orientalized version of a citrus splash, with a deeper, patchouli-amber base.

Mandragore’s original notes are bolstered by the addition of new, contiguous but more tenacious notes. The aromatic facet of bergamot is intensified and prolonged by rosemary and myrtle, which gives Mandragore Pourpre an almost medicinal opening. Incense adds a cool, burnt note to the black pepper. With its anise-like roundness, heliotropin prolongs and diffuses the star-anise note, while geranium intensifies its coolness feel. Amber deepens and softens the ginger.

While it is longer-lasting than the famously fleeting Mandrogore, Mandragore Pourpre still doesn’t hang around for more than three or four hours, but in its initial stages, it’s got quite a bit of throw. And though it’s a flanker, it’s still very much its own strange little potion of a fragrance – the offspring of Annick Menardo’s Lolita Lempicka and Germaine Cellier’s Monsieur Balmain, conceived under a full moon by Isabelle Doyen. Now that’s quite a coven of witches, isn’t it?


Image: Mandrake the Magician bubblegum card.

16 commentaires:

  1. Wow, I'm impressed with the confluence of references here. Makes me want to smell this. Are you wearing it? Did you find it in Canada?

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  2. "And though it’s a flanker, it’s still very much its own strange little potion of a fragrance – the offspring of Annick Menardo’s Lolita Lempicka and Germaine Cellier’s Monsieur Balmain, conceived under a full moon by Isabelle Doyen"

    Ooh I thought your article was delicious. I wasn't taken with 'Mandragore' but my nose depressingly, continues to demand 'pretty' despite my best intellectual efforts, and M was a bit too odd for my tastes. I will try it though.

    Did you see the Mandrake in 'Pan's Labyrinth'? Very spooky.

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  3. Cait, I actually got a sample months ago when Isabelle finished working on it, but I believe it's coming out quite soon.
    I've been wearing for reviewing purposes but I never wear anise/heliotropin scents for myself: they just don't feel "me". And that includes L'Heure Bleue.

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  4. Mimi, that's perfectly understandle. I had mentioned Pan's labyrinth in a previous version of the review but there were so many references already I felt I needed to get to the scent itself more quickly! Very spooky indeed.

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  5. Well, baby-
    If you were thinking 'Pan's Labyrinth'...
    I'm IN !

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  6. Chaya, this could be the potion the mother drinks to get through her pregnancy... But with a happier ending where everyone survives except the Sergi Lopez character!

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  7. The original name was Mandrake (like the cartoon character) but it was changed to this Madragore Pourpre. I like the herbal character opposed to the woody base and indeed it has a lot of power almost like a potion. I think I reviewed the perfume after I ended the small bottle. It has a very strong character (like azzaro pour homme had in his days but it is a different scent) and something that I call mineral. To me that small mineral effect from Terre d'Hermes is magnified here.
    I received many many compliments on this strange creation, though I'm not crazy about it (it makes me feel too tough). It has the power of a blade (viking maybe:)

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  8. Octavian, I think that mineral touch comes from the incense/pepper combination, which gives it a faintly flinty smell.
    Mandrake: that's why I chose the image! That was the name on the tester vial.
    I don't think I would wear Mandragore Pourpre. I thought it was the anisic facets (which I don't do) but you could be right about its toughness -- toughness seems to be a new current in the Annick Goutals. I find it in Matin d'Orage as well, actually.

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  9. WANT. Right now. That is all. Off to bug Patty and to see if it's on the Perfumed Court.

    PS Okay I am one of five people on whom the original lasts all day. I adore Mandragore, it's my "Paris" scent since that's where I bought it! A splurge on a cheer-up trip one bleak February a few years ago...

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  12. March, actually, this post was especially written for you! I think MP isn't on sale yet in France but I've heard it was already out in London... This should see you through for 24 hours then!

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  13. indeed i confirm that MP is available at liberty's in London (I made a one day trip just over there two weeks ago:)
    -Alex

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  14. Just found this. Your narrative resonates in many ways. Worn this since I found it (Los Angeles) 2005. Definitely attractive to men who like a woman who is appreciative of mystery but not hidden in uncertainty. Vivid, significant, communicative. If he doesn't understand the fragrance, he won't understand the woman. He won't be bored, he won't be ignored and the wearer is not "info-tainment."

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  15. DR, that's a lovely way of putting it. Who wants to be info-tainment indeed?

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