My fascination for the culture of far East countries started when I was only few years old. I would watch National Geographic with my parents and episodes about Japan were always most interesting for me. I also watched some anime which was quite an entertainment. Later on I would also develop an interest in other countries in the East. In their newest fragrance Maison Berdoues takes us through a narrative of a Chinese legend of eight immortals who lived on Penglai Island and who fought evil with their special powers. Goddess of flowers – He Xiangu was among those 8.
Péng Lái has a fresh and juicy beginning that brings to mind mandarin orange from a Mediterranean orchard somewhere in Italy, Spain or Greece. There’s some sweetness to it but it’s less pronounced than in other fragrances featuring this note. Maybe it’s because I could already notice that something tart & exotic is beginning to develop in the background. Few minutes later that thing got stronger and it smelled like pomegranate. Its sour tastes balances the citrus sweetness. The opening is calm and serene but it has something that awakens the senses. It’s like a shot of energy for a good day.
15 minutes later Berdoues Péng Lái becomes gently fruity but in a non-straightforward way. Apricot-like aroma builds up over time but it’s actually more floral than fruity from some point. There’s an easy explanation to that happening as in a central place of this perfume there’s osmanthus. It’s this little flower that introduces the apricot impression when you smell Péng Lái on your skin. It’s very pretty and calm; at the same time it effuses some floral tones that blend nicely together. These nuances make the perfume more interesting & piques curiosity about what’s coming next.
In a further development stage osmanthus presents yet its another facet – this time it’s the smell reminiscent of green tea. It has a pleasant and inviting warmth. Then Péng Lái transforms into something aquatic and more transparent. It continues to smell floral & has a gently creamy backnote. Could it be that this stage was meant to evoke the smell of lotus flower? No matter what I’m happy with the result. Péng Lái is a light perfume but this is exactly what I’m often looking for in the spring/summer season – a perfume that smells on the surface of my skin, nowhere farther.
Drydown of this new Berdoues composition is somewhat surprising. From fresher fruity-floral tendencies Péng Lái ventures towards more oriental direction. Mouth-watering benzoin adds a balsamic smoothness to the blend. Its aroma that combines elements of caramel, balms and resins melts with your skin. The perfume almost becomes your second skin. Additionally tonka bean from Brazil adds a creamy & aromatic sensation that makes you salivate even more. Péng Lái is far from being gourmand but it’s end phase smells really delicious. The whole perfume is really well-made.
Péng Lái from Berdoues is a great addition to the line. It’s true that I don’t like all of the offerings from their Grands Crus collection but the ones that I like – I like them a lot. It’s a perfect fit for the upcoming warm months. Also please note that brand only provides 3 main themes for Péng Lái – these are Chinese Osmanthus, Laotian benzoin and Brazilian tonka bean. Therefore my review and some notes I suggested might not be accurate. A bottle of Péng Lái is decorated with white cranes and colorful lotus pattern. It’s a very light composition, lasting around 5 hours… but it’s oh so pretty!