One of my favorite biblical stories is the story of Rachel, Leah, and the mandrake. Although Rachel was Jacob’s most beloved wife, she remained bitterly childless while older sister Leah had four sons. One of these sons, Reuben, thoughtfully brings his mother some mandrake root, which was believed to have magical properties that we today would associate with Viagra. Rachel, desperate for children, begs Leah to give her the mandrake root. Leah’s all “You want my man AND my mandrake? Bish, please.”
Rachel then proceeds to ho her husband out by promising Leah a night with Jacob in exchange for her mandrake. Leah takes full advantage of this arrangement, becoming pregnant yet again. Rachel, however, is as infertile as ever, no doubt because mandrake is actually a hallucinogenic drug rather than an aphrodisiac. Poor thing probably thought she was rappelling down Mount Vesuvius or something.
I’m sure the original purpose of this story was to illustrate the folly of believing in superstitions rather than in God, but I just like that Leah comes out on top for once.
Despite Rachel’s apparent lack of success, many still believe that mandrake root has aphrodisiacal properties and can help women conceive. Enter Annick Goutal Mandragore. Much like its namesake, Mandragore’s powers as an aphrodisiac are dubious at best. Like many Goutals, Mandragore is a quiet fragrance with little lasting power. Mandragore is heavy on the black pepper, with a vegetal note that I can only assume to be the mandrake lurking in the background. It skews quite masculine. Mandragore has a bit more character than your average Goutal citrus, but it still doesn’t live up to the dark allure of its notorious namesake. Recommended mostly for the fabulous purple bottle.