Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic (Guerlain) - a morning picker-upper.

I am, perhaps, strange in that I do not enjoy orange juice in the morning. I am a straight-to-coffee kind of gal. Even at more formal breakfasts than I usually have , I take a pass. (the average day finds me in pj's on the couch, sucking back coffee and checking Facebook) When I was growing up, orange juice did not come in a "pulp-free" option and, to be frank, the pulp skeeves me out. Or, as my toddler has taken to saying, "that really freaks me up!"

What I do love, though, is spritzing on a glass of juice refreshing citrus perfume to wake me up.

Citrus oils are usually used as top notes in perfumery. Their scent is short-lived. Some sort of citrus - bergamot, mandarin/clementine, orange, lime, neroli, grapefruit, lemon, tangerine,  bitter orange, pettigrain - is used in almost every scent. These oils add sparkle, brightness, and what perfumers describe as "lift". The use of citrus goes back nearly as far as perfumery itself and is, these days, perhaps most commonly identified with colognes and men's scents.

I love a perfume with a big old dose of almost any citrus. They are usually refreshing, invigorating, and happy. Spritzing on a citrus-heavy scent in the early hours is like drinking in the sun and getting a cheerful kick in the pants to get ya going. It's also a delicious way to cool off and feel clean and fresh in hot weather!

One of my favorite morning jump-starts is grabbing one of my Guerlain Aqua Allegorias. These lightweight, fairly straightforward compositions are a great choice in the morning. They're short-lived, at least the ones I've tried and on my skin. As always, your mileage may vary. I like that brevity sometimes - I can wear something that creates or captures a certain mood but not have to commit to it for 12+ hours. And if I put it on before I shower, I don't feel too guilty washing it off after only having it on my skin for awhile. Yes, I have Perfume Guilt. Don't judge me.

I really enjoy Mandarine-Basilic, which gives a bright, intense, happy hose-down of mandarin balanced perfectly with the herbal bite of basil, one of my favorite herbs to sniff.

On me, Mandarine-Basilic shares its orange effervescence for about 45 minutes or so. During that time, the mandarin fades slightly and the basil starts to slip in the back door. Eventually,  florals join in, but softly, with the orange/mandarin scent still sticking around. The entire development takes about 3 hours on my skin - if I've used a citrus-y bath product or body lotion it goes a bit longer.

Mandarin-Basilic's drydown is a soft, slightly ambered woods -not the typical vanillic Guerlain base. It's a perfect set-up for a latter application of a sandalwood or amber-based scent. Note that both of those base notes, amber and sandalwood, are widely considered to be soothing and calming. This perfume is gorgeous aromatherapy!

By the time Mandarine-Basilic has faded, my mood has usually solidified somewhere in the happy range. If I need a bit more tweaking or am starting to feel hot or sticky, it's a complete delight to re-spritz and start the happy mandarin waterfall all over again!

Aqua Allegoria Mandarine-Basilic by Guerlain is a Citrus Aromatic fragrance for women. Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic was launched in 2007. The nose behind this fragrance is Marie Salamagne.
Top notes are clementine, orange blossom, ivy, green tea and bitter orange
Middle notes are peony, chamomile, mandarin orange and basil
Base notes are sandalwood and amber.

Do you enjoy the Aqua Allegoria line, or are those scents too wimpy, simple, or just "wrong" for you? If you like them, which is your favorite? And can you suggest any other citrus-predominant scents I might like try? I'm a huge mandarin, lime, and blood orange fan. 


  1. This sounds cheerful! I love citrus scents, and I love to smell fresh basil, but I never thought of them together. I'll have to try it.

    My favourite citrus scents are Frederic Malle Bigarade Concentree and Hermes Pamplemouse Rose. Both are guaranteed to cheer me up. for lime, the Creed cocktail Virgin Island Water makes me smile. And Penhaligon's Extract of Limes

    1. Krista, thanks for commenting!
      I tried Bigarade Concentree and didn't like it. I wonder why? I think there's still a sample floating around here somewhere. I should give it another go. I DO love Pamplemouse Rose, too. Of course, I haven't found an Hermes that doesn't love my skin (my wallet, however, weeps). I have never tried a Creed but love Penhaligon's, so VIW and Extract of Limes go onto my lime to-try list. Thanks for the suggestions!

  2. I don't think if I've tried the Aqua Allegoria line beyond their Pamplemousse (which went cat pee on me.) I haven't explored a lot of citrus scents, but I did just pick up L'Occitanes LE Verveine Soleil (also sold as Verbena Sun)on sale, and I really like it . Also, Pacifica's Blood Orange is a lively, juicy thing - I've drained my large sample, and want a bottle.

    1. Dionne, I like Pamplemousse, but one light spritz, maybe two, in each area of skin is all I can do. A thorough dousing is definitely cat pee.

      I like Pacifica's Blood Orange. I have a roller ball of it. It's nice for the top notes, but the drydown does nothing for me. I'll check out L'Occitane the next time I'm by one. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Sounds really lively and nice. (But why I keep reading it as "Mandarine-Basilisk" is a mystery to me. Citrus Lizard King?)

    1. Olenska, me too. It was very hard to write the name over and over without spelling it wrong. ;)

    2. Jen, what a wonderful review!! My fav AA so far is Pamplelune, i am on my second bottle and i just adore it. Many compliments as well, good for me as i was always a bit afraid to wear it because you read so many very harsh comments everywhere... I love upcheering citruses like D&G light blue (YES! no guilty feeling here :-) ), Pamplemousse Rose and Saharienne in summer and winter- in summer they refresh me and in wnter/spring/autumn they make me think of sunny days and energize me. Mandarine Basilic is an especially nice one because the herbal side is not too much (Herba Fresca indeed IS nice as well but can be a bit to serious and dry if you'd like some "juicy" elements with your grasses) So BIG winner, this one. Is it true that it is going to be discontinued soon?


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