Guerlain : Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic

Created by : Marie Salamagne

Date : 2007

Genre : Herbal citrus

Concentration : eau de toilette

Disclaimer : I am not a big fan of overly herbal scents.

For all that has been said of Jean-Claude Ellena’s lovely Jardin series for Hermès, not enough has been said of the simple but elegant Aqua Allegoria series by Guerlain.  Although none are groundbreaking, I have found them all very wearable except for maybe one or two, Lys Soleia comes to mind.  Take Mandarine Basilic for example.  It’s a simple duet of orange and basil… it lasts for several hours and on a hot summer day, it would make a perfect eau de cologne.

The orange note of Mandarine Basilic makes my mouth water.  And with that herbal backnote, well… it’s wonderful.  It’s the kind of perfume I would bring on my next trip to Cuba (hopefully in 2013).  I suspect it’s synthetic which means it should hold up well in the Havana heat and humidity.  My only very petty criticism of Mandarine Basilic is that the orange note wears out before the herbal ones and you’re left smelling of a pungent herbal mixture.  If you like that, then Mandarine Basilic is for you.  It’s just not my thing.  But if you’re looking for an orange-centric, well-behaved eau de toilette… the orange-herbal duet goes on for easily 4 to 5 hours.  After that… it reminds me of a thin-crust neapolitan pizza which I love to eat… but not necessarily wear.

Let’s end this one with one of the most beautiful duets… ever!  True Love by Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly.  What I wouldn’t give to be able to kiss, sail a boat and play the accordeon all at the same time.

Have a nice week everyone.

Leave a comment


  1. Dane

     /  October 27, 2012

    I’m a big fan of the AA line, but this one has a hard time comparing to the Hermes orange duo.

  2. What a delightful post, Normand! I have to ask you two things: what don’t you like about Lys Soleia? It’s the only AA I’ve tried, but I found it a lovely and easy thing to wear.

    Secondly, I’m curious as to everything you love about Cuba. I’d really like to go there, too. I knew a couple who used to like to travel there just to watch baseball, and after their vivid descriptions, I think I could get into that too. Hot Cuban men and baseball seems like a perfect combo. 🙂

    • I found Lys Soleia too sweet… it’s heavier than the others in the series. I got a big vanilla note out of it and I’m not a big fan of vanilla… but now that you’ve brought it up, I’m going to revisit it.

      As for Cuba… it’s a crazy place. And Havana is magical. You start off your evening in a tourist restaurant and a couple of hours later you’re in someone’s living room… being serenaded by a “western and country” singer from the 80s. You wonder… how did I get here? It’s kind of the Land of Oz for me. But I’m well aware that at the end of the week, I can leave the island and come back to my comfortable life and they cannot leave. I have met some very wonderful people there. And, I have adopted two families… and I send money on a regular basis. They have nothing… and $20 Cdn (or US) goes a very long way for them. $20 for me is really not a lot of money.

      Thanks for asking!

      • And thanks for answering! Makes me really want to go there, now. I admire you for sending that money (and can I also ask through what organization you are doing this, adopting the family?). Yes, considering the regime they live under, such an amazing people. I once listened to a radio segment (I’m thinking it was NPR?) about their skill as mechanics. By necessity, they have to keep all of these old cars running and running and running, so they’ve really gotten the mechanics of doing so down to an art. Gosh, now I want to listen to that segment again.

      • They are indeed very resourceful! I send them money to their debit cards via a money transfer company. And in the 10 years that I have known them, they have asked for money just once for windows because their wooden ones were rotting away and hurricane season was coming. When I went that year, I was treated to an incredible feast of food and welcomed like a hero to their small apartment. Very interesting people.

  3. FiveoaksBouquet

     /  October 28, 2012

    Cubans must be sitting on a fortune in vintage cars! Havana sounds like a great place to explore. Someone once wrote on one of the forums that she found a perfumery there.

    In the Aqua Allegorias I don’t have too much personal experience but have tested a few and liked Jasminora and Lys Soleia. Lys Soleia came across to me like a lighter and slightly more wearable Songes (Annick Goutal). I find Songes somewhat demanding. It is quite dense and can become more persistent as the day wears on, whereas Lys Soleia seems to have more airiness and nuance but similar pleasant tropical notes. However, I tend to avoid the AAs because they seem to have an unpredictable turnover rate and I prefer going with perfumes that at least pretend to be on the market for the duration.

  4. Tara C

     /  October 29, 2012

    I don’t care much for the Aqua Allegorias in general (not being a cologne person) and ironically the only one I somewhat enjoyed was Lys Soleia. 🙂 Lavande Velours and Pamplelune are my nemesis scents, just dreadful on me. So I usually give them a skip.

    • That Lys Soleia seems to be another one of those scents that you either love or hate. I don’t remember what Lavande Velours smells like… will definitely try it out the next time I’m at the perfume counter.


  5. Richard Toownson

     /  November 1, 2012

    Well if nothing else you do spark some very interesting asides… it’s enough to give you the vapours.

    Keep up the great work, your blog is always the refreshment I need after a stressful day.

    • Thanks for the compliment. Sometimes I ask myself… “Why am I doing this?” And then I get a comment like yours and it all makes sense.

      Thanks again!



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