Monday, March 2, 2009

Blogging the Madinis: Fez and Maderas de Oriente

I assume Fez's name is a reference to the city, not the hat, but even so, this casual floral seems to be at odds with its label. The city is a center of culture and learning, and it's particularly famous for its tanneries. (This Youtube video has some great images of Fez--or more properly, Fes.) Madini's Fez doesn't have even a hint of hide, nor is it a highbrow, bookish sort of scent. It's a rich blend of rose, neroli, violet and mimosa over a sandalwood base. To my nose, it's almost a dead ringer for YSL Paris, but much less shrill, and not quite so aggressively feminine. It's also not as tenacious. I wouldn't call it fleeting, but it fades more quickly than a lot of the Madinis, leaving behind a clean, mellow skin scent, with just a hint of rose. Fez is one of my favorite Madinis, a real "wear anywhere" fragrance, with a cheerful, relaxed character.

Maderas de Oriente is a sort of mirror image of Fez. It gives the woody element center stage and puts the flowers in the background. It opens with a sweet, fresh combination of cedar and a birch-like note, and I also seem to get a hint of mandarin. The floral notes emerge in the heart: primarily orange blossom, accompanied by rose and henna flower. M de O is one of those scents that gets louder and sharper as it develops. Not that it's ever a screamer, but I find it calls more attention to itself an hour into wearing than it does when I first apply it. The overall effect never becomes "flowery," but the floral notes do seem to boost the sillage considerably. Given the name of the perfume and the overall Madini aesthetic, you'd expect there to be an oud note, but if it's present I can't detect it. The base of Maderas de Oriente is just a smooth sandalwood, with a touch of rather bright moss. If you are addicted to the sugar-laden woods of Lutens, or the ultra-dry JCE creations, then Maderas de Oriente might not be your thing. It has much more in common with a classic woody chypre such as Halston.

Photo of a gate in Fes by Bernard Gagnon from Wikimedia Commons.

Click here for a nice article about the city of Fes from the NY Times.


chayaruchama said...

Hey, sis ...
Nemesis here, LOL.
Can't resist...

Fez, you've nailed it; it's so well-blended, I agree on its savoir-faire.
Paris, original, has most in common with it.
It's just a happy-making, airy floral scent.

Funnily- my Moroccan girlfriends tell me that Fez is the center of Sephardic Jewish life; also, well-known for the jewellry in their souks.

Maderas de Oriente:
Boy, does B HATE this one !
I love it, though...

I don't find it screams- but it's most definitely Baroque in nature.
A heavy-hitter, best applied FRUGALLY, LOL.
On me, it's dark, deep, sumptuous, and highly caloric.
[ If one likes chypric orientals, this is it]

Just sayin'....

Julie H. Rose said...

You've been causing me to want to order some Madinis, but Fez puts me over the edge. Now I must! I used to love Paris once upon a time, but yes, it's too loud.

And now I'm even more intrigued by Chayaruchama's comments about it.

Thanks to you both for the lovely reviews.

BitterGrace said...

Really, B hates Maderas de Oriente? What's to hate? It is rich, but you are the woman who revels in Ambar Gris. He ought to be used to this kind of thing by now...

From what I know of your taste, Julie, I think you would like quite a few of the Madinis. FYI, they do several scents with saffron, but it seems a harsher, drier saffron than the one that shows up in most commercial perfumes.

Tania said...

Damn it, you keep this up and I can see another Madini order in my future ;-P
Maderas sounds like my kind of thing. I'm even wearing Halston today, so there you go!

BitterGrace said...

Maderas is definitely more "Baroque" than Halston, as Chaya says, but it's hard to imagine anyone disliking it who generally enjoys woody chypres. MdeO makes a good blending scent with spicy orientals, too.

Lynne said...

Sorry to jump in here knowing so little about your blog and the Madinis subject. I simply was searching Maderas de Oriente. Is the Madinis Maderas the same formulation as the Myrurgia? I'm hoarding a half-full bottle and would use it more frequently if I were sure of a replacement. The descriptions are so evocative of the scent that I just applied a frugal amount to my outer I type, the fragrance rises. As it rises, I remember my aunt (a longtime resident of the French Quarter in New Orleans) who would give me her empty bottles in their yarn-topped wooden containers. I was sensory-marked from age 3. Any information on the similarity to the original? Thanks.

BitterGrace said...

I'm afraid I don't know the Myrurgia, Lynne. I wish I did, it has always sounded beautiful, and I adore Maja. You might put your question to one of the fora--Basenotes or Perfume of Life. Talisman at ( offers inexpensive samples if you want to do your own investigation.