Mahora by Guerlain

Hi there Posse! Mahora by Guerlain was a flop. It had an incredibly short shelf life and then disappeared. There have been many theories put forward and I’m not going to weigh in here because it would only be speculation. Way back in 2013 I talked about Mahora by Guerlain here on Perfume Posse but I thought it might be nice to reminisce. Guerlain commissioned one of the all time most fabulous perfume bottles from Robert Granai. It’s fun and frivolous, looking like a big old 1980s pair of earrings. The bottle alone should have made it a must have. The picture below does not do it justice.

Recently I was going through my Guerlain box and there she was, in all her glory: Mahora. So I spritzed. PHWOAR! What a fragrance! It gets so little air time nowadays that I wanted to take a little time to remember one of the great fiscal failures of modern perfumery.

Mahora by Guerlain

Mahora by Guerlain

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Green notes, Almond blossom, Orange
Heart: Jasmine, Neroli, Tuberose, Ylang-ylang
Base: Sandalwood, Vanilla, Vetiver

So let’s talk about the way Mahora by Guerlain smells.

The top notes of my Mahora are fleeting, almost non existent, a waft/hint of fruit. Then the white flowers take full precedence before everything is subsumed by the thick, heavy, rich ylang overdose. Spectacular in its heft. Tropical dreams are made of such things. It takes a few minutes, up to half an hour depending on the day, for that ridiculously OTT adventure to calm and suddenly you’ve come out the other side.

The heart is where Mahora really shines. It’s like all the top and heart notes gang together to bring ylang to heel. We are given the most beautiful bouquet with a very slight citrus zing. In the heart the blending is perfection. The scent that I identify as Mahora is finally unveiled and its lush tropical brilliance becomes apparent. Though still a ylang heavy BWF now it is Mahora and no other.

Vanilla and creamy sandalwood finish out the ride and we see similarities to the dry down of Samsara. Different enough to stand alone but same enough for comment.

I always thought Mahora 100% feminine till my mate Scotty wore it. Smelled amazing on him. Lasts for hours. Very potent.

Did you, or do you Mahora?
Portia xx


  • Pam says:

    I read in Turin’s book about Mahora and blind-bought a bottle anyway. You’re right, that photo doesn’t do the bottle justice. But the fragrance is so powerful, I haven’t learned to love it yet. I take it out for a spritz occasionally. Will try it tomorrow.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Pam,
      Instead of spritzing your arms and chest, maybe try your lower back. You’ll get a much less full on waft and your village will be amazing.
      Portia xx

  • Dina C. says:

    I’ve never run across Mahora. It sounds spectacular. Maybe too much for me, but I’d like to try.

  • Musette says:

    I have absolutely NO memory of Mahora. None. But Omg. It sounds DIVINE! My first thought was a more structured Oscar de la Renta…?

    Now I have to go see if I have a scrab of it somewhere.

    You fiend!


    • Portia says:

      Hey Musette,
      Less No 5 vibe than Oscar de la Renta. More early tropical, veering Songes by Annick Goutal but with many of the same OdlR bells & whistles.
      Portia xx

    • Queen-Cupcake says:

      Hey Musette, I have plenty of Mahora. Please let me know if you want a decant of it, okay?

  • March says:

    HUH. I can’t remember what it smells like AT ALL and now you’ve got me wanting it. I’m assuming the sound of the name didn’t help, although these days you could probably call a fragrance “wh0re” and it’d sell…

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    I have heard about Mahora but never tried it. Have tried Samsara but didn’t care for it.

    • Portia says:

      Hi there Eldarwen22,
      If you didn’t like Samsara then Mahora might be more your thing. Both big diva scents but done very differently till the dry down.
      Portia xx

  • Tara C says:

    I tried it but for some reason it didn’t work. I prefer Samsara.

  • Gina T says:

    I am a vintage Guerlain fan and have most of them but Mahora has never been a fave. Out of dislike, okay, like and love I would rate it okay. To my nose, it’s a fruity floral that goes on bitter and herbal. It gets sweeter and dries down candy and powder but not in a lovely endearing way. I do have a bottle and some minis.

    • Portia says:

      Yes, not for everyone GinaT,
      You should sell those off. Let people who adore it spend big bucks on rehoming them. They currently go for wild prices. Worth every cent to anyone whop loves it.
      Portia xx

  • Queen-Cupcake says:

    I’m so glad you wrote about Mahora! I had never heard of it until recently. Intrigued by the bottle’s design, I scored a 3/4 full bottle on that auction site. Your description of the opening and development rings true for me. Not something I would wear a lot, but it is lovely. Think I’ll spritz it today–why not, lol.

    • Portia says:

      Hey there Queen Cupcake,
      LUCKY DUCK! It’s getting harder and harder to find, even on the auction sites.
      Woo Hoo! Spritz away.
      Portia xx

  • Cassieflower says:

    Oh Mahora, how I love thee. I have half a bottle left and hate the thought of using it all up, because when it’s gone it’s gone. And the Samsara drydown is totally there on me.

    • Portia says:

      Heya Cassieflower,
      I know, right! Sometimes things are too precious to spritz. Fortunately I found a nearly full tester recently so my Mahora wearing is assured for at least this lifetime.
      Portia xx

  • Cinnamon says:

    Oh, my, I’m sure I’ve sampled this (along with other older Guerlain heavy hitter florals) but have absolutely no memory. Too bad. It sounds worth investigating, given I’m loving Ylang currently. I’ll put on my ‘look for’ list in charity shops once that sort of browsing is possible again.

  • Erica says:

    Portia – I’m a Mahora fan – even have the body wash ?. About 1/2 a bottle left and I use it sparingly. The juice is turning rather dark (the vanilla?). I don’t find it similar to Samsara in the drydown on me (I have a vintage bottle of Samsara). I was surprised it didn’t take off – I think it’s gorgeous! Might have been too strong for some? Glad to hear you talk about Mahora as I don’t think many have even heard of it.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Erica,
      WOW! A Body wash! You are the lucky one.
      Interesting how differently everyone’s body reacts to scent. So individual.
      Yes, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. It is a BIG fragrance.
      Portia xx

  • Maya says:

    Such a pretty bottle and full of tropical flowers! I was even thinking of doing a blind buy. I couldn’t find a sample of it so I got Mayotte which was supposed to be a remake or reissue of Mahora. Sadly, what I got was a “vase full of rotten flowers”. Perhaps my sample had turned?

  • Filomena says:

    I love Mahora and have a back-up bottle!