I think its obvious that the current mainstream trend of transparency has not fully engaged me. I leave it to the perfume brands who work the niche side of things to keep the alternative style going. One brand which seems to be doing a great job of this is Parfums MDCI. Creative Director Claude Marchal has let his perfumes become contemporary without giving in to transparency.
Lat year he released the first perfumes in “The Paintings” collection. They all had a way of evoking vintage styles in modern ways. My favorite was the unique watermelon leather Bleu Satin. It is exactly the dichotomy I am speaking of as perfumer Cecile Zarokian is particularly adept at achieving this. Which is why when I received Mme Zarokian’s latest Parfums MDCI La Surprise I was excited.
The inspiration piece here is part of Jean-Honore’s Fragonard “The Process of Love” series. La Surprise depicts that moment of first attraction. Mme Zarokian interprets that though a very green opening into a fulsome white floral that ends in the sensuality of musks. It is remarkable for the contrast between the modernity of the top accord and the vintage-like nature of the heart.
The top accord has a sizzle to it. Some of it is due to the use of the stickier green cardamom. Most of the time that ingredient carries a gentle citrusy breeze across an opening. In this case it feels rawer, less mannered. There are some other strident green ingredients which amplify that effect. It forms a sharp-edged green to contrast the heart. That heart is a white flower accord any perfume lover will recognize. Mme Zarokian mixes the usual suspects with peach and aldehydes. That’s the formula for lots of perfumes of the first half of last century. In this case the green top accord finds the inherent green threads within the creamy florals. It reminded me of a floral bouquet with veins of green running through the petals. A soft slightly animalic musk accord rounds things out.
La Surprise has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Mme Zarokian repeats the same feat she did with Bleu Satin. She reminds me of the classics while adding in a unique modern modifier. For anyone wanting an update to their white floral collection La Surprise is the kind of modern throwback that should delight.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.