Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
After first inhaling Enlèvement au Sérail from Parfums MDCI, I envisioned a slender figure wrapped in voluminous furs. The image was rendered in sepia tones, misty and soft, hinting at the tenderness of this classical composition. It immediately evokes the sumptous sensation of the grand French perfumes that makes me feel as if I am gliding across a mirrored ballroom dressed in a silk gown. When a fragrance makes one feel like a princess out of a Tolstoy novel, or perhaps, a Ballets Russes dancer, how can it be ignored?
Alluding to the gorgeous warmth of Rochas Femme and the strartling elegance of Guerlain Mitsouko, Enlèvement au Sérail has a gilded, opulent quality. Its plummy darkness blending the sweetness of ripe fruit and the nutty dryness of autumnal leaves conceals the rich floral heart. The cool chypre elements are contrasted with the effervescence of the oriental motifs. Although the first impression is of langurous softness, Enlèvement au Sérail does not wallow in classical nostalgia. As the composition dries down, it reveals its modern form, which balances weightlessness with delicious heft.
The fact that Enlèvement au Sérail was created by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian did not come at all as a surprise when I first explored Parfums MDCI. There is a certain romanticism inherent in the compositions where Kurkdjian’s fingerprint is quite obvious. I cannot consider Christian Dior Eau Noire without drawing parallels between its magical interplay of notes and the richness of Diego Velázquez’s palette. Dior’s Cologne Blanche is a neoclassical etude. In the same vein, Enlevement au Serail recalls the lavish and exotic stage sets created by Léon Bakst at the turn of the century. Given that I do not hide my own affinity with Romanticism, this aspect of Enlevement au Serail appeals to me very much.
Enlèvement au Sérail (formerly FK No. 3) is a rich composition with excellent tenacity and elegant sillage. It features notes of bergamot, Italian mandarin, ylang-ylang, jasmine sambac, tuberose, Turkish rose, wallflower, patchouli, Indian sandalwood, vanilla and Haitian vetiver. Information about the line can be obtained from Parfums MDCI website. Luckyscent carries the fragrance line in the US.
Painting of the most renowned Ballets Russes dancer Anna Pavlova. Valentin Serov. Anna Pavlova in the Ballet Sylphyde. 1909. The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg. From Podol.ru.