Hope For The Future – Review: Parfums MDCI Enlèvement Au Serail

Spurred on by the success of Promesse de l’Aube, I continued my exploration of both Kurkdjian creations and the Parfums MCDI line.

I chose Enlèvement au Serail also for its name – Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Abduction from the Seraglio) by W.A. Mozart is a great opera after all, and I always found the name very poetic.

Enlèvement au Serail was created by Francis Kurkdjian in 2006 and includes notes of bergamot, mandarin, ylang-ylang, jasmine sambac, tuberose, rose, wallflower, patchouli, sandalwood, vanilla and vetiver.

This is not a disappointment at all.

Enlèvement au Serail is a floral chypre, in the manner of the great classics of the genre, like Mitsouko or Femme de Rochas (both of which I appreciate for their artistry, but do not wear, although I have small vials for reference), but it is more modern, more wearable for me and lighter in its structure, the quality of the materials is amazing.

Enlèvement au Serail is incredibly familiar, it is nothing really new and never smelled before, but it is an incredibly well done variation on a theme.

Opening with a quick burst of citrus, the jasmine, rendered sweet and plush by the addition of tuberose and ylang-ylang, sings an aria well worthy of Mozartian heroines. The base is full of dark and mysterious, velvet-y patchouli and (it must be there!) oakmoss.

The top and heart are full and lush, with a great sillage, it quiets down after a couple of hours, but the base hums along forever. When applied duing the day, I still can smell traces of the warm, and soft late drydown full of vanilla and sandalwood accompanying the chypre base, the next morning.

It is a good thing perfumes like this are made in this day and age. Enlèvement au Serail, as well as Le Parfum de Thérèse have a wonderful vintage feel without the heartbreak attached. (I mean the reformulations, the hunt on ebay, the uncertainty of ever getting it again…)

The fact that such perfumes are made and can still be loved by our generation gives me hope for the future. Maybe not everyone is headed in the direction of CK Shock and consorts.

Parfums MCDI can be found at First in Fragrance.

Image source: luckyscent.com, vintagevogue.com

About Olfactoria

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28 Responses to Hope For The Future – Review: Parfums MDCI Enlèvement Au Serail

  1. andrea says:

    Your last comment left me cold, CK Shock!!!!
    This sounds like a lovely perfume to try and seek out, your review inspired me to dig out my sample of Le Parfum de Therese for tomorrow and maybe a drop of Mitsouko for Thursday, any suggestions for Friday and Saturday please, the less I have to think about important decisions the better. :-)

  2. masha7 says:

    This is my favorite MDCI, it’s an amazing floral of superb quality. Glad you like it, too! And yeah, CK Shock is sort of like a sad mockery of gorgeous florals like E d S, isn’t it?

  3. Tara says:

    Floral chypres can sometimes be a little too sophisticated for me to pull off (Mary Greenwell’s Plum for example) but it’s very true that a classy new perfume is always welcome. Maybe one day I’ll have a hundredeth of the sophistication as the woman in your photo!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Plum is not for me either, too cheery. :)
      This one has your name on it though, it reminds me of 31 RC in a way. I’d like to be a lot more like this woman in the photo as well. :)

      • masha7 says:

        That woman obviously does not have young children in the vicinity…! I like being a scruffy female if it means I’ve got kids and pets around who are growing up well and having fun. My house is just one big workshop for a bunch of neighborhood kids, but it’s usually a very happy place, too. That gal looks great, but not exactly happy….

      • lady jane grey says:

        Hm, I’ve never heard of Mary Greenwell & her Plum :-( (but the notes sound somewhat scary to me, with that white bouquet in the middle…)

        • Olfactoria says:

          I’d say Mary Greenwell Plum has nothing to do with Enlevement au Serail, for me they are very different, so no loss not being familiar with it.
          But EaS is not scary at all, it is elegant and refined, not typically white-flowery-loud or overbearing.

  4. Suzanne says:

    Although I’ve not smelled this and don’t really have any plans to seek it out, I loved reading your review and knowing that these types of chypres are still being made. Also, your review reminded me that I have smelled so many wonderful niche perfumes in the past year that, while I detest the IFRA restrictions and find myself getting caught up in fears about how it effects the present and future of perfumery, there is still a lot of great stuff being made. One certainly does have to be prepared to pay an arm and a leg for it, though. :( Hmmm…

    • Olfactoria says:

      It seems like it. I don’t think we will ever see a mainstream fragrance like this anytime soon. As long as the money goes to the naked model and the star photographer shooting the campaign, the juice will have to make do with cheap materials. :(

  5. deeHowe says:

    It’s true what Suzanne said— even if IFRA restrictions threaten my favorites, there is hope in the beautiful creations still being made today!

    One of these days I’ll investigate the sample set this house offers :)

  6. Eva S says:

    Of the MDCI you’ve reviewed, which one is your favorite? Promesse de l’Aube is addictive now that I’ve tried it a few times, I’ve got a sample of Belle Helene as well but haven’t had time to try it yet.

  7. vanessa says:

    I had a sample of this ages ago, right at the start of my interest in perfume, when it was too classical / “big boots” for me and got swapped away pretty sharpish. It may still not be my thing (I guess I am more cheery scent than not(!) and chypre is not a favourite category as a rule), but I would be curious to know if my tastes have broadened in the interim…

  8. Undina says:

    I plan to test this line eventually, it appeals to me (I even want that rediculously expensive resin bust).

    Thank you for the nice review, it just reinforsed my determination.

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