The sweet story of mandarin oranges

A perfect package of succulent citrus sunshine, the mandarin is the orange’s sweeter sister. It ripens in November and December, bringing a flash of summer sun into the darker winter months.

Mandarins were brought to Europe in the 1800s by way of India and China, where they had been cultivated for more than 3,000 years. As well as the language, mandarin also refers to the ancient Chinese courtiers who wore orange robes – which may be how the little fruit acquired its name. The mandarin orange still symbolises wealth and good fortune in Chinese culture, and plays a significant role in its New Year celebrations, as presents or decorations.  For the Japanese too, mandarins herald the start of the festive season. In the 1880s, Japanese immigrants to Canada were sent presents of the fruit by their relatives. And even today you might still find a mandarin at the bottom of your Christmas stocking.

Tantalising, addictive and zesty,
the mandarin brings its own
special form of alchemy’

It would be unthinkable for something so rich in goodness not to have many uses. Mandarin peel is used in Chinese medicine to allegedly balance your ch’i or ‘life force’ among other things. It has also given birth to several hybrid varieties, including the clementine and the tangerine. Well, it would be wrong not to share those magnificent genes.

Mandarin, of course, has a special place in our hearts at Jo Malone London. One half of the dream team that is Lime Basil & Mandarin, its vivid citrus notes have completely captivated us. Tantalising, addictive and zesty, the fruit brings its own special form of alchemy to this unlikely but wondrous pairing. A modern classic that proves that even the most unconventional marriages can stand the test of time.

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