I was quite surprised to see this classified as a floral oriental over on Fragrantica, as to me it seems like an old-school chypre. Let's split the difference and call it a rich floriental with chypre dressings. There is a briefly hesperidic start, top-loaded with spiky bergamot and mandarin, followed by a long, oozey heart of sensual ylang ylang, peach and jasmine, and supported by a base of patchouli, sandalwood, and vetiver. To be honest, it is so well blended and rich, I can only make out most of the notes with the help of this site or Fragrantica.
Smelling it blind, I was struck by its similarities in tone and feel (if not notes) to Mitsouko, Aqua di Parma Profumo, and Parure, in that they are all very rich, powdery chypres with a dark stone fruit accord, namely either plum or peach, and a thrillingly bitter vein of spicy woods buffeting the heart from underneath. But in Enlevement Au Serail, the overall effect is collapsingly soft and round, with an almost ambery-spicy feel, and overall much less poisonously mossy than the other chypres I mentioned. As the chypre-like top notes burn away, the heart opens up to the most luscious yellow and white flowers, and that gently spiced peach. During this long, honeyed middle stage, my sensory perception of this scent is of a long, golden ambery river of notes, with something dark and resinous beginning to poke its way through from beneath.
When I smelled this blind, I thought that the dark underpinnings smelled a bit like the base of immortelle or leather from Histoires de Parfum's 1740, or even the coffee grounds/dark wenge wood from Aomassai or Coze - the base has that dark, leathery feel to it that I sense in those perfumes. However, not a bit of it! I looked online for the notes, and the only note I can point to that might be creating this effect is the vetiver root. But the vetiver here is not raw or rooty in any way - this is a perfume of sublime refinement - it simply adds what I can only describe as a dark, brooding woodiness to the base, which provides some much needed masculine heft to the sweet floral-oriental heart.
It is also somewhat comparable to 31 Rue Cambon, in that they are both so-called "modern chypres" using materials other than oakmoss to create that dank, mossy, shadowy character that forms the backbone of chypres. 31 RC and this one both use patchouli for this effect. But the comparisons stop there: 31 Rue Cambon is tons drier and more iris-y, whereas Enlevement is more lushly floral, wet, and spicy. The Chanel is clearly French in idea and execution, whereas Enlevement, while still French, takes on a more opulent and orientalist approach. Personally, I prefer Enlevement because my preference is for richer, bolder, deeper scents, and the base in this is almost delicious/yummy/drinkable in its richness. This one also knocks it out of the park on longevity/projection, for what it matters. I like both of them, but I voted neutral on 31 Rue Cambon and positive on this one for reasons other than technical aspects or performance issues, actually - Enlevement au Serail just moves me more.
Not that any of this matters in the long run, since Enlevement au Serail has been discontinued by MDCI due to IFRA problems (although I have no idea which of the ingredients in this ran afoul of IFRA). No matter. I am not so in love with this that I am going to rend my hair out when my sample runs out, but it does make me kind of angry that perfumes that have been lovingly put together as pieces of high art (such as this) have to fall off the place of the planet just because one of the ingredients may (MAY) cause sensitivity in some people. Who are these sensitive people and what are they doing wearing perfume anyway if they are that sensitive???
Turin is right this time - "peach jasmine" description and 5 stars. This is a an alternate "take" on Mitsouko, and while it does not equal its predecessor, it is in its own way, a softer, more sensual and pliable version, more romantic in its shy cousinship with the brash and in your face uniqueness of the Guerlain classic.
Unique for a modern perfume - the only problem is in its exorbitant price - $250 one size bottle - yes, the exquisite sculptured stoppers are to die for, but is the packaging worth paying $150 for?
The scent itself, if priced at $75-120, would be perfectly acceptable. Too bad MDCII is pricing itself only for the very rich - they are losing far more money than they realize by closing out the Lily Barts of the world, whose taste far exceed their pocketbooks, but who can find a way to pay an affordable sum for what they really want.
Yep, a glorious old-school peachy chypre. I also found it reminiscent of Mitsouko, or Patou's Que Sais-je. I will enjoy my sample, but won't however be 'investing' in a full bottle.
Choreographed around notes of peach and jasmine, Enlèvement au Sérail is, surprisingly, less similar to Mitsouko than to Cuir de Russie for a total effect that depends on these plus ylang-ylang, rose and tuberose. But you get the idea: Enlèvement, while not doing anything new (unless being a statuesquely beautiful fragrance in the twenty-first century is novel… which some may well believe), is in the greatest of company. Wake up wearing it the next day and you'll smell like Cleopatra herself.
An updated classical floral boasting wonderful depth and a sensuality that borders on the coquettish. This is vintage Francis Kurkdjian. If Carnal Flower weaves its magic as a voluptuous temptress, then Enlévement au Sérail is the seductive song of a sultry siren.