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