Perfume Directory

Mandarine Mandarin (2006)
by Serge Lutens

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Mandarine Mandarin information

Year of Launch2006
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 78 votes)

People and companies

HouseSerge Lutens
PerfumerChristopher Sheldrake
Parent CompanyShiseido

About Mandarine Mandarin

Mandarine Mandarin is a shared / unisex perfume by Serge Lutens. The scent was launched in 2006 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Christopher Sheldrake

Reviews of Mandarine Mandarin

Genre: Citrus (Oriental)

This sleeper has become one of my favorites in the Serge Lutens line. It’s never developed the kind of cult following as Muscs Koublaï Khan, Chergui, or even Tubéreuse Criminelle, but I think it’s no lesser a fragrance than any of those. Though Michael Edwards classifies Mandarine-Mandarin as a citrus scent, it could just as well pass as a very rich oriental. Mandarine-Mandarin goes on with a burst of beautifully rendered orange rind, backed up almost immediately by a truly odd mix of fresh hay, honey, and rich spices. These top notes kept me guessing as to where this scent was going right from the start, and raised expectations of a darn interesting road trip.

Next to emerge is a very rich, velvety honey and smoked spice accord that’s lively by a lingering bitter orange note and an ambiguous animalic element deep in the background. It took me some time to recover from the shock that this mysterious and profound episode caused after the bright candied citrus top notes, while in the meantime Mandarine-Mandarin continued to evolve.

The smoke intensifies over the next hour, while the spices meld and deepen into an exotic accord so thoroughly blended that I can’t distinguish the individual notes. Floral notes rise up as well, soon followed by a small hint of amber.

Now I’m bracing myself for a catastrophe. In my experience, the Sheldrake-Lutens fragrances fall into two broad groups: the few that don’t smother me in amber, and all the rest. But lo, Sheldrake and Lutens manage restraint once more, as they had with Chêne, Sa Majesté la Rose and Un Lys: Mandarine-Mandarin steps away from the amber abyss. Instead, the amber blends with delicate white flowers as a background for the sustained smoke and citrus, and the entire composition grows to resemble a floral-infused bitter marmalade, dusted with lightly charred spices.

Unlike many of the Lutens scents, Mandarine-Mandarin effortlessly blends into my skin. As it develops, its projection becomes somewhat limited, but it fits me like a perfectly tailored garment. In fact, it’s the easiest Serge Lutens scent for me to wear. The drydown is a subtle and extended study in tonka, smoke and ambergris that’s miles and miles removed from the citrus opening. Quite a trip!

Absolutely unisex, by the way, and shares with the otherwise remotely distant Ungaro II the distinction of being a “citrus” that suits me in the wintertime.
19th June, 2014
Notes of toasted tea leaves latch on to the bitterness of orange peels to create a weird but compelling impression of - wait for it - a smoky orange! Take a bow, Msr Sheldrake.
28th February, 2012
It reminds me a cheerful cousin of Malle´s Noir epices without the rose and the overdose of cloves. In fact ,It symbolizes to me what Noir epices should have been and wasn't as a result of that cloying rose-clove-orange combo.
the spicy orange always stays on the top like a cheerful veil and the darker side stays in a discreet background.
It has a sort of burning caramel (like brown sugar) that blends perfectly with the bitter orange tones and carry it to more profound and intriguing paths.
very special indeed!
27th November, 2011
This IS Tresor by Lancome! Add a little smokiness and you get Mandarine Mandarin. I am not going to paint some fairy tale and build up your expectations only for you to end up disappointed. I mean, I know how hard it is to get a hold of some SL so if there is a mall near you, go sample Tresor. If you like what you sniff from Tresor and want some smokiness then get Mandarine Mandarin.

I was in search of a deep, dry, complex and unique citrus scent (emphasis on dry and unique) and a lot of people recommended SL Mandarine but I ended up being reunited with Tresor. This is not a bad scent by any means but for me this was a let down. Tresor was one of my signature scents in high school. I was way ahead of my peers. No teenage fragrances for this girl lol! Anyways, I really really wanted something different.

The spices here are seriously deadened by the screaming caramel sugared mandarine so much so that you don't smell them unless you actively search. The smokey tea holds its own and nicely blends with the candied mandarine. In fact, I think the spices are mixed into the smokey tea and then added into the mandarine if that makes any sense. What I am trying to say is that whatever little spice is in there, I sniff them in the smoked tea and not in the candied mandarine. Smoked spiced tea + seriously candied mandarine= Mandarine Mandarin.
01st April, 2011
This one is interesting and its growing on me, I find myself thinking about it later. On first wearing I gave it a 2.5. now I'd rate it a 3.8.

When I first tried it, I dismissed it because I was on a crusade of finding the perfect light, thirst quenching, citrusy scent to brighten up cabin fever in winter.

If I had to describe this I'd say its a slow moving 40 pound caramel scent, with a plate of spicey orange rind simmering on the side. It's worn as a winter coat and not as a summer blouse.

If you like Diptyque's L'eau de Tarocco, I'd give this a try. Where Tarocco is sharp and spicy and lighter this is its brooding and heavier next door neighbor. Could be worn by a man or woman.
08th January, 2011
This was a blind-buy 1/3 of a bell jar. Usually scents that focus on citrus notes don't interest me, but when I say that this was available, I read up on it through many reviews, including the ones here on Basenotes, and decided to risk it since Lutens/Sheldrake have surprised me before. Well, they did it again. I won't describe it as others have done the job in the many reviews I've read on the net. I'll just say that this is strange in a beautiful way. It's fruity, but not in that cloying fruity-floral way that I've come to despise in contemprary perfumery. It's the smoky tea and spice notes that off set the fruity sweetness and it has a very comforting warmth to it that makes me think of the sun in some tropical place whenever I wear it. I acquired it in the winter and wore it then, but this is definitely one that really blossoms in warmer weather, in my opinion. I agree with Off-Scenter, this is a sleeper and I'm surprised more people aren't curious about it.
08th August, 2010

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