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:)
Parfums MDCI Péché Cardinal was composed in 2008 by perfumer Amandine Marie,and the list of notes comprises artemisia, peach, coconut, blackberry, blackcurrant, tuberose, lily, plum, cedarwood, sandalwood and musk.