One Thousand Scents

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

And The Giant Peach: MDCI Péché Cardinal

Ordinarily, as I have said before, I need to live with a scent for a while before I feel like I have anything coherent to say about it. I have to experience it repeatedly, get inside it, explore it. Péché Cardinal, on the other hand, tells you everything you need to know almost immediately, no bad thing.

It opens with a huge peach scent, big and juicy and fresh, the most realistic peach I've ever smelled in perfumery. There's nothing subtle about it, not like the warm peach-skin of Mitsouko: it's not the jammy peach-plum compote of Van Cleef & Arpels Gem or the rather synthetic (but still lovely) CSP Vanille Peach. It's a big wooden basket of freshly picked peaches, still warm from the morning sun.

And then two things happen in fairly quick succession. Someone cracks open a coconut (you can smell the fibrous husk before the creamy coconut pulp takes over), and shortly thereafter, someone brings in a huge basket of tuberose blossoms. And I mean HUGE.

I do not love tuberose scents. I find them aggressive and hostile, with a jagged, spiny quality: many of my most hated scents, such as Versace Blonde, Piguet's Fracas, and the original Carolina Herrera, are based on the tuberose. If you wanted to make an argument against the existence of a loving god, the tuberose would be a good place to start. You can imagine, then, what a leap it is for me to say that Péché Cardinal actually manages to make the flower not only bearable but beautiful. The slowly dwindling peach and coconut notes give the whole scent a heady, luscious tropical quality, taking some of the sharpness off the flowers, and underneath is a greenness that give the impression of a living flower rather than something manufactured.

The end of the scent is a little sweet, with the creamy cedar and sandalwood that seem to be everywhere these days (here, for instance).

I wrote in my other blog about the name, which is a sort of pun: "péché" means "sin", which means the name translates as "cardinal sin", the look-alike "pêche" means "peach", and the sound-alike "pêcher" means "peach-tree".

The bottle is really something, isn't it? A little Romanesque sculpture atop a glass column: gorgeous, and beautifully conceived. The company's men's scents are packaged just as compellingly: here's the bottle for Invasion Barbare.

However, the prices are on the horrifying side: a 60-mL (two-ounce) bottle of any MDCI scent is $610. American dollars, at that. You can buy a refill, which I assume is the spray bottle minus the statuary, for $235, which means that you are actually paying $375 for a little piece of porcelain. Either way, too rich for my blood! (I can't believe that just a week ago I was complaining that a 100-mL bottle of Brooklyn cost $220. A bargain compared to even the refill: you get sixty per cent more, and you get the whole bottle rather than just the bottom half of it.)

Even if a full bottle is crazily expensive, if you love tuberose, or white florals, or peaches, then you really should get a sample of Péché Cardinal. You can buy one at Luckyscent for a very reasonable $4. If you fall in love with it, well, don't say I didn't warn you.


Post a Comment

<< Home