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Parfums MDCI

Shaving Cream in a Barbershop: MDCI’s Le Barbier de Tanger

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From the respected brand MDCI comes the magnificent Le Barbier de Tanger, a scent that promises a relaxing journey into the barbershops of Morocco. MDCI is known for artful blends done with high quality ingredients. Le Barbier de Tanger fits the bill and earns a thumbs up from this reviewer.

To even begin to describe this fragrance, I have to mention a few others: Chanel’s Platinum Egoiste, MDCI’s Invasion Barbare, Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Masculin Pluriel, Creed’s Green Irish Tweed, and Penhaligon’s Sartorial. Le Barbier de Tanger channels all of these fragrances to some extent, but only smells a bit like one of them. Perhaps the closest comparison is Chanel’s Platinum Egoiste, which has the same powdery-barbershop texture and overall vibe of this fragrance, but Le Barbier de Tanger is higher quality and more natural-smelling. KEEP ON READING

Beyond the Beyond: Au Delà by Bruno Fazzolari

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I felt something give in me when I smelled Au Delà for the first time. Something about it bypasses the thinking part of my brain and goes straight to the heart. I know that sounds very Barbara Cartland, and I do apologize, but when you smell as many perfumes as I do, you learn not to ignore those rare times that you are moved by a perfume. And Au Delà moves me.

It is partly to do with memory. Loaded with moss, coriander, and neroli, the opening recalls the ‘summer tennis’ fourgeres favored by my father – I am thinking of Eau Sauvage in particular. There is a dry, herbal touch of hay, I imagine, and a whole lifetime of summers unfolds in my mind’s eye. The neroli smells bright and smoky, like singed lemon peel. But the fresh, aromatic start turns out to be a diversion, and while your imagination is busy batting tennis balls, the real cast of notes is moving quietly onto the stage. KEEP ON READING

My Favorite Fruity Florals

in Reviews/Thoughts by

Maybe it’s old age creeping up on me, but I’m beginning to appreciate fruit-heavy fragrances in a way I have never done before. Key to unlocking a whole category that you’ve previously dismissed is, of course, finding one example of its form that steals your heart before you even know what’s happening – for me, that fragrance was Robert Piguet’s Visa. I ordered a sample of it as something as an afterthought (I was exploring the house of Piguet and didn’t want to leave one off the list), and let is sit in my sample box for over a year before finally trying it out in a fit of boredom one night. KEEP ON READING

Shalimar: The Original Golden Girl

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Sitting down to write a review of Guerlain’s Shalimar is like looking up at the top of Mount Everest and wondering how the hell you even begin the climb. It seems to cover (in one single bottle) a lot of the themes and notes people go looking for in separate perfumes – if you want vanilla, it’s the textbook example, if you want smoke and incense, well you got that too, if you want amber, then Shalimar is the mother of all modern ambers, and if you want animalics and leather, ditto. If you also happen to be the type of person who is interested in freaky notes, like baby diaper, burning tires, tar, and slightly rancid butter, then, why yes, Shalimar also has you covered. KEEP ON READING

Parfums MDCI Promesse de l’aube-a chypre for spring

in Reviews by

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“Promesse de l’aube” has to be one of the most beautiful names for a perfume. The promise of dawn: it seems so full of hope, so revitalizing, as if life has suddenly sprung anew. A rebirth of both man and his world.
And it also reminds me that I was very taken with Greek mythology in my early youth and I’ve never forgotten the name of the Greek goddess of dawn: Eos with the rosy fingers, a beautiful blonde with a robe made of saffron strands, a glittering tiara and dress sewn with flowers. It is a romantic, pastoral image, and even a bit naive, but there is a catch: as punishment for taking Ares to bed once, Aphrodite has cursed Eos to be under the perpetual influence of sexual desire. Not so naive anymore, n’est ce pas? I always thought those Gods of the Mount Olympus knew how to have fun. KEEP ON READING

Blind dates with scents – part II

in Reviews by

theanonyms

I`m continuing the sessions of blind tests, a new approach of testing fragrances I love to do these days. This means that while I test and write the reviews I do not know their names and official ingredients because I chose all the samples randomly and they have been previously wrapped in matte duct tape. I think it`s fun and it proves that our personal perception and judgement is all that counts. On a more personal level this helped me discover some compositions I thought I couldn`t enjoy before. And at the same time, it became clear that my nose might not be impressed at all if a fragrance is top notch if it smells…terrible.

Let the game begin… KEEP ON READING

Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin-a master weaver’s golden thread cloth

in Reviews by

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I’m a tactile person. I love touching, whether it’s the skin of a dear one, the fluffiness of cashmere, the smoothness of silk, the shimmering rustle of taffeta, the crisp translucency of organza, the suppleness of real leather, or the irresistible softness of a warm, purring Persian cat. And I love my skin clothed in the magical veil of Chypre Palatin.
Chypre Palatin, a “green oriental chypre” as deemed by Parfums MDCI, feels to me like an intricately sculpted gold trunk filled to the brim with the most precious textures of the world. Everything is in there, the airborne warmth of cashmere, the pearl like shine of raw silk, the plushness of thick velvet, the carnal touch of leather, the transparent delicacy of handmade lace and the seductive glimmer of opulent brocade.
Chypre Palatin it’s a perfectly woven piece of textural wonder. Every beautiful thread it’s tightly bound to another beautiful thread to create a structure so heartbreakingly diaphanous and so satisfyingly robust at the same time that, surely, in the creation of this perfume, Bertrand Duchaufour must’ve been helped by fairies, angels and other supernatural beings. I imagine thousands of tiny miraculous fingers weaving with uncanny speed, out of the thinnest possible golden yarns, a cloth of such filigree delicateness, that it feels barely there and yet, somehow, it’s warmer and cozier than a Merino wool shawl.
I will be honest, to my nose, this is so expertly blended, that no notes can be clearly discerned. This perfume becomes its own abstract creature, its own singular smell. It reminds me, more so than my other perfumes, with the probable exception of Amouage Fate(woman), of this quote from the “Diary of a nose” by Jean-Claude Ellena: “When smell is no longer linked to memory, when it no longer evokes flowers or fruits, when it is stripped of all feeling and affect, then it becomes material for a perfume. When I can no longer describe it, when it has consistency, depth, breadth and density, when it becomes tactile, when the only representation I have of it is physical, then I can bring it to life and create.”
Chypre Palatin is a warm, nebulous haze from which peak through in a sort of mesmerizing carousel its multitude of different, subtle facets: the aromatic, slightly bitter freshness, the caressing powdery floralcy, the inviting sweetness, the gentle sensuality, the opulent orientalism, and that addictive, downy feeling of the scent that it’s like the olfactory equivalent of Charlotte Gainsbourg’s voice.
It is a classical structure, but its airy lightness keeps it firmly in the present, and is a wonderful perfume for both sexes. Although marketed as a masculine, it has similar genes with Guerlain’s Habit Rouge for example, which successfully and seductively has been worn by many women since its creation in 1965.
And if the inclusion of this Parfums MDCI fragrance in the chypre category might lead one to expect a certain bracing, sharp, citrussy vibe and a tinge of dank mustiness, this is not the case with Chypre Palatin. Every harsh edge, every awkward seam have been blurred, and blended, and buffed to perfection until there’s only a soft gleam left in place of any jarring transitions.
Imagine a splendid mansion, generations old, nestled among gently rounded hills, every column, capital and tall crystal window bearing the mark of discreet, flawless luxury. There is manmade beauty and natural beauty all around and as far as the eyes can see. All you need to do is let your soul be filled by it. KEEP ON READING

Kalemat: Damn Fine Coffee

in Reviews by

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve put on a fragrance and thought, “I could wear this and only this for the rest of my life”. In case you were wondering, the perfumes in question were as follows: Chypre Palatin by Parfums MDCI, Blackbird by House of Matriarch, Lyric Woman by Amouage, and Bois des Iles by Chanel. Now, Kalemat by Arabian Oud joins them.

Now, I’m not saying that Kalemat is wildly original (like Blackbird), complex (like Chypre Palatin), or so beautifully composed that it brings tears to my eyes (Bois des Iles and Lyric Woman). But it’s one of those rare instances when you can just put on a scent and know that it smells damn good, and that you smell damn good, and that other people (all of the other people, believe me) will think you smell damn good too. It reminds me that things don’t have to be wildly expensive or original to give you pleasure. In fact, every time I spray Kalemat on, I think of what Agent Dale Cooper tells Harry, the local sheriff in Twin Peaks: KEEP ON READING

Parfums MDCI Péché Cardinal-looking for the sin within the peach

in Reviews by

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I’m sure many of us remember that feeling of biting into a soft, ripe peach, its fuzzy skin warmed by the sun, the sweet nectar flooding the taste buds and trickling down the chin in a shameless display of gluttony.
Although here, on these rain beaten, windswept shores of Ireland, sun warmed peaches are rarer than hen’s teeth, I still have that memory seared on my brain.
In fact perfume and smell have always been a way of holding on to my memories, of recapturing bits of my past, my secret weapons against the power of oblivion.
Upon spraying, the beautiful dusky pink tinted juice of Parfums MDCI Péché Cardinal explodes on my skin with that exact smell of my childhood peaches, all golden and red, their tantalizing flesh redolent of an irresistible fruitiness.
My lips can’t help curling up into a smile as I appreciatively sniff my arm. I think to myself that for a perfume called Cardinal Sin this is an impossibly happy opening.
I picture an orchard, full of, you guessed, peach trees, heavy with fruits at their ripest peak. It’s in the height of the summer, right before the sunset, and the light has that golden, orange pink tinge that makes everybody look better, including the beautiful girl with long coppery tresses and lily white skin who greedily bites into a peach, her yes slowly and ecstatically closing, savoring the perfumed sweetness.
It looks idyllic and pastoral and above all innocent, but there’s something in the girl’s expression, in her lusty appetite that tells us we’re looking at a passionate, sensual human being.
She finishes eating the delicious peach with a satisfied sigh and reaches inside her blouse, where tucked between her warm, musky breasts she hid a tuberose flower. She smiles as she remembers waiting for the right moment to snatch it from the seller’s basket. She had to do it, one sniff and the heady smell with its strange, rubbery facets had her entranced. And not a penny in the pockets, but the magic flower is now hers.
She inhales that wonderful perfume again, deeply, with the same intensity with which she ate the peach.
The shadows of the trees slowly grow longer and riding on the soft  breeze comes that bitter, green, delicately smoky smell of the forest nearby.
She lets the gentle darkness surround her, taking in the mysterious sounds of the night, before she gets up smoothing her long skirt and tucking the tuberose behind her ear. She starts walking slowly towards the yellowish lights of the village, passing by the blackcurrant and blackberry bushes, with their tart, effervescent aroma, all the while dreaming of a life full of glamour, excitement, adventure and laughter with plenty of champagne cocktails. She thinks champagne must be a wonderful drink, just as otherworldly tasty as the tuberose is otherworldly fragrant.
Parfums MDCI Péché Cardinal is one of those elusive creatures of the perfume world, a fruity floral done right.
The irrepressibly sweet, juicy opening smells natural and soft, capturing all of the lovely nuances of peachiness: the velvety, almost suede like skin with its subtle raspy feeling, the honey nectar and the enticing aroma with its creamy coconut undertones and the slight acidity of really ripe fruits.
But what makes this perfume alive on skin it’s an intriguing undercurrent of darkness in the form of a faintly smoky, bitter and green thread that runs through the scent’s development. It brings to mind Absinthe served with a Peach Melba.
Flickers of something tart and fizzy hoover around the edges, balancing and maintaining the tension between sweet and bitter. I would’ve loved for the dark elements to be stronger, but while clearly distinguishable up close, nose on the skin, the aura of the perfume remains peachy, luminous with a big, but soft, white floral vibe which is very feminine, seductive. It feels quite glamorous and sensual but not in a threatening, vampish way.
There’s almost a suede effect at this stage, plush and enveloping until the late drydown which smells warm and musky, like a second skin.
It is hard to say if this perfume feels girly or womanly, in my view it is both, like the perfume of a girl on the verge of womanhood.
Although I adore its Titianesque colors, the playful character and more than anything that rapturous, ebullient peach, ultimately I can’t really see myself wearing this one very often.There’s simply not enough sin in this Péché Cardinal for me:) KEEP ON READING

Sova: A Roll in the Hay

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Sova by Slumberhouse is BAAAAAACCCKKKK!

This almost never happens. The usual course of things is that I fall in love with something, look it up online, only to find out that it’s been discontinued forever. In my case, I was unlucky enough to fall in love with a sample of Sova just four months after it was discontinued. Needless to say, there was nary a bottle to be found anywhere. The lucky buggers who had discovered it before me had, of course, bought up all the remaining bottles.

So, I mentally resigned myself. I kept my tiny sample of Sova in my bedroom drawer and brought it out every now and then to sniff. Not to wear – dear me, no – that would have been like depleting the very last of a precious resource. KEEP ON READING

Bahiana – A Fruity Floral With Brains

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Bahiana Maitre Parfumeur Gantier

Bahiana by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier is an absolute delight from beginning to end. Part of the delight comes from surprise – this is the rare tropical fruity floral that manages to side step all of the “flip-flops and pina colada” associations that usually go along with the genre. It opens on the most realistic note of freshly peeled mandarins that I have ever smelled. It is so good that I blinked in astonishment and then spent the next few hours spritzing it on again to play this part of the show back again. KEEP ON READING

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