Guerlain Mahora- Complex and Beautiful


Created in 2000 by Jean-Paul Guerlain , Guerlain Mahora is listed as having green notes, of which I am a fan. It has Tuberose, of which I am not a fan. It also contains Jasmine, which smells like a toilet on me.  So on paper, I shouldn’t like this at all.

In real life, I loved it. With an unusual bottle and a name like an African Desert, I was expecting something mysterious and Eastern, maybe another Opium or a Cinnabar, but I was pleasantly surprised by how different this complex Madam of a perfume turned out to be.

First of all, the old familiar Tuberose floated up to my nose. Usually this is a turn off to me, as I find it too rich and cloying, but in Mahora, it’s just right and softens what would have been a plain Oriental into an Oriental softened by flowers, like a muffled drum..

Base notes are Vetiver, Sandalwood and Vanilla, and they all come through strongly in the finish. And may I say it’s a very lasting finish? I sprayed at 8.30am this morning and at 4pm, I was still catching mysterious wafts of Sandalwood and Tuberose.

So what sets this apart from a mainstream Oriental? The quality of ingredients gives it resonance and strength. The addition of carefully chosen (and loud) flowers such as Tuberose and Neroli enhance the woodiness whilst making it softer and creamier. There’s a touch of powder too which stops it being too astringent, as I find some Orientals can be. I like it because it’s soft and feminine and the woodiness doesn’t overpower, yet nor do the flowers. It’s as if the often masculine Vetiver is being calmed down whilst ladylike Tuberose, whispers “Don’t make a scene, Bob”.

Guerlain Mayotte, also by Jean-Paul Guerlain, is said to be the successor to Mahora, and looking at the notes, they seem to be the same, but in a slightly different order. I haven’t smelt Mayotte, so can’t speak for it.

In any case, I’d be happy with a bottle of Mahora. It’s over fifty quid a bottle, but it lasts a very long time.  It could be the scent that converted me to Tuberose.

6 thoughts on “Guerlain Mahora- Complex and Beautiful”

  1. You’ll be delighted to know that Luca Turin HATES Mahora. 🙂 I always thought of it as a gloriously tropical summery scent – another of my bosomy lovelies (sorry, but I just can’t imagine a flat chested Yohji Yamamoto model wearing this walking down the catwalk clothed in crisp-edged white linen). But a friend persuaded me to try it on a bitterly cold day and wow! It was fabulous.

    I think perfumes like this are currently unfashionable but I hope they’ll be rediscovered soon, because they are gloriously womanly.

    1. Yes, you need a cleavage for Mahora. It’s interesting how perfumes can smell better or worse depending on the temperature outside. There was an SJP one that I loathed in summer and loved in Winter. Go figure.

  2. Don’t make a scene, Bob 🙂
    This sounds lovely – I am not a huge fan of orientals but I like softer orientals for winter time, like Shalimar Parfum Intiial, Coromandel, Bois de Iles 🙂

    Your perfume reviews are lovely!

    1. Thank you so much. It’s really lovely to get nice feedback. I was a bit shy about starting the blog (I’m no expert, just a consumer) and your post has given me a little boost. 🙂

  3. Yuk! I hated mahora. It was incredibly cloying – like a warm sweet rotting fart. Didn’t suit me at all. I think it was all the tuberose and jasmine

Leave a Reply