Sweetened orange over a sherbet-y vanilla base. As with the other less-dramatic scents in the line, there’s not much to this. I’ve smelled the same aesthetic countless times, often done just as well for a fraction of the price. This one lacks the bite of citrus and, as the result, the sweetness takes over so you’re left with a sort of cutesy orange blossom candy. For the price, it’s simply not worth it.
Le Rivage des Syrtes is basically a freshly greenish-hesperidic, soapy-incensey and classically appointed (in an old style soapy-chypre way) central exotic accord of intense (almost fizzy) grapefruit/tangerine/neroli, creamy tuberose and ylang-ylang over a waxy-honeyed-resinous woodsy base. Unfortunately after a first freshly creamy fruity tuberose's performance a really bizarre sort of "roasted bacon-like" vibe (possibly elicited by a connection between the orangy fizziness and a sort of smokey-resinous undertone) starts standing out soapy and somewhat disturbing, really wrestling with the laundry-cosmetic (vaguely Victorian) main chord. Along the way the orangy-floral smokey feel fortunately recedes and the basic accord of laundry frankincense and ambergris rises up succeeding on the stage with its barber-shop (old-school) and more than vaguely powdery substance. The still orangy-soapy dry down is delicate, still waxy-vegetal, finally "palatine" (the somewhat aristocratic MDCI's trademark vibe) and far more wearable. This final stage is by far the part I prefer, its basically powdery substance is pungently organic, vaguely acid, dissonant, piquant and spicy, it fits to skin in a warm and sensual way. A pity for the overly pungent "roasted" central part. A really bizzarre fragrance for a particularly eccentric type of character.
Rivage des Syrtes opens with a pleasant, silky, fresh, slightly metallic-aldehydic breeze of citrus notes (more precisely on the “orange-floral” side) blended with a synthetic, cyclogalbanate-like fruity note which you smell in several cheap fruity scents (that annoying “pineapple” note, which *always* carries that annoying sort of moldy-metallic aftertaste - and by the way, is used to build galbanum too), all posed on a sheer layer of white clean flowers – I get ylang more than tuberose. Green tips and a sandalwood base with a warm resinous-ambery aftertaste. Yawn. A barely pleasant and conventional Oriental fruity-powdery scent which tries to play the “random metallic-moldy crap unrelatedly juxtaposed to flowers and fruits” card to look creative and justify its surreal price.
MDCI tends to work in two modes: classical styles made very well with high-quality ingredients (Un Coeur en Mai, Enlévement au Sérail) and highly complex, intriguingly odd florals. Le Rivage des Syrtes falls squarely in the latter camp: a pineapple floral that is much better than the image its description conjures up. Part of the success of this fragrance is MDCI's characteristic devotion to high-quality raw materials: this is clearly made with the good stuff. And although the mixture of pineapple and white florals is odd at first, this becomes a very addictive fragrance once you've tried it a few times.
It may just be the decant I got but it smells a little metallic—maybe from the metal sprayer?—is supposed to be fruity/citrusy, and couldn’t put my finger on it at first. When I read pineapple, that kinda made sense, though it's still pretty floral. The floral and musc notes come out on me very quickly. It isn't too bad, but not my cup of tea.