I have no idea how I came across Manoumalia, I don’t even think it was recommended to me, but instead to someone else on a forum and I kind of nabbed the idea.
I haven’t explored the small Les Nez line, but would really like to (and it shouldn’t take me too long!). They have something quite quirky about them, nice simplistic bottles and cool fragrance ideas – but to be honest I haven’t really looked into them properly. I just know they have playful names and interesting fragrance concepts.
I first sniffed Manoumalia last night… yes I know I know, I haven’t gave this a full wearing yet, so I won’t be commenting on the longevity or late drydown or how often I’d wear it as I haven’t explored it properly for a day. But I’m trying it again now and want to get my head round it. I have a huge batch of samples to get through over the next few weeks, and recording my semi-initial impressions on them will hopefully sort out my confusion :)
Manoumalia opens with a beautifully creamy tuberose, and almost a slightly coconuty vibe but I think that’s more of an impression. There’s a whole bunch of tropical florals in there (tiare and frangipani) – I can pick up some ylang ylang (which I don’t have that much exposure with but can recognise its exquisite scent) and definitely some orange blossom. Mmm!! It is a sumptuous bouquet of white florals and some tropical, with a semi-sunscreen vibe in the style of Serge Luten’s Datura Noir and By Kilian’s Beyond Love… to be honest, I think any creamy tuberose I associate with sunscreen, I’m not sure why but I love the accord. The tiare (which I can only relate to as a gardenia) has that subtle cheesy aroma that great gardenia notes have – slightly rancid and overpowering.
There is some greeness to Manoumalia, it’s a little sappy and juicy and freshens out the composition so the florals aren’t too stuffy, although they are pollen rich and tickle the nose a bit! It has a damp feel to it and after some time on the skin, some slight salty notes come in, which I’m guessing this is a facet of the underlying vetiver. It also seems like there is some rich vanilla and white musk in the base, but the fragrance is generally dominated by the creamy, banana-ry ylang ylang and the other supporting tropical flowers along with a boatload of pollen.
In the heart of Manoumalia, is a complicated sting of different accords of indoles, and cheesy aromas of tropical white florals. A metallic twang pierces through the composition, whilst raw, almost meaty notes thicken it out in a heat of rubbery almond. It sounds complicated I know, but suddenly a surge of challenging notes erupt from the florals, showing a horrendously ugly side – that somehow on the skin turns into something unbelievably sexy!! I adore this stage. It is a rough melange of textures and colours, making Manoumalia even more reminiscent of far off lands – with a little danger on the side.
The base holds a a rich earthy vetiver, dark and skanky in a salted-skin way. Slightly raunchy, and overlaid with the indolic white floral bouquet, Manoumalia’s drydown is quite something to behold. The density is intense, full and thick with a powdery quality allowing your nose to penetrate through the rich pollen into the basenotes of delicate woods, musk and vetiver.
Manoumalia is a wonderful floral. It is everything a big indolic bouquet of a fragrance should smell like. If it sounds all too much and a bit too stuffy, Manoumalia does mellow out and settle down on the skin. A dreadful descriptive word to use but it definitely is a “happy” fragrance – it’s bright, cheerful and surrounds you in a cloud of tropical bliss, but you do have to be a hardcore floral lover to be able to spray lavishly and thoroughly enjoy it. Compared to the other two I mentioned earlier, I think I prefer this. It is a tad more complex and so far has a neat drydown, retaining the opulence of the opening.
I find Manoumalia playful and a little bit ditzy. It has a great tropical bouquet, wonderfully balanced, with all the extremely compelling – and slightly repulsive facets which go along with it. Brilliant.
Highly recommended! :)
Les Nez Manoumalia 100ml – £100 Les Senteurs