Parfums MDCI Les Indes Galantes

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Their cool bottles, from the Parfums MDCI website. No, you don’t get one of these for $250.

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.

  • Nemo says:

    I love the sound of the marmalade in the opening 🙂 Thanks for the drawing!

  • Audrey says:

    Wow just got a sample! Please place me in on the drawing, thank you! It’s lovely and the drydown is earthy and unusual.

  • AnnaT says:

    Mmmm…sounds divine! I just ordered some decants from STC, and thanks for reminding that I forgot this:( I ordered the affordable discovery set from MDCI four years ago and I was actually rather impressed.

  • Patsi133 says:

    My kind of perfume, my kind of notes, i would love to try this! Totally skint from the UK – take pity on me! … thanks 🙂

  • flowergirlbee! says:

    those notes sound really interesting..i would love to try it : )

  • Thanks for the draw! I’ve only tried a couple from MDCI (Chypre Palatin and Enlevement au Serail), and both were gorgeous, so I’m hopeful that I’d like this one too (not that I own any of them).

  • Swingsidesmile says:

    Oh my goodness, it sounds spicy and spectacular. I’d love to try it! Thanks for writing about it 🙂

  • Maureen says:

    I have never tried any fragrances from this line. I would love to try Les Indes Galantes. Please enter me in draw..Thanks.

  • Danielle says:

    I’ve had a chance to sample Les Galantes and would love to own a small decant! Thank you for the drawing!

  • Neva says:

    Well, I love Noir Epices best of all the Malle’s I’ve tried so far so I would really love to try this one.
    I’m also tempted to make fun of the pretentious bottles but to be honest, they would look very nice on my perfume shelf.

  • Sapphire says:

    I’ve never tried the MDCI perfumes. This one sounds really good to me. Thanks for the drawing!

  • LaDomna says:

    Since my favorite kind of perfume is intense, rich and syrupy I’d love to give this one a go! 🙂

  • cinnamon says:

    Lovely post, March. I’m not sure it’s worth me entering the draw, as customs is likely to enjoy the decant rather than it making its way here (given restrictions on perfume — but having said that, two tubes of neosporin still arrived this morning, envelope definitely opened, boxes dismembered — so, you never know…). I have a decant of La Belle Helene, which is very lovely in the abstract, but not on me. Tried Invasion Barbare years ago which was (as with many noir-named fragrances) not barbare at all. Indeed, the MDCIs used to seem extraordinarily expensive. Now, the pricing is fairly average. Makes you wonder how much is the cost of the juice, labour and packaging and how much is added on for the sake of seeming luxurious (in his first book, Chandler Burr wrote about how margins on perfumes work — I go back and read the section periodically).

  • Dina C. says:

    Dear March,
    The MDCI that I’ve tried and love is Un Coeur en Mai, a glorious green floral. I think DH might have to win that powerball lottery for me to get a FB of it, so I’m enjoying my sample. This line seems to choose the top notchiest ingredients and doesn’t stint on the good stuff. I like the bottle design, too, especially without the bisque heads.

    The LIG isn’t really in the fragrance family that I love, so please don’t enter me in the drawing. I enjoyed reading about it and experiencing it through you. 🙂

  • FeralJasmine says:

    This sounds like I would love it. My skin kills sweetness, and scents that are syrup-bombs on others can smell a little astringent on me. So this might be my dream amber!

  • Kandice says:

    I keep reading about this scent and would love to try it. I haven’t found a perfect Christmas Day scent yet. While it’s a little late for that, there’s plenty of cold weather coming that this seems perfect for. Thanks for the opportunity!

  • katrin says:

    I have tried a couple of MDCI perfumes, they’ve smelt opulent and well blended. Are they a bit too much? Not those I’ve tried (Peche Cardinal and Un Coeur en Mai) if it includes cinnamon (I hope this note is strong) it can only be good. Thanks for the draw!

  • Queen Cupcake says:

    Well, I like a bit of sweet…and the notes look good to me, so please enter me in the draw. And thank you!

  • Lizbee says:

    Hi March!
    Yes yes and yes, I’d love to take that decant off your hands. I’ve used up my dabber sample of LIG, and I love it. My daughter does, too. It’s actually the first gourmand I’ve tried that works on me (dabbed, anyway),
    Thanks for the draw!

  • rosarita313 says:

    Hi March – in all these years the only MDCI I’ve sampled is the peach named one, Peche Cardinal? At least that’s how my midwest brain pronounces it in my head. Anyway, it wasn’t me. I’d like to try this, I like the big cornucopia types.

  • Irina says:

    I love Ambre Fetiche-so, this sounds like a “must try” I would be so glad to wear it for you…..

  • poodle says:

    I get excited if a perfume lasts long enough on me to actually make me tired of wearing it. That so rarely happens. I also hate falling in love with expensive perfumes. I have broken down and bought a couple that were a bit out of my price range with no regrets but I don’t want it to become a habit.

    • March says:

      As long as there were no regrets, it sounds perfect to me! I just had Convo #5327 with a new coworker yesterday who found out I collect fragrance. He thought that was weird and pointless and spendy. I said, you collect wine, explain the difference. I mean, I like wine, but I don’t want 500 bottles of it in the basement, what a waste of space and money.

      • poodle says:

        I’m with you. Once you open a bottle of wine you have to finish it. If you open a bottle of perfume you can use it and tuck it back on the shelf until next time. Money spent on perfume gives a much longer lasting reward I think.

  • Sherri M. says:

    No need to enter me in the draw; have and love a fb already. Just wanted to say LIG was not “love at first sniff” for me. I had intended to purchase Cio Cio San (which doesn’t get a lot of rave reviews but I adore; it’s so light and delicate!). I impulsively changed my mind and ordered LIG instead, and when I first sniffed the bottle I was afraid it was going to have too many woody sweet (which is probably what you’re getting as “syrupy resinous”). I wore it the first day and dh just loved it (even said I should “buy more perfume like that” for him; imagine that!) but I wasn’t crazy about it; it seemed a little much. But I thought “hey, if he likes this so much he is suggesting I buy more perfume” definitely worth the $ for that alone, right?? 🙂

    The next a.m. I woke up and thought “what a beautiful smell”! The next time I wore it, again, more compliments and I started to really like it myself. Now I am head over heels in love with it. I think it is like some of the Frederic Malles. It takes time to get to know. I totally love this now! I have also noticed a similarity to the Mona Di Orio Vanilla–the vanilla and spices, I guess.

    • March says:

      See, this is the kind of story I love in many ways. You make a buy on faith. You’re unsure. Hubs loves it (I can see how Galante would be dreamy to be around.) Then you get up the next day and things start to head in the direction of love. Would totally agree about the FM. (Still working on that love myself for a couple.)

      • Ann says:

        Howdy, dear March! I’m with sweet Sherri above — I was a little hesitant at first sniff. But after another wear or two, it’s definitely spilled over into love territory. Of course, I’m dabbing from samples, not spraying, and that’s the way I like it (“uh huh, uh huh”) 🙂 No draw for me, of course, but thanks! Sending you both hugs!

  • caseymaureen says:

    Well Ambre Fetiche is really good on me so I’m up for giving the MDCI a go! My favourite of their perfumes is Promesse de L’aube. I get a little decant every now and then because though they are really beautiful and really high quality I can’t justify nearly three hundred quid on any perfume, perhaps if I knew that would be my only purchase for a few years but that isn’t going to happen!

    • March says:

      For awhile there you could buy a six-bottle sample set (I am almost entirely sure this is no longer the case). They were the same bottles I got — maybe 15ml? Nothing fancy, looked like lab bottles. But the price was quite reasonable and it was a fantastic intro to the line.

  • Laurels says:

    I am a fan of both Jean-Philippe Rameau and heavy, wearyingly long-lived perfumes, so I would be delighted to take Les Indes Galantes off your hands.

    • March says:

      Oh I love me some annoying AF fragrances — Poison and Coco spring to mind (both of which I wore to the office recently, ssssshhhhh!!) But not Galantes. It may be perfect for you however! You get, like, a million bonus points for naming the composer.

  • Tatiana says:

    I like FM Noir Epices, as long as it’s dabbed, not sprayed. Wore AG Ambre Fetiche over the holidays and it got tiring by the end of the day. Then again, I did give myself two generous sprays of it. So now I’m curious about this one. Am I going to like it more or less? Will it be better sprayed or dabbed?

  • taffyj says:

    I’d love to try this as well. I didn’t get this round turning away the sweets!

  • Artist says:

    Oh Oh, I’m all about the bass (haha ) and I’d love to give this a turn, frankincense, labdanum, benzoin, iris, vanilla and leather sound warm and wonderful in the icy Northern Vermont cold, I’d love to try this!
    Thank you,

  • springpansy says:

    Hi March – I tried this recently, too. I liked it initially, but also found it annoying after a while. (Don’t enter me in the draw – I’m just chatting.) I found it quite similar to PdN Vanille Intense (they share several notes) and both do that syrupy/resiny immortelle thing on my skin that goes on and on until I want to scream. Money saved. I’ll stick with other warm spicy scents for the holidays.

    • March says:

      AHA! I can’t remember the way the PdN smells but that’s not a good sign (since I own a lot of PdN). I’m sure many people will find Galantes a comfort scent, but apparently we do not.

  • Caroline says:

    Honestly, when I run across an uber-expensive frag that doesn’t quite work, I’m usually relieved!

    • March says:

      Hah — I had exactly that thought when I was at Osswald NYC, a lot of their stuff is $$$$$. I was about to sniff something and I thought, ohnoes, what if I like this?!?!

  • Marianna says:

    This sounds very interesting. I am new to this brand but would love to try it.

  • Edward G says:

    I’m a fan of Cecile Zarokian’s work, and I’d love to try one of her latest creations. Tango is one of my favorite fb purchases. Thank you.

  • eldarwen22 says:

    I’ll give just about any perfume a shot. But I’ve heard how Secretions Magnifique (I’m sure that is not spelled right) was described, it was a not even going to order a decant to smell. I will give it a go.

    • March says:

      I will state with the confidence of an elder frag hag that you can go your entire life without sniffing SM. And you’re in the draw.