Frederic Malle Angeliques Sous la Pluie : Perfume Review

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

Angéliques Sous la Pluie is a sleeper of the Frédéric Malle collection. Next to the opulent blossoms of Carnal Flower, the delicious darkness of Vetiver Extraordinaire or the smoldering beauty of Noir Epices, its ethereal presence can be perceived as somewhat muted. However, spray it on your skin first thing in the morning and inhale… Effervescent, luminous, pleasantly dry, Angéliques Sous la Pluie is like a sip of champagne. Its simplicity and elegance are so masterfully expressed that it manages to achieve that elusive quality of subtle signature—of memorable presence and delicate aura. …

Created by Jean-Claude Ellena, the master of olfactory haiku, Angéliques Sous la Pluie is Ellena at his most poetic. The skeleton of the fragrance combines dry ambery woods with the brilliant radiance of hedione and the winy violets of ionones. In fact, Angéliques Sous la Pluie is reminiscent of other Ellena creations—most notably, Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert in structure. However, once again Ellena’s ability to extend the theme with well-chosen embellishments impresses. Here, the dryness of woods is contrasted with the faceted top note of pepper and the warm base of soft, green musk. As Angéliques Sous la Pluie develops, it conveys a scent of foggy mornings, of rainy days and of early summer.

Technical beauty aside, I find Angéliques Sous la Pluie to be very compelling stylistically. I love that it does not delve into any of the expected feminine tricks, nor does it take too big of a step into the obvious masculine direction. It is refined without being contrived. Countering the impulse to wear grand entrance fragrances for an evening (Guerlain L’Heure Bleue, Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan, Carnal Flower,) I started gravitating towards Angéliques Sous la Pluie. What can I say in conclusion? If you have ever worn Dior Eau Sauvage and felt like you were the embodiment of effortless elegance, then Angéliques Sous la Pluie will be a perfect choice for you. I do not think that I can give a higher compliment to a fragrance.

Angéliques Sous la Pluie includes notes of angelica, coriander, pink pepper, and cedar. Available directly from Frédéric Malle Editions de Parfums and Barneys NY.

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21 Comments

  • Musette: What a lovely review of one of my favorite scents. I so wanted to love the other Malles, to no avail. I came upon Angelique quite by accident and have its quiet, very slightly melancholy elegance. It’s the fragrance I put on when I’m feeling pale violet and white, with touches of silver. It reminds me of photos of my Tia Cornelia’s drawing room from the 40s, with the luxe silk damask curtains and the grand piano.. June 16, 2008 at 9:33pm Reply

  • violetnoir: What a lovely review, V. I will have to test this one again…of course, Carnal Flower remains my favorite of the Malle line.

    Hugs! June 16, 2008 at 11:46pm Reply

  • Mimi: I just wanted to remark that ‘olfactory haiku’ is a beautiful and very apt expression of what Ellena does. Especially the subliminal link between the use of watery notes in his perfumes and the importance of water in haiku (I’m thinking of Basho’s famous frog jumping into ‘the sound of water’). I haven’t had the opportunity to sniff this although I have liked everything I’ve encountered from the Malle line, especially the superb Therese. June 17, 2008 at 7:10am Reply

  • Marina: It is a sleeper. I love this one. You reminded me that I need a new bottle. June 17, 2008 at 1:20pm Reply

  • Jill: I love reading your reviews and am de-lurking to say that this is a particularly beautiful one of one of my favorite scents. You really got it right in saying Angeliques conveys foggy mornings and rainy days. There is something so exquisitely tender about this fragrance to me, I return to it again and again. June 17, 2008 at 1:24pm Reply

  • Sveta: Like others I love this review! Now if I could only find it to smell it for myself. 🙂 June 17, 2008 at 8:33pm Reply

  • Girlsodeadly: I agree this fragrance is poetic, contemplative and refined but it didn ‘t rock my world at all. Angeliques Sous la Pluie embodies at its best what I think of the Malle editions, pretty fragrances and not bad but not masterpieces. When you hear Frederic Malle claim he ‘s given the greatest perfumers in the world the possibility to create their own fantasy olfactory masterpiece without budget limits and marketing constraints, this kind of fragrance comes as a disappointment. June 18, 2008 at 12:04am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Musette, thank you for your description, which is beautiful. Ah, I can just imagine this drawing room… June 19, 2008 at 8:21am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: R, Carnal Flower is simply incomparable as far as tuberoses are concerned. The only rival is Fracas. June 19, 2008 at 8:23am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Mimi, I love Basho’s poetry, which is full of surprising allusions and revelations. It is simpy incredible how he captures emotions, thoughts in all their complexity with just one line. June 19, 2008 at 8:25am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Marina, it is such a special fragrance for me. June 19, 2008 at 8:28am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Jill, thank you for your first comment and welcome! “Exquisitely tender” is a perfect manner of describing Angeliques sous la Pluie. It is so indeed. Tender, and yet very strong at the same time. June 19, 2008 at 8:31am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Sveta, if you fill out a questionnaire from the website (editions de parfums,) you might be able to obtain a sample. June 19, 2008 at 8:32am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Girl, for me, several fragrances in the collection are masterpieces, and nearly all of them touch me on an emotional level. I own the collections of two houses in their entirety–Serge Lutens and Frederic Malle. Guerlain comes close, but given their vast catalogue of vanished fragrances, I will probably not be able to find all of them anyway. June 19, 2008 at 8:43am Reply

  • Lora: Thanks for the tip about the questionnairre above – I went and filled it out. We’ll see what they have to say in terms of recommendations! June 19, 2008 at 9:09am Reply

  • Andrea: Hi Victoria!
    Thank you for the lovely review. This is indeed one of my favourites, and it captures the smell of a rainstorm so perfectly. I also think of it as a very calm, restrained fragrance, however more than one person have already said to me how “lovely” I smelled when wearing this. I always thought it wouldn’t be that noticeable, really!
    There’s a water and leaves story behind it.
    Somewhere…
    Have a gorgeous day,
    a. June 20, 2008 at 12:40pm Reply

  • Yellowcedar: I would add it’s reminiscent of early summer in a rain forest. One of my favorite scents. I need to quit fooling around with decants and get a full bottle! Thank you for your wonderful reviews. June 22, 2008 at 2:14am Reply

  • sarcon: I love this one. It’s deep dry quality is perfect for summer – like a good gin & tonic! I find it very similar to Ellena’s Jardin en Mediterranee for Hermes, minus the sophisticated fruit top note. Would you agree? June 22, 2008 at 11:24am Reply

  • Musette: Victoria,

    when you have a minute go to my site anitaberlanga.com and check out ‘Kabuki Spinet’. That’s an unfinished oil sketch of my godmother’s drawing room (it’s her on the stool)….I loved that room. My own house was just a regular old family house whereas my Tia C’s home had all the mystery and elegance a wealthy, childless woman could have. Fascinating for a young girl. June 23, 2008 at 9:39am Reply

  • Nadia: I love this perfume, it is the exact opposite of what I usually like or gravitate towards. But how do I make it last, how do I make it stronger? Should I be satisfied with how fickle it is, like a memory? November 10, 2014 at 1:04am Reply

    • Victoria: You can’t make it stronger, apart from wearing it over body lotion. That’s just a kind of perfume it is. November 10, 2014 at 7:19am Reply

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