Cardinal (2006)

Cardinal by Heeley
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8.1 / 10     269 RatingsRatingsRatings
Cardinal is a popular perfume by Heeley for women and men and was released in 2006. The scent is smoky-spicy. It is still in production.

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James Heeley

Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top NotesLinen, Pink pepper, Black pepper
Heart Notes Heart NotesLabdanum, Myrrh, Frankincense
Base Notes Base NotesAmbergris, Patchouli, Vetiver



8.1 (269 Ratings)


7.9 (200 Ratings)


7.0 (200 Ratings)


7.5 (185 Ratings)
Submitted by Andi136, last update on 12.01.2020.
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0 Reviews
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Greatly helpful Review    15
Cleaning of the robe of linen
Dear Franz,
i know it's not appropriate for a church dignitary, but I want to complain. When I left my linen robe to a novice for cleaning at the last cardinal meeting in Rome, I got it back in an at least questionably strange condition. Not that she was dirty, because my robes are never dirty anyway, no, it was more her smell that made me trim.
When I dressed, there was this unusual, slightly peppery, rubbery note that mixed with the linen smell I was so used to. I don't want to be quick-tempered, but the Vatican cleaning is hopefully not to hang the robes of the dignitaries on the Milan ring road for ventilation. Fortunately, this slightly disturbing impression disappeared after a few minutes and gave way to the familiar scent of my robe. It then smelled again mainly like linen, clear and pure, but next to it I now perceived a light, slightly sweetish resinous scent of incense. I thought to notice balsamic fine, spicy-sweet as well as sweet honey-like notes beside the incense. Has Labdanum and Myrrh recently been used for purification in the Papal States? I know about the antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory effect of myrrh, but linen cleansing was unknown to me so far.
This impression of light linen scent paired with minimal sweetish resinous-balsamic incense lasted a good two to three hours before I clumsily stained a small bag of popcorn over my robe in my refuge. Fortunately, the impression that something of it could be smelled in the dress made me feel a bit fleeting, only a few times. After about two hours the whole fragrance retreated noticeably, giving way to a slightly ambry earthy impression, in which my beloved linen fragrance was still recognizable, but now accompanied by fresh vetiver. After another three hours, however, the smell had vanished.
My dear Franz, I certainly don't want to cause any inconvenience to anyone with my letter, and I certainly don't want to give the impression that my own robe is closer to me than the really moving themes of the Church and the world, yet I thirst for an explanation for the smell of my robe, which I find quite pleasant, at least in spring and autumn It greets you surrender
Your friend Reinhard
8 Replies
7.0 10.0 9.0/10

126 Reviews
Helpful Review    3
A Longlasting Purity
Cardinal is best of what you expect - a clean incense intertwined with something else clean - lily-of-the-valley or perhaps linen. It echoes Passage D'Enfer by L'Artisan, but the latter is a deeper, more mysterious incense. Cardinal I enjoy quite a bit, but not enough to own both it and Passage. They both inhabit the same medieval mental space, however.

It is linear with slight variations - every once in a while it smells slightly dirty, slightly sweaty, or slightly cleaner. It befits the name, and it is expensive, but it's quality for what you get. It emits 6" to 1', and the duration is immense - 1.5 days.

If you're in the market for a clean incense scent and you can afford the entrance price, Cardinal is an excellent option.
7.5 7.5 7.0/10

1239 Reviews
Helpful Review    6
Hope in the Post-Pope Period
It's official: the man formerly known as "The Pope" has left the Catholic Church flapping in the wind. There is no pope, as of today at 7pm GMT. In honor of this historic event, the first of its kind in six hundred years, I have decided to don Heeley CARDINAL.

How could the pope leave the Catholic Church with no leader? one might well ask. Does this not demonstrate that an acephalic structure is perfectly adequate to the needs of twenty-first-century people? Or even twentieth-century people. Or even nineteenth-century people? Remember the Protestant Reformation? The "man on the street" has access to the Almighty every bit as direct--or not--as the leaders of the church? Is this not an iron-clad proof of what anarchists have been trying to say all along? That's right, we now know with complete certainty that the sky will not fall without the pope. There is life after the pope. But if the Catholic Church can go a few hours or a few days or a few weeks without any pope whatsoever, does this not show that there really is hope in the post-pope period? I leave these questions for the reader to ponder.

Heeley CARDINAL is an incense perfume. Very churchy, very Catholic, very medieval smelling. I agree with my comrades (see below) that this perfume fits right in with the Comme des Garçons Incense series. Looking at the note hierarchy, one might expect more complexity, but everything here is blended together seamlessly. I really smell incense anchored in labdanum. Is there a "linen" note? To my nose, the linen is about as present as the pope. But there is hope in the post-pope period. It can be found in perfume. This CARDINAL can stand all alone.

Is the world now pope-less, or is it pope-free? I ask most sincerely.
6 Replies
5.0 7.5 7.0/10

1165 Reviews
Very helpful Review    5
A religious affair
Incense, especially the dark, atmospheric kind, has been a rather new interest for me. Since falling in love with Chanel Coromandel, I have been so eager to find other well-done incense based fragrances.

Cardinal by Heeley has been suggested a few times as being true church incense. I'm not a big church-goer, however I do love the smell of a chapel full of smokey incense and mustiness.

Cardinal opens rather strong and masculine, with a somewhat dirty earthiness coming to the fore. Pepper, patchouli and vetiver tend to stand out on my skin the most. The aldehydes provide a smoothness in texture and smell, which is both intriguing and a little strange.

I was a little disappointed that the incense didn't seem to feature so readily in the first hour or so. However the more the fragrance settled, the less green and earthy it was and the smokier it became.

I can understand how some see the sweetness here, however it's more of a dusty and resinous cedar chest smell to me, with that delightful incensey goodness.

This fragrance does however sit lightly on my skin, without making its strong presence known. I'm actually anosmic to this fragrance at times, which is woeful.

Cardinal tends to lean on the more masculine side of things, however a woman that enjoys wearing rich woodsy or primarily patchouli and vetiver based scents will enjoy this.

I can't say that this is my favourite incense fragrance, however it was extremely enjoyable, nonetheless.
5.0 5.0 7.5 7.0/10

49 Reviews
Greatly helpful Review    7
CARDINAL by Heeley
Cardinal, created by British designer James Heeley, is loaded with a churchy incense vibe and a touch of modern gothic. It conjures up visions of grey stone cathedrals, a bit of dank gloom that's swaddled in white linen. If you love that type of fragrance concept, you'll love Cardinal. It's warm powdery labdanum and light smokiness make it an interesting choice for the cooler months.

The opening of Cardinal is very bright and sharp. Baie rose is sprinkled with a spicy black pepper and aldehyde gives this spicy confection strange cleanness. Once the labdanum, ciste, frankincense and myrrh make an appearance, it’s a little like a fresh cut christmas tree decorated with ornaments coated in pepper, very spicy and very mystical. There is a smooth smoky incense that rises between a subtle herbal note. Cardinal is rounded out with a strong patchouli base, which combined with a veil of vetiver and sweet amber, prevents the patchouli from being too earthy.

Cardinal is most commonly compared to Comme des Garçons' Incense series Kyoto and Avignon. If you are a fan of either of these fragrances, you will enjoy Cardinal's smoothness. I will warn you, Cardinal does not seem to have the longevity of Avignon from Comme des Garçons. In fact, Cardinal is probably one of the weakest in this scent classification. It is a tamed version of Avignon with a little more sweetness. Cardinal has a mild sillage, it wears close to the skin and the longevity is average.

Cardinal is a great fragrance for those who don't like overpowering incense fragrances. It's easy on the nose and give just a hint of churchiness. Overall, Cardinal is a well behaved incense fragrance that leans a bit more towards modern in its interpretation of gothic.

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