Perfume Directory

Mandarine Mandarin (2006)
by Serge Lutens


Mandarine Mandarin information

Year of Launch2006
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 93 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

It seems to me that there's a rather complex "Lutens-ade" that he uses a lot. It's a dense combination of maple syrup immortelle and cumin, with deep caramel and burnt coffee underneath, while green herbs add mystery and dried fruits and often plum add brightness and density. It changes over the course of the day, somehow simultaneously darker AND brighter in the beginning, passing through a perfumey amber phase, and eventually simmering down to a molten brown sugar syrup spiced with cumin and curry later in the day.

Mandarine Mandarin takes this signature combination of elements and puts some sweet orange in place of the plum and dried fruits. It works well as a slightly freaky gourmand, and not very well as a citrus perfume. I think it could accurately be described as a troubled goth version of A*Men Ultra Zest. Really, if you like Lutens, in all of his confoundingly strange-but-beautiful-but-gross syrupy splendor, you'll like this. If not, you probably won't.
10th January, 2019
Sweet orange. Slightly bitter rose hip. There is a vibe here that reminds me of a tube of old lipstick. It reminds me of the smell, strangely enough, of these old Avon, lipstick samples my mom owned; these samples were housed in tiny, brass tubes. An old smell.
I definitely smell nutmeg, candied Mandarin, and orange peel. Tea! Tea, in the background. Also, something here reminds me of geranium (?). Oh, how strange this perfume is; the notes seem to ricochet off each other. MM begins to reveal a darker side, later on. I get an impression of a dark room with walls covered in red, velvet-flocked wallpaper.
I get notes of labdanum and ambergris. Something animalic lies beneath. Serge Lutens perfumes usually surprise me - this one mesmerizes. I don't want to go on and on but, this one is most definitely evocative.
As it settles, it is clear for me, that labdanum is more dominate. It becomes smoky and ambery, too. MM reminds me of something I enjoyed in the 80's or early 90's. I truly enjoy this. A bell jar would be in order, if I won a lottery prize. Sigh.
26th October, 2018
Hmmm...this is a strange brew, eh? What I smelled was a candied orange with the smell of hay. I suppose there is a tea accord that shows up in the dry down, but I lost interest after a few hours so I stopped paying attention. That's three of the high end Serge Lutens that I've tried that just left me cold. On to the next sample...
21st May, 2016
Sweet candied orange rind is all my nose can perceive from Mandarine Mandarin. There is a fizziness that is reminiscent of Lubin's Gin Fizz.

Immortelle is here but way in the background, peeping out occasionally, but remarkably not taking center stage as it usually does. I get no smoke or spices.

Sadly, it just smells "cheap," to me, synthetic. Like sniffing a shampoo that ended up at the local dollar store.

I will pass.
18th May, 2016
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

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