How to Capture the Aroma of Mango

Describing the scent of ripe mango I’d have to resort to the most unusual contrasts. It’s syrupy sweet and yet refreshing, floral and piney, honeyed and spicy. A hint of rot, that essential aroma components of many tropical fruits, gives it an intriguing twist. It’s the most luscious and seductive expression of nature’s diversity. Yet, capturing the scent of mango in a perfume is complicated, and this is the topic of my FT magazine article, Mango’s Aroma.

The Thai dessert of mango and sticky rice seems custom-made to inspire a perfume. It has the sweet top notes of ripe mango, the creamy heart of coconut milk, the savoury finish of steamed rice and the delicate floral accent of palm sugar. Yet it wasn’t until perfumer Calice Becker created Moonlight in Heaven for Kilian in 2016 that I could finally enjoy the delicious twists of my favourite pudding in a fragrance. To continue reading, please click here.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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41 Comments

  • Tourmaline: Hi Victoria,

    Wow, I must try Moonlight in Heaven, because I adore mango (especially the Kensington Pride brand here in Oz).

    And am I imagining things or is that rice blue? I love it – so pretty!

    With kind regards,
    Tourmaline July 29, 2019 at 9:24am Reply

    • Victoria: The rice is blue, because it’s colored with the blue butterfly pea flower. It gives it such a beautiful color. July 29, 2019 at 10:23am Reply

      • Tourmaline: Hi Victoria,

        I just googled it and found that it has been introduced to Australia, and that we have the Blue Butterfly Pea Flower tea available here. I must check it out!

        With kind regards,
        Tourmaline July 29, 2019 at 10:37am Reply

        • Victoria: Do try it! For instance, you can make lemonade with it (it turns vibrant pink if something acidic is added.) July 29, 2019 at 4:00pm Reply

          • Tourmaline: I shall definitely try it. I love playing with colour as well as aroma! July 30, 2019 at 7:14am Reply

            • Victoria: It can be used in savory dishes too. July 31, 2019 at 4:15am Reply

  • Ariadne: Mmmmmmmango! Great photo!! How is it the rice is blue? July 29, 2019 at 9:26am Reply

    • Victoria: As I mentioned to Tourmaline, it’s colored with a particular South Asian flower. No additional flavor, just a vivid color. July 29, 2019 at 10:23am Reply

      • K: I wore Pulp by Byredo to work one day, and a workmate thought it smelled like mangoes! July 29, 2019 at 3:57pm Reply

        • Victoria: I catch a bit of mango in it. July 29, 2019 at 4:01pm Reply

  • Filomena: I do own Bombay Bling but need to try Moonlight in Heaven. July 29, 2019 at 10:27am Reply

    • Victoria: One of my favorites from this line. July 29, 2019 at 4:01pm Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: Of the three I’d love to Bombay Bling—the name alone is such fun! Plus frangipani: what a seductive flower scent! Unfortunately, all three perfumes are excessively expensive. July 29, 2019 at 5:10pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, the prices are extreme. Niche brands and their pricing is really a topic of its own. July 30, 2019 at 6:45am Reply

      • Brigitte: Indeed. July 30, 2019 at 7:18am Reply

  • Sandra: Lemming Moonlight in Heaven. While I am at the By Kilian counter is anything else I must try? July 30, 2019 at 7:06am Reply

    • Sandra: I smelled it today!
      Very sweet! July 30, 2019 at 12:58pm Reply

      • Victoria: Not quite your thing, right? July 31, 2019 at 4:17am Reply

        • Sandra: It was a bit too sweet for me. I am fortunate enough to live walking distance to a BK boutique, which is maybe good or bad for my wallet!
          Yesterday the woman asked me what scents I liked and she sprayed two on my wrists one was Dangerous Liaisons and the other was Voulez-vous coucher avec Moi. July 31, 2019 at 7:11am Reply

          • Victoria: They have many very good perfumes, but yes, the base can be sweet. What did you think of others? August 1, 2019 at 6:53am Reply

            • Sandra: Dangerous Liaisons made me swoon. It smells very fresh on me. Voulez was a nice surprise because I normally don’t like Gardénia if it is too strong. This was balanced. Everything is very long laying on the skin, any insight to why that is? Do you have a favorite? August 1, 2019 at 8:41am Reply

              • Sandra: I meant long * lasting* August 1, 2019 at 8:42am Reply

              • Victoria: They all last very well on me too, and my favorite by far is Sweet Redemption, orange blossom and incense. August 1, 2019 at 11:11am Reply

                • Austenfan: I haven’t tried as many Kilians as you have but Sweet Redemption is just so gorgeous. It’s ever so slightly wistful. August 1, 2019 at 2:53pm Reply

                  • Victoria: It’s true. It’s the one I keep returning to again and again. I like the combination of accords which is original, and as you’ve put it, wistful. August 2, 2019 at 6:27am Reply

    • Victoria: I really like Sweet Redemption, a beautiful orange blossom. July 31, 2019 at 4:15am Reply

  • Figuier: I adore Bombay Bling. I received a travel size in a draw on this site several years ago – when the first 3 scents were launched – and I’m still hoarding it. At this time of the year it’s spectacular; as well as evoking the juicy & flesh it also really nails that lovely raspy musky odour of mango rind. July 30, 2019 at 10:19am Reply

    • Victoria: It really does, doesn’t it. Not many other mango perfumes do. July 31, 2019 at 4:16am Reply

  • Austenfan: Out of the three you mention I’m only familiar with Bombay Bling which I almost bought last summer (I got Trayee instead).
    I’m now coveting a bottle of Moonlight in Heaven. I’ve become quite a fan of Calice Becker’s work for Kilian.
    I happen to own a bottle of Fraîche Passiflore (MPG) which I enjoy a lot. It feels like an upmarket version of Rockin’ Rio. July 30, 2019 at 11:46am Reply

    • Victoria: I like Fraîche Passiflore too. It was one of my first MGPs. July 31, 2019 at 4:16am Reply

      • Victoria: I ended up with Trayee too. July 31, 2019 at 4:16am Reply

        • Austenfan: Still kind of craving Bombay Bling as well. This is such a good line of perfumes. July 31, 2019 at 9:06am Reply

          • Victoria: Me too, especially after writing this piece. August 1, 2019 at 6:53am Reply

  • Debi Sen Gupta: Has anyone tried Mango Thai Lime from Jo Loves? July 31, 2019 at 1:29pm Reply

    • Victoria: I didn’t find it either interesting or longlasting, but I didn’t try it more than once. August 1, 2019 at 6:53am Reply

      • Debi Sen Gupta: Thanks Victoria, I have Smoked Plum from her line, which I really like, and was contemplating getting something else. August 1, 2019 at 8:50am Reply

        • Aurora: Hello Debi: I have one Jo Loves too, Red Truffle, a gourmand fig, and I gave my brother Green Orange and Coriander for Xmas. Is Smoked Plum very plummy? August 5, 2019 at 12:24pm Reply

          • Debi Sen Gupta: I find the smoke is more prominent than the plum. How do you like the other two? August 6, 2019 at 12:16am Reply

            • Aurora: Thank you Debi that sounds very good. I like Red Truffle quite a bit, it’s an unusual take on fig because it’s non-coconuty fig (I got tired of of fig with coconut), a herbal and aromatic at first with a slight salty edge too and is long-lasting on my skin and Green Orange smelled great on my brother, orange and coriander is a great pairing. August 6, 2019 at 7:18am Reply

              • Debi Sen Gupta: Thanks for such a detailed response. I will get the orange and coriander during my next visit to UK. Believe its unisex.

                The smoked plum smells really good. It’s very long lasting too and not too sweet. August 6, 2019 at 11:29am Reply

  • Aurora: It’s one of my favorite fruits. I find the green mango in Un Jardin sur le Nil very nice because it’s not cloying.

    What a superb photo. August 5, 2019 at 12:26pm Reply

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