Saturday, January 3, 2009
LesNez Manoumalia: A Review
LesNez is a niche perfume line hailing from Switzerland. The line was the brainchild of René Schifferle, a perfume lover who, after being bored by perfumes currently on the market, decided that “some really different perfumes were missing”. Therefore, lucky for us, the perfumers working for LesNez have freedom to create the most interesting, daring and unusual compositions they can imagine. The three existing fragrances in the line (Let Me Play the Lion, The Unicorn Spell and L’Antimatiere) were created in collaboration with Isabelle Doyen. Ms. Doyen is famous for her scents created for Annick Goutal.
The newest fragrance offering from LesNez, called Manoumalia (pronounced “man-oo- mal-eya”), due to launch in early 2009, is created by Sandrine Videault. Ms. Videault was one of the last students of famed perfumer Edmond Roundnitska (quite the teacher but I digress). Manoumalia is said to have been imagined by Ms. Videault’s time in Wallis, an island in the South Pacific. Wallis is a little known French territory located halfway between Fiji and Samoa.
As you might guess, a fragrance built upon the idea of an island in the South Pacific, will surely be tropical in style. Manoumalia is a tropical fragrance, but it is also so much more and so well done. The first few moments of Manoumalia are slightly reminiscent of a green Monyette Paris, Kai, Child or Montale Intense Tiare perfume. But after five minutes Manoumalia gets even more interesting than any of these scents. Just for the record, I adore Monyette Paris, and find it utterly beautiful. Manoumalia contains ample servings of vetiver, sandalwood and amber which keep the potentially extreme “tropics” aroma from taking over. To compare and contrast, let’s take Monyette Paris and Montale’s Intense Tiare, both of these fragarances showcase the sweet fruity florals of the tropics to the extreme. Monyette and Montale give us a fantasy version of the ultimate sweet and floral scents of the islands. Manoumalia seems to give us a more natural or realistic olfactory gift from the tropics. Manoumalia includes the green plants, the woods, some dirt and earthy dimension along with the gorgeous sweet tropics.
To be sure, there is a sweet fruity, tropical floral heart in Manoumalia, but the vetiver, sandalwood and amber underpin the fragrance giving the fruity-florals a certain weight and beauty I’ve never before experienced. Manoumalia is not solely a vacation or beach scent, it is a serious perfume easily worn to the office or for any occasion you wish to smell fabulous.
I’m surprised and delighted by Manoumalia. If this sort of fragrance sounds appealing to you, I highly recommend it.
Manoumalia will be available at Luckyscent in the USA in early 2009.
LesNez Manoumalia notes include: Fagrea, vetiver, tiare, sandalwood dust, ylang ylang, amber accord. Please visit Perfume Shrine for a more detailed description of the fragrance notes and fascinating specifics on the island of Wallis.
Longevity: Excellent 5+ hours
Sillage: Soft but present
Rating: 5 Stars
The image above is an engraving of The Surrender of the Island of Otaheite to Captain Wallis. It is located at Auckland Art Gallery.