* Prices may differ from that shown
I had not heard of Annick Goutal until I received Mandragore eau de toilette in a beauty box a while ago.
It was a 25ml bottle that I received. It came in a dark purple organza pouch with a tag on with a list of the ingredients and details of the website, www.annickgoutal.com.
~ Bottle ~
It seems this is a unisex scent and there is a tall rounded bottle for women and a square, more masculine bottle for men. The bottle that I received, despite being a woman, was the men's version.
The bottle is just over an inch wide and an inch and a half tall. It is an almost black glass bottle, which I quite like. When I hold the bottle up to the light, which I have only just discovered, it appears a deep purple pink colour.
The front of the bottle has gold vine patterns on and the word, 'Mandragore' in an italic, joined up font and at the bottom of the bottom 'ANNICK GOUTAL' is written and 'PARIS' is written underneath in smaller letters.
The lid of the bottle is a plain gold coloured cylinder, which almost doubles the height of the bottle. The lid is over an inch tall and when removed the spray button sits around an inch above the bottle. It looks a bit odd with the lid off, but I like the long lid of the bottle.
I really like this perfume bottle, but I am a bit disappointed to have just found that if your fingers are wet when you touch this bottle, the dark purple colour comes off onto your fingertips, which is irritating and I'd be worried about whether or not it would come out, if you got it on your clothing.
~ Price and availability ~
The square, men's version of the bottle is available online at www.fragranceshop.com for £33.65 (with free delivery) for a 100ml bottle of Mandragore.
The rounded women's version of this fragrance is available at www.fragranceshop.com for £41.45 for 100ml.
The women's version is also available in a 50ml bottle, which I have found online at www.perfumelover.co.uk for £43.20 (with free delivery).
It is also available as an eau de parfum.
~ Scent ~
The scent, to me is a herbal scent. It is officially described as a woody, aromatic fragrance.
The scent has top notes of bergamot and pepper, heart notes of mint, star anise, ginger, sage and iris and base notes of boxwood and labdanum.
At first, sniffing at the bottle, I thought this was going to be too spicy and heavy for my tastes, but it's more of a herbal than a spicy scent to me and I like it. I can also detect a citrusy element to it.
I think it is quite a versatile scent suitable for both daytime wear and special occasions and nights out. I think it would appeal to women (and men) of all ages as well. It is obviously not a feminine scent, but personally I wouldn't say it strikes me as particularly masculine.
It is a unique fragrance and I haven't smelled another perfume that I could compare it to.
I really like this scent and I haven't used it a lot. I will probably save it for special occasions since I have just 25 precious ml.
~ Overall ~
Overall, I really like this perfume. It has a herbal and citrus scent to it, which is not too harsh. The bottle is lovely, but it's a shame about the purple colour coming off onto my hands.
I would buy this perfume again and would recommend it. I don't tend to like spicy scents, but I personally, would class this as more of a herby scent and really like it! I'd say, try a tester if you get the chance.
Annick Goutal's Mandragore is yet another unisex perfume. I saw this on my friend's dressing table a while back before we set off to the gym and being the perfume freak I am decided to test it out. Cheeky I know! This is available in an eau du toilette as well as eau du parfum. I found that the smell just refused to fade, which was a god send especially since I was all hot and sticky, and perhaps a bit smelly too after my workout. The bottles yet again are different so that you can give it as a present to either men or female. The men's version is a cubic shape in purple with the name of the perfume etched in gold, where as the women perfume has two variations a simple vial only available in the UK for fifty two pounds and a butterfly shape available in the US for $160. The perfume is a combination mandrake, a Eurasian plant with purple flowers and a forked root, bergamot, black pepper, ginger, spearmint, star anise, boxwood, and sage leaf- reminding me of harry potter. The first few minutes of the perfume intoxicate you with spicy note shortly followed by a beautifully greeny woody tone, which is oddly sensual. This perfume is certainly in my perfumes to buy list.
I recently got a very generous 25ml bottle of this Annick Goutal Mandragore perfume in one of my beauty boxes. I remember when I received it, I thought 'Annick who?' but since then I've seen some of the Annick Goutal bottles and recognised them, so I realised I was more familiar with this brand than I originally thought. Mandragore comes in both an eau de parfum and an eau de toilette. I am reviewing the eau de toilette.
It seems that there are two different bottle designs for this fragrance and I cannot quite work out why this is, as everything indicates to it being the same product inside. One is rounded with a bow around the neck, the other is squarer. Whilst I think the rounded one is prettier, I have the square version, so that's the only one I can really comment on.
I do think that the bottle this comes in is something I would be attracted to in a shop. The square glass bottle is a really dark purple colour - so dark, I initially thought it was black - but as the light shines through the bottle you can tell that it is most definitely purple. The design on the front is a swirling pattern of what look like vines, with the mandragore name in the centre. The god lid and spray pump add a touch of luxury and on the whole I quite like the packaging.
The notes in this perfume are: bergamot, black pepper, star anise, peppermint, boxwood, ginger, sage, iris, ciste roots and labdanum. I have to admit from reading that list I would never have chosen this perfume as it sounds too spicy for me. I have not been able to find out from the list of notes, which ones are top, middle and base, so the following description is purely my opinion of how I think this smells...
When I first spray this, the first thing I can pick out is the black pepper. This is mixed with a pleasant spiciness which I assume is the star anise. There is also a slight tang to the scent (possibly the bergamot?), which lightens it up ever so slightly. It's not as overpowering as I had, for some reason, imagined it would be, but it is quite a deep fragrance and is bordering on being masculine. First impressions though are relatively good though - this simply smells like a pleasant, yet spicy scent.
As the scent settles on my skin it definitely becomes woodier. I see from the list of notes that this contains boxwood. I will hold my hands up and say I don't know what boxwood is, let alone what it smells like, but if it's anything like cedar wood (which I think is what I can smell here) then I quite like it. The woody tones work well with the spice, although the scent does still seem quite deep, and is heavier than I would perhaps like.
After several hours, as the fragrance begins to fade, strangely I find that it seems to lose it's woodiness and become sharper. I think what I can smell at this point is the sage. Woody scents are usually used as base notes, so I find it odd that this sharper tone comes out and to be honest I'd prefer for the fragrance to stay woody.
The staying power of this scent is good, I can spray it in the morning before work and it will still be there when I come home. I don't spray a lot of it either, one or two squirts is enough with this being a fairly deep fragrance.
==Who, when, where?==
I'd say that this fragrance was best suited to a more mature lady. I'm 27 and I feel this is a bit too old for me. I definitely couldn't imagine my younger sisters wearing it, nor could I imagine having worn it myself when I was younger, it's just too heavy and I think in general younger girls prefer lighter, sweeter fragrances.
I have worn this to work a few times and despite it being quite spicy and deep I think it's fine for daytime wear. I've never worn this in the evenings, but I wouldn't rule it out. I think you can more than get away with it as a night time perfume because it's so heavy. I personally wouldn't choose it for special occasions because I don't think it has the wow factor and it doesn't make me feel special when I wear it.
As for time of year, I wouldn't even consider this in the summer months. It's just too heavy, I'd say autumn and winter only for this one, due to the depth and the fact the spiciness makes it quite a warming scent.
==Price and Availability==
As with most fragrances the price will vary greatly depending on where you choose to shop and which size you buy. I have been surprised to find that this does not seem to be all that widely available.
Some comparisons I have found online are below:
50ml - £43.35 feelunique.com / £58.50 strawberryNET.com
100ml - £62.05 feelunique.com / £58 strawberryNET.com
Yes, you have read that correctly, the 100ml bottle is cheaper than the 50ml at strawberryNet! Either way, I think the perfume is expensive for what it is, I certainly would never pay anything near that for this fragrance.
This perfume is OK, but it's not for me. If you like spicy or woody scents, then I would recommend this as being one of the better ones. For my personal tastes though, this was a little too heavy and too masculine. I like my perfume to be light, sweet or fruity - perhaps sensual even, and so this was the complete opposite of the sort of fragrance I like. It's not the worst scent ever and the longevity is great, so I am happy to wear it now and again, but I feel I can only give it a rating of three stars.
Group: Woody aromatic
~ Introduction ~
A friend of mine knows my love of perfumes and she gave me a vial of fragrance to blind-test. Blind- testing is a great way to avoid pitfalls of picking up notes in a fragrance based on presumptions and expectations that will lead you away from the path of what the scent truly means for you. What is my verdict then of a fragrance made by a luxury boutique brand from Paris that has to date produced around 30 fragrances many that are loved their celebrity clientele?
~ The perfume house ~
Annick Goutal's niche perfumery house sells reputed upscale fragrances and body products that have only recently become available in retail outside France. Pure and naturally derived ingredients ensure that the often bespoke and innovative fragrances do not follow commercial trends but rather the often personally inspired fragrances are created around an olfactory note, e.g. honeysuckle or neroli, and tuned to perfection of balance, beauty and harmony.
~ The packaging ~
Unlike most unisex fragrances available from the high street, Mandragore actually comes with different packaging for the ladies and men's version of the fragrance. Many of Annick Goutal's fragrances use the same bottle theme through their range varying the colour slightly. These bottles exude the atmosphere of a by-gone era, most likely the turn-of-the-century 'golden age' when French perfumeries started to make stylish and chic perfume bottles for the expanding mass market.
Eau de Toilette for Women
The smaller, ribbed, elongated and round violet-red coloured bottle has an antique, faded feel and comes with a golden ribbon tied around its neck. The round pull-off lid has a classy, luxury feel and to me looks like a luxurious doorknob.
Eau de Toilette for Men
The bigger, chunkier square-shaped violet or more like beet-root coloured bottle is designed for men. It has a golden engraved motive on the front with what looks like scrolling leaves. The lid is a standard golden cap that encases the cylindrical nozzle.
Eau de Parfum 'Butterfly Bottle'
The ladies Eau de Parfum is held in a fairly round, globe-shaped purple bottle that is adorned by a beautifully crafted butterfly of the same colour made of crystal that serves as a stopper.
~ The fragrance ~
Top notes: bergamot, black pepper, ginger
Within the first few minutes of application, to my nose, the fragrance is warm, fresh and full of citrusy, peppery and slightly bitter orange flavoured green tea notes. After about 15 minutes I get the first hints of a somewhat masculine aromatic spice - slightly bitter and herbal with notes of sharp soapiness of ginger and a warm hint of nutmeg. The scent is clearly warm, spicy yet refreshing and is quite subtle to wear even when spraying a generous amount.
Middle notes: spearmint, pink peppercorn, sage
After about an hour, the fragrance softens and mellows down dramatically and is now greener, mintier and lighter with the aroma of fresh lemon still being the most noticeable. I was surprised at just how of the strength of the fragrance was gone, from a moderate head to an almost too subtle middle phase. When smelled close to the skin, the deeper, richer and spicier aromatic notes of vetiver (or what I mistook the middle notes for) are the more dominant while the rest of the sillage contains the lighter fresher tones of lemon, pepper and mint.
Base notes: mandrake, boxwood, star anise
Only 3 - 4 hours after the application, the fragrance becomes subtle and just noticeable close to the skin, so the scent does need a top up if you were to wear it throughout the day. The dry down has a woody edge (or corner rather!) which is a dry, woody odour with a hint of lemon. I almost thought it went off on my skin as it seemed to turn spicier and drier at the end, producing a sort of earthy, dusty tone similar to the the smell of aged wine or mouldy odour of a cellar.
~ Conclusion ~
Mandragore is an alluring, green aromatic scent that at the start promises you an unusually timeless and ageless olfactory experience by skilfully blending mellow and fresh notes for an ultimate unisex idea of a fragrance. That's why it's even more disappointing when as soon as the rich, earthy tones start to develop, the story suddenly ends and the image fades away.
If you're after a natural, balanced, fresh aromatic unisex fragrance, I'd recommend Guerlain's Herba Fresca, that is also an eau de toilette but easily lasts throughout the day. Mandragore also has an Eau de Parfum which is a more concentrated - and longer-lasting - version of the blend though not having tested it, I cannot tell how it compares to the Eau de Toilette.
I found Mandragore a scent that tries to be too sophisticated in favour of being humble, wearable and down-to-earth, more like us mere mortals.
~ Price / where to buy ~
Department stores: Debenhams, John Lewis, House of Fraser
£43 / 50ml Mandragore Eau de Toilette for Women
£54 / 50ml Mandragore Eau de Toilette for Women
£57 / 50ml Mandragore Eau de Parfum Spray
I have only seen the ladies' packaging in these stores.
Online from www.escentual.com:
£41.00 / 50ml Eau de Toilette Spray
£57.50 100ml Eau de Toilette Spray
£54 / 100ml Eau de Toilette Spray Square Bottle
£54 / 50ml Eau de Parfum Spray
£95 / 100ml Eau de Parfum Butterfly Bottle
£31 / 150ml Body Cream
£32 / 175g Perfumed Candle
£21 / 150ml Perfumed Shower Gel
~ Additional rating ~
Originality: 4 / 5
Composition: 3 / 5
Staying power: 2 / 5
Value for money: 2 / 5
Thanks for reading.
©powered by lillybee also posted on Ciao! UK