Intellectual Exercise With Pineapple – Review: Parfums MDCI Le Rivage des Syrtes

I fell in love with three perfumes (Péché Cardinal, Rose de Siwa, Chypre Palatin) of MDCI lately so financially speaking I’m very thankful I did not fall for Le Rivage des Syrtes, but it is a unique and very interesting fragrance in any case, created by Patricia Nicolai no less, and it is therefore definitely worth a closer look.

Le Rivage des Syrtes (named after the French novel by Julien Gracq) was created by Patricia de Nicolai and includes notes of sweet orange essence, pineapple, galbanum, ylang ylang, tuberose, orange blossom absolute, incense, ambergris, vanilla and musk.

Pineapple, orange and galbanum? Dear Lord, you’ll be thinking, what good can come of such a combination? Well, if you know Patricia de Nicolai’s work, you will not be surprised that she manages to make those three notes shine in a way that is uncommonly lovely and very recognizably her style.

The opening of Le Rivage de Syrtes is dominated by this unusual fruit and green combo, galbanum serving to bring out the best, the juiciest side of pineapple and orange, without letting them head into cocktail territory.

After a while the scent morphs into a more floral dominated composition, orange giving way to orange blossom, pineapple receding to let ylang-ylang take center stage. The whole time a green undercurrent keeps things fresh and light. Despite sounding like a club over your head, this perfume is actually very soft and quiet. There is a lot going on, but it is going on discreetly and almost shyly.

The floral stage is very longlasting, sillage is soft and the perfume stays close, but it lasts the entire day. Only at the very end the florals fade out and a skin scent of musky vanilla with a whiff of incense stays until you wash it off.

Le Rivage de Syrtes is unique and interesting, but it does not capture my heart. Wearing it is more of an intellectual experience for me.

With my bottle allowance taken up for the coming three months with MDCI’s that is not a bad thing at all…

Do you know perfumes that you admire but that don’t touch your heartstrings? Which fragrance is your intellectual exercise?

Image source:,, Still life with Pineapple by George Harris via

About Olfactoria

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40 Responses to Intellectual Exercise With Pineapple – Review: Parfums MDCI Le Rivage des Syrtes

  1. lucasai says:

    This perfume sounds exciting! And I love the title you gave to this review- it made me laugh for a few minutes. I don’t know many perfume with pineaple, it’s not common in perfume, is it? Will try it if I have a chance

  2. Ellia says:

    It’s just struck me that I have never tried any of MDCI fragrances… Just never got a chance to get them in my hands, so probably it’s high time to order some samples of this brand… Birgit, I’m curious – which of them, in your opinion, could be interesting for me taking into consideration that I’m not too crazy about chypres and I do not like aldehydes in my perfumes? Any advice would be highly appreciated:)

  3. poodle says:

    I’m not a big fan of most pineapple notes so I’ll pass on this. I like a few but not many. As far as a scent I admire but can’t see myself wearing I’d have to say its Mitsouko. I can see how people love it but I just can’t see myself in it.

  4. smellythoughts says:

    The “discreet” “shy” and “light” is what put me off – my mouth watered at pineapple bitter orange and galbanum – not sure if I’d get along with this – sounds a let down when it turns floral.
    I kind of agree with poodle’s response about Mitsouko – but, I don’t even admire it to be honest :’)

  5. Alexandra says:

    Chanel No.5 is my intellectual exercise; I admire and appreciate it, but don’t like it on my skin. Oh and I agree with Mitsouko comments too…

    I may be coming round to white flowers this year, but pineapple is going to take a little longer – not on my to try list.

  6. Suzanne says:

    Your review matches up with what I remember from sampling this perfume in the boutique. It is well done but just didn’t grab me, emotionally. I’m having a hard time answering the question you put at the bottom of your post for that reason: if a perfume doesn’t tug at my heartstrings, I tend not to give it much thought. I’d like to say that I’m an intellectual type of person, but I think I’m actually more of an emotional person in many areas of life. 😀

  7. Tara says:

    MDCI obviously do fruit with class like no one else. It must be hard waiting for your allocated monthly bottles to come around.

    I guess I’m with Alex on Chanel No.5 although I haven’t spent the time with it that you have.

  8. ancabalut says:

    I also love Peche Cardinal, Rose de Siwa and…Le Rivages des Syrtes! I saw on their website that some museums (Louvre Museum, Musei dei Uffizzi, Schatzkammer in Vienna) and galleries stood as muse and inspiration in creating those parfums and their flacons. I have graduated Art History, so they offer me real intellectual exercise. I find those fragrances very different, precious and a kind of regal ones. The MDCI House offers us real works of art. Fortunately they have a great sampling program and I hope to use it in the next future.
    I read your reviews with great interest!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hello ancabalut,
      I agree, MDCI offers real works of olfactory art. Claude Marchal, the owner of the brand told me about his wonderful memories of the Schatzkammer, since I’m in Vienna.
      The sample program is great and a very good way to get to know the line and indulge too. 🙂

  9. Dubaiscents says:

    Speaking of pineapple, I recently smelled Histories de Parfumes 1804 and definitely smelled pineapple in the opening. It didn’t last too long but, I liked it in combination with the other spices and floral. I would’ve never thought of liking pineapple in a fragrance but, I liked 1804 enough to want to smell this one now (thanks, like my sample list is not long enough already 🙂 ).

  10. Sandra says:

    Ooohhh – was not struck by this one last year, but fell for it this summer and it is on my to buy list for summer 2013! The perfume is so delicious that my nose was stuck to my wrist all day. What a sight…

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is indeed best for summer I suppose.
      Rivage is an insiduous little scent, I believe, I better abstain from it now, since I don’t want to end up falling for it too. 😉

  11. Dionne says:

    Perfumes that I respect but don’t love include Iris Silver Mist (although I have a 5ml decant for reference), Futur, the *driest* green I have ever tried, Habanita, Chaos and Opus IV. I have no idea why some fragrances that are interesting and well-made don’t tug at the heartstrings, but they just don’t.

  12. laniersmith says:

    Gucci Pour Homme … I admire it and so want to fall in love with it…but it wants nothing to do with me. Unrequited love is a bore so off I go with my new romance. Caron Yatagan. I really love your reviews and the questions you pose are fun.

  13. Undina says:

    I’m with Alexandra and Tara on No 5. I keep trying but so far… I can admire it only from afar.
    I hope that in time I’ll be able to sample the complete MDCI line but I really hope I won’t feel like I “need” them all – you understand, right? 🙂

  14. flittersniffer says:

    Your title cracked me up! Haven’t tried this, that was recently and unexpectedly seduced by a Montale featuring pineapple, the name of which I hope I jotted down sonewhere.

  15. dukehunt says:

    My connoisseur in the making mother owns Péché Cardinal and Rose di Siwa. She’s got her sights on Enlévement au Sérail now, thinking it may replace Chanel-31 Rue Cambon as her all time favourite :p

  16. Joan says:

    Oh wow. This sounds excellent.

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