Many are anosmic to this, not sure why, perhaps the ambrette seed.
I am not a fan. It is odd, perhaps because I do not have sapodilla fruit in my rolodex of accepted non-standard smells like guava for example. I see the draw because this is such a 'chill' fragrance, but it pales in comparison to other offerings from Byredo.
I am on a permanent seasonal hunt for interesting magnolia fragrances, because I grew up in the south, and the sight of the huge, beautiful, creamy-white and flamingo-pink blossoms against the trees' thick and glossy leaves awakens my sometimes cynical heart. I also love their lovely, milky, lemony-waxy scent, and I enjoy exploring perfumers' interpretations of them. The scent conjures memories of childhood games on summer evenings, romantic walks with college boyfriends, and my beloved neighborhood in my historic old neighborhood.
There are some wonderful classic perfumery expressions of magnolia, notably L'Instant de Guerlain (I am partial to the EDT and the extrait), and also some fantastic arty explorations of it, especially Commes des Garcons second signature scent (magnolia and toner cartridges--who would have thunk?). I recently discovered Mojave Ghost, a scent that I had always thought was one of Byredo's lesser creations, a lightweight fruity thing made for people who don't like perfume. Then, I noticed--in fact, felt smacked in the face by--its fantastically rendered magnolia accord, and I stumbled over myself, and my skeptical attitude about the perfume, and I fell in love.
Most magnolia-featuring scents are exactly that, perfumes that have other things happening in them, with magnolia as one element among many. Mojave Ghost puts its creamy-texured, delicately sweet but oddly robust scent right in the center, instead of burying or confusing it with citrus, florals, or Xerox machine. Wearing it feels like melting into a pillow-soft cloud of lemon mousse, or falling into Tania Sanchez' proverbial feather bed. It also avoids the (forgivable) slight plasticky harshness of my other favorite magnolia scents, and the penetrating sweetness that sometimes distracts from those same scents. On fabric, it also displays a fantastic doughy accord that reminds me of high quality iris ingredients, which I do not find in the perfume's pyramid. An iris flanker of this perfume would blow my mind, so, anyone at Byredo--seriously, please consider that.
The best part--the magnolia accord--is also persistent, the main event in a perfume that uses its other accords as an effective supporting cast. A little Parma violet adds an attractive tartness that accentuates magnolia's lemon. I'm unfamiliar with sapadilla fruit, but Wikipdia says it has a sweet, soft, and pear-like quality, and I love the juicy and perfumey scent of ripe pears, which, used judiciously, also a tart and acidic as well as touch of funk to a perfume's blend, a clever additional semi-floral element to prevent the perfume from tipping into insipid fruitiness. It enhances the magnolia accord, it finds a place for the attrative but sometimes difficult to blend scent of sometimes underappreciated pear.
I don't smell much sandalwood or ambrette here (and I love both, so I wish I could). Also, I do not smell ambergris or cedar (and I don't love either, at least not in their modern artifical perfumery forms). This could be because I am smelling the oil version, which might cut some harshness on both the top and botom ends of the scent's construction. Byredo's oil formulae are, not surprisingly, smoother on the top and bottom--less crispness on the tops, and less overwhelming woodiness on the bottoms--and with this particular perfume, the oil formula servces the scent well, emphasizing the parts I like best. I sometimes catch a phantom vanilla accord drifting from its sillage, but I can't locate it when I smell the perfume up close. Perhaps it is a side effect of the sandalwood materials.
Mojave Ghost is more than just another pretty face. On the surface, it might be just another fruity-floral, but if you hanker after magnolia, put it on your test list. It threads a difficult needle, capturing a relatively simple and uncluttered magnolia scent with good persistence, apparently a difficult technical feat, considering how few I have found, and I have tried quite a few. It lasts about 6 hours on my skin, possibly longer, depending on heat and humidity, which usually extend its life on skin. I don't mind that it doesn't last all day, as Mojave Ghost is best used for daytime wear, comparable with some Hermessences, and a couple of Byredo's other daytime florals.
Mojave Ghost is a hard perfume to rate, as I imagine an appreciation for magnolia is essential to enjoying this perfume beyond its obvious prettiness. If I didn't love that particular scent so much, I would probably give it a scant three stars, more for what it doesn't do wrong, than for what it does well. Factor in my magnolia fetish, and I think it deserves closer to four. It doesn't have massive projection and sillage is discreet, neither of which is surprising in floral perfumes from a modern house like Byredo. It is not for everyone, but not for the usual reasons--it is an easy wear, perhaps too easy for some people, but it has a surprising touch of brains with its prettiness, and I like it. It's a great choice for southern American spring, and I will enjoy wearing it this year, as a pleasant alternative to my usual yearly L'Instant bender, although of course I will be wearing it, too. Two tastefully flesh-pink lacquered thumbs up.
I am genuinally surprised at all these negative reviews!
I find Mojave Ghost to be a polite, well-behaved scent with a slightly melancholic personality. It doesn't shout but it is there in the background humming along nicely on my skin. I find it subdued and relaxing
with a "purple" feel about it - probably from the violet that seems fairly prominant to my nose.
This is a scent for the office or an occasion,where you don't want to offend anyone, and is therefore a very useful addition to my wardrobe, which consists very much of heavy-hitting orientals.
It smells good but "nice shampoo" good, not "whole man's body" good. Might be an awesome hair scent. There is more sophistication than a shampoo, that is not meant as an insult, just a style note. It is so bathroom to me. Not fresh shower clean but housewife suburban bathroom with carpet and a nightlight.
The first thought that crossed my mind was "is that pineapple or pear?" but that is only momentary. That hot fruit in the alcohol morphs into the manly component at the top of the shampoo smell. Some kind of a white flower that reminds me of a shampoo. Maybe Garnier Fructis in the transparent bottles?
My Mom used to have these little clay pink spheres in a clear plastic box under the bathroom sink. To this day, I don't know what they were, but this is bringing me back to rooting through the pink powders and eye creams etc. she kept around. Actually, I have an uncle that would love this stuff. There is a persisting shaving+whipped cream to it that is really nice.
I do think it is truly unisex because it has a clean sweetness that is not very powerful. Performance is too weak to get a thumbs up though. Would work well on women, particularly past a certain age. Not because I think it would make a young woman smell old but because I think it would make an old woman smell sexy. If you're a middle-aged man who drives the speed limit and goes to church, this would be a very inventive but still polite choice. Especially if you have other manlier smells in the mix, like a shaving cream, like a hair product, like closet aged sweaters and leather shoes and sweat. Not an office scent, not a working man's scent, not a dandy's scent.
A slightly ambery fruitiness in the opening is followed by a white floral note the drydown.
Later on a bit of a generic violet occurs and in the base a nonspecific woodsiness emerges, mixed with a bit of residual fruitiness.
I get weak sillage, poor projection and five hours of longevity on my skin.
As it is a long time since I smelt the flower that gives this spring/autumn scent its name, my memory might be suboptimal, but as far as I recall it did not smell like this creation. This product is not bad, but it is anaemic, thin, generic, and the performance is abysmal. 2.5/5.
Perfume for people who don't wear perfume. Or better put perfume for people who wants to smell like they have something on. Had to spray a lot of this juice on in order for my husband to smell it on me. Took over 30 minutes of wearing before my body heat allow me to actually smell the perfume and it smelled like I used a different bar of soap to wash, I had to really press my nose into my skin to get anything. Spraying on a paper strip only allowed a slight floral-fruity bit to be noticed.
I'm surprised this particular perfume has a cult-like following on the Instagram boards. It's like an expensive nothing-burger, perhaps I don't get the 'in joke' with this perfume.