Night in the Spanish Garden-ias – Nuit Andalouse Parfums MDCI

Parfums MDCI has long been a favourite house of mine. There’s attention to detail, and their perfumes turn fragrant notes into harmonies, melodies into symphonies.

I think that Claude Marchal, the brand owner, might harbour a great love of white florals, at least I can count a lot of fragrances from that genre in his out-put. If you’re looking for the best peachy tuberose; Péché Cardinale is the one – for tuberose lovers as well as tube-neuroses. Or the stunning  Enlèvement au Sérail, which has now been discontinued. Promesse de l’Aube is another refined jasmine, ylang-ylang fragrance, a personal favourite, for its perfect elegance and vibrancy. In the newest release we go from Promesse’s dawn to the Spanish night with Nuit Andalouse.

gardenia pic mine

Nuit Andalouse has a tiny dose of green and violet, and a fruity note on top of what from the very start can be perceived as a white floral bouquet. The opening notes give the fragrance a subtle development as the juiciness takes it from top notes into the heart. It slowly amps up on the white floral part- is it tuberose? Jasmine? Ylang-ylang? Tiara? It could be, until an incredibly subtle mushroomy note tells you with certainty that it is gardenia. It is so smooth and vivid and only just enough dirrty to make you take notice. The balanced sweetness from the orange flower, I believe, makes for the white flower masquerade. The almost desert-like taste of the dry down, stays on the very grow-up, albeit highly addictive, side. The gardenia in Nuit Andalouse is a night flower. It unfolds as dusk arrives, it lures you in with its scent like a siren-song, and the colour of its petals will glow phosphorescent in the dark.

Perfumer Cecile Zarokian’s working name for this fragrance was simply ‘Gardenia’, but I can see why it should be called after a southern Spanish night. One can hear the cicada singing, feel the dry air in a warm summer darkness that surrounds the wearer. And yet, in the middle of this Spanish midsummer night’s dream, Nuit Andalouse bears an unmistakably French signature as an elegant white floral perfume.


Tamara Rojo Thomas Whitehead Royal Ballet Carmen

*I could probably bore you a long while about French artists and composers being drawn to all things Spanish, (Bizet’s Carmen anyone?) and what happens when the two meet, but I’ll just ad this little bit of fun; Massenet’s ‘Air de Ballet’- originally taken from his own first opera ‘Don César de Bazan’- a Spanish story- then used in his Suite no 4, and then, it was a hit after all, as a song called Nuit d’Espagne. In this short video from the ballet ‘Manon’ we’re back to French territory (with an English choreographer), but the fabulous dancer is the Spanish Tamara Rojo. Enjoy.

**I wish for a FB of Nuit Andalouse to spray with abandon and transport me to the Andalusian night, instead of my meagre and soon to be empty sample vial (purchased by me). But such quality comes at a price 215€ for 75ml. Although a reminder of the fantastic sample programme, if you are not already acquainted with the MDCI line.

***More reviews of Parfums MDCI Nuit Andalouse Olfactoria, Another Perfume Blog, Ca fleure Bon, the Non Blonde

Wings of the Night- Vol de Nuit Guerlain

Who doesn’t enjoy a nice calming yet scrumptious perfume to wear to sleep; a fragrant lullaby which will make your dreams sweet and your sleep restoring?

I know that it might be more obvious to think of French impressionists composers like Fauré, Debussy or Chausson with regards to the classic Guerlains, but for me quite a few vintage Guerlains I associate with the music of Richard Strauss. Composed around the same time as some of the most famous fragrances produced from this house, his music is lush and has a certain ‘die Welt von Gestern’ sigh to it. The poems he chose would often depict nature antropomorphed, and proving himself no stranger nor indifferent to the power of fragrance, in one of his most famous opera ‘Der Rosenkavalier’, at the presentation of the rose, a silver rose filled with drops of Persian rose oil we are told, smells like from the heavens, like nothing on earth, almost unbearable with beauty. As is the music at this exact point.

A good night-perfume makes me sleep like an angel. However, not the wings of angels but the wings of airplanes inspired the Guerlain classic Vol de Nuit.

One of Strauss’ most beautiful songs is ‘Beim Schlafengehen’ ( poem by Hermann Hesse) from his ‘4 last songs’ , it’s climax is the soul rising, anticipated by a violin solo, then for real by the melisms of the voice on the three words ‘free’, ‘wings’ and ‘waft/ soar’. To me, the soundtrack of Vol de Nuit is this song.vol de nuit2

My favourite night flight is ‘Vol de Nuit’. I embark some time before getting ready to sleep, this way I can enjoy the jasmine and daffodil indoles, which smell soft like dew drops, resting on a soft bed of moss and they can slowly descend into a the heart and base, like the mind that equally slowly turns away from the world.

Vol de Nuit’s night chilliness is oddly warm and embracing, like the cool side of a pillow, it calms the soul with orris and spices. You sense the sweetness from vanilla and the restoring powers of the lucid green galbanum to shine through the darkness, which lingers on your skin, but wants to rise, ready to take off from it and rise with the woody notes and the whole distant symphony that makes this fragrance, at the same time as the body finds sleep, as your mind descends to quiet, your Vol de Nuit ascends on “wings into nights magic circle to live a thousandfold”

Sweet dreams


Nun der Tag mich müd gemacht

Soll mein sehnliches Verlangen,

Freundlich die gestirnte Nacht

Wie ein Müdes Kind empfangen.

Hände lass von allem Tun

Stirn vergiss du alles Denken,

Alle meine Sinne nun

Wollen sich in Schlummer senken.

Und die Seele unbewacht

Will in freien Flügeln schweben

Um im Zauberkreis der Nacht

Tief und Tausendfach zu leben

(Herman Hesse)


Now that day has wearied me,

May my ardent desire,

Friendly embrace the starlit night,

Like a tired child.

Hands, refrain from all work

Brow, forget all thinking

All of my senses now

Long to sink into slumber.

And the soul, ungarded,

Will soar on open wings,

To live, profoundly and thousandfold

In the magic circle of night.

Tickly Circles in Allegro – Isotta – Cerchi nell’Acqua

Writing about Iris Gris, has had me wear a lot of peach and/ or iris fragrances of late. I even wore ‘Isotta’ three days in a row, which made me want to give it a proper post.

Despite me having just admitted at Olfactoria’s Travels in her ‘People in Perfumeland’ series, that I do prefer classic fragrance pyramids over linear, star-shaped, circular or other non-pyramid compositions, this is of course a truth with modifications. There are several exceptions, Isotta being one of them.

The perfumer is Enrico Buccella and Isotta is a release under his brand Cerchi nell’acqua. S. Buccello is also the founder of Sigilli and Les Voiles Dépliées and is the nose behind Olfattivo Laboratorio’s Alambar. Cerchi nell’Acqua means circles in the water and the name stands for the fragrance composition for this particular line, described as “a fragrant energy that is gently dispersed in the regular circular manner of circles in water” isotta pic is mine

The opening is citrus dancing like sunbeams on the sea. After that, it’s true; Isotta spreads out her layers in circular movements. Imagine layers of notes violets, peach both green and ripe ones, sandalwood, warm woody iris and discreet musky vanilla and through these layers, the olfactory equivalent of (candy) pop-rocks explosions, send out through the circles, and forming into separate bubbles.tegning isotta It makes the perfume tickle your nose throughout the wearing time. Despite its decidedly modern feel, the thing that kept coming back to me while writing this was Vivaldi’s concerto for flautino in C RV 443. It’s build around a main theme, which returns (ritornello) played by the orchestra and soloist, intercepted by different solo variations for the recorder. Listen: the dry woodiness, sprightly and virtuoso flute notes and the balancing work of the string orchestra led by the crisp cembalo and the mellow lute. The way this allegro movement is lively and bouncing, yet somehow still sober, to my senses matches what Isotta is. And tickle, snap, pop all the way through…

Notes: hesperidic notes, violet, peach, iris, sandalwood, musk, vanilla, amber.

Isotta was one of my purchases while in Rome with Suzanne, Mark and Ines last summer. I like to buy fragrances while away as a memory, so in this instance it was important to me that it was an Italian brand. Isotta with its iris/ peach combo had instant appeal, but many other from this line were very interesting too. Italian in style, yet very refined and thoroughly modern.

At the end of the rainbow- Iris Gris vintage perfume

Everyone a bit interested in the world of fragrance, and having followed a couple of blogs or forums regularly, or read a perfume book will have heard of the elusive Iris Gris. Say these magic words and they will send sheer icicles of shiver down every parfumista’s spine. In the world of fragrance lost, Iris Gris is Queen, and she rules supreme from her Ivory Tower without the intention of handing over her reign any time imaginable to mere mortals. Part of the story of this pivotal status is of course in unattainability, in the irretrievability of the (magic ) potion as well as in its ingredients, of a different age and quality.

To obtain the Unicorn’s tear, one can go hunting and with the help of goblins and talking bears find the elusive elixir at the end of the rainbow, or one can be more the lucky duck who stumbles upon it where people apparently forgot to look that particular day.

DSC01395Guess what? That would be me. I haven’t got a permanent search for IG on prominent auction sites, because I was certain if it came up I’d never be able to afford bidding. I have not been hunting high and low or selling off kidneys. Unspectacular, I browsed, found and won, cheap. Oh and BTW the auction also included a vintage bottle of Fath de Fath.

Iris Gris in pristine condition, what does she smell like? Incredible is the answer; at the same time otherworldly and intimately present. I imagine the skin of a peach just picked from the tree, one side still warm from the sun, and condensed with milky-sweet ripeness, the other cool from the shade of the tree, and you hold that cool side up to your cheek, feeling its smooth velvet skin. And then there’s that divine buttery nectarous orris root that compliments the peach. The excellence of this perfume is how warm lushness balances with an earthy cold feel, which seeps up through the fragrance, in the shape of the more rooty aspects of the iris and a beautifully crisp vetiver. Iris Gris owns a husky beauty and just enough melancholy to make her intelligent rather than mere foxy. Her name might be grey but she, like her golden juice, is the colour of late afternoon sun rays in high summer.



What a terrible shame this can’t be reproduced. Iris Gris is a perfume that doesn’t belong in Ivory Towers or faraway never-never lands, it wouldn’t suit snow white or mermaids, I completely agree with other bloggers, it wouldn’t be out of place as a modern niche launch, and it would suit us- you and me.


*I wrote this post, or most of it, quite a while back, but reading the news that Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is creating and going to release her version of IG, called Scent of Hope, made me finish this one. It is of course excellent news and I can’t wait to smell (and compare) it. Also, I found it quite funny that Dawn in her description used the Ivory Tower too, to explain what IG is NOT.

**Even if nothing at the moment comes close to experiencing Iris Gris, when I want my modern peach-iris cravings satisfied, I wear the magnificent Ouris from SoOud, or even the very Italian Isotta from Cerchi Nell’Aqua, which, apart from the iris/peach combo, feels like the fragrant equivalent of pop rocks.

For more on vintage Iris Gris read the Non Blonde, Perfume shrine, Yesterdays perfume.

All pics are mine.