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A harbour once fashionable,
Coloured by dead lovers,
Loved by the young that later exude oriental smoothness,
And reportedly circled by the young that later either wash their faces,
Or occasionally observe mammalian explosion.

What am I?

Clue 1:

The answer is a single word

Clue 2:

I am edible (at least in part)

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I hope this riddle is as good as your previous one :). $\endgroup$ – IAmInPLS Sep 7 '16 at 14:53
  • $\begingroup$ @IAmInPLS I have to admit this one is rather simpler and more spur of the moment. I am much more fond of the previous one. $\endgroup$ – abligh Sep 7 '16 at 15:07
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    $\begingroup$ Gods this is racking my brain... I have a few ideas, but I can't make either of them fit completely... $\endgroup$ – fuandon Sep 7 '16 at 19:22
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I haven't worked out all of the clues, but enough of them are lending toward the answer - here's what I have so far

A harbour once

EDIT - Thanks to fuandon - this may be in reference to "Mulberry Harbor" used in WWII as part of the allied invasion plans

fashionable,

*(per abligh): Mulberry is a fashion brand

Coloured by dead lovers,

This refers to the story of Pyramus and Thisbe in Ovid's Metamorphoses, wherein forbidden love ends in suicide. They met under a white mulberry tree, colouring the fruit forever with their blood

Loved by the young that later exude oriental smoothness,

This of course is in reference to the larvae known as silk worm - the young - used in the production of silk - oriental smoothness - and which feed on mulberry leaves (particularly white ones)

And reportedly circled by the young

*(per abligh): there are two songs concerning going 'round the mulberry bush'

that later either wash their faces,

*(per abligh): There's 'Here we go round the mulberry bush', in which the next verse starts 'This is the way we wash our face'

Or occasionally observe mammalian explosion.

*(per abligh): and there's also (occasionally, meaning in some versions) 'Pop goes the weasel' (i.e. a mammalian explosion) which in those version has the line 'All around the mulberry bush'

Based on all these clues, I'd venture to say the answer is

Mulberry - it's one word and edible. Without the one word clue, I'd have guessed White Mulberry.

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    $\begingroup$ @fuandon, that might be possible, "once fashionable" = "once used". I'll update to use that since each of the other clues seem to reference the answer. You may want to add a spoiler tag to your comment ;-) $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Sep 9 '16 at 15:56
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling :-)! $\endgroup$ – IAmInPLS Sep 9 '16 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ This is correct, but there are a couple of bits missing. I'll edit your answer (rather than do my own) so you get the upvotes. $\endgroup$ – abligh Sep 9 '16 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ Done! apparently I need my edit to be peer reviewed though. Will accept once that has been accepted. $\endgroup$ – abligh Sep 9 '16 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ I approved! Wow, so close! $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Sep 9 '16 at 16:30
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What am I?

Verona

A harbour once fashionable,

Verona is one of the main cities on the Adige river which is, and was, an especially important lane of transportation - so important in Roman times that many of these structures have been restored (including the Arena).

Coloured by dead lovers,

This is what made me think of Verona actually: as it is the setting of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Loved by the young that later exude oriental smoothness,

Chinese trade - whether one accepts it was Marco Polo or not - definitely influenced the Italian food and pasta enjoyed today.

And reportedly circled by the young that later either wash their faces,

This could refer to any number of coupes (city changed hands frequently and river allows "washing" connections). Considering the next line, I'll go with the Verona Trial during WWII where 6 of the people who had voted for Mussolini's removal from office were executed by firing squad next to the river - presumably collapsing in the river. Leads to next line:

Or occasionally observe mammalian explosion.

This was a major Italian city during WWII and not recaptured until 1945. It was also an important base for the US military and other NATO groups during the Cold War - in case a different incident was being referenced.

Clue:

Name of the city is one word

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  • $\begingroup$ Another very creative, but sadly incorrect answer. Time for another clue I think. $\endgroup$ – abligh Sep 9 '16 at 14:25
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Is it possibly:

Complexion?

A harbour once fashionable,
Coloured by dead lovers,

Alexandria. Center of the Hellenistic period, a period considered decadent. The famous lovers Cleopatra and Mark Antony died here. Coloured by - pigment

Loved by the young that later exude oriental smoothness,

Loved by the young - Good skin
Exude oriental smoothness - The young enjoy smooth skin, and Alexandria "later became a major staging point on the northern Silk Route."

And reportedly circled by the young that later either wash their faces,

Complexion?

Or occasionally observe mammalian explosion.

Pigmentation?

Harbour circled by:

Complexion + Alexandria + Pigmentation =

-------------- Original Answer ------------------

Maybe

Prince William Sound?

A harbour once fashionable,

Before Exxon Valdez

Coloured by dead lovers,

From wiki: "massive damage to the environment, including the killing of around 250,000 seabirds, nearly 3,000 sea otters, 300 harbour seals, 250 bald eagles and up to 22 killer whales"

Loved by the young that later exude oriental smoothness,

Exxon Valdez was previously known as Oriental Nicety, with smoothness referring to an oil 'slick'

And reportedly circled by the young that later either wash their faces,

Reference to the birds who were destroyed (covered by oil) when they bathed, washed, fished, etc.

Or occasionally observe mammalian explosion.

Reference to the whales and their behavior, with explosion also possibly referencing their demise.

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  • $\begingroup$ Very creative, but nope! $\endgroup$ – abligh Sep 8 '16 at 7:02
  • $\begingroup$ @abligh, the oriental connection was too good to pass up. :) $\endgroup$ – John Sep 8 '16 at 12:02
  • $\begingroup$ I'm afraid the new answer is wrong too. I've added a second clue. $\endgroup$ – abligh Sep 9 '16 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ @abligh, thanks, taking another look. Be sure not to use my answers as a canary. :) $\endgroup$ – John Sep 9 '16 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ not quite sure what you mean by 'canary', but I'm adding one clue a day in essence. $\endgroup$ – abligh Sep 9 '16 at 14:41
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Are you a:

piñata?

A harbour once fashionable

It's a pretty container for candy until destroyed

Coloured by dead lovers,

A colorful item first used by faithful (lovers of the dead) in a religious ceremony

Loved by the young that later exude oriental smoothness,

Loved by children. They participate dizzy and blindfolded, but later can walk correctly (exude oriental smoothness)

And reportedly circled by the young that later either wash their faces, Or occasionally observe mammalian explosion.

The rest of the children stand in a circle around the piñata, which is usually in the shape of a mammal. Children may watch it explode, or may run in to eat the candy, after which they may wash their face

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