Perfume Review- Serge Lutens Mandarine Mandarin

Rare, limited edition, Dragon Bell Jar for Mandarine Mandarin. Source: Serge Lutens Facebook.

Rare, limited edition, Dragon Bell Jar for Mandarine Mandarin.

I thought I’d start my Serge Lutens series of reviews with a perfume that captured my imagination a long time ago. Mandarine Mandarin intrigued me not only because I adore orange notes but, to be perfectly honest, for an incredibly shallow reason: the bottle. I saw a photo of the special, limited-edition, now impossible to find, “Dragon” bell jar for Mandarine Mandarin on Serge Lutens’ Facebook page, and that was that. I rarely care a lot about packaging, but that bottle had my jaw on the ground. Even though Mandarine Mandarin now comes in the ordinary, plain, glass bell jar form, I decided that I had to try it. The fact that the perfume seems to be a call-back to Imperial China (one of my favorite areas of history), and the fact that no-one ever talks about it simply cemented the deal.    

Mandarine Mandarin was released in 2006, and is the creation of the always brilliant Christopher Sheldrake. Although it is one of the Paris Exclusives in a bell jar form, it can actually be purchased outside of France, either from Barney’s New York or directly from Serge Lutens’ international and U.S. websites, though it’s always at a big mark-up if you are buying outside of France.

The regular bell jar version of Mandarine Mandarin and what is available today for purchase.

The regular bell jar version of Mandarine Mandarin and what is available today for purchase.

The Lutens website gives a brief synopsis which, in my opinion, creepily calls to mind chicken feet and claws:

Tiny feet and long nails may be things of the past, but the odor of peeled mandarin oranges is forever.

Suddenly the fragrance comes back to me. As a child, I would place the peel on a hot burner of the stove, rendering a scent I’ll never forget.

As always Uncle Serge refuses to give the notes for the fragrance, so we must engage in the typical guessing game. According to Bois de JasminFragrantica, and elsewhere, the most commonly accepted list of ingredients seems to be:

Chinese orange, nutmeg, candied mandarin, orange peel,  smoky Lapsang tea, labdanum, tonka bean, ambergris, and rose hip.

There is no way that list is complete, in my opinion, especially given one note that was a big part of the first two hours of the fragrance and which left me blinking in slack-jawed disbelief before making me laugh with confused amazement.  

Source: broadsheet.com.au and the smittenkitchen.com, via flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/smitten/2231161820/

Source: broadsheet.com.au and the smittenkitchen.com, via flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/smitten/2231161820/

Mandarine Mandarin opens on my skin with candied orange peel, the blackest of smoky Lapsang Souchong, sweet orange blossom florals turned spicy, and cold, green notes. Then, within seconds, comes the shock. Celery. Yes, I said celery. To be precise: badly overcooked, highly concentrated, boiled celery. It’s not just a tinge, it’s not just a subtle, background flicker, and it’s not fresh, light, bright, green celery. It’s full-on, hardcore, intense, overcooked, yellowing celery. I can’t figure out what is the cause of it. Angelica often has a strong undertone of celery, but I’ve never smelled angelica quite like this. This note seems different, and much like actual, cooked celery purée. But would Serge Lutens and Christopher Sheldrake use celery concentrate in what is supposed to be a floral-oriental perfume?? On second thought, never mind. It’s Lutens and Sheldrake; they probably would do so with a grin….

Source: Kootation.

Source: Kootation.

Making matters even more disconcerting here, the boiled celery is mixed with an equally potent orange blossom note that is sweet, almost syrupy, and intensely white floral in nature. It’s as if cooked vegetables have been mixed with Fracas or Mademoiselle Piguet. Lurking close-by is candied, lightly caramelized orange, studded with spices. The whole thing is beautifully smoked with the most entrancing black tea that feels as if you’ve taken bags of Lapsang Souchong and tossed it in a fireplace. When I can get my mind off the boiled celery, I truly enjoy the other accords, but… damn. That celery. Even stranger is how spiced the vegetable is; I find myself waiting for a curry note to go with it. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen (though it did for someone on Fragrantica), but, still, there is no doubt that the food aspect is hard to shake. 

Orange blossoms via the Pattersonfoundation.org.

Orange blossoms via the Pattersonfoundation.org.

The orange note in Mandarine Mandarin is interesting. Whatever the notes may say, my nose doesn’t detect a hell of a lot of the actual mandarin or orange fruit. The note isn’t juicy, pulpy, zesty, zingy or fresh; it’s nothing like either orange juice, or the pulpy fruit itself. Instead, it’s a mixture of the white flowers of the tree, with a dash of the slightly bitter oil of grated orange peel, and a whopping amount of candied oranges highly spiced with bitter nutmeg and spicy star anise. There is, in fact, a rather aniseed nuance to the odd, green element in Mandarine Mandarin, and it evokes tarragon at times. I find myself completely bewildered by the odd combinations, while somewhat in awe of Christopher Sheldrake’s brilliantly original madness. You can never say that Serge Lutens fragrances are boring, that’s for sure!

"Celery Forest." Photo: Carl Warner. Source: npr.com

“Celery Forest.” Photo: Carl Warner. Source: npr.com

Mandarine Mandarin doesn’t change much in its opening stage. Thirty minutes in, the boiled vegetable, spiced fruit, and heady, indolic, white florals continue their mad march, seemingly gaining in potency and strength. The orange visuals — the way they so forcefully and militantly march, and the slowly growing amber aura around them — make me think of the famous Terracotta Warriors that I saw in China. I think it’s because of the amber base which, by the end of the first hour, is increasingly prominent. It becomes sweeter, darker, denser, taking on a sticky, burnt caramel nuance. At this point, I’m simply laughing. I mean, what are you supposed to do when you’re radiating boiled celery, clove-nutmeg-infused oranges, burnt orange peels, smoky Lapsang Souchong black tea, Fracas-like white florals, and burnt caramel?! 

Tarry Lapsang Souchong smoked tea. Source: theteamakers.co.uk

Tarry Lapsang Souchong smoked tea. Source: theteamakers.co.uk

Thankfully, Mandarine Mandarin eventually starts to lose some of its forcefulness, and softens. At the 90-minute mark (but most definitely at the two-hour one), the perfume becomes a smoother, more blended, warmer, gentler mélange of orange, black, and green notes that aren’t as individually distinct as they were before. The smokiness is less sharp, though the black tea impression remains strong, and the sticky caramel feels merely like abstract, syrupy, burnt balsam resins. Interestingly, the base note never reflects the usual facets of labdanum. It’s not leathery, honeyed or nutty. Instead, there is a slightly sharp muskiness that — if you really push it — may possibly feel a little animalistic. If you really strain yourself, then, perhaps, it borders almost on leathery, but not quite. Like everything else, however, it is covered by orange blossoms and boiled celery. (I’m having a really hard time writing all of this with a straight face.)

Source: Thekatsgarden.com

Source: Thekatsgarden.com

Something about the vegetal-orange-blossom combination really reminds me of an all-natural bug spray I have that is made of geranium oil, cedar oil, clove oil, tarragon, and other green herbs. Mandarine Mandarin has the same sort of powerful, floral, herbal, green sharpness. Moreover, as time passes, the perfume’s celery note gradually fades away to be replaced by something that smells very much like geranium’s green, fuzzy leaves.

Burnt citrus peels. Source: Tallcloverfarm.com (Website link embedded within photo.)

Burnt citrus peels. Source: Tallcloverfarm.com (Website link embedded within photo.)

By the middle of the third hour, Mandarine Mandarin’s primary bouquet is of slightly burnt, caramelized, candied oranges and sweet orange blossoms, followed closely by smoky Lapsang Souchong black tea, and that strange green note that now smells of geranium leaves. Underneath lurks the slightly musky, burnt labdanum caramel, burnt orange peel, cloves, the merest hint of bitter nutmeg, and some abstract amber element.

Source: Clarissahulse.com

Source: Clarissahulse.com

As time ticks on, Mandarine Mandarin becomes increasingly nebulous and abstract in form. All the notes have taken on a blurry aspect in the drydown, fading in definition and distinctness, and melting into one overall bouquet that is primarily dominated by amber and a floral orange with flickers of black smokiness. The perfume started being closer to the skin around the third hour, but it becomes more so with every passing hour. Though the drydown has begun, it takes a lot more hours for Mandarine Mandarin to fade away as a simple, amorphous, sweet orange note with some muskiness.

All in all, the perfume lasted 8.75 hours on my perfume-consuming skin, though I was in cool temperatures for much of it and that may have made a small difference and extended its life. The moderate sillage was interesting because Mandarine Mandarin isn’t a perfume that you can smell across the room. Yet, within its small cloud, it is very intense, especially at first. After the first hour, it hovered about 3 inches above the skin, still forceful up close, until the start of the third hour when it suddenly softened and dropped. Nonetheless, the fragrance is easily detected for another few hours if you bring your arm somewhat close to your nose.

One of the reasons why I had wanted to try Mandarine Mandarin is because you never hear about it. I couldn’t understand that, but I knew it couldn’t be an issue of exclusivity or access. After all, people talk endlessly about other Lutens’ bell jar fragrances from Sarrasins to Fumerie Turque, La Myrrhe, Iris Silver Mist, and so on. Now, however, I get it. Mandarine Mandarin is just too weird, especially in light of the cost. Out of 15 reviews on Fragrantica, nine of them mention celery and/or vegetables. Nine! One commentator summed things up succinctly as: “All I can smell is mandarin celery, not for me.” 

With one exception, those few blog reviews of Mandarine Mandarin that are out there never mention the celery. Bois de Jasmin doesn’t, and neither does The Perfume Posse or The Perfume Shrine, though the latter does make some reference to rotting fruit (and death). To me, most reviews seem ambivalent and somewhat unenthused in their response to the scent, as if they just want to get the discussion over with. To be fair, the Perfume Posse is more positive, writing:

When first applied, I get a lot of the orange notes, but there is nothing sweet or citrusy about this after it’s been on a bit.  The orange becomes a whisper, hidden behind the darker elements in this perfume.  It’s like being in a dark house that is warm and comforting, with a little cold breeze and one ray of sunshine coming through the window and hitting the floor.

As much as I did NOT like Chypre Rouge, it just went bad on me, Mandarine-Mandarin is everything I wanted Chypre Rouge to be, though they aren’t the same in composition — just the feel of MM is what I wanted CR to be.  It’s at once bitter and a little sweet, dark and a little light.  Definitely unisex, complex and constantly changing while retaining the tension between the notes.  It’s a great composition, shadows of notes constantly shifting in contrast to each other.

When I went by my husband after spritzing on a cloud of this, he really liked it, and he doesn’t notice many perfumes I wear.

A truly appreciative review of Mandarine Mandarin comes from Perfume-Smellin’ Things which is the only blog to actually mention the cooked celery aspect — and still like the perfume:

It is dark, sweet, and as complex and mysterious as I like Lutens’s scents to be.

Mandarine Mandarin goes on my skin through three very distinctive stages. It starts with a sweet citrusy-floral accord. I smell honeyed orange blossom, over-ripe mandarins and oranges. A slightly green and softly smoky/spicy note is woven into the citrusy sweetness preventing it from being completely jam-like. As time passes, the citrus accord subsides and the green-spicy aspect grows stronger, and we are suddenly presented with stage two, which, although as sweet as the first one, is much darker, much more substantial, much stranger than only slightly quirky top notes. Here I smell the remains of orange blossom, strongly brewed Lapsang Souchong, a rose that is as black as the night, lots and lots of smoky honey and an ingredient that seems to be a hybrid of celery and immortelle. It has the bright, crunchy greenness of the former and the spicy meatiness of the latter. It is odd, it is somewhat out of place in a blend called Mandarine Mandarin, and it makes the scent unmistakably and very appealingly “Lutens”. This dark-sweet-spicy-meaty stage lasts for a long time, perhaps 5-6 hours at least, before evolving into the drydown that is much more subtle then the rest of the scent. This final stage witnesses the return of citruses, it has a slight herbal undertone and a general cologne-like feel.

Mandarine Mandarin is to me Lutens at his best. It is a strangely-beautiful perfume with rich “texture”, depth and complexity. I like it a lot. It isn’t one of my most beloved Lutens perfumes (although it is too early to tell, his scents have a tendency to sneak up on me and suddenly madly infatuate me) and I am not sure yet if I want to jump through the hoops trying to obtain the bell jar…but I cannot help but admire it’s tasteful, sophisticated opulence.

I adore everything about Serge Lutens, from his extremely well-read intellectualism, to the complexity of his fragrances with the genius who is Christopher Sheldrake. I’m in awe of their originality and sophistication, of how they’re never boring, and of how they try to stretch the bounds of perfumery. I’m fascinated by how they often deconstruct an ingredient, then reassemble the pieces back together as something wholly different, as in the case of the tuberose flower in Tubereuse Criminelle. They’re both mad scientists in the olfactory field, but what is perhaps the best part of all is how their perfumes often seem more like living things. They morph, breathe, and change like sinewy creatures in the most sophisticated of skins.

But I can’t wear Mandarine Mandarin. No matter how much I love orange notes, orange blossoms, labdanum, resins, and the uncommon addition of Lapsang Souchong, I simply can’t do it. No way. Between the super intense, cooked celery, and the bug-spray feel of the floral-geranium-clove accord during the middle stage, I found the scent simply too difficult to pull off in any practical sense, let alone to wear on a daily or weekly basis. Most of my regular readers know how rarely I agree with Luca Turin but, in this case, he’s completely right. In Perfumes: the A-Z Guide, his short, two-star review of Mandarine Mandarin essentially boils down to this summation: “Deeply strange, quite intense, and not particularly wearable.”

Serge Lutens' Facebook photo of the rare "Dragon" jar.

Serge Lutens’ Facebook photo of the rare “Dragon” jar.

If I could get my hands on that rare, limited-edition “Dragon” bell jar of Mandarine Mandarin — and if I could hypothetically afford what is undoubtedly now an outrageously expensive collector’s item — I’d buy it. But to fill it with something else. I really don’t want to smell of “vegetable soup,” “mandarin celery,” “straight celery,” or even “background” celery mixed with burnt orange peel and bitter nutmeg.

Yet, despite all that, if you’re really intrigued by the notes in the perfume, I’d encourage you to get a sample. After all, there have been some who had success with the fragrance, so maybe you have the skin chemistry to pull it off. At the very least, you’ll have quite a stimulating, original, crazy ride!

 

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Mandarine Mandarin is an eau de parfum that is part of the Serge Lutens “European Exclusives” line, which means it is available only in the larger 2.5 oz/75 ml Bell Jar size. It retails for $290 or €130 for a 75 ml/2.5 oz bottle. You can buy Mandarine Mandarin directly from the U.S. Serge Lutens website or from the International one.
In the U.S.: you can also find Mandarine Mandarin sold exclusively at Barney’s New York store. The website has a notice stating: “This product is only available for purchase at the Madison Avenue Store located at 660 Madison Avenue. The phone number for the Serge Lutens Boutique is (212) 833-2425.”
Personal Shopper Options: Undina of Undina’s Looking Glass reminded me of Shop France Inc run by Suzan, a very reputable, extremely professional, personal shopper who has been used by a number of perfumistas. She will go to France, and buy you perfumes (and other luxury items like Hermès scarves, etc.) that are otherwise hard to find at a reasonable price. Shop France Inc. normally charges a 10% commission on top of the item’s price with 50% being required as a down payment. However, and this is significant, in the case of Lutens Bell Jars, the price is $225 instead. The amount reflects customs taxes that she pays each time, as well as a tiny, extra markup. It’s still cheaper than the $290 (not including tax) for the bell jar via Barney’s or the US Serge Lutens website.  Another caveat, however, is that Suzan is limited to only 10 bell jars per trip, via an arrangement with the Lutens house. There is a wait-list for the bell jars, but she goes every 6-8 weeks, so it’s not a ridiculously huge wait, I don’t think. If you have specific questions about the purchase of Lutens bell jars, or anything else, you can contact her at shopfranceinc@yahoo.com. As a side note, I have no affiliation with her, and receive nothing as a result of mentioning her.
Outside the US: In Europe, the price of Mandarine Mandarin is considerably cheaper at €130 from the French Lutens website or from their Paris boutique. Other language options are available, though the Euro price for the item won’t change. To the best of my knowledge, the Paris Exclusives are not carried by any department store anywhere, and the only place to get them outside of Barney’s New York boutique is the Paris Serge Lutens store at Les Palais Royal. 
Samples: You can order samples of Mandarine Mandarin from Surrender to Chance starting at $3.99 for a 1/2 ml vial. I actually ordered mine as part of a Five Piece Non-Export Sampler Set, where you can choose 5 Lutens Paris Exclusives for a starting price of $18.99 for a 1/2 ml vial. 

45 thoughts on “Perfume Review- Serge Lutens Mandarine Mandarin

  1. Wow…celery huh? This sounds like it belongs more to the stovetop than on the skin. What odd combinations of notes. Too bad. I too am in love with that bottle which would be a prized possession. I have to admit though, as bad as you make this seem, I still want to check it out myself 🙂 Great review. Looking forward to more Lutens!

    • You should definitely check it out for yourself!! If only for the wild ride if it goes wrong, but with the hope that you’ll be one of the lucky ones who doesn’t get the celery! And you’ll have to let me know if you ever manage to find that bottle anywhere, like on eBay. Or perhaps you can see if Suzan at the Shop France site can perhaps hunt it down for you in France?!

  2. Boiled celery? Maybe I didn’t notice this when I tried Mandarine Mandarin because I am not sure what this would smell like. In my notes I thought it smelled exactly like one of those clove covered oranges you see at Christmas time. I actually liked it a lot more than I expected since I am not a big fan of orange scents (leave to Uncle Serge to make orange very dark and mysterious!). But, it was not one of my top favorites from the non-export line (although the gorgeous limited edition bottle makes it look better.) Can’t wait to read more of your SL reviews!

    • Boiled (or cooked) celery galore! I’ll bring what’s left of my sample when you come to town, and let you test it again. Perhaps a dab on my skin, too, so we can do side-by-side smell comparisons to compare how our skins reflect things. I’m telling you, on me, it was concentrated, super-intense, cooked celery! And it’s not just me who thinks M/M has heavy celery. Comment after comment on Fragrantica talks about it too.

      You know, when you come to town and we meet up, I’ll bring my box of tested samples and we can see if there are any you haven’t tried yet like the new MFK Ouds, etc.

        • We just have to find someplace where the smell of food won’t interfere with our sniffing, and people won’t will find it strange that the table is strewn with tiny vials and that we’re sniffing each other…. *grin*

    • I know, I know, RIGHT??!?!!! Isn’t that spectacular?! I swear, when I saw the bottle on Serge Lutens’ FB page, I just about jolted up from my chair. I must have gotten whiplash from the speed with which my head just did a double take. I have no idea how many bottles were made, though. I think the Lutens FB photo of the bottle actually shows it off even better than the photo I have up now, so I’ll add the 2nd “Dragon” image to the end of the review for you to see.

      • Seen! I wish I could show the photo of it on my desk. But that would be cruel and unfortunately it is not on my desk or anywhere nearby or anywhere that I know of. Lol. A great collector’s item to find one day.

  3. Like you, I adore, really adore, orange notes, and just oranges of all kinds per se; like you, although I eat the salad vegetable all the time, especially just dipped raw in mayonnaise, I cannot ABIDE celery notes. I wrote about this in my review of Comme Des Garcons Patchouli Luxe; seriously: vile, foul, repugnant, to the point where it interfered with my thought and emotional processes.

    I have only smelled this in brief and liked it; however, knowing that the celeriac is waiting there like a mthfckr in the base, I shall tread much more carefully.

    Thanks for the warning!

  4. THAT BOTTLE, when I got a glimpse of it I thought I was seeing a priced perfume or decoration item all the way back from Imperial China, it looks exactly like what an ancient Chinese empress would have on her collection of luxurious properties. It is really lovely no doubt, but the scent doesn´t really appeal to me since I don´t like smelling like celery or food, almost as if I had an extremely condimented meal so heavy that I smell of it, also bug spray smell is really off putting. The small feet description probably refers to the binding feet tradition of ancient China where they used to deform the women’s feet to make them really small, so it is ancient China that the perfume is inspired by, but I guess it´s really too weird…

    • Oh, it’s definitely a reference to the foot-binding, but the talk about the tiny feet and sharp nails made me think of claws and chicken’s tiny feet. Chicken feet freak me out a little…. *shudder*

      As for the perfume, no, I don’t think it would be your cup of tea. But, you know, perhaps you’d be one of the lucky ones who just smelled oranges and dark, ambery resins. Still, it’s obviously not easy for you to get a sample to try. :

  5. That jar is stunning! It’s almost better that the scent isn’t much to write home about, it’s less tempting to find that beautiful jar that way! Boiled celery? I like celery, but in my perfume? Pass. Shame.

  6. Kafka, you make this sound strangely fascinating, even though I don’t believe I would care for it. I don’t mind a bit of celery (Yatagan has a whiff of celery, and I love Yatagan!) but not sure I’d like it in combination with orange blossom.

    You mentioned that this scent doesn’t get reviewed often, so I’m just passing this along as another person who has reviewed it and whose description also makes it sound quite weird: Christos of Memory of Scent (here’s the link: http://tinyurl.com/pcwgzva ). His review starts out with a recipe for chutney, but keep reading and you’ll see a review. He gets cumin in Mandarine Mandarin, which I could see as producing a celery (or celery seed) smell.

    • Thanks for the link to Christos’ review, Suzanne. My God, he got cumin? Worse, he got cumin and vinegar???!? The vinegar part is intriguingly strange.

      What I’d meant when I said that the perfume is rarely talked about was not in terms of reviews (though those aren’t a dime a dozen, either), but in terms of general perfume conversation. People almost never talk about M/M from what I’ve seen in perfume groups or even in general discussions. When you see blog comments about favorite bell jars, no mention of M/M there, either. When people post photos of their new bell jars, offer Lutens splits, or ask about what Serge Lutens Paris Exclusives they should try, no-one ever brings up M/M. It can’t be an access issue since people talk about all the other ones I mentioned, from Sarrassins to Iris Silver Mist, even De Profundis and, on occasion, Boxeuses. But it’s as is M/M truly doesn’t exist. That fascinated me. Now, however, I understand it….

      • Oh, gotcha now, Kafka. Yes, now that you mention it, I don’t recall anyone ever giving a shout-out to MM in blog comments or forum discussions either. Odd that it isn’t mentioned for its oddness alone! 😀

        • Yeah, how come they don’t even mention it for its strangeness? I’m telling you, Mandarine Mandarin is like the invisible, missing, exiled Lutens! LOL. 😀

  7. This isn’t the type of fragrance I would think I’d like but since you reviewed it I pulled out my Lutens wax samples and gave it a go. It’s just unpleasant. Some kind of sickly sweet candied orange. I guess it’s mixed with some nutmeg and rose hip. It’s just not a pleasant fragrance. I not getting the celery but maybe if I give it more time it will reveal itself to me. Is this supposed to be like some Chinese duck sauce? I still love you Serge and Sheldrake, but this one is not for me.

    • I’m a bit iffy about judging a Lutens perfume based on the wax sample since I’ve sometimes heard that the smell isn’t completely and totally representative. Still, on Fragrantica, someone seems to have tried Mandarine Mandarin based on a similar solid sample and wrote: “The solid perfume sample i got smells like straight celery. If you like celery then great! [¶] Not sure whether the actual perfume will smell like that.”

      It’s interesting, though, that you smelled something different and still didn’t like. “It’s just unpleasant.” *grin* Heh. Yes, it really is.

      • Yeah, I was kind of leery about judging by the wax samples but they have been pretty true to the fragrance when I’ve compared them to decants. I’m sure I’m just not recognizing the celery smell in there. My wife doesn’t smell it either, but she had the same reaction. Something in there that she doesn’t like. Ew, I don’t want to smell like this. What a strange combination of smells.

  8. If perfumes can mock people, Mandarine Mandarin certainly mocked me. My overachieving perfume mule not only brought back my preciousssssssses, she also got a set of carded perfume solids which I believe many also label as “wax samples”. Aaaanyway, after reading this review, I decided to check and see if I can smell the celery through the plastic over-wrap. As luck would have it, the first set of perfume solids behind the perfume list/brochure was the set with Mandarine Mandarin; coincidence, no? I did not feel like peeling off the over-wrap so I actually did not smell the celery. Moving on…I decided to just flip through the rest of the wax samples and then I saw another card with Mandarine Mandarin..WT_…of all the cards, I had to have 2 sets of the card with Mandarine Mandarin????….until I realized that I had cycled through the full set of perfume solid cards and was now back on Set1. Perhaps I’m the only one who found that amusing but it would just be like me to get saddled with something unexpected and not necessarily a good one at that!

    I’m with the thanks, but no thanks camp. I DO NOT want to smell like celery.

    Lovely review, as always, dear Kafka.

    • Some people are lucky and don’t get the celery. It’s not a common fragrance and you already have a sample, so there would be no harm in trying it. 🙂 Granted, your personal testing methods make it harder in this case as it’s not a spray, and you only use skin real estate for things you know you may like, so…. um… well, maybe Baconbiscuit would like to try it? LOL.

  9. …. THAT Bell Jar is to die for! Uncle Serge should do one bell jar for each year of the Chinese Zodiac. He will absolutely get the collectors who may never wear the perfumes but will proudly display their acquisitions.

  10. Celery?.. Nope. I don’t like it in any form – be that perfume or food. So I won’t even try it.. Well, I will try it if I happend to come across the sample but I’m not hunting it down.

    I like all the special edition bottles (on pictures). This one is just gorgeous!

  11. This is a weird fragrance in the best way possible. It’s been a few months since I tried out my wax sample, but I liked it pretty well after I got over the initial shock. Thank you for the review, and maybe one day I’ll just buy this one on a whim. Who knows.

  12. Well, if anyone wouldn’t have a problem with celery notes, it would probably be me! Carner Barcelona Tardes has a celery note that I think is addictive and Mandarine Mandarine sounds so weird that I will probably like it.

    On the list it goes! The last time I was at Barney’s, I covered myself with Iris Silver Mist and walked out the door. It’s true that I haven’t heard nary a peep about this one. What a shame as I really want to smell it right now!!

    Thanks for this, my dear! I was thoroughly entertained as always! And many apologies for the late, late comment!

    • No apologies needed, love. I’m just glad to see your smiling, happy face. Your presence has been sorely, sorely missed!!! As for M/M, if you love celery, you will love this. When Dubaiscents came to town to visit and we went out for dinner, I put some M/M on her and on me. There was such an intense aroma of celery coming from both of us, she couldn’t believe it! She certainly couldn’t believe it hadn’t appeared on her when she tried it, but perhaps that was a quantity issue. So, next time you’re in Barney’s, please try it and let me know how it turns out on your skin. xoxo

  13. This is an old post and I’m a relative newbie but lurking for a while. I’ve had and loved lots of SLs. I finally got a sample of this from PoshP after pointedly ignoring it. I got EVERYTHING that everyone else discussed–except celery; I got Chinese 5 spice–NO celery. But what I DID get, in addition to the lovely orange peel aspect was…Jasmine. i get LOADS of Jasmine, orange/peel/burnt citrus, amber, tonka, nutmeg. I am in shock. I LOVE this perfume. Love love love. Ignored and despised for year based on its review and the fact that I don’t love citrus except in blossom form. Mandarine has captured me.

    • How wonderful that you’ve found a fragrance you love so much. And even better that there is no celery on your skin. It sounds lovely on you, enjoy!

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