A weird root that smells like a weird fruit, woody and over ripe at the same time, Mandragore is like a hollowed out Halloween pumpkin, tough on the outside but rotting in the middle. A rooty-orange bitter and woody fruit, it’s a bizarre hybrid; one that fascinates - even if it doesn’t seduce.
Mandragore is mandrake, beloved of necromancers - who would make an effigy of the human shaped tuber before cursing it - and their victim - with black magic.
It’s also the first of three works by Isabelle Doyen which run along the same lines. I guess she liked it so much she did a purple version, and then Nuit Etoilée which is an inverted version of Mandragore Pourpre.
All of this would come as a surprise to those who know Annick Goutal for their feminine florals. Mandragore is something else for the house - and something else in general.
It isn’t a date perfume, and it’s not office safe. I hate to say it but it’s a Halloween scent, ideal for scary masks and all the rest of the plastic crap that has taken over the festival of Samhain and turned it into an orgy of frivolous consumption, in the same way that the Left have turned the traditional spring celebration of May Day into the earnest parades of Labour Day.
So next November Eve, if you really want to give your friends a scare, douse yourself in Mandragore and tell them a good old fashioned ghost story.
Oh so fleeting! It's such a shame because this lovely, sparkling scent has no longevity. Here and gone in about an hour, I doused myself in the juice. It is energetically uplifting and refreshingly brilliant with fresh bergamot and pepperiness. Not too sweet, it's an herbal tisane fragrance with vegetal notes and a touch of spicy herb. It is cooling and makes a great spray on a hot and humid day. It sits on the skin, giving only wisps of enjoyment. It just needs to last longer for the price tag.
Yes, the opening blast is a fresh bergamot, whiffs of lemon and a good load of mint - brightness galore? Yes initially, but soon a gentle black pepper and a woodsy note add a touch of spice.
The drydown adds an iris as the floral contribution, but a ginger tone together with touches of a cistus impression continues the line of brightness. There are a lot of green moments, mainly sage and a touch of a grassy undertone.
A darker and again spicier base combines labdanum - quite weak though - with a sweetish anise background.
I get moderate sillage, good projection and five hours of longevity on my skin.
This agreeable scent for cooler summer days stars in a nice and fresh manner, but the later stages are characterised by a lack of vividness and a certain generic nature of some of the ingredients. Pleasant it is but not much more, with a somewhat disappointing performance. Overall 2.75/5.
This review is based on Eau de Toilette concentration.
The initial blast of Mandragore contains a lot of bergamot, very refreshing and energetic. The citrus soon hides away as a supporting role and reveals a combination of anise, mint and ginger. It's green, fresh, reviving, zesty and sparkling. I was overwhelmed by this phase as this combination of spices which is usually thick, actually delivers such an unusually translucent scent.
However, this phase doesn't hold up very long and it soon was taken over by a spicy and earthy scent. The spices are still the same as above, but no longer freshly picked. They're dried and their ultimate spiciness are sublimed. Interestingly the fragrance remains ethereal even at this stage.
Unfortunately, Mandragore turns bland and watery afterwards, and loses its vivacity and strength. It was soft at the beginning and now it stays extremely close to skin. It dies after about 4 or 5 hours on me, which is weak among those I tried from Annick Goutal.
Mandragore, in contrary to the prune bottle and the mysterious name, is actually green to my nose. I appreciate the aromatic and spicy stages towards the beginning very much. However, these interesting stages doesn't last long (about 1 hour) and the fragrance itself either, which implies frequent reapplication to me. I'm curious if EDP would suit me better.
Nontheless, this should not hold you back from trying it. This green aromatic fragrance, lasting or not, has a very interesting twist that can hardly be described, but to be experienced by oneself.
Mandragore is a disappointingly thin citrus-woods concoction with a touch of herbal elements. There is a nice initial accord of bergamot with ginger, which is quickly joined by some green, woody aspects, and the show is over within an hour.
All I get is a generic oceanic woody, like thousands of other drug store scents over the past twenty years. I feel like the boy who pointed out the emperor was wearing no clothes.
Turin called it a "bergamot violet," although there seems to be no violet in it. I do get the lemony bergamot, but none of the spices, no anise, no ginger. The iris, mint and pepper are simply not there.
Overall effect is that of a poor and dismal, vastly unattractive concoction. I am amazed that so many reviewers sense so many things in it that I do not, especially those who give it a positive review.