Vintage: Mahora – Guerlain

Ok so I finally got my bottle of Guerlain Mahora in the mail, so can write about it properly having lived with my sample for a little while. To be honest, I’d only sniffed my sample once or twice, knew I liked it… found a great deal on eBay and snatched up a bottle without a second thought. Oh and I hear this discontinued fragrance has been re-released in the more exclusive Guerlain line-up named Mayotte – old news but worth a mention.


Mahora opens sharly aldehydic, before an intense spice of clove, some green, culinary herbal accords, and maybe cinnamon? – sit atop a loud, sweet tuberose (Fracas style only more syrup – less bubblegum). The spicy tuberose opening is awesome – throwing off random gourmand scents of anise and cherry – an abstract, more floral Rahat Loukoum-esque thing.

After no time at all, the narcotic methyl-benzoate-y, “wintergreen” tuberose top-notes come through loudly. It’s hectic, but cool and mentholated – still spiced and syrupy. It’s pretty epic to be honest.
The tuberose is paired with an ylang-ylang which screeches subtly in the background – I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it doesn’t lead… what part it does play though – is definitely a screech – a good screech.
Frangipani joins in with the tuberose and pretty much dominates – paired with the mentholated aspects of the tuberose it creates this distorted impression of the tropical floral and smells like a hybrid of them both.

In the background there is almond, the merest touch of coconut, a decent dose of indolic jasmine – I say background but it all comes out at once, it just takes a long time to figure it all out.
I love it – and I don’t understand the hate, or even the people who say “Love the drydown but the opening is too much! Wait for it to settle”… The opening is the best bit – and I’m sure it sounds cliché coming from myself, but truly – there is NOTHING wrong or weird about the opening, it’s just fabulous.

It smells like Serge Lutens was back to his old, experimental self and released something called “Frangipani: Elixir de Nocturne”. This is a “nuit”-style tropical floral to me, but I wouldn’t go as far as “noir” ;) It smells like flowers at night – I don’t get the hot sand and suntan lotion others mention, it smells like you’ve crept outside in the tropics (I love stupid blogger-descriptives…), and discovered a flowering plant reeking of this (Mahora). It’s mysterious, tropical, heady and humid, with a bitter/sweet base of Guerlain’s infamous vanilla, a touch of vetiver and sandalwood.

In the late drydown where the vanilla dominates along with a touch of powdery iris, a carnation appears and leads the now-subtle Mahora into a skin scent not too dissimilar to the late drydown of Terracotta Voile D’ete. A lightly spiced floral with a tropical edge (tuber-pani), laid on a fabulous vanilla. What’s not to love? <3

Mahora – Guerlain discontinued but can be found for a great price online (I got my 75ml EDP for £23 including postage).

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10 thoughts on “Vintage: Mahora – Guerlain

  1. It is such a bargain, isn’t it? Glad that you can still get bottles of it for a reasonable price!

    • Definitely I was surprised I won it :D
      Found some real bargains recently. Also got myself a full bottle of Terracotta Voile D’Ete, and Penhaligon’s Amaranthine (a blind buy – kind of) for under £20 each! Woop.

  2. I remember when it came out and predictably loved it (have you smelled the parfum? hilarious!). There IS something extremely vulgar about it though, I always thought, like Samsara rocking the Bahamas or something. Its cleavage is HUGE.

    • No I haven’t, I’ll try hunt it out :P
      I really don’t find a single thing vulgar with it, it’s almost mouthwatering to me start to finish. Definitely reminds me of Samsara a touch – maybe why I love it so much, Samsara was one of my first ever bottles of perfume.

  3. Tarleisio says:

    You make it sound as if I really, truly Need To Hunt This Down…:)

  4. Vanessa says:

    ‘Tuber-pani’ – LOL! I tried whatever was the regular Mahora in a Guerlain shop in 2008 or so, and it knocked my block off (in an uber sweet and aldehydic sneezefest-y kind of way), but I am not the person I was five years ago, so who knows!

    • Definitely give it a resniff! It is definitely an uber sweet thing at times – but it’s weird without smelling weird – to me at least. I’m loving my bottle!

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