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Manoumalia - It feels like summer…. - June 22, 2015

Image - Wikipedia - Fagraea ceilanica flower by Vinayaraj, May 24, 2103

It’s summer. Technically, officially and climatically, glorious summer arrived yesterday with its long, hot days, casual clothes and outdoor living. I’ve always found it funny how we crave summer for so long and then find ways to beat the heat - icy cold drinks, cool summer salads and outside BBQs, pools, beaches, a shady spot in the garden to nap or read. With all these rituals of summer, I wonder if what we really want is not the sticky, oppressive, unbearable heat of summer but the feeling of summer. Okay, as I write this in an air-conditioned space, I realize that what I really want is the feeling of summer, which is why I am wearing Manoumalia from Swiss niche line LesNez Parfums d’Auteurs.

LezNez was launched in 2006 by perfume lover René Schifferle, who felt the fragrance market had stalled with too many fragrances that lacked creativity and excitement. For him, the solution was to create a house where perfumers have the freedom to work without a brief, so they can create original and unconventional fragrances according to their feelings.

For Sandrine Videault, the nose behind Manoumalia, the feeling was one of home.

Videault was born on the Pacific island of Wallis. Wallis has a rich cultural history. Settled by Polynesians 3,000 years ago, discovered by the British in 1767 and currently a French overseas territory the powers on this little island are shared among the French Administration, the Catholic Church the Traditional System of government.

Wallis also has a tropical climate. Situated halfway between Tahiti and New Caledonia, it produces some of the most gorgeously fragrant flora in the world - exotic fruit (bananas, breadfruit and coconuts) and lush, white flowers (gardenia, fragrea and ylang-ylang) as well as aromatic sandalwood.

Fragrance and ritual are in the Wallisians’ DNA, and they present themselves for ceremonies appropriately, scenting their hair with fragrant sandalwood dust, wearing bracelets, leis and crowns made of gardenia, fagraea and ylang-ylang and make-up made from tumeric-like curcuma plants and washing their hands with perfume.
Rich in culture, ceremony and fragrance, this is the environment that inspired the lush, creamy, one-of-a-kind tropical fragrance: Manoumalia.

Manoumalia opens with a note of fragrea. Fragrea has many olfactory similarities to its white flower sisters - gardenia, ylang-ylang, jasmine and tuberose – so it’s lush, tropical, carnal and creamy. But it also has a spicy facet that sets it apart and makes Manounalia intriguing from the first sniff. It also gives it an irresistibility that runs like a thread right through the fragrance from top to bottom. Skin heat opens up the white flower aspects of fragrea making them big and heady. Then, I smell coconut. I smell suntan lotion, but I also smell rubber and I know we are at Manoumalia’s heart of tiare (Tahitian gardenia), and vetiver. The green, earthy, pungent vetiver balances the heady white florals so smoothly, that it elevates Manoumalia to an homage rather than just a beach scent that swirls just above my skin. Then we get to the base. The. Base. The smell of sandalwood powder weaves through rich, floral, banana-faceted, jasmine-nuanced ylang-ylang. If you’ve ever wondered what erotic smells like, this is it. Amber, resinous, sweet and warm anchors it perfectly.

The drydown is rich, tropical lush and surprisingly full-bodied for an eau de toilette. But it is so much more than that. Videault followed her nose and her heart and created that rare thing: a truly original fragrance.

Manoumalia smells like a tropical paradise rooted in ritual but it feels like summer.

Manoumalia is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.