Group: Oriental floral
I own a Mahora miniature as well as a 75ml Eau de Parfum from the mid 2000 when the fragrance was more widely available. Mahora designates Mayotte in Malagasy, a group of islands part of France's overseas departments where Guerlain's plantations are found. Apparently the product name didn't quite cut it in the anglo-saxon market so soon after its launch Mahora was taken off the shelves. The re-edited fragrance is now sold under the name Mayotte.
The fragile, round bottle and its elongated neck topped off by an amber-coloured stopper looks like a rare talisman. The golden-threaded vegetal green packaging is truly unusual and reminds me of hot, tropical rainforests and the intoxicating scent of rare flowers.
Top notes: orange, green notes, almond blossom
After a short-lived sharpness Mahora exhales a dense, oily and gorgeous blend of ylang-ylang and to a lesser degree tuberose absolute, both creamy, buttery, sweet and thick with a characteristic animalic core typical of tropical white florals. There's a definite yellow-flower and honey-like tinge to the opening notes which overallI I would describe as a heady, exuberant and naturally sweet, densely exotic scent. Because of its thickness, it settles and sort of melts onto the skin like perfume oils do from very early on and gives off a lovely and strong projection. It goes on slightly heavy at first but is very natural and not at all headache inducing some heady fragrances tend to be.
Middle notes: tuberose, frangipani, ylang-ylang, neroli, jasmine
Tuberose gently takes over in about half an hour and almost dominates the composition reminding me of Fracas however Fracas is colder with a poised, refined character, whilst Mahora is naturally warm, spicy and untamed. I like how Mahora has its personality and yet it glides easily on the skin, stays so real and natural and does not transform itself into a posh and made-up Fracas.
Symbols of feminity, white flowers do evoke sensuality and there's absolute abundance of them in here. The dark, sweet and spicy aspects all play together to create not just a white floral accord but much more: a rich, opulent and very feminine, nectar-like substance that's ultimately warm and luscious, deeply rich, exotic and sumptuous to wear. Halfway through the day, a softer, more powdery accord sneeks in and mingle with the powerful florals setting a tone for a very Guerlain-y drydown.
Base notes: sandalwood, vetiver, vanilla
The finishing touches of soft, aromatic vanilla mingling with the ever so bitter and earthy sandalwood make up the unmistakeable Guerlinade, Guerlain's signature base composed of vanilla and woods. I liked the fact that the vanilla was for once in retreat and used as a complementary note. After hours and hours of dense and honeyed white flower frenzy a vanilla prominent base would have proved cloying.
The bitterness coming from the vetiver is a light influence next to the still plush, soft and comforting Guerlinade. It adds a welcome smoky touch though and cuts down on the sweetness of vanilla which feels drier, powdery having a slightly waxy taste. To sum up, the base is a lovely combination of sweet and bitter - earthy elements that's delicious and sensual yet mature and composed.
Lovely when used with a light hand due to a powerful blend of natural perfume oils, Mahora is a bit overripe at first but really blossoms and blooms some time on.Its huge, intoxicating bouquets of heady, white and yellow florals with some oriental undertones, Mahora is a love and hate affair and is certainly not for the faint-hearted. I find the fragrance rich, natural and sexy and hundreds of modern, synthetic floral fragrances just cannot compete with this fascinating beauty and its high natural quality.
No perfumista's wardrobe especially one that collects rare and discontinued fragrances should be complete without Mahora from Guerlain, this unique, flamboyant and slightly animalic, naturally sweet tuberose and ylang delight I love to wear on special occasions. Not a classic, but rich and naturally exotic and sweet, perfume history would be poorer without it. A few drops suffice for the day and when you get to wear it all day you sort of forget about it. Yet it's there and adapts so well to the skin that if it suits you, it becomes one with your own skin chemistry. Get a bottle now and surprise yourself by what real perfumes were made of at the turn of the 21st century.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
Currently available on Amazon for £61.58 / 50ml Eau de Parfum. Ebay has both the 5ml and 75ml EDP editions at £4.59 and £39.99 respectively.
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