Thursday, April 30, 2009

Peche Cardinal by parfums MDCI: fragrance review

"The recipe for Pêche Melba, created by Auguste Escoffier for Dame Nellie Melba, is set down in his encyclopaedic Le Guide Culinaire (1903) with bald simplicity: “Poach the skinned peaches in vanilla-flavoured syrup. When very cold, arrange them in a timbale on a bed of vanilla ice-cream and coat with raspberry purée”. Melba apparently adored the chef’s Pêche Cardinal au coulis de framboise, of poached peaches in a “cardinal’s coat” of crushed raspberries". [1] If you substitute Péché (sin) for Pêche (peach), they could be talking about the latest fragrance by Parfums MDCI, Péché Cardinal, hold the sweeter aspects of the famous pod and substitute with lightly phenolic. I might be forgiven the gustatory association, given my intense appreciation for all things culinary.

Péché Cardinal is a naughty, juicy, succulent yet also classy and enticing peach fragrance of the latest crop of fruity compositions. The playful name alludes to both the gigantic peach at its core, as well as Cardinal Sin, what it translates to from the French. The fragrance was developed by perfumer Amandine Marie from the acclaimed Robertet firm, drawing from their rich palette of self-sourced materials.
The Parfums MDCI Paris brand was founded by Claude Marchal, inspired by the "Galerie d'Apollon" in the Louvre Museum, the Musei dei Uffizzi in Florence, the fabulous Schatzkammer in Vienna (the Treasure Room) and the Greek and Roman antiques in the collections of Cardinal Mazzarin, the Medicis, and the Sun King Louis XIV. He wanted to create a line that would make no cut-backs but would give carte blanche to the talented perfumers who were free to explore any direction and to use any precious material they saw fit regardless of the price.

The juiciest, most buttery peach note (is it Decanoic acid 5-hydroxy- lactone?) is immediately bursting on the skin upon application of Péché Cardinal, lasting for several minutes, and with a warm feeling that reminds one of hot spring days and tropical cocktails drunk with an hibiscus tucked beneath the ear. The surprise comes however in the underlying darkness which emerges slowly in the form of va-va-voom tuberose, a little smoky, dusky cedar and the feel of human skin that exalts them. The plummy/fruity/rosy damascones add a plush, silky feeling not unheard of since Nombre Noir and Feminité du Bois became a household name. Davana oil, a CO2 extraction, comes from artemisia pallens, a South India plant cultivated in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and was previously featured in Parfumerie Generale scents (such as the salubrious Cozé, more of which later on). Its rich, fruity candy note with an earthy facet runs through its fibre. The composition of Péché Cardinal is like the most vivid brocard which shines from certain angles and subsides from others. And the lasting power is very good indeed!

Nevertheless, much as I like the peachiness and vibrancy of its mien I cannot really envision myself wearing Péché Cardinal a lot, my usual tastes running into shadier, less vivid peaches overladden with oakmoss galore to make them wistful instead of outright sexy. But those who have been dreaming of an enormous fruity embrace that is devoid of any soupçon of tackiness thanks to its drydown troublant (in a good way!), have just found their peachy floral to end their quest. You can imagine characters such as the following wearing it with panache!

Regarding the much discussed about packaging, personally ~and perhaps exactly due to my background~ I find the Roman bust caps of Limoges/bisque on the bottles somewhat disproportionate (top-heavy) and maybe a bit kitschy in their classical antiquity nuance, reminding me of descendants of glorious civilisations feeling compelled to include gypsum busts of ancient Gods on the front lawn next to the pool. But apart from that very minor gripe, I can't complain as the line is created with exceptional artistry and elegance. Taking in mind the bust-topped bottles retail at 610$ at Luckyscent for 60ml of Eau de Parfum, I find that the modest refills at 235$ for the same quantity are a much more logical alternative.

Apart from samples at Luckyscent (for a comparatively meek 4$), as well as larger ones at Aus liebe zum duft (but for 12 euros each), there is an option of a sampler set at the official MCDI site.
The MCDI line also includes two masculines: Invasion Barbare and Ambre Topkapi as well as three feminines: Rose de Siwa, Promesse de l'Aube and Enlévement au Sérail, composed by perfumers Stéphanie Bakouche, Pierre Bourdon and Francis Kurkdjian. The newest entries for 2009 along with Péché Cardinal, are Un Coeur en Mai, Vêpres Siciliennes, and Le Rivage des Syrtes by perfumers Jeanne-Marie Faugier (Technicoflor) and Patricia de Nicolaï (of parfums de Nicolaï)

More info: Parfums MDCI, Tel.: 01 41 440193.

Notes for MDCI Peche Cardinal:
Davana, peach, coconut, blackcurrant, tuberose, prune, lily, cedar, sandalwood, musc

[1]Jill Dupleix in,Clip uploaded by sparrowis3 on Youtube, pic of flacon via, of Amandine Marie via MCDI


  1. E, I love this line! Peche Cardinal is indeed very peachy, very jammy, very feminine. It reminds me of YLS Baby Doll, but deeper and more womanly.

    I am wearing my sample of Un Coeur en Mai today. It is perfect for spring!

    But my favorites are Vepres Siciliennes and Enlevement Au Serail (really, these names are just too much!). I have bottles of each of these, and I adore them.

    And finally, Invasion Barbare smells brilliant on my husband. He has the large sample bottle from MDCI, but if he runs, I might buy him the full bottle, too.


  2. Dearest R,

    I can say I am impressed as well by a couple I tried. Please describe UCeM and VS to me!! Those are on my must-try list.
    Lucky hub too :-)) Spoiling him rotten.

    Hope you're very well and wishing you a perfect day!

  3. Un Coeur de Mai smells like springtime. It has a sappy quality to it and then the florals bloom on the skin.

    VS, which I love, is very difficult to describe. It is very, very well blended, so that no one note stands out above the rest. And, it contains a lot of notes. It's sort of bergamot, sort of vanilla. It has cardamom in it. It feels like skin. It feels like a luxe fragrance. That's about all I can say. You are so much better than I in describing a fragrance.

    I would be happy to send you a sample. If you still have my email address, please feel to email me with your details, and I will mail some to you. Then you can be the judge!


  4. Fiordiligi13:26

    A timely piece, dear E, as I recently received my sample set from MDCI featuring the Sinful yet Peachy Cardinal! I liked it, but it isn't Mitsouko or Femme, both of which are far more to my taste.

    I also got a sample bottle of Vepres Siciliennes - despite the name, I wasn't keen at all. You are welcome to try some if you like.

    Enlevement, Promesse and Rose de Siwa are definitely my favourites of the five I've tried but I don't think I love any of them enough to buy even the refill bottles.


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