Les Indes Galantes is the latest from the Parfums MDCI line, and Patty’s a sweetheart and sent me a decant for Christmas. Which I immediately put on that morning, of course, because why wouldn’t I? (For the record: 100% of my children said, mom, you smell great!)
Longtime readers may remember that, early on, Patty and I mocked MDCI and their foofy bottles and their price point ($250 or thereabouts, which seemed astronomical then and not really that crazy now) without having actually tried any of the scents. And Claude Marchal, instead of sending us a letter to go mange la merde or whatever you’d hiss in French, sent us a bunch of decants to try. I still have mine – the original Rose de Siwa, Enlevement au Serail, etc., and they still smell phenomenal. I like to mention this story because he deserves credit for being such a gentleman.
Notes I’m finding listed for Les Indes Galantes (which is translating as “the amorous Indies” and is also the name of an operatic ballet from 1735) are bergamot, orange, almond, raspberry, coriander, cinnamon, clove, geranium, vanilla, leather, frankincense, benzoin, labdanum.
The opening is a rich, lovely burst of bergamot and citrus – more candied marmalade than astringent – and the listed spices give an idea of why it was so perfect on Christmas morning. It’s a veritable midwinter feast of fruits and spices. It is intense – I don’t have a sample handy to compare but it’s definitely got some overlap with Frederic Malle’s Noir Epices (shout-out to Roudnitska! overspray that beast at your peril.)
Then the spices fade on me in relatively short order and half an hour later I am left with nothing but base — a massive resin-bomb that reminds me very much of Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche (frankincense, labdanum, benzoin, iris, vanilla and leather, note the similarity.) Huge fan of AG that I am, Ambre Fetiche is one of my least favorites – it is massively syrupy and much, much too sweet on me. The traces Les Indes Galantes left on the sleeve of my dressing gown were a delight, but I found the scent on my skin tiresome as the day wore on. So I threw some Unum Lavs over it and all was right with the world.
Since clearly I can’t have nice things, I’m going to give my sample (5ml?) away. Leave a comment below if you want it.