Mahora by Jean Paul Guerlain 2000

Heya Posse it’s Portia from Australian Perfume Junkies back again. Let’s talk about bygone fragrances, sadly discontinued that never seemed to make a big splash on the market but in retrospect are, and were, fabulously beautiful creations. OK, let’s just talk about one example Mahora by Guerlain.

Mahora by Guerlain 2000

Mahora Guerlain FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Orange blossom, almond blossom, green accords
Heart: Ylang-ylang, neroli, tuberose, jasmine
Base: Sandalwood, vanilla, vetiver

Start with the bottle, it’s a freaky, funky, groovy hark back to the 1960s & 70s love of world design and was apparently designed by Robert Granai who should be given a medal. My bottle is the 75ml/2.5oz and while it’s perfect for my hand, comfortable and easily spritzed, I can imagine it posing a problem for daintier people. The bubble of glass that peeks through the punched metal medallion at the front, the tapering neck, it’s fabulous! How was it produced in the opening of this century though, I am astounded that it was. It has a decided lack of heft though and feels slightly fragile in comparison with a lot of modern fragrance bottles and that does give it a slightly cheap feel, like a drugstore offering that has gone OTT to disguise the yucky juice.

On to the fragrance, I was unaware about how much division there is about Mahora until I started researching for this post.

Mahora Guerlain Bora_Bora GlobalImagesPhoto Stolen GlobalImages

Mahora opens lushly floral with a green sappiness and almond/vanilla backbeat, warm sensual and resinous. I think of most big white florals as summer wear but Mahora skews winter or cool midseason for me, yet I wear it all year round. There is a woody, rooty note that sits behind the glamour and I think it could be vetiver, it manages to create interest and ground the succulence of the flowers which are OUTRAGEOUS!! Sappy, buttery, sexy and enticing I smile when I wear Mahora because it does have something voluptuous and overblown about it, like a Hollywood starlet gone to seed. In fact, there is a decidedly Hollywood feeling about Mahora, showstopping, drop dead gorgeousness that is definitely not for the faint hearted.

Give Mahora an hour and it softens considerable to a lavish Guerlain vanilla coated with white flowers between one and three hours is when I get compliments on my fragrance when I wear Mahora. I sit down next to someone or I walk past them at the bar and quite often someone random who has no knowledge of my frag addiction will ask what it is.

Mahora Guerlain Queen_of_Hearts DeviantArtPhoto Stolen DeviantArt

When I wear Mahora I feel like the queen of the world, lavish, elegant and very sexy. If you know me then you’ll understand that that’s quite an achievement as I am not really any of those things except on the inside, Mahora makes me feel that way all the way through.

Further reading: Smelly Thoughts and Kafkaesque
Now available in slightly different form at Guerlain called Mayotte in Les Parisiennes
Ebay also has some BARGAINS! but pretty soon they will be gone and Mahora will cost a fortune.
Surrender To Chance has Mayotte starting at $6/ml

Have you tried Mahora, how was your experience?

If you’ve enjoyed this then come see us over at Australian Perfume Junkies and say hello. We adore having visitors and would love to see you there
Portia xx

  • malsnano86 says:

    A few years ago I bought a mini of Mahora on ebay, without having tried it before. It lasted for hooouuurs on my normally scent-eating skin, and it was really gorgeous for six of those hours, all white-floral lushness.

    Following that, it went horribly wrong. The drydown, once the florals started to go, was dreadful. I mean, DREADFUL. Sour. Bitter. Horridly chemical. I’m not sure what caused that. I don’t do well in general with vetiver, so that might cover the sour/bitter thing, but there was also something nose-burning like the smell of lye. I had to scrub. I tried it once more, in different weather, and had the same experience.

    It’s one thing to not enjoy a phase of a fragrance, but if that phase is so awful you can’t bear it, there’s just no point. I mean, there are tons of other white florals to enjoy. I passed my mini on to a friend, and I suspect there’s something about my chemistry that’s messing with Mahora. Just can’t wear it myself.

  • Elia says:

    I recently got a sample from a friend. I think I left it last to try with little expectation, because as you say Mahora doesn’t have the best reputation. I was surprised to find one the best Guerlains I’ve experienced. A lovely floriental. So many orientals end up at one extreme or another, either drowning in vanilla or so heavy handed on the spice they might as well be pot luck curry. Mahora has a delicate balance to it and at the centrepiece, such a lush white floral.

  • minette says:

    great stuff with the right chemistry. i met a woman from holland who wore it as her signature, and it was truly awful – could not even recognize it! all weirdly green and resinous and fruity. and yes, that bottle is fab. so glad i grabbed one of these. it is a trip.

    i must disagree with your last bit, portia – you ARe all of those things – lavish, elegant, and very sexy – on the outside, too.

    • Portia says:

      OOOOWAAAH! Sounds like a scent pollution. I wonder how it smelled to her? Maybe she missed something you were getting. He He He poor girl.
      Thank you for yoyr compliment and I am glad you grabbed a bottle too.
      Portia xx

  • FearsMice says:

    Portia, I’m heartened by your positive review of this somewhat maligned scent. I’ve never smelled it, but some days I feel as if I could totally rock a Queen of the World fragrance — maybe one day it’ll be Mahora!

    • Portia says:

      Hey FearsMice,
      the world is waiting with baited breath for you to try. I think you could definitely step it up with a spritz of Mahora, there will be no prisoners though, just a swathe of broken hearts and addled brains littering the ground behind you. Sometimes that is the ONLY result worth having.
      Portia xx

  • I just got a 5ml mini bottle of Mahora after it came up in a comment thread at Bois de Jasmin a week or two ago. I found the mini for cheap, so I decided to go for it, and I’m glad I did. I love it! It kind of reminds me of a tropical version of Samsara.

    • Portia says:

      That is an excellent analogy Jennifer Counts,
      Exactly like a tropical Samsara, also a bit wilder. Where have you worn it?
      Portia xx

      • It is a little wilder, and I think somehow that makes it easier to wear to me. I have and love Samsara as well, but for some reason it’s not an everyday scent. I always feel a bit like I need to dress up for Samsara.

        I haven’t had it long, so I’ve only worn it a couple of times. I wore it to work the other day. It’s a dabber bottle, so it was easy enough not to go overboard.

  • kizzers says:

    I got a little decant of this a couple of years ago, and its the only perfume I have ever worn where a male work colleague came up to me and said “you smell ah-maaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing!” He was just a kid, bless him 🙂 Maybe Mahora’s not really an office appropriate scent!

    • Portia says:

      When someone walks across a room to tell you that you smell AH MAY ZING you go out and buy 5 litres of whatever it is you are wearing and wear it a lot.
      Maybe it’s a bit in your face for close work but with a light hand you could wear it most places.
      Portia xx

  • I’ve always wanted to try this because the notes sound right up my alley, but every time I try bidding for it on eBay I end up being outbid! 🙁 Wonder if I’ll ever be able to smell it before it becomes outrageously expensive…

  • I have an open bottle of Mahora and also a bottle unopened and still in the original box. I don’t recall why I bought two bottles, but I am glad I did. It is a beautiful fragrance.

    • Portia says:

      You are a VERY lucky Filomena813813,
      I too have 2 bottles, a tester and the real deal. HOPEFULLY it will be enough, he he he. Do you think you’ll use them?
      Portia xx

      • filomena813 says:

        Portia, sorry I am just getting around to answer you (I have been very busy at work). I think I will definitely finish the opened bottle–not sure about the second one unless I get into one of those moods where I use it every day for a while. That’s the problem (and the beauty) of have a large collection of fragrances!

  • Gwenyth says:

    Portia, she is on my top list of favorite tropical/tuberose perfumes. I think Mahora is stunningly beautiful. Frequently I find myself craving Mahora during the long, cold winter days. There is something totally intoxicating about wearing this gorgeous blend of white flowers when the ground is blanketed in a thick covering of white snow. I adore the contrast of the cold white with the warm white, ya know?

    I like to look at the bottle (fabulous design), but I have small hands and it is difficult for me to hold and spray at the same time. That is my only small complaint about Mahora.

    The name Mahora sounds exotic and mysterious to my ears. The fragrance itself is utterly beautiful, I’ve never understood why some people could get in such a twist because of the name — and I’ve heard and read folks make assertions about the name. I just don’t get it.
    Perhaps………if it was spelled M-Y-H-O-R-A , I could better get why it “might” be misconstrued. BUT it is spelled M-A-H-O-R-A.

    To my nose, and as I wear it — Mahora is a masterpiece.
    I feel just like you describe how you feel —> like “queen of the world, lavish, elegant and very sexy”

    • Portia says:

      YAY Gwenyth,
      A scent buddy. Yes you are so right. To tell the truth I am glad that this masterpiece has swum under the radar for so long, that’s why I can still afford to buy it. You wait, in 10 years the prices will be cer ay zee.
      Portia xx

  • eldarwen22 says:

    I’m gonna have to give this one a go. The bottle design has my mind going in not so good places.

  • Janice says:

    I have a decant of this and I love it, although I don’t wear it often. Big white florals and queen of the world scents are not usually me, but this has that Guerlain vanilla thing going on that you mention and that seems to make it more familiar somehow.

    • Portia says:

      Like an UN scary QOTWorld scent maybe Janice? Yes, I find it very wearable and less in your face than some of the Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess offerings. Do you wear it at home or out?
      I’m so glad you like it.
      Portia xx

  • Musette says:

    Oh, I dunno….I think you are pretty much QotW ALL THE TIME! And that’s a beautiful thing!!! I have worn Mahora – once, I think – it didn’t do ‘that’ for me, alas. But I get its lush beauty. I’ll be you smell AWESOME!


    • Portia says:

      Ha ha Ha! I think you have to be prepared to feel that way and it amps the feeling 1000 times. A little bit of Quuen Of The World is all you need pre spritz and WHAMMY!!
      It is lush, plush and beautiful. Just like YOU Musette.
      Portia xx

  • Ann says:

    Oh, my, Portia — I want to wear something that makes me feel like “Queen of the World”!! Can’t believe I have never tried this one, but it sounds fun. Is this very much different from Mayotte, do you know? I can test Mayotte at my Neiman Marcus next week just to see if it’s even in my ballpark. Thanks!

    • Portia says:

      I think they cleaned the whole thing up and neatened it just a little to release it as Mayotte, I willm take my Mahora to Paris in January and do a side by side for you if you like?
      Queen Of The World is fun.
      Try it and tell me how you enjoyed it Ann.
      Portia xx

      • Ann says:

        Hey there, Portia! Just hit my Neiman Marcus today and tried the Mayotte. It is lovely; very lush, so I can’t imagine how rich the Mahora is. Thanks!

  • Martha says:

    No, I have never tried Mahora, but then I’ve barely dipped my nose into the sea that is Guerlain perfume. Mahora is one I’ve not heard about until reading this post. Just to give you an idea of the level of my ignorance I will admit to having tried Jicky, Mitsouko, and Vol de Nuit only. I think that I ought to settle down and sniff nothing, but Guerlain for a while so that I will have a reference for all that I read. I really liked your comment about being a queen only on the inside because that seems like the truth about most perfume for most of us and that is what keeps us going some days.

    • Portia says:

      Hi Martha,
      There is an excellent Guerlain sample set at the Posh Peasant ( or Surrender To Chance has a wide choice. You have tried 3 of the best though. Many of them are still available in Department stores but the discontinued are getting harder and harder to find.
      I am a Guerlain fan girl through and through, from the Aqua Allegorias, Idylle and L’Huere de Nuit to vintage parfums. Some are not particularly me but I love them all, you would be outraged if you saw the collection.
      Happy sniffing.
      BTW did you like any of the three you sniffed?
      Portia xx

      • Jitterbug Perfume Lover says:

        Thanks for this article. I have recently fallen MORE in love with the house of Guerlain recently, and this scent was my newest discovery. In general, all of the Guerlains make me feel ultra feminine and they have a bit of a vintage vibe, which I love.
        Thanks to Martha above for posting the link to the sample set. I’ve always wanted to try Nahema and Jicky without taking a second mortgage out on my house. LOL

      • Martha says:

        I’m head over heels about vintage Vol de Nuit. I bought a little bottle last year that is probably 35 years old or possibly older. In cool/cold weather it is a knock out scent! So rich and substantial. Jicky is good, but too much lavender, and Mitsouko cologne was too thin or high pitched or something like that (it needs another chance since many perfumistas are wild about it). I want track down some L’Heure Bleue and Nahema soon.

        • Portia says:

          L’Heure Bleue is still wonderful in its current EdP formulation. not the same but infinitely more wearable for the modern woman, I was sure I had some Nahema round here but I can’t find it.
          Portia xx