Tag Archives: frederic malle

Le Parfum de Therese – Frederic Malle

I first tried Le Parfum de Therese ever so briefly at Tauer’s house in Zurich, he owned a small bottle and on first sniff, I admittedly dismissed it, far too keen to try more of his work and new releases at the time (Noontide Petals…). I tried it again ever so quickly on paper after a sales assistant gave me a quick sniff and again, at the time I was more drawn to Dans Tes Bras which I later purchased for my mum, and Une Rose which I initially loved (and still do). However, I went to London yesterday in the hope to buy something new, unaware that I would leave the shop with this one. I tried all the Malle’s again, well, the ones I have previously loved: Une Rose, Une Fleur De Cassie, even Musc Ravageur (which 20th time round got a bit unappealing)… and then Le Parfum de Therese…
The magic hit me straight away and I was struck with a kind of… melancholy joy… you know? It was gorgeous. Having let it sit on my skin for just an hour or so as I explored the nearby shops, I went back to Liberty and bought a 50ml bottle… I’m not always that spontaneous.
Although I have only owned this for all of 2 days now, I have worn it day and night – it’s unbearably beautiful.
Only after my purchase did I read the little love story that goes with this fragrance. En bref: Edmond Roudnitska created this hyper modern (at the time) fragrance in the 50’s for his wife Therese and she wore it solely ever since as her signature. When Roudnitska passed away in 1996, Frederic Malle approached her afterwards and asked for the unique perfume to be included in his line of fragrances. She agreed to share it with the world. It is a perfume made with absolute love – and with this image, is undoubtedly one of the most romantic fragrances I’ve smelt.

Le Parfum De Therese

Le Parfum De Therese opens with bitter, juicy tangerine, spiked with a touch of pepper and a hint of clove. There’s a culinary greenery underneath, but the fragrance doesn’t smell “cologne-y”, or even particularly fresh. It’s muted, a soft layer from the start that whilst almost mouthwatering, is inedible, and quickly ozonic. Now, the ozonic accords in the opening seem to stem from a melon note. The melon smells of melon… not water scented with melon, not an aquatic calone overload… just melon. Is it watery? Well of course… melon is. But it’s a “just-sweet” juice, the tiniest bit lactonic, but blended with the tangerine, subtle spice and green to create something that smells utterly seamless on the skin.

More fruit joins in, but again, nothing high-pitched and thankfully nothing too dry. A plum note warms up Le Parfum De Therese – working beautifully with the spices – the melon giving the fragrance a texture which takes it away from any possible association with the plum-y, spicey overloads of Arabie and Aziyade for example – this is nothing like that at all. The plum smells like skin, like a replacement for cumin, or leather. It has the same feel as the apricot in Daim Blond by Serge Lutens (which doesn’t work for me at all). It has a density to it but a light scent, intermingling with the opening fruits to make the transition to the heart one of the most languid, luxuriously smooth journeys I’ve encountered.

The florals? They do show up I promise you… at first I get a clean rose. Lacking any geranium-like freshness (but spiced with the pepper from the opening), it sits in a plush layer like a rose pillow (the only way I can describe it!). Jasmine shows up shortly after and dominates the floral arrangement… it’s a touch indolic, but restrained – smooth and refined by the aquatic fruits (a combination which should on paper, make me nauteous, but no). The jasmine is delicately handled, a touch honeyed, and lightly spiced (I keep saying spiced, but Le Parfum de Therese is not spicy… excuse my bad choice of language!). I also get subtle wafts of carnation and the merest hint of lily. But all in all, Le Parfum de Therese is a jasmine/rose.

At this point, Le Parfum De Therese smells refined, restrained, with a depth and weight to it which clings to the skin. The base gets drier as it goes on, a hint of suede, dry woods and earth (the vetiver/earth accord mixed with the remaining carnation reminding me of the very depths of Iris Silver Mist without the iris and metallic notes…). More comparisons? I’m not sure… many people compare this to other Edmond Roudnitska fragrances, mainly classic Dior’s… my lack of experience with them means that I can’t comment on that… but to me, Le Parfum De Therese smells possibly like the fragrance that could have inspired Aftelier’s Wild Roses. It has the same fruity/rose combo used with a similar texture, and hints of spice and earth. This is the closest thing I could compare it to.
Anyway… I could go on and on about this, pulling it apart more and more, trying to both come to terms with it, and express it as accurately as possible. Describing it in such depth just destroys it though, as on paper it seems to read like something it isn’t. Expect nothing and forget everything before trying it. But for me: it is an absolute treasure.

Le Parfum de Therese 50ml EDP Frederic Malle – 125 Euros www.fredericmalle.com

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Lipstick Rose – Frederic Malle

Lipstick Rose

Lipstick Rose opens with an aldehydic powder of violet and rose, a touch of citrus sparkles up top, and for a short while, the powdered rose reminds me of Traversee Du Bosphore by L’Artisan Parfumeur – almost note for note. The balance begins to shift though, and a thick, waxy texture mingles with the powder to take Lipstick Rose off on a different tangent.

The rose note smells clean, old-fashioned without being particularly soapy – with accords of Turkish delight, spicy potpourri, a tea-like bitterness and just a touch of raspberry- but from afar, it is just… a very traditional rose. The waxy texture makes me suspect there’s maybe a little magnolia in here, given away also by the hint of sweet, lemon-y, floral cream that runs in between the rose and violet. The violet/iris/heliotrope in the heart is what seems to combine to create the “make-up” accord that dominates the heart. This accord smells similar to the Guerlain Meteorites fragrance which matches their scented makeup, a slightly melancholy, simplified version of L’Heure Bleue. But Lipstick Rose, whilst beautifully pristine, is playful – and a joy to wear.

The base surprises me a bit with a subtle, salty, earthy vetiver sweetened with a touch of vanilla. The vetiver anchors the light-hearted powder and matures the fragrance as it dries down, made a little herbal by a bay-like culinary note. The vanilla does what you’d expect it to do, and a musk throws Lipstick Rose off the skin for a good couple of hours, a light, laundry-esque fuzz that smells satin-soft and feminine. There’s a little resinous amber underneath, very light, powder-filled (again) – a little warmth to make the synthetic association with makeup a tad more “human”.

Lipstick Rose is pretty straightforward from here on, a drydown mingling the “lipstick” floral accord with a sweet musk and green-tinged amber. It is a simplistic but charming composition that I’d love to have a small bottle of, but I have Putain Des Palaces to do a similar job for me :)

Lipstick Rose 50ml EDP Frederic Malle – £100 Les Senteurs

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Portrait Of A Lady – Frederic Malle

Portrait Of A Lady

Mint, geranium, clove, rose – it all comes racing out in the opening of Portrait Of A Lady. A vegetal greenery quickly gives way to a potpourri style dusty rose and a huge incense. It’s extravagant and opulent, constantly morphing on my skin with each note desperately trying to lead.
A medicinal oud sits quietly underneath but for some reason my nose runs straight to it – and for a second, the clove/vegetal/oud combination reminds me of a much more floral, and wearable version of Shiso by Aftelier. This association disappears quickly though as Portrait Of A Lady continues to find a comfortable arrangement to settle in.

The rose/geranium duo dominate, the geranium constantly providing an unexpectedly masculine, herbal edge to the rose. Little specks of sour berries come to the surface that I mistake simply for the geranium, but their tart, red colour are unmistakable. The berries however are not strong enough to stay around for long.
As the geranium settles a touch, the rose reminds me a little of the drydown of Une Rose, heavily fragrant and bone dry. Some culinary spices of bay, clove, cinnamon, pepper – add texture and heat to contrast with the cooling effect of the herbal notes atop the rose.

A patchouli creeps in underneath the incense, going unnoticed for a little while until it all falls into place that Portrait Of A Lady is going to lead to a rose/patchouli drydown – I’d say predictable, but that would be unfair – it’s incense and herbal inclusions took me down an unexpected little route for a second.

As it finally settles into it’s relatively linear drydown – I unfortunately grow a bit tired of it :( Not because it’s loud or cloying or whatever, it is none of that. Instead it falls flat on my skin – not completely, I still get the tickle of pepper like it’s just been sprayed (the incense?), and a bit of dust from the rose flying off my skin in a high pitch. What I don’t like however is the cedar/amber/musky drydown – maybe it’s because this tiring accord has been so desperately overused these last few years and now that I’ve finally got around to this review I’m tired of it. Whatever it is – I find it almost a let down to what came before, and have always wondered what it was in this drydown that annoyed me… well, after a few good wearings I discovered this was it (ambroxan? norlimbanol?). It dehydrates the rose and the cool herbal accords so quickly that I feel like I need to crack out a chapstick just to get through the drydown.

Now, I’m not saying it isn’t nice – it’s still a harmonious balance of gorgeous, classical notes – the rose, patchouli and incense still leading. The oud and culinary spices give a traditional Arabic undercurrent without smelling soiled or overly intense – a beautiful oriental inclusion. But this annoying woody/amber grinds on me, in a synthetic translucency that feels like a complete waste of space. The clean musk further bulks out the base, making it throw itself off my skin in a laundry-esque fuzz. A subtle, sweet vanilla/wood underneath turns my frown upside-down for a few minutes, before the aromachemical overload comes in and fingerbangs my nostrils into submission.
I give in – you were never for me Portrait Of A Lady, but I know on the right person you smell absolutely beautiful.

Portrait Of A Lady 50ml Frederic Malle – £135 http://shop.lessenteurs.com

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Une Fleur De Cassie – Frederic Malle

Une Fleur De Cassie

An aldehydic blast opens Une Fleur De Cassie which is quickly followed by an intense, yet de-sweetened mimosa. I LOVE mimosa – it’s powdery, pollen-heavy, with a slight almond-y kind of smell, it’s gorgeous. Here, the mimosa takes on a “papery” texture which I really like – normally iris is to blame for this so I guess there is a little hint of it here?

The floral heart which leads Une Fleur De Cassie is a slightly rotted (just-turned) bouquet of mimosa, carnation (with the clove accords perfectly tuned down), a clean rose, a hint of jasmine and a smidge of “meaty” lily… it’s really, really nice. So I described it as “slightly rotted” – similarly to the indole in Sarrasins, indole here is thrown in with good measure, but thankfully the sheer amount of other floral accords going on in the heart interweave the fecal smell harmoniously and comfortably – making the bouquet a little dated and musty smelling – perfect.
A subtle cumin seems to be in there too adding a real warmth and density, making the florals a little more “human” and to me at least, interesting.

The mimosa still dominates for me, joining a heliotrope (and violet?) to increase the powdery, almond quality to the florals – this seems to even overwhelm the carnation and jasmine which is quite a feat! What I love, is that similar to how Jarling paired these notes with a medicinal undercurrent, Une Fleur De Cassie pairs these appealing almost edible florals with a bitter vegetal smell underneath. Whether this is the “cassie” or not, I don’t know – but the indole plays a bit part in this vegetal accord. Maybe it’s hyacinth? It has that real “swampy” smell to it, without the normal piercing pitch of hyacinth, like in my recent love Indigo. There also seems to be a slightly soiled, fruity note – which reminds me of the apricot/rose pairing of Aftelier’s recent Wild Roses. It has that kind of soft, furry apricot/peach scent that you often find paired with leather (Bottega Veneta, Daim Blond…) It’s confusing… whatever makes up this accord is very clever: a harmonious balance of a huge bouquet of floral notes to create a heart that is practically perfect.

Vanilla, sandalwood, indole and a touch of musk secure the base. The vanilla has a “low bass” kind of smell, if that makes sense – a similar vanilla to that in Musc Ravageur, there’s no high pitch sweetness and instead it is a mere hum on the floor of the fragrance.
Une Fleur De Cassie is surprisingly subtle on my skin – but with a perfect sillage and very easy to wear. Although too expensive, I’d love it as an everyday fragrance and will be sure to get a bottle of it soon. It reminds me of a more grown-up, refined Charogne by Etat Libre D’Orange which also plays on the rotted, indole heavy bouquet idea, only paired with a childish (but fun) bubblegum note that dominates throughout. Une Fleur De Cassie however is real, gorgeous, classic perfumery – excellent.

Une Fleur De Cassie 50ml EDP Frederic Malle – £110 http://shop.lessenteurs.com

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En Passant – Frederic Malle

En Passant

En Passant is a lilac – instantly a sweet, almost violet tinged lilac: delicately aquatic and pollen heavy. It’s a true to life representation of a bush of flowers, just a subtle tinge of greenery and a light but heady aroma. I love the literal “pollen” notes, its texture is damp and dewy and it’s emotion completely innocent and joyful – I really like it!

The thing that concerns me about En Passant is that at times I think it merely smells like a good body wash or a hand soap – only when I stop and think about what I’m sniffing do I find it interesting. This becomes more apparent as a cucumber aquatic note and a hint of melon come in, drenching the lilacs in a densely synthetic blob with a slight sunscreen vibe. I hunt for the infamous “wheat” notes, and whilst I do get it, I find it to be almost a mirage, easy to go unnoticed.

The lilac accord seems to be a combination of lilac, rose and lily, with maybe a very subtle orange blossom too? It sounds like a bouquet but it’s blended into a pretty blunt soliflore – and whilst I really like the outcome, it’s partnering notes unfortunately make it a little too simplistic to keep me keen.

The aquatic overload does settle down thankfully – but still: the minimalistic combination, the delicate quality of the almost laundry-esque lilac accord and the awkward calone style “filler”, keeps En Passant uncomfortably balancing on the line of “very lovely” and “smells like hand wash”.
I have a little 10ml bottle of this and I will never need more – at times it does exactly what I want: practically not exist or project on my skin so that I can enjoy wearing perfume without really having to smell it – a very very rare occasion but one that pops up once in a blue moon.

A very lovely, naturally heady aroma of a lilac bush meets a loud fabric softener… an unusual combination of lilac, wheat and cucumber meets a slightly soapy, synthetic creamy scent almost unidentifiably “floral”… the pros balance out the cons so I shall define it as “nice”.

En Passant 50ml Frederic Malle – £90 http://www.liberty.co.uk

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SMELLYTHOUGHTS In Paris… Day 11

Hello everyone!
Thanks for all the support so far and the nice words about my vacation and the happy birthdays and all that, it’s been much appreciated :D

So, It’s my last day in Paris today, and it’s more of a “perfume shop visiting” diary than anything as exciting as what went down in Zurich :P But there we go.

The first stop when I got to Paris was Galeries Lafayette, it was hideously overcrowded with a stock I’d seen everywhere and I think I stayed about ten minutes…

Onto something more interesting :D The Serge Lutens Palais Royal!
Ok so the shop is gorgeous, the bell jars all laid out exquisitely with tester strips below them so you can smell the drydown and then fresh ones to smell the top notes. The sales assistants were surprisingly helpful, not the most welcoming in the world but as soon as they saw I actually had an interest they warmed up a bit (expectedly!).

Serge Lutens Palais Royale

There were a few things I’ve been really meaning to try properly. Sarrasins was one (and a lovely BN’er is sending me a sample to live with for a while of this one so I didn’t explore it too much) – but it’s a gorgeous, over-the-top indole heavy jasmine, I didn’t try it on skin, but I know I’ll like it :D
Mandarine-Mandarin is one that I keep getting drawn too although I had never smelt it before, and when I put it on my skin I thought it was love at first sniff. It’s a beautiful, dense, jammy orange – laden with spices and a rich, warm base – it’s loud, lasts forever, and I instantly considered it an ultimate comfort scent – unfortunately it got pretty tiring on my skin after a couple of hours of walking around and I managed to put myself off it :( Still, it’s a beautiful scent and one that seems to get overlooked a lot in the Lutens’ line up of exclusives.
I gave quick sniffs to tons of stuff: Rose De Nuit, Encens et Lavande, Fourreau Noir…
One worth talking about is the new release, Une Voix Noire (which I’ll have to find a sample of and write about soon). It really really impressed me, although it completely turned my stomach! The gardenia in it, isn’t really a gardenia, it’s not particularly accurate but it’s interesting. There isn’t a mushroom in sight, but it is without a doubt the cheesiest gardenia I’ve smelt. It’s not rich and pungent, but it reminded me a soft cream cheese like Philadelphia – that underneath all the sweetness and boozy notes was fascinating, and absolutely sicknening! I almost wanted to buy it, but with it sitting on my skin for a few hours, the drydown just smelt filthy to me! – and in a way I’d never experienced before. I would love to explore this one more as it was so unexpected. It’s a great release, a brilliant perfume, but totally unwearable for me.
Anyway, I won’t tell you what I bought just yet… I’ll leave that for my last post on my holiday!

Next I went to Jovoy which I visited today as well (this post isn’t all about one day!) – Jovoy has a beautiful collection, all the Tauer’s, Vero Profumo, Puredistance, Xerjoff, Parfum D’Empire – it’s huge, beautifully presented and the manager? I think he was anyway – was extremely helpful and took me around the whole shop explaining everything. I highly recommend this place to visit!
I tried a few things that I had wanted too, like Cuir de Nacre (very iris heavy but nice enough), Chypre Palatin (which I was really impressed by on first sniff but found the drydown a little boring for me – it reminded me of a modern Bandit meets Mitsouko? Although they’re very different).
I tried Mona’s Cuir again as I’m always fascinated by it (and have a sample now) – I love that cigarette smoke leather that on my skin turns almost peanut-y, but I don’t think I need another heavy leather. I tried the new Musc Tonkin by Parfum D’Empire which was much more potent and “extreme” than I imagined it would be – a heavy heavy goat leather with a lot of other crazy stuff going on in there, I didn’t give it much time because yet again – I don’t need a leather, and it was a little bit unsettling for me :(
So yes, I could go on and on but this post is long enough already and I have lots more to write about!

Eiffel Tower

Nose is the new concept fragrance store whose idea is that you have an “assessment” where you try lots of ingredients and blah blah, then they recommend you 5 perfumes to try based on your tastes. It’s a great idea, but I walked around the shop and the brands I’d either tried or wasn’t particularly interested in at the time, so I thought I shalln’t waste my time on an assessment becuase I’m not buying anything :)

Sens Unique had a great little range including all the Parfumerie Generale’s, Nasomatto… the usual, on top of Technique Indiscrete which I’d wanted to try for ages! Their Delivre Moi which I assumed I would love (and did!) was a gorgeously rich, piss-y honey scent that was a little too similar to my bottle of Miel De Bois for me to purchase. But I would highly recommend it as a more affordable alternative! A lovely little shop and the sales girl was hugely knowledgeable, telling me the stories behind a lot of the fragrances I randomly picked out.

Marie Antoinette is a tiny boutique perfumery that Andy Tauer had told me I must visit. It was gorgeous, like a little crooked wooden house stocked with a carefully chosen, refined selection. The lovely gent who runs the place was extremely helpful and passionate, and Marie Antoinette is also the only shop in Paris to stock the Tableau De Parfums line. He sprayed me with something amazing but I can’t remember its name :( the language barrier was a little tricky and I’m sure we both nodded along to things when not knowing what to say or not understanding each other. Still – he had some highly unusual things I’d never heard of and it is a real little gem of a perfume shop.

Guerlain Champs Elysees

The Guerlain boutique on the Champs Elysees was stunning. I was a bit apprehensive about going in – and to be honest, Guerlain really isn’t my scene. But still, it was lovely to see all the bee bottles and the wonderful displays throughout the shop and try all the pure parfum’s, some exclusives etc. etc.

I also visited a Frederic Malle store (to buy my Mum’s xmas prezzie), and yet again, the sales man was fascinating to talk to. He told me I must visit Printemps department store which had a much better selection of fragrances than Galeries Lafayette and he was right – although it was yet again, a little overcrowded – it had a very nice selection. But, yet again, nothing I hadn’t seen all over Paris. But the manager of the Frederic Malle store in Printemps got in touch with me having discovered my blog just a day ago, so I’m going back there tonight to have a little chat :)

Printemps

Ermmmmmm, so yeh! Perfume wise, I think that’s pretty much it. I passed Parfums de Nicolai, Etat Libre D’Orange, Annick Goutal, L’Artisan Parfumeur etc. but, aside from PdN, I know these lines so well I didn’t feel the need to pop into the stores.
So on top of a ton of typically tourist-y sightseeing, that’s what I’ve been up to here :) All lovely stuff!
And tomorrow? Off to Rome! :D

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Une Rose – Frederic Malle

A larger than life blast of pure, crisp rose (expectedly) opens Une Rose. It’s clean, crystal clear, and classically presented. This opening is the definition of a perfect soliflore – the rose’s complicated angles are all on full display: A traditional rose soap, a raspberry jam quality, a bright citrus freshness, a rich floral spice, a lightly fungal earthiness, and a languid translucency of floral waters. It’s all there, in a harmonious balance that evens Une Rose out into a singular accord.
The thing I find fascinating about this opening – is that it literally smells like its name “A rose” – it is a single rose, inhaled from a distance close enough for the petals to be spread around your nose. The scent of a bouquet of roses often captured in fragrances is more subdued, it is sniffed from afar, diluting it’s textures and it’s more ugly edges into something smoother and more delicate – even flat at times. Here the rose is completely up close and 3 dimensional, you can see into every corner of every petal and sniff out it’s more hidden elements.

So paired with the rose, is the green rose twang of geranium – probably contributed to the fresh citrus accords up-top. The geranium is blended to a point where it becomes part of the rose rather than a separate ingredient – the rose is the leading player start to finish.
An ever-so-slightly soiled honey comes forward, enhancing a little sweetness of the rose amongst the delicately bitter greenery. It’s a clever contribution, bringing forward a sweetness in Une Rose that is far more natural smelling than any other amber/vanilla/benzoin sweetener.

The unfortunate thing for me in the heart is that the rose begins to become lightly powdered, and therefore a little more “perfumey” – it starts with such fresh dew on the skin that it almost feels damp, the genuine scent of a rose after the rain (really lovely). It takes on a slight stuffiness at this point, where the rose begins to grow stronger, and seems to age with a “pot pourri” style dry, decay. Whilst it still smells like the same beautiful rose, it has really began to dry, gathering a little unwelcome dust.

The fruity facets of raspberry jam at the begin which impart a (very light) delicious syrup into Une Rose’s opening, age and mature into a slightly boozy note, with a stale wine aroma. It’s a really nice accord – but makes the already stuffy illusion of pot pourri a little more cloying than necessary – further folding the freshness of the opening into a heavily perfumed cloud of dust and honeyed pollen.

When I first tried this on paper I picked up an earthy fungal note of mushrooms (which obviously I was head-over-heels for), however this doesn’t seem to make an appearance on the skin for many hours, and even then it is far more subtle than I initially perceived it.
The earthy notes do push forward as the rose continues to age, not with a fresh green snap of stems and leaves, but instead the delicate scent of earth (which has now completely dried out), and yes, a tiny smidge of vegetal fungus.

In the late drydown (although I pick it up very lightly after an hour or so), I got a sharp dose of cedar wood to support the base. It compliments the multi-faced rose of Une Rose by taking it away from a more predictable musk/sandalwood territory into a wood with a much more abrasive scented texture. It holds a roughness that keeps Une Rose strong and powerful – it never succumbs to something delicate and predictable, blasting of your skin for hours on end.

Une Rose is a strong player in the Frederic Malle line, and amongst the other great roses in the house’s collection, it still holds its own unique identity as the most classical, and maybe even the most wearable in the highly praised rose trio (Une Rose, Lipstick Rose, Portrait Of A Lady).
On first sniff, I adored this fragrance – I instantly said “This is the best thing I’ve smelt in a long time” – after a true wearing I can’t stand by that statement as for me, the heart loses its way a little bit. That isn’t to say the heart is poor, it still paints a wonderful olfactory picture, it’s just not where I hoped the fragrance would lead me from the start.
However, I highly recommend this as one of the best rose soliflores I have tried, and is a must sniff for rose connoisseurs. A beautiful perfume.

Une Rose 50ml Frederic Malle – £130 Les Senteurs

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Dans Tes Bras – Frederic Malle

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

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A Wednesday In London

So, on Wednesday I decided to make my way to London and have a sniffathon – and a little shop at the end of it.
I had a few things in mind I originally wanted to buy – and was completely open-minded as to what I wanted to sniff.

My shopping goals for fragrance were something smoky (I was thinking Lonestar Memories/Vierges et Toreros/ the-then-untested Les Nombres D’Or Cuir/ anything else that some sales staff want to throw under my nose), and something for summer.

After arriving in London – the first point of call was Selfridges.

There’s the main beauty department bang in the middle of the bottom floor – filled with all the designer brands, a little to the side in a small room (or two) are a few niche fragrances and generally, the more interesting bits.

Walking past Dior firstly, I was thrown a piece of paper with Oud Ispahan written on it – and this is one of the things I actually came in to try.

Oud Ispahan is the new release in the Dior Prive line, I haven’t got much experience with the line as although I love the bottles, they don’t really appeal to me :( However, I figured if I liked it enough it may be a buy, but it didn’t quite hit the spot.

That’s not to say Oud Ispahan is not nice – it is a really nice, safe rose/oud combination. It is rich, with a slightly soapy edge. The rose is crisp and clear as is the oud, they are both perfectly balanced and the fragrance was MUCH cleaner than I expected. A really good beginner oud scent, long-lasting, but delicate and refined enough to wear regularly (unlike most rose/oud combinations).

I also gave Leather Oud a quick sniff, but yet again, I just find it too perfectly balanced and not quite scary enough for me to really get attracted to it (I considered this in my smoky fragrance list also); it may be a daring composition for them, but it still feels like a Dior fragrance (if that makes sense).

The only other fragrances I gave a quick sniff too were a couple Lutens’ I have already tried, and two of the new Robert Piguet fragrances – Notes and Casbah.

Notes was unlike anything I normally try, very masculine in a “cologne” type of way, I really liked the strange opening clary sage and geranium, but it got very uncomfortable on me very quickly. It is very loud and powerful (a little nauseating) with such a strange combination of notes, I had to ditch my paper blotter pretty quickly.

Casbah I can’t even remember what this smelt like, I hated it straight away. It definitely had the Piguet signature in pretty strong (I don’t know much about the signature but so far I have not got on with his fragrances at all as they all have this weird component tying them together). All I remember was that it was spicy, but cool, and really musty and dated. Horrible.

That was me in done after that – scared away by the Piguets and remembering that Selfridges is actually not a very good fragrance shopping destination…

Next, around the corner to Marble Arch and a much-needed visit to Les Senteurs.

Welcomed as always by the lovely staff, my first sniff was at the central table where they were promoting the new Ruth Mastenbroek fragrance – Amorosa.

I wanted to try Amorosa after reading The Candy Perfume Boy’s write-up of it and hearing about the wonderfully unusual watermelon opening!

Yes the opening was quite unusual, a lovely juicy watermelon – non aquatic and instead sweet and almost fizzy. The white florals underneath were good also – that was pretty much all. A nice, safe summer fragrance with no “umph” to make it unique enough for me, but I like my weird shit :P  It was also one of the very few occasions where I sniffed something feminine and thought “Nah I couldn’t get away with that” which was a shame.

After much snooping round in awkward silence, I made my way over the Frederic Malle counter, and asked for some advice. I have tried a couple of Malle’s – the gorgeous Dans Tes Bras, Musc Ravageur, Carnal Flower, Vetiver Extraordinaire, Bigarade Concentree.

I firstly had another quick sniff of Dans Tes Bras - a beautiful extremely salty combination of clean sweaty skin, seaweed-like salt, and the most unusual violets. I just adore it and was tempted by a bottle – but it wasn’t what I came for!


After asking what I had tried and liked from the line, I was directed to Une Rose. One sniff and I was overcome with “mmmm”‘s and “ahhhhh”‘s. I said “This is one of the best things I’ve tried in ages”.

It is a clean, almost soapy rose, but undercut with earthy mushroom type notes. It has that dirty/clean vibe that balances in perfect harmony, with delicate presence on the skin, but great surrounding throw. Whilst it sounds silly to say I enjoy the “refined” quality of this, and not the Dior’s, the complexity of the rose here is presented in all it’s glory and it’s far more fascinating than the more simple compositions of the Prive line I sampled. Whilst I do think that this is currently too mature for me (another thing I never say), I will own a bottle in time. I was going to add it to my basket in Les Senteurs but when I was told the price, I moved on!!

Sticking with the Malle’s for a minute, I also gave brief sniffs to -

French Lover – bitter greenery, galbanum, green pepper, raw cedar – all that jazz, I felt like I had smelt it before, not for me…

Noir Epices - surprised me and is something I will sample properly in time. I imagined something close to Tauer’s Eau D’Epices but it turned out to be far cleaner with a crisp clear display of spices, an aldehydic orange and floral accord up top brightens the opening and makes Noir Epices feel more classical than other spice-basket fragrances. Maybe not something I would wear, but very nice.

Une Fleur De Cassie - Reminded me instantly of Carillon Pour Une Ange, not sure why as lily of the valley isn’t listed but it’s what I got strongest. It was a pollen rich floral bouquet with a carnation spiciness. I didn’t like it.

Lys Mediteranee - I really like – an aquatic note of salty ocean, warm and beachy, with a gorgeous spicy lily (which I adore) floating throughout. It’s light and lovely – nearly bought this.

En Passant - I also thoroughly loved and didn’t expect to – water and lilacs, so unbelievably delicate with abysmal, poor longevity, but heavenly whilst it lasts.

So is that all I sniffed? Hellllll no, my nose was practically burning but I continue…

I went onto my smoky cravings, where I smelt a lot of stuff not worth writing about. A few caught my eye including Mona Di Orio’s Cuir which I hadn’t tried before. I do not like Mona’s creations as narrow-minded as that sounds, but I just can’t stand her base. However, Cuir was a lovely smoky leather, the kind of smoke that is delicate in its volume, but piercingly uncomfortable in its texture – it had the feel of stale cigarette smoke and it had this rich/trashy clash going on and it was a very near buy!

I went on to sample Lonestar Memories again for the millionth time which constantly makes me collapse in delight. I pretty much knew this is what I wanted to buy, but I had more smokiness to try later in the day in other shops…

At this point, my nose was knackered, so I needed a coffee and a change of scenery, and I promised I’d be back later!!

So after a an hour of chilling, I headed over to Liberty.

I mainly came to Liberty to sniff two fragrances. One was the intensely smoky Patchouli 24.

I hated this when I first tried it, and I didn’t have much luck again. Patchouli 24‘s smoke is extremely dense, loud and uncomfortable. It is literally bonfire smoke, with that hit-the-back-of-your-throat pitch. Underneath is a sickly sweet vanilla, and the whole composition is completely unbalanced and immature, I hate it (but wanted to love it)

I also came to try Pulp by Byredo as I heard of its rotten fruit accords which I was craving for summer. Unfortunately it reminded me a lot of Multiple Rouge by Humiecki and Graef – more the combination of every cheap shower gel scent exploded into one opening. It wasn’t richly fruity and natural smelling as I hoped, and instead was an extremely synthetic combination of overpowering, unappetizing fruit notes. Not at all what I was after.

I was hoping the Blood Concept line was still on sale but they were no where in site (I had my eyes on AB!).

I was in and out of Liberty very quickly, taking a quick sniff of Goutal’s Mon Parfum Cheri Par Camille, which was a huge, stuffy dated patchouli with some high-pitched metallic notes scattered throughout – I liked it! But I don’t need another patchouli.

I quickly stopped by L’Artisan Parfumeur in Covent Garden to pick up a bottle of Dzongkha on sale for my mum (who loves it) – so that was my first purchase of the day, but not for myself!

So, from here it was off to Harrods.

In Harrods I instantly walked to the Perfume Hall, which was buzzing with people and sale signs. I entered the room by Boadicea The Victorious I noticed a sale on – I hoped Complex was on sale but, it wasn’t…

Instead a little bottle of Reviving was on sale for £35 – bargain considering RRP is £90. I sprayed it on my hand (the first skin test of the day), and it was a nice enough masculine composition of vetiver, oakmoss, a light floral opening and a saltiness throughout, I enjoyed it and was going to buy a bottle but, it was only because it was on sale, that £35 could be put to much better use…

I continued around the hall, nothing taking my fancy, so up I went to Roja Dove’s Haute Parfumerie.

Greeted initially by a hugely enthusiastic lady with the most forcefully upper class accent I have ever encountered, I quickly shunned her off and headed over to the Vero Profumo just to glare at the bottles with serious wanting.
I sniffed the glorious Onda and Rubj EDP once more when another sales assistant came over.
He began talking to me about how the Onda EDP is “a wonderful lavender and leather”, I held back my chuckle through watery eyes and just smiled and nodded… I said, “Yeh… and of course the vetiver, ginger, citrus and honey – I mean, they make up the most of it” :’) He smiled, nodded, and then proceeded to say “The perfumer was inspired by Tabac Blond… would you like to smell it?”
So why not. He brought of a paper blotter with Caron’s Tabac Blond extrait on it – it was undoubtably beautiful and I said so.

I heard the posh lady in the background “sharing a larrrff” with some ladies out back and I heard both the words “fabulous darling” and “so drôle!” before I had to make my way out this hell hole! Not my scene!

Back to the sanity of Les Senteurs

I’m back at Marble Arch now after a beer in Knightsbridge, and I’m ready for my spending :)

Greeted again, I say I want to find something for summer – no citrus (I was considering Azemour Les Oranges by Parfum D’Empire but they didn’t have it in stock), no vetiver soliflores and no white florals (although I do love them). So, I asked to try some iris fragrances
(randomly).

I was shown me the new W1X (iris, violet, rose…) by new London based niche line BEX. Infact, I gave a brief sniff to the whole line (4 fragrances) – which I will go into detail about in later.

I also tried Naiviris by Huitieme Art (I really want one of these fragrances – I love the bottles!), which I actually really liked. It is a relatively straightforward iris with a lovely warmth and spice to it. Nothing complicated, but delicate and easy to wear with a nice doughy texture to it. However, after trying these two I figured iris wasn’t my summer craving.

I went to the Parfumerie Generale display – convinced this was my last resort (and I LOVE the line). I sniffed almost everything:

Cedre Sandaraque - is a very unusual resinous, woodsy fragrance, with a warmth and spice to it that reminded me in the heart of Dior’s Fahrenheit, with it’s slightly petrol undertone. I loved the almost cotton candy sweetness up top. It’s nice – but not quite my thing.

Felanilla - another iris that is very very similar to Dior Homme, only warmer, spicier and a little richer, this would be my choice over and above Homme, although I wouldn’t want to wear either.

Psychotrope – was a very unusual dense watery, floral fragrance that Nick described as “the smell of drowning!” which is very true, it reminds me of Skarb, with its watery/chlorine type scent and a Calone/melon thickness. Uncomfortable to wear, but bizarrely intriguing.

Iilang Ivohibe - was a divine ylang ylang, narcotic floral, that somehow came across as the scent of men’s calogne/shaving cream. I loved it, but it wasn’t what I wanted – I’ll probably end up with a bottle in the near future, it’s very unusual.

Louanges Profanes - also really really good – a lily/soapy orange blossom opening becomes a rich, narcotic floral bouquet and rich vanillic benzoin drydown. I haven’t got anything like it and it was a contender for a full bottle as well. Damn I love this line so much!!

L’Oiseau De Nuit - I loved the opening of this, boozy rum and cake! I was instantly craving some more yummy goods after smelling this – and the only thing that put me off was the warm spicy amber dry-down which reminded me of my L’Artisan, I don’t need another amber soliflore…

“More yummy things!” I said…

Musc Maori - MMMMMMMM! YUM! Musc Maori is a chocolate milkshake. Slightly warmed frothy milk, and the scent of creamy milk chocolate. There’s this slightly animalic musk underneath which just turns the fragrance from being too edible into something that almost smells ever-so-slightly off. I loved it. It’s gourmand (I don’t own a gourmand), and is light enough for summer.
“Does it last like this though or is the drydown boring… HONESTLY?”
The gourmand factor of Musc Maori is so strange it had me going from “Mmmmm” to “Ewww :’)” in seconds. It’s almost grossly gourmand, in the same sense as the unedible 100% Love by S-Perfume with its “sweaty foot” note.
I was pretty much sold. But asked for more anyway :)

Une Crime Exotique – holy moly lovely opening! Gingerbread with extra spice. Gorgeously gourmand, I wouldn’t wear it myself but asked for a sample for my mum (who loved the ginger notes in Etat Libre D’Oranges’ Like This). It goes through a lot of stages in its development but somehow gets more and more lovely – but diverting slightly from the spicy, super-gourmand opening into more “perfumey” territory.

I have already tried other wonderful gourmands in the line – Aomassai, Tonkamande, Cadjmere, Praline De Santal, Indochine…
I pondered around the shop for a while, staring at everything I had sniffed that day…
What “smoky” do I want…

“You know what” I said “I’ll get Lonestar Memories. I just love it so much, nothing will beat it I don’t think :)”

And for the summer scent?

“And it’s going to have to be Musc Maori, I think I’ll be able to pull it off in the summer!” I kept sniffing the Musc Maori which I put on my skin straight after trying the carded sample – it was just so so so good. At times it is gorgeously edible, at other’s – sickeningly grotesque, so much so it makes me laugh :’)

So that’s what I walked out with, and a huge bag of samples :) A successful day! (And more thorough reviews of some of these scents to come).

What was your most recent purchase? and because I’m rubbish with summer scents – What will you be wearing regularly this summer?

I do not own the pictures of the shop exteriors :)

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Carnal Flower – Frederic Malle

The infamous Carnal Flower completely lives up to its hype! It opens with a bright zing of bergamot and instantly up comes the thick dense stench of the creamy tuberose. I say stench because this flower is potent! Almost dirty and vegetal, paired with the coconut it has this powerful fleshy quality to it, pollen rich and hugely confrontational.

What I’m trying to say with this word upon descriptive word attempt, is that the tuberose in this is fantastic. It is very different to my beloved Tubereuse Criminelle, which ones it mellows out and becomes are more accurate representation of the flower as opposed to the chemical explosion opening, it’s much tamer than this. Where the Lutens’ fragrance amps up the menthol, Malle’s offering pumps up the creaminess and femininity. But wonderfully, amongst this creamy floral, there is a deep green vegetation that has an incredibly natural and “out-doorsy” feel, which grounds the fragrance and makes it much easier to wear.

The pollen rich aspect of this I love. I love the smell of pollen and got this accord strongly in Les Nez’s beautiful tropic Manoumalia. It’s a deep orange coloured scent, dusty and fragrant, flying off the skin in a sweet aura – wonderful.

I see melon listed in this, and I do get that I guess, but I wouldn’t have without looking for it. It’s this extremely faint aquatic/fruity accord that weaves in and out the cream, it lightens the fragrance that tiny little bit – just enough not to pass out from the tropical fumes emitted by the coconut and tuberose.

Carnal Flower is linear, and the ridiculously good longevity means that this trail will last you all day. There’s no doubt this fragrance screams “SMELL MY PERFUME”, but when it’s sooooo dammnnnnn goooooood I don’t think anyone cares! Prepare to have people hover around you…

Carnal Flower Frederic Malle 50ml EDP – £140 lessenteurs.co.uk

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