Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
The mandarin peel unravels in a loose curl, revealing translucent fleshy segments. The newest fragrance from L’Artisan, Mandarine tout simplement (2006) is an uncomplicated vignette based around the sweet citrus. If I close my eyes and inhale the scent emanating from my wrist, the image of glossy orange spheres is so vivid that my mouth begins to water. The sweet and tart facets are wonderfully balanced, with the composition eschewing the acidic bite that characterizes many citrus fragrances.
Nevertheless, this poem is far too succinct, because after bursting into a mouthwatering firework of citrus, Mandarine tout simplement slowly begins to soften into a somewhat watery floral. It is still quite pretty, especially since the pairing of sweet citrus and floral accents reminds me of a similar accord in En Passant. And then it simply vanishes, as one might expect from a light summery citrus—a teasing glimpse of thirst quenching fruit. …
The lasting power is perhaps not the main reason why Mandarine would not have entered my citrus repertoire. For all of its loveliness, it seems as far too photorealistic and linear. The first few times one experiences it, the story is quite appealing, but quickly its charm is lost, along with the last traces of mandarins. Indeed, some themes require more elaboration, tout simplement.
Mandarine Tout Simplement includes notes of green mandarin, ginger, frangipani, yellow mandarin, red mandarin orange and white cedar. L’Artisan Parfumeur fragrances are available at Aedes, Barneys New York, Beautycafe, Bergdorf Goodman, Bluemercury, Luckyscent, Neiman Marcus, Saks 5th Avenue, and Theperfumeshoppe.