Mauboussin by Mauboussin, 2000

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(Still life by Sam Taylor Wood)

Perfumer Christine Nagel

Mauboussin is a big-boned, inedible fruity oriental. It doesn’t always strike me as appealing, but it’s always striking. The fruit, plummy, peachy, mandarin, is just a bit rotten. It’s turned fruit that smells good in a brandy-like way but also warns you that it’s no longer edible. Actually, boozy isn’t quite it. The fruit and benzoin together smell like bitter herbal tinctures, suggesting medicine that needs a spoonful of sugar. Mauboussin smartly skips the sugar. Avoiding the excessive sweetness gives it a push-pull food-but not-edible quality that the only gourmands I like seem to have. I call them “unresolved gourmands” and Mauboussin is the perfect example.

The dissonance lasts to drydown when dusty cedar and sweet patchouli fight for the dominant woody tone. Mauboussin is not so much either conflicted or indecisive as ready to pounce one way or the other at a given moment.




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