Well, I won’t hide it – I am a big fan of Ellena, and quite a fan of this extremely solid line of green-fresh “eaux” by Hermès. Sure, they’re quite short-lasting and ephemeral to say the least, quite discreet and not the best booty call radar for your hot nights downtown : but within the concept and considering the expectations one may reasonably have, that is to say “for being fresh toilet waters”, they are just perfect. They deliver exactly what their names suggest, with the most effortless, understated, solid class and accuracy. Eau de Mandarine Ambrée is nothing less and nothing more than a delightful sleek glass bottle filled with a distinguished infusion of water scented with, well, orange and amber. More orange than amber, actually; the “ambrée” feature seems to me here almost more a metaphorical reference to a shade of golden warmth giving some “substance” to the prominent – and actually, main and nearly only – accord of orange and citrus. I get no specific accords of amber, rather just a sort of ambery shade, a very subtle touch of that. Something slightly resinous, maybe, but not a proper amber accord for me. Think of a glass of lukewarm orange-scented water, with its golden-orange nuances flaming and reflecting the light, there’s the “amber” feature of this. More an aesthetical reference, so to speak. However it’s surely more all about orange for me – a refined still-life portrait of an orange, Hermès style; don’t expect a splash of invigorating, zesty, juicy orange pulp, this is rather the smell of a mid-afternoon tea room on the French coast with some orange leaves and peels lazily lingering on the table, waiting for someone to pick them up and clear the table. Think of Hermès’ own trademark orange colour, this is quite its olfactory depiction. Sophisticated, mannered, almost snobbish, kind of melancholic and definitely French. And what amazes me, as for other “eaux” of this line, is how Ellena managed to make this smell restrained, civilized, modern and almost “abstract” in its universally-appealing, prototypical cleanliness, and yet extremely natural and realistic. Sometimes he seems the only living perfumer which is able to accomplish such an effortless blend of elegance and naturalness. Long live Ellena!