Inspired by the immortal beauty of Helen during the Trojan wars, Immortelle by Manos Gerakinis takes the golden flower which was named after Helen’s beauty and centrally places it in this radiant fragrance.
Clove, cinnamon, immortelle, milk, brown sugar, benzoin, sandalwood, patchouli.
Immortelle is one of those fragrances which makes your heart beat faster. I had the pleasure of first trying this at the Esxence fragrance exhibition in Milan. Fatigued and half nose blind from the sheer amount of things I smelled over the days of the show, I didn’t expect Immortelle to make as much of an impression as it did, positively leaping off the blotter and firmly embedding itself in my consciousness and to-buy list. As gourmand fragrances go, Immortelle is in a class of its own.
Listing clove and cinnamon as the first couple of notes might give the impression that Immortelle will perhaps be scratchy, spicy, potentially even abrasive as it opens. It isn’t. Immortelle is a powerful scent but it has a warm, radiant and even gentle character. It’s a big scent but a friendly one. It swaithes you in fragrance but that blanket is soft and warm.
There are hints of spice in the start of Immortelle’s story, but those hints are supporting the golden luminosity of the central floral aspect. The spices and milk notes combine to give the fleeting impression of something like a chai latte, sweet, spicy with a soothing milky undertone. It’s clear from the start that this is a scent to uplift and embrace the wearer, there are no hard edges or rough corners left on view, everything is just calming bright happiness.
The immortelle flower itself comes to play in the heart of the fragrance. The floral character of this ingredient is pivotal to the success of the perfume. Without it, the scent would be a sugary sweet overdose, but with it that sweetness is held in check. The immortelle has a slightly camomile feel to it, reminding us of warm hay, cut grass, meadows at the end of the summer when they are dry and baked by the sun’s heat.
Before we stray too far away from the gourmandy aspects of the fragrance, a crunchy brown sugar accord comes into play too. This is masterful, adding an interesting crystalline texture to the fragrance. Consider this sugary feel against the fronds and stems of warm hay, all floating on a bath of steamed milk and you may come close to imagining what part of Immortelle smells like. Then infuse everything with the gentlest, most radiant golden sunlight and you’ll get a bit closer to how the scent feels to wear.
At times Immortelle shows facets of tobacco, leather, coffee, honey, in its shifting and multifaceted tones but it never strays from this sun-baked warm sweetness. Immortelle is simply sumptuous, decadent but it also has a kind of warmth and innocence that we don’t often see. Immortelle isn’t tawdry or tacky ever – far from it. Instead, it’s graceful, radiant and charming.
The lingering impression it leaves on skin is like pressing your face into a sheaf of very dry hay and inhaling deeply. It smells of summer; carefree, easy, happy, but an embodiment of summer that doesn’t have to deal with suncream and mosquito bites, instead this is a bucolic summer where it’s always the right temperature, never too hot, and you have nothing better to do than lazy around on bales of hay and contemplate exciting things to be done later. Immortelle is the summer we all want but unfortunately never quite get, but now you can console yourself by spraying it on your skin and delighting in its sunny tones every day instead.
The other stuff
Immortelle lasts extremely well – sometimes up to 24 hours on skin. It is tenacious and doesn’t quit easily. Immortelle projects well, but not aggressively – it has far too sunny a disposition to do that. It goes to around handshake distance, or perhaps a little further, and trails nicely.
Warm and embracing, Immortelle is a spring and autumn scent for me even though it smells of summer, strange though that may sound. Doubtless one of those that you can wear at any time of year, but I enjoy it most on days when it is warm rather than hot, so it can really shine without having to compete with suncream (and as a side note, if it does have to compete, Immortelle wins!). Like all the Manos Gerakinis fragrances, the quality of the ingredients feels very high, giving a sumptuous and luxurious impression as the ingredients show and hide different facets in the wear.
I have worn Immortelle during the day, and it does work, but given how precious and remarkable the scent is, I mostly like to save it for evening events when I want my fragrance to be noticed. It works particularly well in those circumstances.
The perfumer for Immortelle is unlisted.
Immortelle is available from the Manos Gerakinis web boutique where it is priced at €180 for 100ml EdP or €50 for a 10ml travel size. You can also buy the fragrance from various points of sale worldwide, which are listed on the Manos Gerakinis website.
Manos very kindly sent me a travel size of this fragrance after I met him at Esxence 2022.