Manoumalia starts out as the closest thing to an ylang-ylang soliflore that Iíve encountered. The dense, sweet, banana-vanilla character of the ylang blossom brooks no competition from another note for nearly an hour after Manoumalia leaves the bottle. Only then do spicy accents of cinnamon and pepper emerge to punctuate the big, bold tropical flower accord. Manoumaliaís heart remains thick and sweet, but is also heavily indolic, with all of indoleís fleshy decadence on full display. Sultry, sensuous, languorous and licentious Ė the adjectives of indulgence roll out like waves in front of this heady composition.
Itís hours more before Manoumaliaís sweet steam clears enough to admit anything remotely dry. What emerges toward the end is a velvet smooth, nutty sandalwood and clean white musk accord that offers some welcome relief after all the heat and humidity. As you might guess from the description so far, Manoumalia is a hefty scent, that wafts off the body and fills the room for hours after itís applied. (Honestly, this stuff might make even Fracas appear shy!) Iím slightly puzzled as to when and how to wear a scent like this: itís character is so absolutely tropical that it calls for palm trees and a beach Ė or at least sun and heat. Yet itís so heavy and potent that Iíd find it utterly oppressive in warm weather. Beautiful to smell, I have to say, but hard to wear, and hence perhaps a better room scent for a tropical resort than a perfume.
Poppycock! Wear Manoumalia whenever you like Ė itís delightful!
When I first tried this and then looked at the reviews on basenotes I was mystified. I didnít recognise the descriptions of lush, juicy, tropical loveliness. It was only the bathroom comment by Theasylph I could associate with.
This fragrance conjures up for me a vision of an eccentric old lady, living in a retirement village in Florida. She wears a slightly soiled flowery Mumu and keeps plastic tropical flowers in her bathroom. It is the smell of cheap floral disinfectant and bathroom air freshener blending with her cheap perfume, stale powder and lipstick. At least the window is open bringing in the warm air and the scent of tropical flowers outside.
Its not what I want to smell of, or something i want to subliminally suggest to others about myself. So although I really enjoyed the rest of the range I had consigned this one to the cellar of my samples.
But then I tried it again today. And for the first hour or so I am afraid my impressions were unchanged. Magic tree might make a fragrance much like this, and they always give me a headache.
But I think my impression of this scent is prejudiced by the rather unpleasant opening salvo. And this is a bold perfume, not coy and clinging but brash and out there in everyoneís face. But if I wait it out I do find more to like. It moves on to something softer, gentler and more tropically floral. I have never smelled a Fragrea or a Tiare so I cannot pick out their scent or say whether this is a realistic depiction, but yes in the early dry down I do have more of the sense of a warm Polynesian evening, the scents of tropical flowers drifting in the breeze. Itís still fairly overpowering and maybe not the scent for me. Its the way i feel about lilies, I love lilies, they are beautiful and graceful. Yet on a hot summers evening I do find their fragrancee is just too much, too bold, too overpowering. I move my pots of lilies to the back of the garden so I can sit outside on a summers evening, they are best appreciated at a distance. If you are the person who likes to be enveloped in a heavy cloud of fragrance this might appeal to you. I am not saying it smells like Diorís Poison, but I think it comes from the same school of thought, heady and very bold. Do not under any circumstances wear this to the office, as complaints will surely follow.
There are lovely parts of this, sometimes I smell something powdery and musky, sometimes a pretty floral floats out and sometimes I smell something warm and comforting which my subconscious recognises but for which my conscious mind cannot find a referencefrom some past experience or life.
The floral disinfectant accord still sadly also pops up occasionally now and then, but now more whispered than shouted at the opening.
At around 4 hours in the scent develops some cedar and a chocolatey slightly fecal smell, not unpleasant, in fact the best bit to me.
And the longer you wear it the lower the volume, and im a person who likes a fragrant whisper more than a shout.
The longer the dry down the more I like it, but overall I donít know when I would wear it. Certainly not to work, nor on a hot day as it would overpower me, but then itís hardly the perfume for a winters walk.
Donít let me put you off the range. LesNez will sell you a set of their fragrances for a very reasonable price. And they are worth trying as all of them are interesting if not conventional. I think the one I will buy a bottle of is the most conventional of the range, the Unicorn Spell. But I might also go for a bottle of Let me Play the Lion once the summer starts and my mind is ready for smells of heat and dust.
I only wish more perfume houses had this scheme. I would like to sample the Hermessence range and they dowill sell a set of 4 smaller bottles of your choice,for a more reasonable price which is quite enticing. But I i would need to sample them first and would happily pay for this. I contacted them but Hermes but they told me they donít sell or give away samples of the Hermessence range at all. To choose 4 from the range of 9 is not something I would do by travelling to their very few stores and spritzing my wrist. So well done LesNez, and letís hope others take note of their success.
Ooh, how l love these gorgeous, tropical, heady white flowers! l get a touch of creamy coconut, a wisp of creme de bananes & lots of tiare from this. l adore tiare & it's beautifully balanced here with subtle but earthy vetiver. The sillage is soft on me, but l did try it in autumn; l can't wait to try it on a hot summer day! lt's quite long -lasting, but l didn't really get the amber, just a little smoke in the base. l suspect this will really bloom in the heat & if it does, it's going on my wishlist.
Edit; l tried this again recently on a hot, sunny day & yes, it bloomed beautifully! The rich tropical florals, rather than becoming cloying or overpowering, had a cool, leafy quality which l loved, & it projected in gentle wafts without ever becoming too intense.
l'm not sure l can justify putting this on my wishlist just yet, as l already own quite a few tropical florals. l will say though, that if you usually find this kind of fragrance a bit too much, you may just prefer this one for it's coolness & softness.
10th February, 2011 (last edited: 05th July, 2011)
Manoumalia is every bit a steamy, humid floral that intoxicates the senses and evokes faraway locals in a most vivid and genuine manner. It opens with what smells exactly like the houseplant in my lobby that was haunting me last August. It has the same kewda-like sharpness and headiness to it, initially also underlined with some juicy orange blossom and and humid tuberose notes. For some 30 minutes or so, it feels as if tropical flowers' nectar and jungle-leaf sap is mingled with salty sweat; the kind of feeling you get when you work in a hothouse. The initial Dracena fragrans note fades out after the initial blast of tropical steam and turns into a soft, creamy tuberose and ylag ylang that remains subtle and subdued for the remaining of its life on my skin - with soft woody murmurs like the hushing leaves in the jungle at night.
Holy moly. All I can think is, this stuff smells like Las Vegas! Bright, hot, colorful, loud, luscious. The ylang ylang and tiare (a Tahitian gardenia, I just learned) are ass-kickers, but there is a balance; it's not all flower with no back-up. I think it must be the vetiver rounding out those big hot notes and keeping the scent modern and grounded rather than screechy.
Beautiful scent but definitely not for me.