Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie : Perfume Review

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Cassie

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Frédéric Malle Une Fleur de Cassie provokes comparisons with taking a sip of espresso and being initially startled by the dark bitterness which serves as a tantalizing prelude for the caramelized and nutty undertones. Similarly, the dark powderiness of Une Fleur de Cassie hides the warmth of violets and rose wrapped into the leathery sweetness of mimosa. The fragrance starts out on an odd wet paper note before taking an unexpected twist into the powdery almond and violet. It took me longer to appreciate than other fragrances from Frédéric Malle’s collection, but once I did, I fell in love with its juxtaposition of accords and tonalities.

Created by perfumer Dominique Ropion, Une Fleur de Cassie is a beautiful example of his talent, especially when it comes to working with floral notes. He layers the contrasting effects of luxurious sweetness, green sharpness and animalic pungency on the aldehydic floral outline. The result presents the elegance of the classical aldehydic bouquet tempered by the mineral notes. The woody base notes are smooth and polished, like a necklace of Indian sandalwood beads.

The cassie in the name refers to the warm and powdery fragrance of cassie flowers (Acacia farnesiana ), their spicy cinnamon facets underscored by balsamic undertones. Ropion augments the alluring sweetness of the composition with mimosa (Acacia decurrens) which is one of the main notes in Une Fleur de Cassie responsible for the leather overlay as well as the woody-floral and honeyed character. Yet, in a way, taking apart this elegantly harmonious composition note by note does not do it justice. Nor is it particularly necessary once you lose yourself in the beauty that it conjures.

Une Fleur de Cassie features notes of bergamot, rose, violet, aldehydes, cassie, mimosa, jasmine, clove, cedarwood, sandalwood, musk. Editions de Parfums fragrances are available from Frédéric Malle boutiques, Barneys New York and Frédéric Malle Editions de Parfums website.

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44 Comments

  • Sisonne: Hello dear V :)
    Une Fleur de Cassie was the first FM creation that I got to know & though I appreciate it for its extraordinarity I´ve to admit that I don´t love it (yet?).
    I revisit it from time to time but it´s still “out of reach”, not really wearable for me.
    Reading your review, I think this scent needs a lot of time until one can really get to understand (& love) it. I´m still working on that…;) January 10, 2007 at 7:37am Reply

  • newproducts: You make this sound wonderful! I need to sample this tout de suite. I hope the scent lives up to your lovely description. January 10, 2007 at 7:37am Reply

  • chayaruchama: This is a scent which takes time to unfold…
    It doesn’t want to seduce, all at once.
    The beurre exquise is so beautiful, it makes you want to weep.

    There are other Malles that flatter my skin more, but I enjoy sampling this from time to time.
    VERY diva, to my nose !

    Always love to read your thoughts, Vika blossom… January 10, 2007 at 7:45am Reply

  • Elle: Given my love for complex, interesting scents and animalic accords, I can’t explain why this one took me so long to adore. Must be bad karma that created such an extended delay from my now loved UFdC – betw/ that and budget constraints I can only assume I’ve led some wonderfully wicked lives. January 10, 2007 at 8:11am Reply

  • Judith: A beautiful scent, although the opening seems to kill it for some people. The body butter is also lovely, and lacks the strange opening, I think. I’ve been considering buying it. January 10, 2007 at 8:12am Reply

  • Patty: I somuch love this one. The opening is almost a deal-breaker, but worth getting through. As Chaya said, the beurre exquise of this scent is perfection. January 10, 2007 at 8:28am Reply

  • Marina: I had a conversation yesterday about what can be considered to be a “couture” perfume. Well, Cassie certainly is just that. Thank you for a wonderful review. January 10, 2007 at 9:03am Reply

  • k-amber: Thank you for information on cassie. When I asked you about mimosa fragrance you mentioned this scent. The fragrace is beatiful but philosophical somewhat, difficult to grasp its character fully. I will try it again.

    Kaori January 10, 2007 at 9:29am Reply

  • violetnoir: V, I completely agree with you. I was not prepared for the animalic rush of Une Fleur de Cassie when I first tested it and proceeded to quickly wash it off and dismiss it altogether.

    Then, after aromascope suggested that it was worth another go, I tested it again. This time I let it dry down completely into my skin. And, guess what? I love it. It will be my next Malle purchase, but in the meantime I am thoroughly enjoying my decant.

    Hugs! January 10, 2007 at 11:48am Reply

  • March: V, still working industriously to appreciate this one ;-) January 10, 2007 at 11:55am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: C, it is a very difficult fragrance to wear initially, but just like the case with Tubereuse Criminelle, over time I grew to love the opening. It adds a special beauty for me. January 10, 2007 at 1:23pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Newproducts, thank you. There is no denying that this is a beautiful perfume, and it is not difficult to write about it. However, it is definitely not a crowd pleaser. It can be very off-putting at first for some, especially the opening. January 10, 2007 at 1:24pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Chaya, I like fragrances that take their time to seduce me. This was one of them! January 10, 2007 at 1:25pm Reply

  • Robin: In the same camp as March, although not sure I’m working “industriously”. Maybe I ought to be :-) January 10, 2007 at 1:27pm Reply

  • msjustine2u: When I was at Barneys NY the SA told me that Cassie was the most popular scent in Europe, but not liked in the states. Personally, I love it after it’s been on my skin for about 15 min and the initial aldehydes tone down a bit. I don’t get that paper scent, but I wish I would just to see what everyone’s talking about!

    As for not being a crowd pleaser, last time I wore this someone I barely know at all told me I smelled exquisite. I can’t tell you how pleased this made me :) January 10, 2007 at 2:38pm Reply

  • LisaCarol: I’ve smelled Fleur de Cassie several times chez Frédéric Malle, but I’ve never been able to pin it down – is it sweet? Is it spicy? What is it really??? Thus, I’ve never ventured to try it on my skin, at FM that precious space is always taken by something else. However, on reading your review, and the comments above, I realise that to understand in one must perhaps give it time and doing so shall from now on be on my list of to-do’s! January 10, 2007 at 3:24pm Reply

  • minette: I think the intensity of the beauty of this one scares some people. I find it best to breathe it in slowly and deeply – to breathe through the shock of it. And I also think this perfume was borne of a very French point of view – the one that acknowledges the earthiness and even the death in being alive. It’s not a clean, proper American aesthetic at all. Maybe that’s why I love it so. January 10, 2007 at 4:31pm Reply

  • violetnoir: Minette hit the nail on the head! She is spot on with her observations about this beautifully French fragrance.

    Hugs! January 10, 2007 at 5:04pm Reply

  • carmencanada: Dear V., this is stil on my to-sniff list. Like LisaCarol, every risky-for-the-wallet time I’ve been to FM, I’ve been conquered by something else: it’s probably the only place where I’ve ever bought a fragrance I went in to test on the spot, and with Serge Lutens, the only house whose fragrances I’ve found a need to renew when I run out… About the cassie note: I’ve always thought Caron’s Farnesiana gave off a very pleasant wet paper note too. Have you ever perceived it? It must be the cassie… January 10, 2007 at 6:48pm Reply

  • Ina: It’s only thanks to you that I gave this perfume a second chance. :) Fresh paint and wet paper transforms into a most gorgeous scent! Loved the review. January 10, 2007 at 10:57pm Reply

  • ruxandra: is it a sweet and spicy,warm ,scent or is it dark,heavy? Is it sparkling? As far as I understand it is not an easy parfum to wear.Why? January 11, 2007 at 3:52am Reply

  • Donald: Very pretty and especially good saleswoman of the avenue Victor Hugo said to me that it is the perfume of truths amateurs. We find ourselves here.
    It became my favourite of the mark! Quite simply intelligent! It takes a long time to discover, but what a creation! Very original and full with references to splendid creations Après l’ondée de Guerlain or Farnésiana of Caron… For me, it is gray, it is dust… It is often put at the second plan and it is simply unjust. But, it is the batch of so much of creation. Thanks you very much for having some to speak. January 14, 2007 at 10:32am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Elle, I was in the same situation, so I can understand what you mean. Now, I cannot be without this perfume. It is amazing. January 15, 2007 at 3:45pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, yes, you are absolutely right! The opening is quite strong, but it wears off. The body butter might be an easier one to wear at first. January 15, 2007 at 3:46pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Patty, I cannot agree more! The opening is definitely worth enduring, although now I really enjoy it. January 15, 2007 at 3:47pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Marina, what a perfect way to put it–couture perfume. It is definitely it. January 15, 2007 at 3:48pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Kaori, yes, Une Fleur de Cassie is a wonderful fragrance to try if you want to experience either cassie or mimosa. It is conceptual, but unlike many conceptual fragrances, it is quite wearable once you get used to its quirks. January 15, 2007 at 4:26pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Violetnoir, I am so glad that Ina persuaded you to give it another chance. It is not the easiest fragrance to fall in love with it, but eventually it leads to a true and passionate love affair. January 15, 2007 at 4:34pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts about it after the work is done! :) January 15, 2007 at 4:35pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I think that you should! :) Cassie is worth it. January 15, 2007 at 4:37pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: msjustine2u, that is wonderful! Compliments from strangers are quite satisfying.

    The initial top notes have a scent of wet paper. As a part of my art classes, I once took a paper making seminar. The top notes of Une Fleur de Cassie bring me back into that paper making studio. January 15, 2007 at 4:39pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: LisaCarol, it is a woody fragrance to me, even though the floral notes are pronounced. I recommend giving it a thorough skin test to determine how it might work for you. Curious to hear your thoughts! January 16, 2007 at 12:49pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Minette, it is a beautiful way to describe it. I cannot agree more with you–the aesthetic of this fragrance cannot be more different from what is popular in the US (Pleasures, Romance, etc.) January 16, 2007 at 12:50pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I think so too! A perfect description. January 16, 2007 at 12:51pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, yes, I notice a paper/woody note in Farnesiana, but there it seems to fade quicker. I cannot wait to hear what you think after testing Une Fleur de Cassie on your skin. January 16, 2007 at 12:52pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ina, I am so glad to hear this! :) January 16, 2007 at 12:52pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ruxandra, it is just that it opens up on a rather unexpected (and not exactly pretty) note. That might be difficult for some people. However, I encourage you to try it, because it is a striking fragrance. January 16, 2007 at 12:53pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Donald, “Very original and full with references to splendid creations Après l’ondée de Guerlain or Farnésiana of Caron.” That is a great way to capture its spirit. It is a modern fragrance that references classics–a fascinating composition. January 16, 2007 at 12:54pm Reply

  • carmencanada: Dear V., I’ve just found out that the flower Carmen throws to Don José in the opera is a cassie flower… I’ve ordered a decant unsniffed because that seems like fate. January 17, 2007 at 5:26pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dear D, it is fate! I did not realize this, but now my affection for Une Fleur de Cassie is even stronger. Thank you very much for sharing this. January 17, 2007 at 10:05pm Reply

  • LisaCarol: Spurred by this thread, I dared myself out today in the rainy gloom and headed for Frédéric Malle on the left bank. And what can I say? – what a ray of sunshine Fleur de Cassie is! Very much like Carnal Flower it seems to lift your spirits when the grey seems to take over. Even though I still find it very sweet and fruity when smelled in their cubicles, it’s a very different thing on my skin. I can only describe it as green; the top is almost dry, with a grassiness not far from CF. Then I get mostly mimosa, but I wouldn’t call it sweet, it’s rather green and radiant with a hint of sour lemon and violets lurking behind it. The entire composition reminds me of Estée Lauder’s Private Collection, which has a similar tropical, spring like greenness to it, and the same muskiness in the base.
    I’m not sure Fleur de Cassie is something I’d wear on a daily basis, but I would love to have a small bottle to take out when life is just too dull. So, Victoria, thank you sooo much for nudging me out the door to go and discover it! January 20, 2007 at 11:56am Reply

  • bluegardenia: I’ve had extremely strange experiences with this one. The first time I smelled it in the store, I loved it. But it was a very quick sniff, either on paper or maybe just the open bottle. I always remembered it and meant to test it again. I recently got a sample in the mail. I sprayed it on my skin and found it beautiful and complex but somewhat innocuous. Like an expensive fruity floral. As it dried down, it became more and more boring. Almost generic! The next day, determined to try it again, I opened the decant and before I could even spray it, I was overcome with one of the most powerful, ripe, wet animal notes I’ve ever smelled. I recoiled, repulsed! The shock was partly from the extremeness of the smell and partly because I hadn’t experienced it at all the night before! I’m a little scared to try again tomorrow… June 15, 2012 at 4:58am Reply

  • bluegardenia: A couple of weeks later, and I’m in love with this. Simply had to buy a bottle. The animalic baby diaper note (who knew this could be so pleasant after being so shocking) combined with the peppery and radiant florals – all of it is utterly mesmerizing and addictive. I spray a little on my sheets before bed every night so I can enjoy the complex and creamy beauty as I fall asleep. Heavenly, and a real work of art. July 4, 2012 at 2:04am Reply

    • Victoria: You and me both! I love this fragrance too. I agree with you that it’s a real gem. July 4, 2012 at 5:55am Reply

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