LesNez Manoumalia

Let’s do the draw first, which I know everyone wants.  The winners of the two bottles of Tauer Perfumes’ new Carillon pour un ange, selected via random.org are:  Akimon and Dinazad. Congratulations!  I’ll email you for your mailing addresses, and LuckyScent will send the bottles.  To the rest of you – hey, I never win these things either.  On to today’s review.

In all my white-flower nattering recently, several people left comments asking: had I tried LesNez’ Manoumalia?  And what did I think?

LesNez has done some interesting scents – my favorite is probably the violet-green-bean Unicorn Spell – and they also get props for not flooding the market with a new fragrance every six weeks.  Look on LuckyScent and there’s a total of five – a model of restraint, these days.  Turtle Vetiver’s on there, an interesting project with a series of mods, and while I didn’t try it, not being a huge fan of vetiver as the main event, my understanding is that it’s been a huge hit with vetiver freaks and … well, it’s now sold out, isn’t it?

In Manoumalia, and I’m going to crib from LuckyScent’s blurb here, “Sandrine Videault spent time on the tiny South Pacific island of Wallis immersed in its scents: the exotic fragrea flower used for necklaces and bracelets, the sandalwood powder used to dye hair, and the aromas of tiare, vetiver, and ylang ylang that permeate the island’s evenings.”  The list of notes — fragrea, vetiver, tiare, ylang ylang, amber, sandalwood – tell the same story and give a sense of the exoticism the perfumer was striving for.   In The Guide, Luca Turin gives it four stars and a generous half-page review, waxing enthusiastic about the perfumer’s ability to create an impression of the flowers by creative composition, as Roudnitska did with lily of the valley in Diorissimo.  As far as I know, this glowing reception of Manoumalia is duplicated on blogs everywhere; I may have missed it, but I can’t recall seeing a single review of it that was less than positive.

Which is why I find myself sitting here, staring thoughtfully at the screen as I type this, wondering how much longer I can put off getting to my point.  I loathe Manoumalia.  It combines the smothering powderiness of Lorenzo Villoresi Teint de Neige with the nausea-inducing aquamelon of Annick Goutal Un Matin d’Orage, with a drydown that manages to remind me simultaneously of drain cleaner, rubber bands, and ashtray.  To call it a “scrubber” doesn’t do my feelings justice.  Now I remember why I can’t find my sample from the last time I tried it –surely I buried it in the graveyard under a full moon, wrapped in a sealed Ziploc bag, after driving a stake through its heart and shooting it with a silver bullet.  Just in case.

I would rather wear Teint de Neige, Angel, Pink Sugar and Borneo than Manoumalia.  Hell, I’d rather wear all of them at the same time. While stuffed into the trunk of a Mini Cooper on a hot day in July.  What are you people smelling?  Are you insane?

No.  No, you are not insane.  Forgive me … I was overcome for a moment.  It’s not a skin issue – I feel the same way about Manoumalia in the air and on paper.  The tissue I sprayed it on had to be removed from the house and placed outside in the trash.   It’s a grim reaper of a smell to me, but I can’t help but be fascinated by it, because I really, truly believe that I am smelling what you are smelling.  It’s just that, like some people never acquire a taste for pickles, or mid-century Danish modern furniture, I don’t think I’m going to acquire a taste for fragrea, if this is what it smells like.  Although I was under the vague impression that fragrea smelled rather like gardenia, and I love gardenia.

I hesitate to write things like this, because I know that somewhere out there I’ve just hurt feelings, and I wish I hadn’t.  First off, who cares what I think?  Second, I’m in a tiny minority on this one.  But I forged ahead because it’s such an interesting scent.  It’s not a barn-door-size target like the deliberately disgusting Secretions Magnifiques – I have no trouble whatsoever believing that the world is full of people who find Manoumalia magnificent.  I sniff at the tissue until I begin to go queasy, which happens in fifteen or twenty minutes, and wonder why I feel this way.  I can think of a handful of scents that might – literally – induce vomiting in large enough doses on me, including Matin d’Orage, SM, Delrae Emotionelle, and the Hermes that frightened me so much I’ve a mental block – Mousson.  (Hmm … are you sensing a trend?)

So, I turn the floor over to you.  Do you find Manoumalia powdery?  Since people were bringing it up in relation to (I think) Amaranthine and Nuit de Tubereuse, which characteristics of those scents does it share, to you?  Do you find it dirty?  Sultry?  On paper I can smell the sandalwood eventually, that bit’s nice.  But not nice enough.  Do you think it smells strange, or familiar in a tuberose-y way?  What fragrances have you buried in the graveyard with a stake through the heart, hoping they’ll never rise to plague you again?

fragrea image: davesgarden.com

my Manoumalia sample: private source

  • erick says:

    It seems to me vetivert is the culprit here, deepened by sandalwood and the dirty sents which may give that rubber/ash smell! As for Fragaria flower, it’s a king of gardenia but with fruity, melon/papaya notes……If you ever smell the traditional perfume from Wallis island, you’ll understand the story behind ManouMalia and be prepared to be blown away by rancid-oily-acrid notes you’d probably never though to wear!!!! I think you’ll enjoy ManouMalia more if the air is humid enough. It’s sexy and rude,it’s the perfume of love making… ManouMalia can be translated as the Smell of Maria/the Woman/the Mother/the godess of Fertility but it also mean the Beast!!!! Remember: Polynesians are matriarcal societies….

  • Adrianna says:

    Please help perfume geeks, even though this is off the topic. Amber, what is it? I read it’s smelly stuff from whales, and then somewhere else they said SL Ambre Sultan was inspired by the semi-precious amber stone. Hmmm… To be honest, I don’t know what amber is or what it smells like. Anyone???

  • Austenfan says:

    Got my LesNez samps today. Put Manoumalia on my right wrist. I am not repulsed, nor is it instant love. I will need a lot more wearings to make up my mind about this one.

  • lenika says:

    Thanks! At last somebody hates Manoumalia as I hate it. I’ve never understood what’s all the rave is about. It smells like wet cardboard to me. The week I tried it for the first time, after I tried it, somebody left wet cardboard in my stairwell, and it smelled exactly like Manoumalia.

  • Indigo says:

    Powdery? Not so much. Like thick heavy flowers mixed with Monoi mixed with thick cultured butter? Yes, that’s Manoumalia to me-not a fan! I am not surprised you were appalled.I don’t think Manoumalia smells strangely familiar, but it is too much, like many tuberose perfumes, or overapplying Big White Floral Bombs.

  • london says:

    Sadly I have lost my Manoumalia sample but I remember tropical flowers, leather and decay. Or more poetically like a dog dug up an old shoe that had been buried for years and used as a nest by some creature and left it next to a hothouse full of blooming flowers. I didn’t want to wear it but I didn’t hate it. But then I don’t have any tropical associations or memories either. Pet hates for me are Joop! as someone mentioned above, CSP Matin Calin (why would anyone want to smell like boiled over milk?), AG Sables (like being drowned in syrup and burned alive simultaneously), MPG Route du Vetiver (like being buried alive) and Guerlain L’Instant for the powder and sweet overload.

    • Musette says:


      I was thinking about pancakes for breakfast (maybe tomorrow).

      Now….maybe NOT!

      drowned in syrup and burned alive – simultaneously. It will be quite awhile before I get that image out of my nose!

      xoxo >-)

  • Parfymerad says:

    I love Manoumalia, and get absolutely no melon from it (another melon-phobic here), or powderiness for that matter. It smells richly elegant but also of jungle and damp heat – in a good way – whereas Amaranthine and Nuit de Tubereuse have been complete misses with me(respectively: headache-inducing chemical volume and stern, stingy mango-woods).

    Aren’t noses strange…

  • dissed says:

    Manoumalia: sweet white flowers, musty ancient bedding and unwashed hair.

  • dinazad says:

    Seriously? I won the Carillon? (*) Honestly, I’m Ms Never-Wins-A-Thing, so I’m absolutely thrilled, I’m…. excuse me, I have to make myself a calming cup of chamomile tea and go blabber senselessly to it. I’m…… jeeez… I won. Can’t believe it.

  • emmaflannelflower says:

    I suppose this post is winding up now……always out of sync living in Downunder land. I was happy to hear I wasn’t the only one having trouble with the perfume I have trouble with. I agree that an unconscious association may have something to do with it. And smell goes right to the most primitive parts of our emotional brain, often shortcircuiting our frontal lobes (the parts of the brain we think and reason with). That may be why, with a bit of training or exposure, we can get ourselves to learn to like a perfume or a note which previously was disliked.

  • Dusan says:

    Dude, I can’t remember the last time I laughed this hard! Thanks, I really needed it! :-)

    I’ll quietly bow out of the Manoumalia discussion panel as I was misfortunate to receive my sample all broken (stomped, my guess) to pieces. So, no skin tests etc. And yes, I say misfortunate cos the package smelled darned wonderful.

  • Musette says:

    Oooh! forgot!

    Epic FAIL:

    That stupid Nuui.

    And after all that nonsense, too, about trying to acquire it.

    Stupid Nuui (grumble)

  • minette says:

    it’s in my sample bag from luckyscent, and i’ve been saving it. will have to whip it out for the big reveal. the only scents to which i’ve had the visceral reactions you describe are from dawn spencer hurwitz. i had to dispose of them. they made me feel physically sick and angry. i don’t like mousson or eau emotionelle, but i don’t have physical reactions to them. i just avoid them…

    will get back to you with reactions to the scent at hand. not that anyone cares what i think, either. but it’s still fun.

  • nozknoz says:

    I sort of like Manoumalia – haven’t worn it enough yet to decide whether I love it or not. It smells a bit powdery to me, but like flowers that smell powdery rather than that perfume powder smell, if that makes any sense. Anyway, great topic and wise cautionary tale reminding us why we should NEVER buy unsniffed, no mater how wonderful the reviews are.

    There are a number of scents that I loathe. I really hate that artificial grape note in Tommy Girl and Paco Rabonne Ultraviolet. I hate Ubar, too, and can’t stand Amouage Tribute Attar. I am sensitive to some burnt/smoky notes (although there are some smoky notes I quite like), and to me the burnt/smoky note completely takes over Tribute Attar. I’m probably hyperosmic to something. Also can’t stand L’AP Patchouli Patch, although I love Coze, Coromandel and SL Borneo.

    But the scent I want to just detonate with an atomic bomb is Joop! Berlin. (Love Berlin the city, though.) I bought the Joop! scent in a duty free shop on a trip to Berlin. Got it home and just LOATHED it. Couldn’t stand to be in the same room with the bottle once I’d opened it. What IS that note???? I think it might also be in Ubar, too, although Berlin was too long ago to be sure.

  • Claudia says:

    March, you are not alone. I didn’t like it either, although I tried it so long ago I can’t remember why. And I hate the name. It sounds like a genetic condition.

    • The name comes from Malia, a common woman’s name in Wallis and Futuna, and Manou which means “scent”. So that it means “the scent of Malia”… When you know the meaning it becomes more poetic.

  • AnnieA says:

    All this is reminding me of Werner Hertoz in “Burden of Dreams”, where he talks of the the life-and-death struggle of the jungle, sounding extremely Teutonic and not a little crazed.

  • Linda says:

    Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! I had the same reaction to this hideous brew and thought I must be missing the boat. Hate, pure hate.

  • Tiara says:

    I haven’t tried Manoumalia so can’t comment on it but what a boring world (and blog) this would be if we all liked the same thing!

    Having heard the words brackish, ashtray, and afterbirth associated with it, I am ever so pleased to know I never need try Manoumalia. One of my “jobs” as a teen was to clean out my parents’ ashtrays. I gagged every day at the odor left behind that just got worse when water hit that black goo attached to the glass. Yuck.

    Mitsouko is horrible on me and Shalimar doesn’t get much better. The only 2 I’ve quarantined so far are Kelly Calache and Broadway Nite but Vetiver Dance and Red Vetyver are on probation.

  • Disteza says:

    I wonder if it’s something to do with the vetiver and amber (the green skanky decay and powder, respectively) that’s putting folks off? I’m not a huge white flowers lover, but I totally fell for Manoumalia because of that bit o’vetiver skank. I don’t get the melon or the powder, ‘cuz if I did I probably wouldn’t have loved it nearly as much. Then again, I love me some Cepes and Tuberose and Tubereuse Criminelle, so I probably need my big florals to be twisted.
    As for the unmentionables, I have yet to smell anything from the ELdO maniacs that did not make me want to burn my fingers and nostrils clean. I also truly detest Aromatics Elixir; that stuff could be used as pesticide judging from the frantic scurrying it induces whenever sprayed too lavishly at the mall.

    • nozknoz says:

      I do not detest Elixir, but I get a very loud plasticky/vinyl note that ruins it for me.

    • carter says:

      I was waiting for Criminy to pop up somewhere. We can be twisted sisters (smiley-face emoticon here).

  • kjanicki says:

    I thought Manoumaila was ok, but not great. After a while it just reminded me of massage oil, the expensive kind they use in Aveda salons.

  • ScentRed says:

    I posted a comment here a few weeks ago about Sienne L’Hiver smelling like celery vomit and the comment disappeared. I wasn’t sure if I’d crossed a line. After reading your review, March, I’m guessin’ it was just a web gremlin ;-)

    Keeping Sienne L’Hiver company in my graveyard is the beloved AG Ninfeo Mio which I came sooo close to buying a FB unsniffed because I was SURE it would be my new favorite. Unfortunately it is pure pickled cat pee on me. (Lee, or any other takers need a small decant? Lemme know). The other utter disaster on me was Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Gelt which was toxic fudge that took multiple scrubbings to exorcise from my wrist. And one of the very tony By Kilian’s smelled like body odor and old cigarettes on me. Go figure.

    I love a good honest review of a hated fragrance. I think that differing opinions are what makes this scent obsession so interesting.

  • Abyss says:

    Lol, this cracked me up. I’ve no strong feelings about Manoumalia either way. I think it’s just fine but I don’t love it.

    I am, however, relieved to see that someone else loathes Matin. That was an oppressive, nauseating scrubber which made me feel ill in one minute flat. I had to scrub the skin and change my clothes and, as is always the case with these, I could still smell it for the rest of the day.

    Amouage Ubar is another one I can’t bear but it’s not so much because it smells bad but because I find it so bright that wearing it feels about as comfortable as having your brain jabbed with a sharp implement inserted through your nose. While looking directly at midday sun. In the desert.

    There are plenty of fragrances that I don’t like but these two go way beyond that. Unbearable.

    • nozknoz says:

      I hate Ubar, too. Don’t know what that note is, but I just hate it. I always wonder if it’s just that I’m hyperosmic to that note and the scent would be fine if that note was in the proper balance, but I know I can’t stand Ubar.

  • Tom says:

    Wasn’t there a sample of this hanging out in my car when you were here? How did you not just die?

    • carter says:

      Or at least reach for the necklace of garlic hanging from your rear view mirror.

  • Musette says:

    On Saturday I went to a Hog Roast at the Nursing Home. There was a lovely lady there, visiting. I think she said she was 92. Clean as a whistle. Lots of powder, face and body. Wrinkled to the point where her skin actually looked like an alligator. And that hint of cellular breakdown.

    That’s what Manoumalia smells like to me.

    btw – Masha NAILED it! I am always struck by the rotting, fecal, vegetal,death/birth/death/birth smell of the tropics. I think it’s because they are touted in the media as being sweet and charming/flowery when in fact they are savage and terrifying in their desire to regenerate.

    • sherobin says:

      “…savage and terrifying in their desire to regenerate.” Yep, sounds like me in the garden. Or, me and my garden… Better shut up now.:”>

      • Kathryn says:

        Love this phrase. It completely captures Manoumalia for me.

        • carter says:

          Yes. In your face, and terrifying, and immediate, and there’s no escape from what you really know to be true.

    • minette says:

      i wonder if the tropics smell like the bayou and the sewer that leads to it, which, of course feeds up into our parking lot. so many times, i smell the odor of rotting flesh coming out of the grate, and wonder – what’s died this time. it’s probably just the miasma of the swamp/bayou.

  • sweetlife says:

    Brava, March. You keep facing down those taste lions. :x

    FWIW, I have tried, and failed, many times to love Manoumalia. I love the back story, the perfumer seems adorably brilliant, and how can I not get behind the idea of a “corrupted flower?” I love the swampy green note in Nuit de Tubereuse, I swoon for Parfum de Therese, Emotionelle makes me giggle and I think the drydown is sexy (cardamom and honey!).

    But here’s what happens to me with the Man. I put it on, OK, good enough, big swampy flower, and then…the decay goes…deeper? sharper? wiggly? Something happens to make the swamp sweeter and more smothering in a way that I find vaguely panic inducing. I can sort of talk myself through it and wait for the dry down, which I like better, but after awhile I though, eh, why bother?

    Every now and then I get a hankering for swamp and try again. It’s definitely a scent that haunts me. Maybe someday I’ll get the real magix. But for now I’m sticking with NdT.

    (Amaranthine does nothing for me, btw. Too sweet and powdery on the dry down.)

  • sherobin says:

    Big-time Manoumalia lover here. I’ve been wearing it a ton in this heat (although I loved it in the early spring chill, too). I think Kathryn might have something here about the scent mapping (add a bunch of qualifiers here…). When I hear words like “humid” or “overripe,” I have a feeling I’ll respond to it like a cat with catnip. As an obsessive gardener, I do associate these smells with all that is sort of hidden and/or overdone in nature (like the smell of compost, some manures, heavy white florals in the heaviest heat and humidity, rotting vegetation, etc.) – those are all comforting and happy fragrances to me. Some of these fragrances – like Manoumalia, Amaranthine, Emotionelle, Carnal Flower – I only wear at home because they are like a private retreat. Lucky my husband loves the “rotting” aspect too, except in the case of melon which smells to him like trash. I should say that if I got powder or cumin from any of these, that would end the whole affair in a hurry… I couldn’t do Vamp a NY because it smelled artificial to me – fake butter and bubblegum – yuck… In another vein, Cartier’s Treizieme Heure does the weird nature thing extraordinarily well – I find it to be intensely mushroomy and manure-y. And TF Velvet Gardenia – mushroomy and poisonous – like a real gardenia smells to me.

    As an aside, I like Mitsouko. Just not on me. It isn’t aldehydic to me, but it does smell like makeup and preserved fruit – not very natural. Perfumes that actually make me ill…Shalimar (fecal and suffocating), Attrape Coeur (nauseating and suffocating), and anything with too much violet makes me queasy (fruity, oversweet, plasticky).

    Thanks so much, March, for the review! The polarizing scents are always the most fun to talk about (and wear!). If our feelings were hurt, we wouldn’t be able to play perfume for very long… ;)

    • Bee says:

      well, I agree with sherobin and kathryn, some kind of pattern is emerging! This could be an interesting poll subject, maybe checking for additional details as (obsessive:))gardeners and tropic lovers

  • Mrs.Honey says:

    I’m not sure there is a continuum of taste. I LOVE aldehydes. I wear Chanel No.5 in vintage and modern incarnations as well as No. 22, Youth Dew and I have my eye on Natori and Baghari. I also LOVE Miel de Bois. While I don’t go looking for tropical flowers, they don’t bother me.

    I live in semi-tropical Florida and agree there can be note of rot in with the sweet. Something is currently in bloom on my walks and I get just that note.

  • Kathryn says:

    I’m wondering if there are people out there who truly love both Manoumalia and Mitsouko or if we are beginning to map out some continuum of taste, with the vegetative decay of Manoumalia at one end and the aldehydic preservatives of Mitsouko, Chanel No. 5, Arpege et al. at the other.

    For me, Manoumalia summons every tropical paradise I’ve ever experienced. Partly this is my own collection of scent memories of places I’ve travelled and been happy in, but it is also rooted in my perspective as a lifelong gardener. It’s the rapid decay of old plants in the tropics that produces the glorious blooms and fragrances of the new ones. Here in the frozen north, we have to mimic that process with compost and organic fertilizers. I’ve come to appreciate those smells because I know what they will produce.

    Aldehydic florals, with few exceptions, make me think of cut flowers in a funeral home. Not only do those flowers seem dead to me, but it feels like they will stay that way, with no regeneration possible. For me, they are the smell of pavement rather than earth, air conditioning rather than a cooling breeze.

    • Shelley says:

      Kathryn, I sometimes love playing the Venn Diagram game–tracking who likes what and looking for zones of overlap and all. If you want to chart via those two, you need me to put me down as Mitsouko, almost always “no”; Manoumalia, jury out. (See sob story about crushed vial above.)

      Interesting, your comment about vegetal cycles and latitudes and all…I have to say, I love the smell of dirt. And cooked compost. But that stargazer lily that’s open right now in my garden? A vuvuzela honking out in search of a World Cup game. The pitch, as it were, ain’t that patch. Just doesn’t belong. Some people love that, even up here. Me…I feel…wrong…uncomfortable. But I’m happy to go snork my lemon daylily. And that crazy heady spicebush, and, and…maybe it is about things more at home somewhere above 42 degrees latitude. In North America, that is. ;)

      But then I find a gap in my Venn, and I lose my train of thought, and I go off snurfling something else… (put big old friendly smile guy here).

      • Kathryn says:

        I know what you mean about those lilies, Shelley. I always do better with what I perceive as vegetal skank than with what I perceive as animalic. That hammy note in lilies often strikes me as a little bit too perverse. My favorite lilies, mostly species like henryii, tend not to be that overwhelmingly fragrant. However, my tastes may be expanding. I recently received a gift of an Ormonde Jayne Casablanca Lily candle and it is just divine.

        But I dunno about those Venn diagrams. I have a fairly strong taxonomic urge, but usually I would rather be up to my elbows in dirt gardening. (Another friendly smile guy grinning back at you….)

      • Flora says:

        Shelley, that’s what I love about lilies like that – they smell so tropical and decadent, but they are hardy and cannot survive growing in the tropics! They are an anomaly in the world of temperate zone plants, that’s for sure.

        Right now I have trumpet lilies pouring their scent out all over my garden and it’s just glorious to me – there is a thick undercurrent of indoles overlaid with sweet and spicy notes that’s just addictive. They even look as though they should be in the jungle!

    • carter says:

      I think that this is a really terrific point. We don’t live with the smell of decay in the very air we breathe. We are somewhat (quite a bit!) removed from the cycle of life and death in our daily existence. We can suspend and interrupt the process in a sense, and in some ways deny death. I think that it might seem be perfectly natural to us to react with revulsion to the very same thing that to others smells like life itself.

      • sweetlife says:

        I was thinking about you comment Carter, about not smelling decay in the very air we breathe, and giggling to remember your ongoing wars with the subway platforms… Perhaps you are a little nearer than you think? :-)

        • carter says:

          Give me rotting flowers on Bali over rotting garbage, puke, pee and the combustible aroma of 430 other tired, sweaty, cranky commuters any day! But it *is* a bit like descending into hell and since I’ve no doubt that that’s where I’m eventually headed anyway, perhaps what really gets under my skin is some deep awareness that I’m staring into the future as I wait for the B train.

          • sweetlife says:

            If you’re on your way to hell, no doubt I’ll see you there. Always sounded more interesting than the wings and harps anyway…

    • I truly love both Mitsouko and Manoumalia, and it does make some sort of sense on the olfactory map: they’re linked by lactones (the creamy ones in Manoumalia, the peach in Mitsouko). In fact, fruity chypres are quite close to white florals on that map, but quite far, say, from green roses/muguet/freesia.

      • Kathryn says:

        That’s so interesting! I would love to see an olfactory map or, even better, resurrect enough of my long ago chemistry classes to construct a personal one for myself. Aldehydes would probably be at the far edge of mine. Even though the C-14 in Mitsouko is now classified as a lactone rather than an aldehyde, it is still not greatly appealing to me.

        I imagine that on any map there would be a lot of different paths and cross-connections? I can’t offhand think of a fruity chypre that deeply moves me, but I can feel quite passionate about green chypres like Sous le Vent. From that, I hypothesize that it might be the green note of vetiver in Manoumalia that most attracts me. But I’m sure there is more to it than that since there are many tuberose scents I like. It seems very complicated, but of course any map of mine would contain several labyrinths and probably a few dead ends as well.

      • carter says:

        Fresh is such a turn off for me, ditto edibles. I love exotic, decidedly un-English or American Beauty roses and creamy, rubbery, tropical flowers. Green is fine as long as it has a heart of darkness and plenty of earth thrown in for good measure, and “Old lady” accord in perfumery is like a flame to my inner moth.

      • mals86 says:

        Interesting info! I love me some white flowers, and they don’t have to be all that clean – yet every single “fruity chypre” I’ve ever tried has been an utter FAIL for me.

        Manoumalia, for me, is a weird combination of powder, gorgeous tropical white flowers, and… okay, not exactly afterbirth, but that post-childbirth discharge that goes on for about six weeks and smells sweetish, faintly bloody, and meaty. It’s right on the verge of repulsive. However, I’ll comment that all three of my children thought it was really pretty.

    • nozknoz says:

      I believe there may be a scent map as you suggest, but that loathing something that many people love (or vice versa), may often be due to hyperosmia or anosmia to specific scent chemicals. For example, some people compare L’AP Timbuktu to forest freshness. I can sort of sense that sometimes, but it’s very much overshadowed by a very strong celery/sweat note, to my nose. This is not a skin thing, as it smells the same on cloth and seems to last forever. I think I’m just hyperosmic to whatever that note is.

  • Shelley says:

    I’ve never had the chance to meet Manoumalia properly, because my sample was crushed somewhere in transit. (And, no matter what I would have thought ultimately, as any perfume fan knows, that was a bit of a mini-tragedy the day that envelope arrived.)

    I kept the envelope for a couple of months, though, and it smelled of rubbery white flower the whole time. No ashtray, though. After a while, it dawned on me that maybe stashing it in the bathroom vanity was counter to purpose…sure, it smells like a flower…with *indoles*… :-0 ;)

    Funny how rubber in Black is okay, but not with a flower? Very interestink.

    • Musette says:

      Honey, jes’ you hang awn. Momma will fix you riiiight up. jes’ as soon as i get back from IA, which is where I am now. In a cornfield. Well, not exactly in the corn, I’m in an ethanol plant, surrounded by corn, which is as it should be.


      • Shelley says:

        …and by plant, you mean factory, not an overgrown beanstalk kind o’ thing Jack would climb, right? ;)

        Oh, no worries. I’ll hang on. Me and white florals, we have a thing going on. A peculiar dance, a love/hate, a just wrong/oh okay thingamabob. It’s odd, I tend to find one in every subcategory. In mish-mash, you have Fracas, I have Songes. Of course, “mish-mash” suggests a big mess, which is not what I mean to say…big, yes, mess, no…

        Dang, I could use some emoticons. :)

        • Musette says:

          that is all right – I get it :-)

          Actually I was in the presence of both the plant (as in cornstalk) and PLANT (as in processing). Our biz was with the latter which, of course, wouldn’t exist without the former.

          stoned on antihistamines now. will stop typing before it becomes appallingly obvious just how stoned I really am… :-D


  • karin says:

    So funny how we think there must be something wrong with us when everyone seems to love a fragrance, and we don’t. I always think, maybe if I try it again, and again, and again, I’ll love it! We torture ourselves – trying to figure out what everyone else is “getting”. But does it really matter that we don’t? No! We love what we love and hate what we hate! It’s OKAY! I agree with Jared, it’s actually great to loathe things cause it means we can cross them off the list. Such a relief when there are so many awesome fragrances out there, and so little $ to spend on them. :-)

    As to Manoumalia, I am also a detractor. Just sprayed it again to remind myself why I didn’t like it. I was going to say “powdery Tampax-fresh accord,” but when I saw your mention of urine cakes above, March, a lightbulb went off – POWDERY URINE CAKES!!! That’s it!!! Funny, though, that it’s been an hour since I sprayed it on the back of my hand, and I can now barely smell anything at all. And I thought this stuff was much more powerful than that. I wouldn’t say I LOATHE it. My dislike isn’t all that strong. But it’s not something I would wear.

    Something I loathe? Well, I *think* it’s Youth Dew? I say “think” because I keep smelling something on older women (I’m talkin’ 60’s and above), and it’s become the quintessential “old lady” scent that makes me want to GAG!!! I haven’t had the courage to ask when I smell it on someone, cause I’m afraid my horror will show. But I was at the EL counter a few weeks ago to purchase a bottle of Azuree (what a killer!), and casually sniffed the Youth Dew bottle – OMG!!!! THAT’S IT!!!!

    • karin says:

      BTW – I LOVE NdT (just bought a large bottle), but HATE Amaranthine (it’s the cumin that kills it for me)!

    • carter says:

      Maybe it *should* be okay, and but when it comes to one of the greats like Mitsouko, I want very, very much to get it. Just like I’d want to understand a demanding but rewarding piece of literature or a challenging abstract. I don’t feel bad about myself that I find it difficult, I know that most of the time it will come if I’m just patient let it, and if or when that happens I feel very happy! It genuinely lifts my spirits. It’s more than worth the investment!

      Recently I went to see Marina Abramovic in a performance piece at MoMA (along with installations of her other work) with a friend who is a fan of her art, and I found it baffling, annoying, upsetting, frustrating, and a lot of it quite frightening and ugly. There were masses of people there, enraptured, and I wanted to understand. But as I sat there, watching her, I started to get it. I started to understand what she meant by what she was doing, and I started to see a kind of intense beauty in it.

      That’s how I feel about Mitsouko and other perfumes which aren’t necessarily easy or which I even dislike intensely upon first sniff, or sometimes many sniffs. I know that there is something more there, something that when I do get it (if I ever get it) will make life just a little more wonderful. This isn’t true of all perfumes or even many perfumes, but I figure that some of them are just worth my time. If I had not stuck it out with Bandit I can honestly say that I would have missed out on one of the great pleasure of my life.

      But Masha is right…sometimes there is an unconscious reason why we react to things the way we do…an association hidden in our memories. Which is also interesting to me, but I suppose it explains why I may never love Mitsouko no matter much I wish it to be so or how long I keep on sniffing.

  • Style Spy says:

    I love that rubbery thing. I don’t really understand why I love it, but I do, and Manoumalia has it in spades. And it’s okay that you hate it. More for me.

    Just the name “Aimez-Moi,” however, is enough to summon up the screechy string crescendo from “Psycho” and send me hiding under the bed. That stuff came after me and tried to kill me with an icepick to my forehead. It was the beginning of my lifelong (I anticipate) loathing of violet.

  • Marte says:

    I’m with you on this one, March. I find it powdery, dense, heavy and very strange. I exptected to like it, but it was a complete fail everytime I tested it. I love Amaranthine and Nuit de Tubereuse, and I don’t find them similar at all. Guess I should try again, after reading the comments here.

    My worst scrubber of all time is a fragrance everyone else seem to love, SSS Tabac Aurea. It almost made me vomit, and I feel sick just thinking about it.

    • mals86 says:

      Bummer bummer on the Tabac Aurea. I too utterly love the stuff – but I did put on three spritzes back in February and found it Too Much. I’ve gone back to applying delicately, and it’s gone back to gorgeous.

  • donanicola says:

    I smell a tropical wind laden with vetiver, sandalwood and a “cool” white flower when I smell Manoumalia but I was perplexed the first time I sniffed it. It doesn’t (to me) have that buttery feel I associate with other tropical scents. My favourite recent memory of wearing it was in Turkey. I’d wear it in the evening partially into my hair line and when I hit the sea the next day (with air temps of 35 – 40 degrees) it wafted up into the air and I thought it gained a salty (and sexy) aspect. I can quite see though how polarising it is.
    Can’t immediately identify any vomity ones though I wouldn’t want to be stuck on a tube with a heady rose/patchouli number.

  • Thanna says:

    Haven’t tried Manoumalia and I doubt that I will. I’m not a big fan of tiare or ylang ylang when they’re front and center.

    Without question my “round up the villagers and remind them to bring pitchforks and torches” scent is Guerlain Vetiver. Spritzed that on at NM and within minutes I had a whole new understanding of coyote ugly. It was a combination of dirty ashtray, marijuana and potting soil. Kind of like that day when Officer Bob did his Just Say No presentation in jr high only not as giggle inducing.

  • Fiordiligi says:

    After I heard such rave reports of Manoumalia I duly ordered a sample, then aaaaaaaaagh. Just horrible, underlying nastiness which was not at all what I expected.

    I wear and adore skanky fragrances – vintage Mitsouko, Bal, Shocking and all their friends, but cannot abide anything melony/cucumbery/aquatic at any price. I’m shuddering at the very thought. My most loathed fragrance is definitely l’Eau d’Issey. But then again, I’ve never sniffed Secretions Magnifiques……

  • Melissa says:

    Thank you March, for having the courage to admit to Manoumalia-loathing! I’ve read so many glowing reviews, seen so many faces light up and heard so many odes to this brilliant composition, and in my heart of hearts, I know that it is wonderful, but….When I spray it, I get rubber. And more rubber. And a teensy bit of decaying flowers and more rubber. Oh, and did I say that my nose can’t smell much of anything beyond the rubber?

    And I love challenging scents. Cheesy gardenias, indolic, fecal jasmines, etc. Even a few scents with melon notes. But I haven’t yet mastered Manoumalia, even after multiple attempts.

    My other fails? Therese gives me a hard time too, even though I can tolerate melon notes in other perfumes. A friend (who likes it) described it as a bit “brackish”, which seems to be the quality that makes me want to scrub it. And lilac scents make me want to run away from my own arm. So En Passant is an epic fail. Wow, that’s two FMs and three great perfumers in one reply!

  • Olfacta says:

    With me it’s the metallic taste/smell of tropical fruit — mango, papaya, yuck. And that one that looks like a giant grape covered with bumpy fuchsia skin — the lychee fruit. I don’t know why this is so. As far as flowers go, I guess that in the tropics they have to get the insects’ attention fast and that smell of rot/decay/rubber is how they do it. I tried Manoumalia last year and still have a partial sample around here somewhere — I think I liked it — but like also the idea of an anthropological perfume, a perfume of place if you will. And most ouds still remind me of a camel-herder’s armpit, not any place I ever want to be. It is possible, though, to use it with more restraint as some of the “natural” perfumers did in the Mystery of Musk thing, a molecule or two at a time maybe.

    I guess I’m still enough of a noob to like most things. And/or enough of a vet to know that I never even want to get near “Secretions Magnifiques.” “Dan tes Bras” was bad enough.

  • Silviafunkly says:

    I don’t love Manoumalia either, but keep meaning to start the Search for my sample as I hope it might grow on me. I recall it felt very rubbery, oily in a slightly rancid way and as someone else wrote on the Posse a while ago, it just “sat on the skin” in a suffocating manner. Don’t recall powder or melon though.

    Vomit inducing fragrances, of the type where I have to give up my seat and move away if someone wears it near me in the metro, are TF Black Orchid, Shalimar and of course Angel.

  • sybil says:

    I hated Mamounia when i got the sample (which LesNez was sending out for free or cheap at the time) but i din’t remember why. I just now ran and got the sample and sprayed it on tissue and I wholeheartedly agree with your review. There’s this mothball, formaldehyde evilness to it that makes me sad. I’m not even getting what the perfumer tried to do, and i would swear there are no flowers in the juice, just evil chemicals formed from tortured molecules. In every Creed scent I’ve tried, there’s a horrible jarring ammonia reek in the base that pretty much makes it unwearable, but I can at least see how it would work if the chemistry was right. With Mamounia, I’m not seeing that. I’ve had scents that are meh on me, or that don’t smell as lovely as promised, but this (along with Miel de Bois) is a hallmark in nasty.

  • Erin T says:

    I did not like Manoumalia at all on first sniff. I thought it smelled cheesy and rank, and while softer, too insistent, like a a less shrill Heeley Ophelia (which I LOATHED). I got no melon… but then, melon might have saved it for me (I quite like and own both Emotionelle and Therese, for instance – I know, horror!) My sample from the Perfumed Court evaporated and condensed a little, going that toasted brown – one of the very few samples I’ve ever had that went that way – and I thought I would give it away to a local perfumie friend who wanted to try it, with the warning that it might not be a representative sample and certainly wasn’t “fresh”.

    So, it smelled gorgeous on him. Heavenly. Wonderful. I snatched the sample vial back. I refused to believe that he sprayed the right atomizer: this could not be the thing I sampled before. It now smelled very good on me, as well, though not quite as gorgeous as on him in drydown, I am certain. I still don’t understand it, the whole thing is a mystery to me still, but I gave him the atomizer, because it definitely belonged with him.

    • Shelley says:

      Weird. This is very similar to what I am going through with Vamp a NY. I wonder if there’s something about these hothouse flowers…

      BTW, Ophelia. Wan. Pretty, wan, floats away down the stream, was pretty to look at while she went by, totally forgotten five minutes later. Safe. But.

      • Musette says:

        I’m with you totally on the Ophelia. For a hot minute I wondered if the schozz had gone off again, like it does with iris sometimes…


  • Austenfan says:

    So far the only perfume that has really made me gag is Teint de Neige. There have been others that I really haven’t liked but that one really made me feel ill/nauseous.
    Reading here and on other blogs, and reading the guide, I am becoming more and more convinced that my nose really is not that good. I don’t even get half of what other people seem to be sniffing. I don’t really mind. The nose is just adequate enough to make me enjoy wearing fragrance.
    I am going to sniff Manoumalia in the near future; I have ordered the sample pack from LesNez. I have a feeling I will like it. I love tropical scents. I don’t mind melon at all. But you never know. Actually your descriptions of things you don’t like might be even better than of the scents you love. They never fail to make me giggle. Easter vomit is still the best though.

  • Anatole says:

    I don’t get melon in Manoumalie neither, but I cen relate on the yuck side: to me it’s a note always on the verge of “old puke”, the kind of smell you have tried to washed but it keeps smelling again.

    For the bury it and forget it kind of smell, to me it’s big aldehydic: reminds me of old wrinkled ladies with two centimeters of oily make up trying to kiss you and always wanting to pinch your cute little boy face; freaky!
    Or: the end of a busy day maroccan armpit: al aoud.
    but if you really wants to make me cry, and as you know boys don’t cry: have me to wear any La nuit de L’homme kind of nuclear thing.

    Thanks for Manoumalia Btw, I’ll wear it today! Perfume independance day in Paris!

  • Jared says:

    Well, I loved Manoumalia. I also love that you loathe it! And with such verbal flair. I just think it’s fun to have all the diversity of opinion. I’m not loving Nuit de Tubereuse right now myself (sampling on my wrist for the first time). Nice and all, but not for me (no hate, BD!). And frankly, I’m freakin’ glad when I find something I loathe, let alone just feel “meh” about, because my credit card is begging me to please, for the love of God, hate something! With all of the gazillion things out there, it’s nice to narrow the field a bit. Although, back on topic, Manoumalia is not one of them, so on the list it stays. I didn’t really like Amaranthine or this Nuit de Tubereuse, so I don’t quite put it in those categories, but hey, I’ll become a hothouse flower for this one. The one scrubber I have tried thus far is Cuir Pleine Fleur by Heeley. I wanna say it’s a leather/immortelle combo that did me in, and even thinking about it I’m dying a little inside. My newly purchased Cuir de Russie is glancing up at me from my arm with reassuring eyes, telling me she’ll never betray. So, here’s to hating more things out there!

  • Bee says:

    I agree with everybody recalling the typical tropical feeling..e.g. when stepping out of the plane at an exotic destination (think Cambodia, African countries): the evaporating petrol fumes, the mustiness of the humid air, the overwhelming density of flower scents in the air, but I detect a greenness throughout, keeping the scent together! Powdery? No way, as not with Amaranthine and Nuit de Tubéreuse and Vamp a NY (all favorites of mine at the moment, but all need only a light application). Typically powdery are for me Mitsouko & Co.. not my cup of tea, but it’s not a scrubber, whereas Onda by Vero Kern was..

  • No, March, sweetie, I don’t think you’ve hurt the feelings of Manoumalia lovers anywhere: it’s indifference that would have been terrible. Loathing just proves it’s an incredibly distinctive, original scent, one that takes risks. We need more of those. It’s why I listed it as a classic of tomorrow on Osmoz.

    Can you tell Manoumalia is one of my favorite scents? A sample lives in my makeup bag permanently. It’s also one I use in my London classes — during the last one, a 58-year-old Indian biochemist practically cried with joy when he discovered it: he said it was “the dream of a lifetime”. Guess he’s your evil fragrance twin.

    Masha nailed it in the very first comment, I think. I’ve never lived in the Tropics but to me Manoumalia achieves the feat of being both a scent composed in the truest French tradition (Sandrine was apprenticed to Edmond Roudnitska)and a vivid evocation of nature at its fiercest.

    It seems that you’re picking up a melon note (judging from the other scents you list as loathing) that I’ve never noticed in it. It may be in there, as a trace of Roudnitska’s heritage (it’s in Thérèse, for instance). You know how when you focus on a note you hate, it’s all you can ever smell… And also, you may be hyperosmic to the musk Sandrine uses, because it’s not *that* powdery.

    As for fragrance I buried, I remember received a set of samples from the same company that does The Party in Manhattan, a line called The Garden Party: that was such a powder-fest I gagged. Maybe it’s an Italian thing, like the Villoresi?
    The new Mugler, Womanity, doesn’t quite elicit such strong reactions but almost: when I tested it with a perfumer, she literally drenched my hands with alcohol, then frogmarched me to the bathroom for a thorough scrub, because a bit had gotten on my fingers spraying it.

    • carter says:

      Yes, Masha nailed it. I should have read what she wrote before I put in my two cents because she seems to have immediately grasped what I was totally unable to zero in on, much less articulate, but wish I had. Decay, rot, flesh, SEX…yeah, baby, it’s in there. Carnal flowers. And that could explain a great deal, even that “afterbirth” business. But in a good way!

  • Klara says:

    I haven’t tried the Manoumalia so I can’t comment on that, but the perfume that I loathe is Lipstick Rose – I do not understand how so many people love this thing, it actually makes me want to vomit. It smells cheap, plasticky, sickeningly sugary – I actually associate the smell with barbies and I liked plaing with barbies as a little girl so there is no deep-burried trauma going on here. And like you with Manoumalia, when I smell it right out of the sample vial I hate it just as much as I hate it when it’s on my skin. And, I mean it’s a rose and I love roses!

  • I can’t give you any insights into Manoumalia as I haven’t sniffed it but I’m sure everyone can relate to that feeling of not quite “getting” something everyone else is and feeling a freak. Fragrance wise for me, it’s Noir Epices from Frederic Malles. I love spices and the description on paper seems like something I would adore. Yet when I sprayed it on me, after the gorgeous opening, 20 minutes in, something rich and buttery leapt up and assaulted my nose making me feel nauseous and sick. I’ve never ever had such a violent reaction to a scent. I don’t know enough about the notes to try and isolate what it was in the mix which had me retching and I’m too scared to investigate as that would involve smelling the thing again. I’ve been traumatised enough for a life time with that. I WISH I was that cool to join the Noir Epices club but it escapes.

    There are definitely times in life when people are raving about something and it leaves me scratching my head thinking whether I’m the only one who can see that the emperor is completely butt naked. Orlando Bloom? Nope. “Eat, Pray, Love”? Don’t get it. The rich nuances in single origin handpoured coffee? For palates more delicate than mine. :-\

  • Flora says:

    LOL, this reminds me of when I first smelled Songes and recoiled in horror – it smelled like burnt rubber and gasoline and FEET and all sorts of nasty, and then one day I tried it again and it was wonderful. I have chalked it up to a medication I was on when I smelled it the first time. It is indeed skanky, but now my nose processes that in a good way.

    The Holy Terror for me, other than the usual suspects of White Diamonds, cheap stuff and knockoffs, is Teint de Neige. I have never been a big fan of powdery perfumes to being with, and I felt buried in an avalanche of baby powder and confectioner’s sugar with that stuff. It mystifies me to no end why that thing is their best seller! It’s claustrophobia in a bottle for me. :-&

    • Flora, my now-ex boyfriend felt the same way about Songes — it was the only scent he begged me never to wear, ever. I got the burnt hair/rubber note as well, it’s actually a characteristic of an amber-wood synthetic material and I sometimes get gasoline from jasmine essential oil (in vintage Joy parfum, for instance).
      After the split-up I went back to Songes and fell in love.

      • Shelley says:

        A-HA!! on the gasoline. (Riffling back through memories of that note…)

      • Tiara says:

        Songes was one of the first perfumes I was able to wear when the allergies waned. Still love it, still wear it, but not as much as I used to. Too many other choices at this point but next time I wear it, think I need to see if I can detect burnt hair, rubber or cigarette. Have always found it to be a delightful, almost romantic scent and now I’m beginning to wonder what I might be missing. I always apply lightly so would hope I’m not giving others a gag inducing waft!

      • Flora says:

        So I am not the only one that had that experience with Songes! I wondered what all the fuss was about when it was first released, I simply could NOT understand all the positive reviews – and I am a huge fan of the AG perfumes! Funny how that can happen, suddenly discovering that a perfume has gone from hate to love. (It also happened to me with Shalimar, which I now adore.)

  • Winifreida says:

    Hmmm I find Man. powerfully unique, extremely tropical and for hot and humid weather only; its an interesting story the way the firm is in Switzerland but the perfumer is in New Caledonia. I do wonder with that dichotomy how it goes in Europe…to me the funky natural feel does appeal to the old headshop hippie vibe! I just put it on a strip because I could NOT attempt it on skin on a cold wintery day Downunder. (I’m SoD Patchouli 24, and I can get the smokey undertone in Man. too!)Its a huge statement and I have not worn it as much as I thought I would I must admit.
    I’ve surprised myself, after a bit of a binge on vintage frags, that a couple that I always knew I didn’t ‘like’ such as No 5 and Arpege, I now loathe on myself as if they are nuclear waste!

  • carter says:

    I’m sorry, March, and I have never said anything even remotely close to this to anyone when it comes to anything as subjective as smell, but honey, it ain’t the ‘fume.

    I may be crazy, but haven’t taken total leave of my senses. I beat myself up for not being able to “get” Mitsouko, but I am absolutely positive in my heart of hearts that the fact that the light bulb hasn’t yet clicked on is about me and not Mitsy. And maybe it never will, which makes me sad because I know I’m missing out on an experience which I’d really, REALLY like to have. But it is what it is and I don’t for one minute believe that the shortcomings (for lack of a better word — not shortcomings, exactly, but that’s as close as I can get) are hers. I believe that Mitsouko is every bit as amazing as it’s cracked up to be and that I’m the one who doesn’t have the proper nasal wiring to appreciate her gorgiousity. And because of that conviction, I keep trying and hoping and trusting that one day I will have an aha! moment and that suddenly, miraculously, all shall be revealed and I can die happy.

    Okay…so…Manoumalia. I don’t get powder, but I know that others do. “Powdery afterbirth” was an especially colorful description from a recent discussion here on the Posse; one which I have spent time and effort since trying unsuccessfully to obliterate it from my brain pan, like a tiny splinter too deeply planted to remove without a sewing needle and copious amounts of Bactine. What I *do* smell is an absolutely dead-on representation of white flowers in the sticky wet heat of tropics.

    I think it’s gorgeous, but I can certainly understand why it would not float everyone’s boat. Why someone might loathe it, even. But “the smothering powderiness of Lorenzo Villoresi Teint de Neige with the nausea-inducing aquamelon of Annick Goutal Un Matin d’Orage, with a drydown that manages to remind me simultaneously of drain cleaner, rubber bands, and ashtray” deserving to be “buried it in the graveyard under a full moon, wrapped in a sealed Ziploc bag, after driving a stake through its heart and shooting it with a silver bullet?”

    Ah no, sweetie, that’s you.

    • carter says:

      Oh, and my personal stake-through-the-heart scent would be Rahat Loukoum. Kill it, kill it DEAD and burn the body!

    • mals86 says:

      Sorry sorry sorry for the offending description…

      • carter says:

        Ha-ha! Haunted by afterbirth. I made a film for Lamaze years ago which involved being present during six births. Incredibly moving and I cried every time, partly from sheer exhaustion although I wasn’t nearly as pooped as the poor mother, but mostly because it was just the most amazing thing in the world. But I gotta admit, six afterbirths later, it did sorta eek me out and I had successfully blotted it from my memory. Until the other day…(teeth-baring grinning emoticon here).

  • BBJ says:

    The only perfume sample I have ever actually thrown out was one of the first batch I bought–Creed’s Fleur De The Rose Bulgare, which I have described in the past as smelling like a rose being pounded to death with dirty nickels.

    It was ungodly. I don’t know what went wrong.

  • mary says:

    March, I do so wish you would tell us what you reeeaaalllly think of this one! Tee hee. I never smelled this one. Now it is on a special list with Soulgasm, perfumes in need of a friend– although at least Manoumalia has friends, whereas Soulgasm is reputed to be so bad some people think it is the next Borat or Bruno movie. As for fragrances I would like to see buried– I have to say: I was not impressed with Tommy Girl, but that may partially have been due to that 4 star build up in the Guide, only to find it just–meh. In my wanderings last week, I found an ultra steep discounted bottle of S perfume 100% Love, by Sophia Grosjman — I am circling around it warily, can’t decide if it is something I want on my body. I can’t say I hate it, but it frightens me. :)>-

    • March says:

      Buy it. It’s terrifying. I wore it for six months, now I keep it in handcuffs in the dungeon, but there’s nothing like it. When they made a {More} version, for people who didn’t find the original toxic enough? I laughed. I think it will be a collector’s item in 10 – 20 years.

      Soulgasm deserves no friends, and Manoumalia has plenty.

    • mals86 says:

      Oh, I wound up really fascinated by 100% Love, yet not wanting it ANYWHERE NEAR MY SKIN, ewwwwww!

  • Occhineri says:

    I love this one! I get tropical flowers, & yes, ashtray accord, but no rubber, rot or mellon.

    • March says:

      So, the ashtray doesn’t bother you? I almost feel like I could live with one of those, but not all, and never the melon. I have no idea why. I wasn’t beaten with a melon as a child. I like to eat melon.

      • carter says:

        Tropical flowers (which automatically covers rubber), check. Smoke and spice, check. A hint of coconut, yes. Powder, if you insist, but melon? Seriously, what melon? You have totally lost me on that one, but maybe I’m just not picking up on it. Thank God.

        • Joe says:

          I hear you. I have no idea where she found the melon. Maybe she layered it over Mousson? I like melon, but I’m not smelling any in this.

      • Occhineri says:

        I get the same type of ashtray thing from Cristalle, too, & I can live with it. If I got melon, though, it would be all over. The only melon I can deal with is in FM Therese (though that ends up mostly jasmine & leather).

      • mals86 says:

        Yeah, I didn’t get any melon out of Manoumalia either. Powder? yes. And something (urk) meaty.

        And Cristalle is total ashtray, IMO.

  • emmaflannelflower says:

    I feel sorry to say….Mitsouko. It reminds me of formaldehyde and the anatomy lab as a medical student. No peach. No nothing. The old greasy, dusty aldehydes scare me so much it is like I don’t want to discover what is underneath. I so wanted to love this one.

    • March says:

      Hehe. My great love. The Earth Moved. I thought: oh. This. This is why people wear perfume. And I remember the SA who showed it to me, a sweet elderly man at Saks, who sniffed it on my wrist and seemed surprised as he said to me, that’s what it’s supposed to smell like. But if it smells like formaldehyde to you, no, it’s not working.

    • BBJ says:

      I’m experimenting with Mitsouko this week. It’s very beautiful, and I love the spicy dryness. It does smell faintly familiar, and I wonder if my great-aunt may have worn it at some point, because I think of her living room when I smell it–or perhaps it just smells like the way she decorated–cool, and lovely and slightly exotic.

      I’m trying to decide if it smells like ME…but so far it’s the only Guerlain I have not reacted to with disgust.

      Oh, another fragrance in the graveyard for me: Shalimar. It freaks me out.

      • carter says:

        Shalimar! Yes! THAT’s what I want to wear to bed right this minute. I have been straining to hear what that tiny voice in the back of my mind was whispering to me and it was “Shaaalimaaar, fool!” Sorry you no like, but thank you for that!

      • Karen G says:

        So funny. I’ve heard it said that you are either a Mitsouko person or a Shalimar person, and I think it may be true. Shalimar really loves me, but Mitsouko and I will never see eye to eye. If you could smell Mitsy on my skin, you would beg me to scrub it off!

        • BBJ says:

          Could be. I want to like Shalimar (a common theme with me), but the citrus and the vanilla are simply at war in my nose. They do not unite, neither one wins, they just battle it out on a tightrope. Shalimar agitates me, because there’s this mortal battle going on on my skin. And also, it doesn’t smell good on me.

    • Masha says:

      Aldehyde overdose perfumes get me the same way, they remind me of embalmed bodies! But for some reason, Mitsy is all spices and skank on me, aldehyde C-14 doesn’t bother me for some reason. I think I remember reading somewhere it’s not related to other aldehydes. But Chanel 5? GACK!

      • BBJ says:

        Chanel 5, I have regretfully decided, doesn’t work for me for the time being. At all. I love the classicism of it–Chanel No. 5!

        What I don’t love is the jasmine. At first I couldn’t identify the jasmine as such, I described the note that was bothering me as ‘shrieking fruit salad’.

        I have a combative relationship with jasmine, I find.

      • Ruanne says:

        Aha! Thank you for clearing that up. Most perfumes described as aldehydic call up a queasy headache for me, yet I inhale Mitsouko like a crazed glue huffer.

  • Masha says:

    It’s funny I’m writing this as I’m getting ready to fly to tropical flower heaven, Miami! I totally understand why you HATE this one, March. If I hadn’t lived for substantial periods in the tropics, I would, too. I like to sniff Manoumalia but I don’t really wear it, if that makes sense. It’s entirely natural-smelling and reminds me very much of strolling around tropical gardens- real tropical flowers have rotten, rubbery, and bitter facets that mimic poop and animal decomposition- this attracts pollinating insects so the plant can reproduce. The flowers of Manoumalia are very authentic! So when I feel miserably cold, and well, just miserable in the winter, Manoumalia is a sure antidote for me and brings back memories of warm, sunny places. But the Bitter Rubber Note goes way beyond Bvlgari Black, doesn’t it? I can understand how Manoumalia can be nausea-inducing. I think the love/hate reaction might be determined by the sniffer’s olfactory memories….

    • March says:

      That’s … brilliant. I think you’ve put your finger on it. I can’t help but feel there’s some aspect of it, some scent-association, that I’m failing to appreciate. It definitely has that aura of decay — that rotting, rubbery feel to it. It was a smell I confronted and was distinctly uncomfortable with all over Thailand. It’s outside my reference somehow, although I tried. God knows. Exemplified in my multiple attempts to bring myself to actually eat durian, although … I felt so ashamed. I was terrified if I took a bite and horked it back up right there, I’d embarrass others and not just myself. I choked down some durian ice cream, but even that was rough road. I think I wrote it was like licking a dirty bathroom, urinal cakes and all. Manoumalia makes me feel the same way.

      • Masha says:

        Ew, durian! That’s on my Ten Greatest Gross-Outs List for sure! So is chinese bitter melon. Yuck.

      • gator grad says:

        Totally agree. There’s something between rubber, fecal matter, and rancid butter in this one. Sometimes I think that an “edge” of dirtiness (or a note that is somehow… amiss) really adds a new level of lovely to a perfume.

        But this just didn’t work for me at all.