I went to Osswald looking for a perfume that I was sure I could wear all the time for the price. I hadn’t tried many of Parfums MDCIs offerings, but there they were in their unabashed, even kitschy neoclassicism, with the marble busts sitting atop the clear bottles like triumphant Roman carvings. I didn’t know anything about Péché Cardinal when I tried it, but I knew I’d get a lot of use out of it. The beautiful deep peach note is consistent, contemporary, and lasts for hours.
Péché Cardinal is what I’d consider the epitome of a gourmand. I was told that it’s based on a French dessert. The name means Cardinal Sin in French, which I don’t really think is befitting for the fragrance unless you think it’s a sin to smell this good. The note list is as follows, from LuckyScent (also where I got the picture): davana, peach, coconut, blackcurrant, tuberose, prune, lily, cedar, sandalwood, musk.
I only notice some of these notes distinctly, at different points throughout Péché Cardinal’s evolution. The first note is, as every other review says, a big juicy peach that smells at least as good as the real thing. But Péché Cardinal refrains from being a one-note wonder by adding a dollop of blackcurrant along with the peach for depth. The prune note also jumps ship, adding a dryness for what could be aptly described as olfactory texture. This triad holds throughout the fragrance.
The best thing about Péché Cardinal is that the sweet notes are balanced almost exactly by dry and acidic notes. While I would describe it as being more sweet than not, the sweet factor never rises about a 7.5 out of 10 because of the prune, blackcurrant, cedar, and davana. Davana is a small herb that, judging by my small sample of davana oil, smells like equal parts apricot and turpentine. These notes remain a backdrop from top to bottom. The tuberose is the backdrop to the backdrop. The drydown is tactful, but interesting, like filming footage shown at the end of a movie. It smells nondescriptly waxy, which in itself might not be interesting but it is in this context.
Péché Cardinal might not be as overtly classical as other MDCI fragrances, such as Enlevement au Serail or Chypre Palatin, but it does have a balancing act that’s typical of vintage perfume. It’s a beautiful and underrated Parfums MDCI fragrance that is well worth the money if you’re passionate about perfume.
Perfumer: Amandine Marie
Price Range: Very (Very) Expensive
Recommended Occasion: Any
Release Year: 2008
My Rating: 9
Peche Cardinal has been reviewed many times:
Olfactoria loves Peche Cardinal as much as I do.
Steve at The Scented Hound also loves Peche Cardinal as much as I do.
Angela at Now Smell This takes note of the tuberose more than I do.
Elena Vosnaki at Perfume Shrine writes a technical and beautiful review.
Patty at Perfume Posse sees a lot of maturity in Peche Cardinal.