Dans Tes Bras opens with a powdery, almost candied violet with a driftwood note underneath. I get a brief flurry of aldehydes and sharp jasmine, followed by a potent musk balancing on the clean/dirty line surrounding the candy sweetness.
The driftwood note is there from the get-go and never leaves – it brings to mind seaweed, or the inside of a seashell. It smells slightly off or rotted, but clean from the ozonic saltiness that fizzes off the skin. It is as bizarre as it sounds and is fascinating paired with the classical powdery floral scent of violets. The jasmine recedes into the background before evaporating pretty quickly (and thankfully – I don’t feel like it belongs in Dans Tes Bras at all). The violet stays hovering in the heart for longer than expected, but is joined unwelcomingly by a piercing metallic incense – razor-sharp and jagged alongside the potent salt.
Now, I say unwelcomingly quite unfairly actually, I love the metallic incense – but up close it is unbearable (instant headache). As most fragrance notes do – it does begin to settle after the ten minute mark, and blends into a quieter and more complimentary volume.
So the violet de-sweetens, but retains its classic powder, the driftwood scent becomes fungal – deepening itself into a more earthy aroma of mushrooms (it’s convincing too – in a Christopher Brosius kind of way). The musk vanishes for a while, and allows a cedar to come forward. Yet again (along with the incense), the cedar is pretty sharp, it seems to absorb the salty ozonic notes to incorporate the cedar with the driftwood – dragging it’s instability into the base. A little glimpse of eugenol makes it’s appearance every now and again – cool and medicinal, reminiscent of its use in Iris Silver Mist with the same clove/earth feel.
If Dans Tes Bras reminds me of anything, it would be At The Beach 1966 by CB I Hate Perfume. Whilst this has the violet (which turns into a mineral accord), ATB1966 has suntan lotion. Also, the ozonic “beachy” smell in the Brosius’ work, is far subtler – here in Dans Tes Bras it is intense, and the leading combination of accords that make up this relatively linear fragrance.
I get a little patchouli, and the return of the synthetic musk in the start of the drydown – and Dans Tes Bras loses all of its floral notes. What remains is a salty musk with a hint of sharp woods to support – it is the scent of skin after a dip in the ocean, and it’s really lovely.
Dans Tes Bras is going to be difficult for many – the notes contrast greatly in texture, and make parts of the evolution extremely uncomfortable. It’s also the most unusual fragrance in the Malle lineup, it verges on the avant-garde experimental perfumery of Brosius, or even the house of Comme Des Garcons. It’s in no way unwearable, and is a complete surprise considering the name “In Your Arms”… the first time I sprayed this in store I expected a warm Musc Ravageur type of scent – but no. Infact I found it quite repulsive the first time I tried it, the second – I loved it.
It’s cosy and intimate in a way that no other fragrance designed to be cosy and intimate is: it’s raw, literal and intense – whilst being quiet on the skin. I find it completely fascinating and it may well be my first purchase from the Frederic Malle house :)
Dans Tes Bras 50ml Frederic Malle – £100 Liberty