Positive Reviews of Invasion Barbare / SB by MDCI

    Find out more about Invasion Barbare / SB by MDCI in the Basenotes Fragrance Directory


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    Kain's avatar

    Iran Iran

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    I'm not a fan of lavender based fragrances and I usually bash many them. but there are a few that I can't deny how great they are and this is definitely one of them or I would say the best!
    This is one of the most complex fragrances that I've tested in my life.
    Lots of high quality notes blended layer by layer masterfully together to create this beautiful masculine fragrance.
    At the opening I can smell lots of notes that surprised me how they mixed together like this without getting messy!
    There is a semi sweet vanilla mixed with some animalic musk followed by aromatic and kind of fresh lavender, some spices specially cardamom and a little bit of leather.
    It's semi fresh and clean, creamy sweet, musky and animalic, spicy and finally a little naughty and dirty because of soft leather note.
    After a while and in the dry down than animalic musky scent disappears and now I can smell more spices plus a little bit of woods and some earthiness from patchouli! Very busy but at the same time very well balanced without getting harsh and messy. you can smell every note one by one without too much trouble!
    The base is a dark and very mature aromatic herbal and smoky leathery scent followed by some woods, spices and earthy patchouli.
    Very rich masculine scent.
    The scent is not something new but the quality, blending and overall scent is mesmerizing!
    Projection is strong and longevity is around 5-6 hours on my skin.
    A masterpiece indeed!
    It's a great choice for fall and spring and maybe winter but it's too much for summer!

    13 July, 2014

    jtd's avatar

    United States United States

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    Perfumer Stéphanie Bakouche, 2007

    I'm all for dismissing gender entirely in perfume.  Or at least fucking with it.  It’s been noted that men and women relate differently to their fragrances if they wear only one ("The One").  For women it's The Signature Perfume.  For men it's merely Old Faithful.  The implication is that women are notable for their desire to be noticed, to stand out while men are simply creatures of habit;  that women want a screamer like Dior Poison and men will wear only [insert brand] eau de cologne. This set of assumptions is both limiting and false.  Still, Old Faithful does point to an odd set of circumstances that has lead to some outstanding men's fragrances. (See The Masculine Chypre.)

    There are loads of women's perfumes that I can imagine as The One.  Clinique Aromatics Elixir.  Lauder Private Collection. Robert Piguet Futur. Cuir de Lancome.  Amouage Jubilation 25.  Parfums de Nicolai Odalisque.  There are also all the Edmond Roudnitska unisex perfumes (unisex by public acclamation if not by marketing): Dior Eau Sauvage, Diorella, Frederic Malle Parfum de Thérèse. These perfumes, while gorgeous and complex, are conceptually easy for women to wear.  

    The One for men, and there are surprisingly many of them, have a more complicated set of goals to fulfill. They need to meet the needs of the male ego.  They must balance individuality with group affiliation and the need to be noticed with the inability to ask for help.  They balance the complications and fragility of masculinity on the fulcrum of beauty. (See Masculine Fragrances for Men.)

    The relationship of The One to beauty is complex for men. The fragrance must be attractive from all angles, from start to finish yet not imply femininity or homosexuality.   And despite my vocabulary, it must never be referred to as either perfume or beautiful.  (Cologne and handsome will suffice.)  Its beauty must be recognized instantaneously yet appreciated over the course of years.  These perfumes tend to become classics over the years even if they were initially unconventional.  They lead the way.  Examples are Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel, Aramis by Aramis (granted, a version of the 'feminine'  Gres Cabochard), Old Spice, Guerlain Habit Rouge, Caron Pour un Homme, Chanel Antaeus. Many if not most of the 20th century French men's chypres (Chanel, Givenchy, Rochas...) and fougères (Hermes, Azzaro, Paco Rabanne...) make the grade. 

    To my mind there are really only three.  They are flawless, unmatched and I would happily wear any of them forever.  Guerlain Vetiver, Knize Ten, Andy Tauer l'Air du Desert Marocain. Well, make that four. I’ve been wearing  Parfum MDCI Invasion Barbare.

    Invasion Barbare's apparent simplicity belies it's breathtaking beauty. It alludes to other genres, the fougère, the oriental, even the woody floral, but smells original.  Its grapefruit and bergamot notes harmonize with lavender and give lift.  The cedar and violet leaf notes add a pitched, quietly hissy quality.  A daily-wear perfume in addition to its other tasks, must also be comfortable, a quality typically associated with warmth and a roundedness.  Invasion Barbare nixes this expectation and stays crisp 12 hours later.   

    An odd aromatherapeutic property of lavender is that it is both stimulating and sedative.  Invasion Barbare functions similarly and suits all the tones and moods of a day.  It is graceful.  Is there really any other criterion for a perfume you’d wear every day?

    19 June, 2014

    Longexact's avatar

    United States United States

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    For some reason, people pay much more attention to the masculine fragrances in the MDCI line than to the feminine ones, which is too bad since their florals are easily among the best out there. Nevertheless, it's not hard to understand why Invasion Barbare gets so much attention: it's pretty much the platonic ideal of a fougere. I don't even like fougeres and I love this one. There's two things that make this work: MDCI's characteristic use of high-quality ingredients and the clever addition of a cardamom top note that ties the whole composition together.

    22 March, 2014

    reveillee's avatar

    United States United States

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    This could be my new signature scent. Normally I like dark and challenging scents but this one is just so smooth and comforting. It lasts on clothing forever. I can't imagine allowing myself to ever run out of this. I hope it is just as good in warm weather. While expensive, I think it is a safe blind buy. Though others may not be as infatuated with this fragrance as I, I can't imagine someone disliking it. Hope my wife likes it. If not, she at least better get used to smelling it! :)

    16 March, 2014

    teardrop's avatar

    England England

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    Review by teardrop

    ln the opening l get citrus, lavender, &, l could swear, cocoa. As the fragrance evolves, it becomes more woody, peppery & herbal, with a steadily strengthening note of patchouli. Reading the notes back, l see that cardamom & ginger are listed, & although l can't pick them out individually here, l can see how they combine to produce a spicy, yet fresh accord in the heart. And the idea of an "oriental fougere" suddenly makes sense to me. After thirty minutes or so, the whole thing morphs again into a wonderfully smoky, powdery, rich vanilla along with musk, & the patchouli which remains for the duration. l think this fragrance would easily last eight to ten hours, if not longer.

    A really interesting fragrance, which l feel would require several wearings to understand the genius of its execution. To combine impressions of freshness with warmth, & lightness with weight in this way, without any sense of imbalance or incongruity, seems to me extraordinarily clever. l think it would be wearable for any occasion in any season; it simply smells "good". And although many reviewers describe it as being very masculine, l see no reason at all why a woman could not wear this.

    07 June, 2013

    leto's avatar

    Turkey Turkey

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    This one is a masterfully created and excellent fragrance. I am not that into fougery type of fragrances but this and HdP 1725 made my day. They resemble each other imo and because of the price and availability, I will continue buying HdP line but i am also very happy with my decant of Invasion Barbare.

    I do not know any other works of Stephanie Bakouche, but considering this one, it is a must that more fragrances be released with her collaboration.

    Longevity is excellent while in a 3-4 hours, it becomes a skin scent in my case. But really, what a fragrance! Like mentioned before, it is dangerous to get a sample or decant, you may crave for it.

    04 April, 2013

    killerloop's avatar

    United States United States

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    The best and worst thing I could have done was pick up a healthy sized sample of Invasion Barbare. This stuff is just that damn good, extremely smooth. Rive Gauche comes to mind but minus the star anise (which gets a bit much for me at times). With IB and its composition, I don't think I could ever get enough of smelling it. It's still kicking pretty firmly 4 hours in to wearing and it doesn't seem like it's letting up any time soon. I'd imagine this will run its course 8 hours and probably stay close to skin thereafter.

    The price point on this bad-boy makes it possibly one of the worst things I could do, by picking up a sample. It's a must have for my collection but something I wouldn't be able to add a full bottle of for some time (if ever). This will have to be reserved for those occasions and special times for me to enjoy a full wear. If you have the few bucks to grab a sample, this is really worth checking out. If you have a lot of bucks to spare, buy a bottle.

    *Update* Had to buy a bottle. Hooked on Invasion Barbare!

    05 March, 2013 (Last Edited: 14 March, 2013)

    sjohnjay's avatar

    United States United States

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    I'll start with my disclaimer: I typically don't wet my pants because of my fondness for a fragrance.......This is different.
    I found my "Holy Grail." I have spent almost a decade (and several thousand $$) in this hobby, yet I have never been moved or inspired by any scent, anywhere close to this.
    After having it for a couple weeks, I am actually a little bit tempted to sell ALL of my endless sea of bottles on Ebay....So I only wear this one for the rest of my life.
    This truly IS perfection, and it makes everything thing else seem undesirable to me.
    This is understated, but not necessarily conservative. This can be worn anytime and anywhere.
    Is this actually worth the price tag?
    It must be, since I purchased it voluntarily.
    10/10......Masterpiece among masterpieces.

    03 March, 2013 (Last Edited: 05 April, 2013)

    Dellinger_DdC's avatar

    Chile Chile

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    The scent itself is simple, really no complex stuff or rare and bio nuclear notes, however there's much to say about it also, i like to think of this fragrance as Invasion of the Barbers because that's exactly how it smells, traditional antique barber shop and I will emphasize antique due to the natural ingredients used to make the formulation and the somewhat mature vibe, simple as you have to be a professional successful man or in love with artistic fragrances to realize the magic of this parfum. I didn't write anything about the notes because we all know what they smell like and pretty much what this fragrance will smell like, very simple and common notes that Stephanie Bakouche pushed to the limit and blended like no other because this smells fantastic.

    Invasion Barbare is a perfumery masterpiece, not because of the tacky bottle or the hype surrounding it, but for how it's so well blended it seems magical, as soon as you take a whiff and whether you like it or not, Invasion Barbare will grab you and you'll want to revisit and smell more of it just to convince yourself that it's over priced and not worthy but it's too late, you're already addicted to it. To me this is a truly masculine scent, smells like barber shop and come on, there's nothing more masculine than that, right Mr. Todd? Invasion Barbare is rough but also soft, safe but weird at the same time, this is not a complex scent that you need to comprehend but rather accept that it's a masterpiece that deserves respect.

    15 February, 2013

    CaliDude's avatar

    United States United States

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    Classy scent. My wife likes it as well. Longevity is about 6 hours tops for me, then turns into a skin scent. As others have mentioned, at such an expensive price, you'd expect better longevity.

    Overall, I'm giving this a positive review because I enjoy wearing it.

    I got 10ml of this from a split. I doubt I would ever pay the big bucks for a full bottle.

    27 November, 2012

    Demond Wilson's avatar

    United States United States

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    I NEVER should have tried this cologne! Now I'm in trouble. This the best scent I have yet to come across. If I could make my own cologne it would smell just like this. I put the .07 ml sample on at 8:30am and it lasted all day. Then things get crazy, I woke up the next morning and worked out in the yard for 5 hours in 90 degree heat and humidity and at 5:00pm that afternooon I could still smell it! Now I just have to start looking around the house to see what I can find to sell so I can afford to buy a bottle.

    13 August, 2012

    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Subtle sophistication. Invasion Barbare is surely not among the most original compositions available on the market but it's still one of my favorite "nugere". Its appearantly classic fougere-y structure makes it easily approachable and perfect for everydays wear but, at the same time, Stephanie Bakouche was able to give it a special character by adding countless details. The rich spicy/citrus opening made of grapefruit, cardamom, ginger and bergamot provides an extremely modern allure while a violet leaf accord enanches the fresh/transparent aspect of this composition. IB evolves then into a more classic woody/musky base that vaguely resembles of vintage Equipage and other immense masculines of the past. .

    Overall IB is a perfect connubion between classic and modern that's fantastic for both your most relaxed moments and going to the office as well as formal occasions and nights out. Invasion Barbare speaks clearly of quality but does it with a faint voice. In the end, if you've something interesting to say, you don't need to shout it out loud.

    Overpriced? Oh, well, most definitely but it smells darn good.

    07 December, 2011

    Oproust's avatar

    United States United States

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    The Invasion begins with a strong blend of citrus and violet. The grapefruit is very noticeable in the top notes. I usually am not a huge fan of grapefruit in fragrances, but this one works. At first this opening did trigger a sneeze reflex, just as other reviewers have suggested. Soon the lavender and cardmom notes make their respective appearances. During this stage of the Invasion, a powdery malted milk-like accord develops. This actually smells much better than it sounds. I like to think of it as gourmet malted milk. The spicy, woodsy, musky base eventually falls into place and holds the line for hours. I find Invasion Barbare to be a very pleasant masculine fragrance that unfolds beautifully into what I can only describe as an oriental fougere with some woody oriental undertones. A hybrid? Perhaps. A classic? Absolutely.

    03 December, 2011

    PeteH's avatar

    Australia Australia

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    OK, this stuff costs a fortune - about US$250 for a 60mL (2oz) bottle. The big question is - does the quality of the fragrance justify such a significant investment? My answer to that is an unequivocal YES.

    IB's opening is enormously radiant. The first day I wore it to work, colleagues from the other side of the floor came looking for the source of the alluring fragrance that had invaded their workspace. The top notes are tenacious - they hang on for a good two hours and one can recognize their bones even after another 8 or 10 hours. Yes, there is a "white musk" accord at the base of IB, but if this is what laundry detergent smells like, then I'd like someone to tell me what brand it is, because I want to buy a giant tub of it. The muskiness is quietly sexy and retains a gentle radiance, especially (like most frags) after a little activity to raise one's body-temperature.

    Of all the frags I own, IB has attracted the most attention, and the greatest number of compliments. It does cost a fortune but it will have a place in my collection for as long as they keep making it. Actually, if it's ever discontinued, I'll probably buy-up a few thousand dollars-worth so I'll never run out. Yes, dear reader and fellow fragrance aficionado, it really is that good! 10/10.

    15 October, 2011

    andylama's avatar

    United States United States

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    IB is more or less an aromatic fougere with a big sweet herbal accord, but distinctive enough that it's worth smelling/having, even if you already have a bunch of other aromatic fougeres. It's not quite like any other, and I don't think I've ever smelled a fougere that was more beautiful than this one.

    Mature, gentlemanly, and easy to wear without being too dandified, loud or 'old fashioned'. Works well for both everyday and special occasion use. I find the longevity to be very good, and the drydown, while not amazing, is better than one might expect, and never becomes flat, offensive, or sour. This is very high-quality stuff! (and you see that in the price!)

    The only drawbacks: it's ridiculously expensive AND not widely available.

    After wearing it for a few days, I found myself thinking "this is the fragrance that Guerlain Homme should have been" (not that they are all that similar, mind you)

    One odd aspect that another reviwer alluded to: There's something in this that will make you want to sneeze when you first spray it, but it dissipates quickly and is not a problem.

    Overall, an exceptional, beautiful masculine. Now that I have it, I never want to be without it.

    01st September, 2011

    Jack Hunter's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Very complex fragrance that seems to morph on your skin. It opens with a candy type fragrance with lavender and violet notes weaving in and out. After a while it gets very warm and woody on your skin surrounded by that sweet candy smell. A excellent fragrance, is it worth the money? I will let you be the judge of that.lol

    31st August, 2011

    Diamondflame's avatar

    Singapore Singapore

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    Had I tried INVASION BARBARE a few years ago, I'd probably have brushed it off as 'laundry detergent'. It has this peculiar almost abrasively soapy-clean element that triggers on a sneeze and I'm not even prone to sneezing to begin with. But thanks in part to BN-inspired fragrance education, I can now 'pretend' to olfactorily break this aromatic entity down into its component lavender, cardamom, ginger and thyme, with a touch of citrus, violet leaves and a liberal helping of white musk. Impressed yet? Well, what good does that analysis do to me?

    Little it seems. The human mind is inclined to analyze, to categorize, to simplify & attempt to make sense of the unfamiliar. However with Invasion Barbare it runs straight into a wall - this fragrance defies any known category. There are just so many facets to the scent that if one is inclined to explore in detail, losing sight of its beauty within the maze of notes deconstruction becomes a real possibility.

    So let's simplify this. MDCI Invasion Barbare wears elegantly and has staying power. It smells clean in a vaguely familiar yet intriguing manner. 'Laundry detergent' it may be to the average Joe but there is nothing average about the artistry. Which is probably why it is priced beyond the average Joe's reach.

    01st April, 2011

    L'Aventurier's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    A fresh fragrance that opens with notes of non-citrusy grapefruit, violets and cardamom. As it dries down, a barbershop heart of powdery lavender emerges (similar to Le Male by Jean Paul Gaultier), supported by ginger and cedar over some clean vanilla-musk. Deep into the drydown is a Jicky-like leather (most likely castoreum and a touch of civet) that almost goes under the radar. The best way I can describe Invasion Barbare is that it's a fresh-oriental lavender fougere with a musky leather base.

    Although this fragrance is anything but barbaric, I imagine the name is a double entendre, referencing both its clean barbershop (ie. "barbare" shop) lavender and animalic barbarian base of leather. Overall, it's a classy smell, yet it's also relaxing and emits positive vibes, making me feel cool, calm, and collected. If I hadn't found this in my quest for my holy grail, I might have lost hope somewhere along the way. This is one of the few fragrances out there that is good enough to be a Guerlain, and modern enough to not smell like grandpa.

    A modern masterpiece.

    10/10

    24 September, 2009 (Last Edited: 30th November, 2009)

    adowds's avatar

    Ireland Ireland

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    It takes a good half hour but eventually this evolves into something that brings a mix of Grey Flannel and Fahrenheit into my mind. More fresh and less ‘damp rag’ than Grey Flannel, less noxious than Fahrenheit. I’d have to say that IB bears most resemblance to Fahrenheit. I understand that for anyone to imagine a soft Fahrenheit is a tough task but there you have it. Think of it like the petrochemical smell is removed with light vanilla added. In the end it’s that same vanilla which can still be detected the following day.

    Invasion Barbare is nice and very wearable though too expensive. At €160/50ml it’s not worth the price tag, knock €100 off and I’d gladly wear this (nearly) as often as my Dunhill Editon or Bois du Portugal. A great everyday scent.

    12 September, 2009 (Last Edited: 15 May, 2012)

    moltening's avatar

    Thailand Thailand

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    Invasion Barbare is my definite favorite from the MDCI stable. It pillages the only other masculine offering, Ambre Topkapi, and its feeble peasants into oblivion with ease.

    IB is a mesmerizing deep aromatic blend of lavender, warm spices, a cool dash of well-mannered violets (not like NR PH), citrus to balance things out, and sweet cedar mixed with a light vanillaesque white-musk base. Sounds boring doesn't it? Well, it isn't going to go anywhere near 'unique territory' and explore new horizons, but it's definitely not boring and 'run-of-the-mill' either.

    Claude Marchal (MDCI) summarizes it as an "oriental fern," which I think is a very appropriate description for what it is. It's somewhere between the realm of the oriental and the fougere, while also being more at the same time. It's not syurpy and sticky, but instead -- devoid of amber and very sleek + contemporary in feel. (Makes 'New York' look ancient) Most reviews say that the scent itself is warming, but I find it to be pretty cool due to the violets with the spices creating a balancing warmth. (less so)

    In the end, Invasion Barbare is very refined, well-mannered, elegant, with appeal through the roof. It's admittedly a scent that is very easy to fall in like or love with. Can be easily pulled off by women too IMO. It's easy and pleasing on the nose so it would be an excellent choice as a "versatile everyday all-purpose scent" for anyone that can be appreciated not only by the wearer, but also people lucky enough to be near by.

    November '11 Update: I *finally* got myself a full bottle. No regrets - this is worth every single cent.

    16 March, 2009 (Last Edited: 06 November, 2011)

    FloatingPoint's avatar

    United States United States

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    Hmm, Basenotes lists this as a feminine. I'm not sure what I would make of a feminine called "Invasion Barbare." Would that be something to spritz on as your hamlet is about to be pillaged, or something that Amazons wear?

    Fortunately, however, this is actually marketed as a masculine (although I consider it a completely unisex fragrance). Formerly known as SB1, it was composed by Stéphanie Bakouche as part of the inaugural lineup for Parfums MDCI. Bakouche is a student of Jean Kerléo and graduate of the French perfume school ISIPCA.

    Turin & Sanchez's PERFUMES: THE GUIDE (and, presumably, Michael Edwards's FRAGRANCES OF THE WORLD) classifies this as a "spicy woody," but I have to confess I don't smell any wood at all. Perhaps I'm anosmic to the putatively woody aromachemical in the formulation.

    What Invasion Barbare reminds me of more than anything is Francis Kurkdjian's Le Mâle--in other words, it smells like a powdery lavender. As it so happens, Kurkdjian also composed the three feminine fragrances in the Parfums MDCI line. I don't know whether this is merely a coincidence, or Bakouche was paying homage to her MDCI colleague, or what, but it is rather curious.

    There are differences however; where Le Mâle smells wildly synthetic and has supernatural longevity to prove it, IB flaunts its cash from first moment to last. The ingredients are of an intoxicatingly high quality, with what seem to be a high proportion of naturals. And yes, it is spicy--at least, spicier than Le Mâle, although my nose can't pick out exactly what those spices might be. There's also a very subtle, musky undertow to the base notes that I can't quite identify--it drifts in and out of consciousness in a most seductive way, and is actually my favorite aspect of this fragrance.

    In a nutshell, this is a better, subtler, more complex, and more expensive (!) Le Mâle. I own it and enjoy wearing it during evenings out (it's a bit too powdery to make it as an office scent). Although I like it well enough as it is, I just wish I could smell the wood that everybody talks about, since it would make an already intriguing composition that much more interesting. Oh well, maybe the people around me get to enjoy that aspect at least.

    EDIT: The notes, according to the Parfums MDCI website:

    "Here we have an 'oriental fern', spicy and aromatic, with a captivating blend of headnotes of grapefruit, bergamot, violet leaves, white thyme, cardamom, lavender and ginger.

    A warm heart of cedarwood, bourbon vanilla and musc creates a precious and definitely masculine base which here too contribute to a well-balanced construction, true to the demands of the brand: elegant, precious, masculine and extremely sophisticated."

    09 June, 2008

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