Archive for April 23rd, 2007

Perfume Review: Mayotte and Mahora by Guerlain

Mayotte and its predecessor Mahora pay homage to the island of Mayotte (also known as Mahore), where the house of Guerlain has ylang-ylang and jasmine plantations. Mahora was released in 2000 followed by dubious success, and Mayotte is its current reincarnation, released in 2006 as part of Guerlain’s Les Parisiennes collection. My first and only acquaintance with Mahora happened a few years ago when I wore the scent for exactly one day, and concluded we were not meant to be. During my recent trip to New York, Mayotte was what stood out to me the most at the Bergdorf Goodman Guerlain counter: it struck me as not only charming but also very much a scent of its own merit, bearing very little resemblance to its forerunner. To give it complete justice and simply to satisfy my curiosity, I obtained a mini of Mahora eau de parfum for comparison purposes.

Both Mayotte and Mahora can easily be called sophisticated tropical floral orientals. However, they don’t sing the same song. While Mayotte is an ode to ylang-ylang, Mahora dignifies tuberose. From the very top notes, Mayotte is a creamy, coconut-like mix of frangipani and ylang-ylang. Mahora starts out with a burst of orange and without wasting any time turns into fruity, buttered tuberose. I find Mayotte much more Guerlain-like: it possesses the same peachy heft of Mitsouko. Mahora, on the other hand, strikes me as rather aggressive and mutinous. Its sugared, almost oily tuberose seems to defy all things Guerlain, and perhaps that’s the reason the fragrance didn’t do so well. In spite of being much more refined and polished, Mayotte can hardly be called a tame and acquiescent version of Mahora – it bears but faint sibling resemblance and respectfully begs to differ. While Mahora is heady and persistent, Mayotte is soft and enveloping and has won my heart as the best ylang-ylang scent ever created.

Mahora features the notes of orange, almond tree blossoms, ylang-ylang, neroli, tuberose, jasmine, sandalwood, vetiver, vanilla. The notes for Mayotte are neroli, frangipani, tuberose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, sandalwood, vetiver, vanilla. Mahora can be found on various online fragrance discounters, and Mayotte is available at the Paris Guerlain boutique as well as Bergdorf Goodman.

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