Mandarine Mandarin: You say Mandarin, I say Chutney

Halloween Mandarin

Pumpkin and Mandarin Chutney with Orange Blossom Water


200 gr of pumpkin flesh

4 candied mandarins or mandarins in heavy syrup

1 tablespoon of butter

1 tablespoon of coriander seeds, crushed

1 teaspoon of mace or nutmeg

½ teaspoon of cumin

½ teaspoon of cardamom

100 ml of vinegar

100 ml of orange blossom water

2 tablespoons of brown sugar


Melt the butter and warm the spices. Add the pumpkin flesh, diced in 1 cm cubes. Increase heat and sauté. when pumpkin has softened add sugar, vinegar and orange blossom water. Lower the heat and simmer until the has softened. Then add the mandarins chopped in small pieces. Cook over low heat for another 3 or 10 minutes. Let it cool and enjoy an edible version of Mandarine Mandarin.

my chutney looks great too…


If the name predisposes for a citrus scent, prepare to be surprised. Of all the Serge Lutens releases that I have tried this is probably the most unconventional. It opens with a hint of candied mandarin, not the fresh, tart variety. Just a hint. Because then an intense vinegar note hits you in the face making this definitely a gourmand. An unconventional gourmand. Spices mix with vinegar, mostly cumin, giving this an oriental twist. The composition at this stage brings to mind plain old ketchup. And then orange flowers emerge transforming this into a thick, creamy floral. Orange flowers is not my favourite note in a fragrance. In fact it is a dreaded one. It usually makes me think of urinals to the point that I have to wash the dreaded stuff off my skin. But this is the only orange blossom scent that I actually enjoy wearing. In a strange way the vinegar prelude and cumin carpet draw my attention from the pissy undertones and I enjoy the creaminess of the blend. In fact the composition is so interesting that I believe Mandarine Mandarin is to orange blossom what Tubereuse Criminelle is to tuberose.

The intensely edible aspect of the opening made me want to try and recreate this in a dish and chutney seems to be the perfect genre for this. It allows mixing sweet and sour into harmony. I used butter to recreate the creaminess of the base. Mandarins should preferably be candied because that’s the way this fruit is presented by Serge Lutens here. I used mandarins in heavy syrup, what we call “spoon deserts” in Greece. All sorts of fruit and sometimes vegetables (like pumpkin, carrots and green unripe aubergines) are boiled in heavy syrup until they become waxy and crunchy. This way a huge range of cholesterol free deserts is generated and they make an excellent topping for icecreams as well. The most rare and unusual one I have tried is lemon flowers preserved in heavy syrup, from the island of Chios. The smell of vinegar was intimidating while I was preparing the chutney but when it cooled down it gave just the right kick for this chutney.

Notes from Fragrantica:  nutmeg and chinese orange,  mandarin orange, tea and orange peel, labdanum, amber, tonka bean and rose hip.

Notes from my nose: mandarin, vinegar, ketchup, cumin, spices, orange flowers


About Christos

Scientifically minded but obsessed with the subjective aspect of things. Photos copyright of MemoryOfScent, with special thanks to Pantelis Makkas You are welcome to link to my blog but you are definitely not allowed to copy text or use the photos without my permission. All text and main photos are originals and property of MemoryOfScent All perfumes are from my collection unless stated otherwise.


  1. The chutney sounds lovely, what a great idea! I also frequently think about creating dishes inspired by perfumes but unfortunately I hardly ever have the time. But some day I’ll make an Ambre Sulta pannacotta, Fourreau Noir caramles and a random fruitcholi dressing to serve over bitter greens 🙂

    • I love cooking almost as much as I love perfume. I have been cooking for far more years than I have been smelling perfume though. This is my first attempt at this game. I did this with tomatoes the first time because MM makes me think of ketchup at some point. However the end result was not quite what I had in mind. Then I thought of pumpkin. A lot closer and tastes amazing!

  2. Vey cool post. Loved the description of Mandarine-Mandarin (which I’ve never tried), loved the very inspired pumpkin-chutney recipe. In fact, of the two, you’ve got me more interested in the recipe; I’m not sure I want to wear a perfume that smells of vinegar and ketchup–or is it just a very fleeting prelude to the orange flowers?

    To my nose, orange flowers can sometimes smell rather indolic but I’ve never experienced them as pissy (not that I don’t believe you, I do. Actually, come to think of it, I’ve sometimes described them as having a honeyed smell, and honey has a urinous facet to it. Perhaps they are overly honeyed to you?)

    • The vinegar note is not what I would call fleeting. It is there for quite some time, longer than the Vicks Vaporub note in Tuebereuse Criminelle. It is worth it only if you are a hard core orange blossom fan and what to find a long lasting, creamy, non-sweet fragrance with this note in the center.

      A lot of people report jasmine as smelling fecal. I have never experienced this facet. To me indoles smell piss-y. The most extremely piss-y orange blossom scent I have ever smelled is Lorenzo Villoresi Dilmun.

      The chutney is really good and easy to make. I used wine vinegar but I guess if you use malt vinegar or some other kind of very strong vinegar you might need to reduce it a little. Anyway this was just a recipe out of the top of my head so I would be interested to hear what you ‘ve done with it.

  3. Pingback: Tubéreuse Criminelle: criminally genius and a Freudian footnote « Memory of Scent

  4. Thanks for the recipe. You have inspired me to host a dinner for friends over the summer featuring recipes inspired by perfumes. Your recipe will definitely be part of the evening’s menu!

    • It would be really great to put our minds together and with anyone interested in this type of interaction of senses to come up with recipes. Jeux de Peau makes for a wonderful bread and butter pudding with caramelized top with a hint of maple syrup. I hated the perfume but I think I am going to love the desert.

  5. Pingback: Your perfume forever: the Kaipaus bean (with an update) | Memory Of Scent

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