Inspired by the vision of sweet yellow flowers, white elephants, and towering mountain peaks that make up the Thai vision of Trayastrimsa ? the Buddhist Nirvana or Afterlife – Mandarava is perfumer Prin Lomros’ interpretation of what heaven smells like. At first, heaven smells like a lei of heady tropical flowers laid around your neck, the lushness of ripe jasmine, rice pudding-esque champaca, and buttery, banana-rich ylang sending the senses reeling. There is an impression of red fruit swollen with juices, threatening to burst out of the pollen-soaked flowers and run down your arm uninterrupted.
But this is no innocent, girlish affair. Mandarava shows us that flowers can be downright filthy when they want to be. The lasciviousness of the Hindi oud couples furiously with a sharp civet and earthy cumin to lend the floral bouquet a spicy animalic edge that seems lifted out of 1980s powerhouse canon, before the reformulation bug bit. Now envisage this dense, spicy floral knot being lifted and diffused by a clean, powdery nag champa musk and soft incense ash, wafting in and out of the animalic floral oud notes to breathe air into the composition. After smelling both Ma Nishtana and Mandarava, we are calling Prin Lomros the Master of the Eastern incense theme in perfumery, hands down.
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