Launched in 2006 by Paris-based indie line HEELEY Parfums, Cardinal stands out in a crowded field of church fragrances.
Cardinal opens with a burst of nose-tingling aldehydes that lead to a note of fresh, clean linen – the altar linens. An unusual note in perfume, but one my nose likes. Pink peppercorns add a subtle sweetness as its rosy facet gives it a light-hearted feel. It’s joined by a note of black pepper that adds warmth and depth and counterbalances the sweetness and rosiness of the pink pepper. That note of linen stays through the heart, where it’s joined by warm, musky, sweet labdanum, gentle smokiness from frankincense and myrrh; its earth tone suggests cold stone. At the base, vetiver, earthy, woodsy and smoky, is joined by grey amber that’s sweet, musky and woody, bolstered by a note of sweet, woody patchouli.
These are the notes, but how they are handled makes Cardinal such a standout in a crowded field of church fragrances. The fragrance is centered around a Catholic mass – the altar linens, the ancient resins, the smoky incense - yet this isn’t a dark, Gothic, gloomy scent. Instead, it's clean and uplifting. The aldehydes give it lightness while the pink pepper opens the composition up and makes space for the notes that follow to shine, creating the effect of being in a cool stone church, with light smoke wafting through the fresh, warm air.
The drydown is dry, suggestive and evocative.
Notes: aldehydes, linen, pink pepper, black pepper, labdanum, frankincense, myrrh, vetiver, grey amber, patchouli.