This was not love at first whiff for me. But slowly but surely it has become one of my favorites.
I understand what some reviewers mean by saying it makes them feel like they are 12-- it does remind me of a boxed set of child's colognes I got when I was 7. There is a kind of innocence to it-- it is not a sultry seductive fragrance by any stretch. There is not much sex in the dry down.
What it is though is a beautiful linden scent. Honestly, I do not get the violet as an isolated note. For the longest time, because of the description, I thought it was heliochrysum-- a kind of "hay" scent. But slowly I have come to realize that it is a good quality linden extract. And it is almost a solifleur, if inden is considered a flower. It is sweet, distinctive, light and uncomplicated. And it lasts quite a long time for me, compared with most goutals. I wear it to work and I love it dearly.
If you love linden, give this one a try. You might not know it is in there if you just look at the descripotion, which mentions violet and hay.
I am concerned, however, because it has become hard to find and when you do find it, you have to pay full price to get it because otherwise it is always out of stock. I wonder if they are reformulating it?
This is exactly what a Guerlain divinora lipstick smells like. They nailed it.
Luca Turin called this a "cheap, nasty knock off of Parfum de Peau" and gives it one star. While I have yet to get a sample of PdP, I can tell you there is nothing cheap or nasty about this (and at 240$ a bottle, you go in expecting good quality).
Maybe Luca Turin is a hack-- I will reserve my judgement until I get the (much cheaper) PdP-- but I was mystified and almost offended by his review. Maybe he just needs to revisit it. Or maybe he simply has a different aesthetic than I do (I love mandragore by Goutal, which he also panned.)
This is the first perfume I ever fell in love with and I love every facet of it as it evolves on my skin. It is a transformer that quickly morphs into a big complex rose tempered with honey and spice. And then it becomes an exquisite musky-moss still tinged, but with a different rose. It is complex and deep, with extraordinary sillage that lasts a blissful 6 hours or more on me.
There is not one disagreeable note in it, to my nose. It is harmonic euphoria in a bottle.
I do see, however, that there are some people who have a strong negative reaction to it, so I think it might be one of those perfumes like Angel, that you either understand immediately and love or that you hate. But it is far less radical than Angel. If you do not like rose, than this is not the one for you.
But it is the one for me and I am grateful I found it. It is, by the way, a true chypre with the oakmoss intact. It is mature, sophisticated and classic.
This is my first review, and I am reviewing the EDP format.
In the past, I have not loved AG scents-- to me they seem like riffs on the classic cologne formulation-- and I have tried a great many. But Mandragore is different than it's brothers. I ordered a sample, not expecting to like it, and ended up ordering the biggest bottle available (the one with the butterfly) the very day I tried it.
It starts out in the usual AG way wth citrus topnotes, but it quickly morphs into a wonderful spicy, sophisticated scent that does not overwhelm. For me it has only these two phases. This is the scent to wear to the office-- it is subtle and beautiful, yet it will pull people nearby closer to you as they fall under its spell. It is a scent to fall in love with. It is unique-- you cannot pin it down the way you can with, say, fracas or joy or any guerlain. It is a quiet mystery for a secure and confident person. It does not shout, "Oh look-- here I am!" But it does whisper this.
True, it does not have the staying power it might (maybe spray some on hair and clothing, or layer with the soap,) and maybe its sillage is gentle-- but I bought it along with 30 or more samples, trying about 3 or 4 per day. I put it on it the am, and at the end of the day, wearing l'heure bleu for the first time (sample #3) and driving to the market, I caught a whiff of this on my shirt and knew that I would be buying it and ditching that particular guerlain.