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Le Rivage des Syrtes – Can’t get enough of it – March 14, 2014 New Fragrance Listing

Photo - Wikimedia Commons - Big Pineapple, Eastern Cape, South Africa, by NJR ZA, 2009

Standing on my kitchen counter is a pineapple, ripening. This pineapple, which is very elegant, is well-sized and perfectly shaped with a soft golden caramel colour blooming up its sides, and it has bona fide creds – a glossy "Extra-sweet" label dangles from its spiky neck.  If this fruit is anywhere near as delicious as the specimen that preceded it last week, then I’ll be in sensory heaven once more. I’m dying to cut into it, but it hasn’t yet reached pineapple perfection. It needs one more day.

For god knows what reasons, pineapple is on my mind. I remembered that the Parfums MDCI scent I bought in Paris a couple of years ago called Le Rivage des Syrtes has pineapple listed in the top notes, so I’m putting my nose to the test. Yes. I can smell it, it’s absolutely there, delicious fresh-cut fleshy juicy pineapple, which changes in a flash with the arrival of sweet orange and…galbanum, green galbanum. What an odd, genius-inspired combination! Fruity, green, citrusy, full but not sweet or overpowering, the sum much different from the parts, this accord has the overall sensation of sun-warmed radiance.

And then as the heart notes develop, this radiance transforms into a floral bouquet, topped with the luscious twins, orange blossom and tuberose, and their cousin, ylang-ylang. But here the unique talent of Patricia de Nicolaï, the nose who created Le Rivage des Syrtes, keeps these notorious white floral scent-stealers in check with the grassy wafts of galbanum, as well as with faint notes of incense, which imparts a dry almost peppery edge to the luscious florals. And still I can catch the occasional whiff of the fabulous pineapple/orange/galbanum radiance hovering above the heady white bouquet. Patricia de Nicolaï is noted for her beautiful floral accords created in the classic style, but she has a knack for reigning in the sweetness, making her scents always decidedly chic and modern. (We have many listed in our store – just search Parfums de Nicolaï above, or click here).

As Le Rivage des Syrtes dries down, the unmistakable warm skin scent of ambergris and musk blended with dark vanilla adds to the floral mix, eventually become more dominant and replacing the floral notes completely, but creating a sillage as soft as cashmere in the process. This scent is so intriguing with undertones that keep my nose coming back to my wrist, deceptively simple with the fruity start, and decidedly complex with bitter green galbanum mixing with fruit and floral accords.

The name Le Rivage des Syrtes translates as “The Shore of Syrtes”, Syrtes being an area on the coast of Libya with historical significance. The name is taken from a 1951 French novel by Julien Gracq, which is described as a "Wagnerian prelude for an unplayed opera" as it doesn't focus on telling a story but is first and foremost concerned with creating a mysterious, out-of-time atmosphere.“ (Wikipedia). How this directly relates to this MDCI Oriental floral is unclear to me, but this perfume does have a complexity, a tenderness, that gives it an air of mystery, as in “What is that note I’m smelling – what does it remind me of – it’s right on the tip of my tongue – it’s, it’s it’s….I don’t know what it is….it’s just beautiful…..”

So I figure I can resist temptation and wait one more day before cutting into my  perfectly-ripened juicy extra-sweet pineapple. In the meantime, I’ll just keep sniffing my wrists.

Today, we’re adding Le Rivage des Syrtes to our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00.


Check out more Parfums MDCI fragrances in our store:

Invasion Barbare, Péché Cardinale, Chypre Palatin, La Belle Hélène, Enlevement au Serail, Un Coeur en Mai