Mahora (1999)

Mahora by Guerlain
Bottle Design: Robert Granai
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Mahora (Guerlain)
Mahora (Guerlain)
7.7 / 10     140 RatingsRatingsRatings
Mahora is a popular perfume by Guerlain for women and was released in 1999. The scent is floral-sweet. The longevity is above-average. The production was apparently discontinued.

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Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top NotesGreen notes, Almond blossom, Orange
Heart Notes Heart NotesJasmine, Neroli, Tuberose, Ylang-ylang
Base Notes Base NotesSandalwood, Vanilla, Vetiver



7.7 (140 Ratings)


8.3 (105 Ratings)


7.7 (100 Ratings)


7.9 (112 Ratings)
Submitted by Kankuro, last update on 11.05.2018
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Bottle 7.5/10 Sillage 7.5/10 Longevity 7.5/10 Scent 9.0/10
Helpful Review    3
Warm, radiant creamy flower dust of exploited summer days
I've been on a hunt for a full unopened bottle of this fabulous creature for a long time after owning and using up several minis along the summer nights.

This perfume is a must try for any ylang ylang tuberose combo fan, those who enjoy beachy perfumes should also give it an opportunity while bearing in mind it was released 18 years ago. It is bloomy, creamy, slightly powdery, luminous, dense and still an extremely radiant happy blend that never falls into the annoying sort of heaviness you can detect in some big floral oriental perfumes, especially when they are too sweet and loud. Mahora is sweet but not tooth-aching, a bit spicy and the fact that a beautiful sandalwood in the long lasting drydown predominates over the vanilla note, makes me enjoy it even more.

I tried Mayotte due to other perfume lovers indications about its close character to Mahora. I find Mayotte less radiant and special, it is sweeter, heavier in vanilla and with a neroli note that gives it a neater effect. I clearly prefer Mahora though I can see how maybe most of younger people will prefer Mayotte to it. Mayotte is also short-lived by comparison with Mahora.
Bottle 10.0/10 Sillage 7.5/10 Longevity 10.0/10 Scent 9.0/10
Helpful Review    4
Sweet forest nectar...
This is a fragrance with a controversial past (and really... aren't all good fragrances controversial in some way? Fracas, Poison etc?). This was Jean-Paul Guerlain's last major fragrance release before he retired, and it's one he didn't make for the market at the time. It's loud, it's full, it's heavy and sensual... and for these reasons it was a flop, people at the millennium did not want so loud and sensual a fragrance, a "throwback" to other heavy florals of the 40's, 50's, 60's etc. Mahora suffered a terrible fate of having a large portion of the stock destroyed once it was pulled off the market. However, with time, people can see this fragrance in a kinder, more loving light.

Part of it's notoriety is that Mahora seems to be a fragrance that elicits strong reactions. It's one of those "love/hate" fragrances that people either swoon over or can't stand. I think I'm in the "love" crowd here and find it quite intoxicating, in a tropical, floral kind of way...

And Mahora is a tropical floral, without a doubt. It's named after the island in the indian ocean where Guerlain keep plantations of ylang-ylang and jasmine (called "Mayotte" in French but "Mahora" in the local language). I don't find this one as loud as people say (I have the Eau de Parfum),, to me it's a sweet, honeyed floral, with a host of white flowers. You name it this fragrance has it, Jasmine, Tuberose, Frangipani, Gardenia, Magnolia (or at least that's what it feels like to me) there's also orange and almond blossom in there, which I enjoy smelling. Still, I don't find this fragrance particularly cloying, although I'm sampling it in cool weather and I think this would be too much if over-sprayed. There's a ylang-ylang and sandalwood combination (much like Samsara) but there's also a wonderful, green-on-the-verge-of-ripe tuberose, and although I haven't smelled Fracas, I actually enjoy the use of tuberose in fragrances.

Mahora can be a very evocative fragrance, like a "vacation in a bottle" type thing. With me the scent of this transports me to places I haven't been... like an island in the indian ocean, or south pacific. I get a real connection with somewhere in south america, maybe Brazil, I think of exotic events, like the Rio de Janiero carnival (of course in my mind's imagination!). I see women with dark skin, and garlands of white flowers around their neck, or a flower in her hair (like a woman from Tahiti... another place I've never been to).

I think this is one worth testing out if only for these kinds of experiences. It's very sensual in a tropical, voluptuous kind of way. I think that loving or hating this comes down to whether you are intimidated by white florals. Fortunately, I love the slightly green, yet borderline ripe & creamy tuberose, which is rich and buttery, especially when joined by jasmine, ylang-ylang and gorgeous sandalwood.

One to try, just because of the wide range of reactions it provokes in people. For me it's one I love, and again, as with all "heavy" or borderline cloying fragrances, less sprays, and cooler weather, but on the right person it could be worn any time of year. Again, for me... this is an example of pure escapism in a bottle! R.I.P. Mahora...
1 Replies
Scent 6.5/10
Helpful Review    3
Tropical flower perfume
After testing Mahora for 2 days in a row I can say this was definitely not an easy perfume for me, but now I've tried it more often, it actually grows on me more and more. I'm looking forward wearing this during summertime.

Some reviewers comment on the opening as harsh and not pleasant, but actually that's the best part for me. I love the opening and if the scent stayed lineair from this moment on I would be a happy woman. The middle note is fine for me too, it seems to become more fruity instead of the flowery start. But still very pretty.

The drydown however was slightly too sweet during the first few wearings. In the drydown Mahora also looses some of the freshness and a note emerges what other reviewers refer to as a suntan lotion vibe. To me this fase reminds me of Samsara and Panther de Cartier and even Jil Sander's Sun comes to mind. I feel that the drydown of Mahora is kind of a cross version of these scents although it's somewhat fresher and much better imho. After some research I found that they all have a strong ylang ylang note in common, which apparantly is not an easy note for me. After a few wearings however the drydown doesn't bother me at all. In fact I'm pleasantly surprised by Mahora.

After reading a number of reviews I expected a strong tuberose scent, and I do I feel it's flowery - but for me not so much an emphasis on the tuberose. (White) flowers can be a headache inducer for me, but this is not case with Mahora.
Sillage 5.0/10 Longevity 5.0/10 Scent 6.0/10
Very helpful Review    7
A lovely fragrance ... but somewhat disappointing!
Being the Tuberose nut I am, I have wanted to try Mahora since discovering it on various fora ... a scent buddy in Sweden sent me a very generous sample (thanks C!!), and while I find it lovely, I can't help being a little disappointed by it too.

When one is a Tuberose junkie, it is very difficult not to favor the greats ... like Blonde and Fracas, and even some of the modern incarnations like Carnal Flower and Tubereuse Criminelle. The problem that my skin has with Mahora is that it turns quite dowdy ... in the Guerlain-esque way that other classic frags from this house go on me. I have tried to love classics like L'Heure Bleu and Mitsouko ... but the most love I can find for a Guerlain frag comes in the form of Rose Barbare.
I am not saying that Mahora is not a well constructed frag ... quite the contrary ... but I like my Tuberose big and bold ... and I find it a little meek in Mahora, which stays quite green on my skin for a long while and then dips into the Vanilla and Sandalwood of the classic 'guerlinade' base. It's quite creamy with a healthy dose of Ylang present adding to the milkiness I experience here. The Tuberose does eventually rise for a spell ... but by that time it's been subdued by relative masses of Jasmine and Vanilla ... and smells a little like Jasmine rice pudding as a result, at least on my skin which has a predilection for being difficult!
A debate on the similarities between Mahora and Mayotte also exists, but I haven't smelled the latter so I cannot judge. It seems strange that Guerlain would go to all the trouble of discontinuing Mahora and then bottling it under a different name, but who knows what the accountants at LVMH are capable of, seeing that it is they who now control the fate of Guerlain.

When all is said and done, I find Mahora to be a pleasing fragrance ... but not one that deserves a place in my top 5 list of Tuberose fragrances. Then again, I should also start realizing that just because a fragrance contains this note, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's a Tuberose fragrance.
2 Replies
Sillage 5.0/10 Longevity 5.0/10 Scent 6.0/10
Helpful Review    4
Dry and dusty white florals
Mahora by Guerlain is tuberose done a little differently. I should have realised just by looking at the advert, (with Australia's landmark Uluru as a background feature in the Mahora photoshoot), that this was not going to be a straight-up, luscious tuberose scent.

This tuberose is dry, a little bitter and green, mixed in with some wet sand. When I first spritzed on Mahora, I thought that perhaps my skin was turning the scent bitter and dry, so I dabbed it on paper to see whether the tuberose was fresher there. I then discovered, much to my surprise, that Mahora is composed to smell like this. It is the quintessential desert scent, alongside Dior's Dune for Women.

Once I got over Mahora's puzzling nature, I began to enjoy the scent for what it's worth. I welcome its different approach, and applaud Guerlain for having changed my opinions regarding tuberose and other white florals. Who knew that white florals could be dry rather than moist and green?

I'm hesitant to suggest Mahora for cold weather, as on my skin it strikes me as best suited to humid or intense heat. The heart makes me think of a red, hot sun and a wilting bouquet of naturally sweet ylang ylang and orange blossom. Aldehydes and sandalwood create an interesting dusty feel.

The drydown introduces a buttery quality, which is perhaps the only traditional aspect of the tuberose that has been kept. In addition to the buttery florals, the sand accord is quite prominent, as is the slightly sugary whisper of vanilla. At this point, Mahora sits very lightly on the skin, almost as if transforming into a skin-scent.

The lasting power is good, but not great. However this fragrance's complexity makes up for most of it. Actually Mahora could possibly be one of Guerlain's most overlooked fragrances. It's a pity to realise that many consumerss are unaware of this fragrance's existence.
2 Replies
Very helpful Review    9
an exemplary perfume
Despite the current and seemingly endless 1980s revival of cheap fashion for tweens to twenty-somethings, the 80s are gone. Thank god! Don’t let that horrid decade haunt you! Still, if there were one thing that I could tease out of the 80s and bring to the present it would be polarizing perfumes. To the propagators of 1990s-styled apologetic perfumes, to the radiant Iso-E Super wearers, to the nanny perfume mob who would rid the world of fragrance (Watch out! Color is next, then oppressive fabric.) I say wear Poison! Wear Giorgio and Opium. Blast yourself with Lou Lou and walk in public in the light of day!

Better still, try Mahora. 1980s in scale, 1970s in indulgent style, 1920s in complexity and sophistication, Mahora (2000) paid tribute to the decades that preceded it as it dived headfirst into the new millennium.

From the spicy animalic start, through the creamy floral heart, to the woody-vanillic drydown, Mahora is as rich as they come. Using principles from classical perfumery, but seemingly new compositional tricks, Guerlain laid claim to the fairly unpopulated genre, the spicy-animalic resinous tropical woody floral. This perfume does draw attention to itself. So what? If you don’t like it, don’t wear it. Polarizing is great! Part of the aesthetics of perfumery, as in any art form, is that in addition to critical consideration, we should identify what we like and what we don’t. How else can we proceed in what is both an artistic discussion and an exercise in pleasure?

That said, I disagree with those who do not like Mahora and therefore say that it is a bad perfume. In addition to its volume and attention-seeking, it is calibrated, dissonant enough to hold one’s interest and shows textbook classical evolution. Mahora shouldn’t have been discontinued, it should have been studied.
3 Replies
Bottle 7.5/10 Sillage 7.5/10 Longevity 7.5/10 Scent 5.0/10
A voluptous lady with ample charms on show
I love Guerlain perfumes - they always have a complex story that unfurls as the fragrance opens up on your skin. Even if you wouldn't wear them, you can't help but admire their unique composition. Mahora will never be on my wish-list, because I would never be able to handle this kind of pushy, midnight lady.

Mahora hurts me - she forces her way deep into my lungs with her sahara sand, aldehydes & heavy, honeyed flowers. I can almost taste her! The sweetness is deep & low & voluble. There is a rich, heady spiciness & a strong tuberose accent. As her velvet grip hardens, a dark tropical night-forest begins to bloom: nectar drips, incense burns & there is the slightest touch of creamy vanilla-coconut.

Her thick, warm scent is excessive, opulent & almost too much to bear (she will try to drown you in only one drop!). Mahora is powerful & passionate & pungent - hers is a forceful & pervading sillage with substancial staying power.

This dark, sweet, spicy floral is not for the faint hearted, or headache-prone. Alas, this rules me out.

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