Frederic Malle Le Parfum de Therese : Perfume Review



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

Frédéric Malle Le Parfum de Thérèse was created by Edmond Roudnitska, one of the most influential perfumers, the nose behind Rochas Femme, Diorella, Diorissimo and Dior Eau Sauvage among others. According to Frédéric Malle’s site, Le Parfum de Thérèse was composed in 1960s by Mr. Roudnitska for his wife, Thérèse. Upon the death of the master perfumer in the 1996, his wife allowed for the fragrance to be released to the public through Frédéric Malle.

Le Parfum de Thérèse is one of my favorites from the collection. The burst of sunny mandarin is followed by tart sweetness that reminds me of cantaloupe. A dry note of pepper softens the sweet fruity accord before green, yet animalic jasmine reveals itself. It is faint at first, however it becomes deeper over time. Roudnitska’s treatment of indoles–perfume materials that smell of decay and moth balls–in jasmine is fascinating. By amplifying the dark notes, he creates a genuinely sensual fragrance that straddles the fine line between seduction and repulsion.

While jasmine intensifies, violet and rose swirl out of the spicy green plum accords in the middle notes. The entire composition rests on a dry leathery base touched by earthy notes of vetiver. A fragrance both seductive and elegant, it unfolds gently on the skin, never failing to surprise me. I find something new in it every time I wear it.

Photo: Auguste Rodin, Fugit Amor (before 1887), marble, Musée Rodin, Paris. Photo by E. & P. Hesmerg.



  • Atreau: I really wanted to like this fragrance more than i did. It was the melon that turned me off more than anything. Still, it’s a beautiful fragrance and one I’m sure that many wear wonderfully! August 6, 2005 at 2:24am Reply

    • Surbhi: I so wanted to like this one. But i couldn’t get past the melon. January 17, 2016 at 6:43pm Reply

  • Marina: Definitely my favourite from the line. Luckily jasmine only shows for a very short time on my skin and even then it is rather tame. The whole feel of the fragrance is that of warm shimmering gold, love it. August 6, 2005 at 8:55am Reply

  • Marina: Just to add to my comment above, am I mad or does Le Parfum de Therese remind anyone else of Chamade? Just a little bit? August 6, 2005 at 8:56am Reply

  • Sisonne: Dear V, wonderful review as always! I can´t say anything about Le Parfum de Thérèse, I have a sample but didn´t have the time to test it, yet. Melon sounds very interesting 🙂 What do you think about Biagarade Concentrée? You haven´t already written about it, or am I wrong? August 6, 2005 at 9:53am Reply

  • parislondres: Hello dear V! Like S above – I tried to like it. Also like most other FMs – got bored. Gave most of it away. Have a super weekend.

    xoxo August 6, 2005 at 8:47am Reply

  • Victoria: Dear S, the melon is definitely obvious, therefore if one does not care for that note, it may be a turn off. I have nothing against melon as long as it is not too sweet.

    Dear N, there are plenty of other things to explore then. That is my philosophy. 🙂

    Dear M, your imagery perfectly captures how I feel about this fragrance–shimmering gold. I will retest Chamade and compare. I have not noticed it before, but then again I have not worn Chamade for a while.

    xoxo August 6, 2005 at 9:11am Reply

  • Victoria: Dear C, thank you! I really enjoy Bigarade Concentrée, because it captures bitter orange scent perfectly as well as a hint of twigs and leaves. In fact, it distinctly smells like salty drink made from limes that I had in India. I just checked my fragrance reviews index, and you are right, I did not review this one yet. August 6, 2005 at 10:43am Reply

  • Sisonne: Dear V, I like Bigarade Concentrée very much, too. It can be pretty sparkly, but most of the time it´s very soft & calm on my skin. Fragrances that contain bitter oranges sometimes are a bit too masculine for my taste (though I do like unisex fragrances), but Bigarade Concentrée has a rather feminine side which I find to be very attractive. August 7, 2005 at 7:45am Reply

  • Victoria: Dear C, I agree, it is definitely soft and luminous on the skin. I like the original Cologne Bigarade too, but it does not last at all on me. However, on a hot day or whenever you need a quick boost, it never fails to pick me up. August 7, 2005 at 10:37am Reply

  • Liz smellslikeleaves: Ahhhh! What a lovely review for one of my favorite fragrances! Thank you so much. *grin* I consider this perfume to be a truly complex work of art, because as you said, there’s something new to be discovered every time you smell it. It shares its secrets slowly. Like many of my favorite albums and paintings and books, it takes a long, long time to REALLY get to know, but rewards you tenfold for your efforts. LPdT endlessly fascinates me. I find it simultaneously sophisticated, sensual, reserved, womanly, elegant, and brainy. It’s a perfume that I hope to grow into, because I don’t feel like I’m quite “woman” enough for it yet. I need a few more stories to tell, a few more lost loves, a few more lines in my face, to really do this one justice.

    Haven’t tried the Bigarade fragrances by the way. At some point I have to return to the Malles I missed the first time around! As well as re-try Musc Ravageur. August 8, 2005 at 9:31pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you! I also enjoyed reading your thoughts. You capture the spirit of this fragrance so beautifully. I find Le Parfum de Thérèse to be multifaceted and intriguing. Like you, I often think of it as a Tolstoy novel, revealing yet another aspect that I have not noticed upon the first reading. In fact, I am tempted to wear it right now. August 8, 2005 at 10:19pm Reply

  • Joyti: The review is beautiful, and it sounds like a beautiful scent. Alas, it is not for me as I do not like melon scents… December 26, 2006 at 2:25pm Reply

  • Katherine Sands: I’m reading this as I try Therese for the first time. It is yet another example of a fine perfumer demonstrating to me that I don’t at all dislike a note that I thought I loathed.Case in point,the melon. It is very clearly and obviously present, but it is stripped of every element that I don’t care for and framed perfectly in this beautiful composition. March 16, 2007 at 12:48pm Reply

  • dorothy: Am looking for the original scent Diorissimo made, not the reconcocted one. Like others, started wearing it young but stopped when the fragrance changed. Does a great house make a similar scent but using natural ingredients (since Dior seems to have moved away from that)? Considering Lorenzo Villoresi, profumi di Firenze, Malle, etc. Any suggestions on a specific scent that combines the qualities of the original Diorissimo? March 19, 2007 at 10:16am Reply

  • Lavanya: V- I tried this today and it is one of the few fragrances that have recently surprised me..It is such a beautiful ‘yellow’ fragrance – sensual yet elegant.. May 30, 2011 at 12:00am Reply

  • Nicky Verfaillie Grain de Sable : Long Lost Favorite Perfume « Bois de Jasmin: […] and Yvresse that have a similar overripe fruity note, I would also recommend that Jill smell Frédéric Malle Le Parfum de Thérèse with its warm cantaloupe. Grain de Sable has a refined green note that remains bright and clear, […] April 20, 2012 at 7:01am Reply

  • Bernadette: Thank you for your wonderful review. I did not care for this when I first tried it, but I love it now. Is it possible that in a spray bottle, the first spray may differ from subsequent sprays? My little sample has been gently tipped a few times & I wonder if that can be responsible for it smelling very different. Or…after a year of a bottle being carefully stored, will some of the fragrance change? Happy to have given it another try. This has happened with more than one of the FM–so glad to have made that investment. April 11, 2014 at 6:41pm Reply

    • Victoria: It depends on how it was stored, but I doubt that the first spray should be different from all others. It’s more likely that your tastes have changed in the meantime.
      It should be fine after one year, but I would store in a cool, dark place. My bottle must be 6 years old right now, and the perfume is still perfect. April 13, 2014 at 9:28am Reply

  • Sanne: I’m trying my PdT sample right now. It’s gorgeous. The leather note gives this perfume a lovely chypre hint. I’m a Mitsouko lover, wear Mitsouko almost all year round, except for the summer months, when it’s just too overwhelming. I’m always looking for the perfect summer perfume, that, in a way, is in line with Mitsouko (sounds rather neurotic, I know!). Most of the green chypres are too green for me. I used too wear Le Temps d’une Fête for a few summers, which is lovely, but I find its sillage disappointing and the drydown a bit bland, in a way. PdT might be my new summer fragrance. July 5, 2014 at 5:59am Reply

    • Victoria: PdT is perfect for the summer, because it isn’t too heavy on animalic or sweet notes. The leather is there, but it’s offset well by other touches. One of my favorites. July 6, 2014 at 5:21am Reply

    • Lucy: I had to reply to this, albeit years later, because this is exactly how I feel about this perfume. I too love Mitsoukou and have been looking for a summer time equivalent – I think that this is the first time I have found a perfume that fits this bill. I have previously been wearing a lot of Crystalle (kindly gifted through a competition on Bois de jasmin!) and I have loved this too, but PdT feels like a warmer, richer sister to Crystalle and I feel more comfortable in it, even in these very warm autumn days. Love it! September 21, 2016 at 12:49pm Reply

      • Sanne: I have to admit that I changed to another summer fragrance last year: Mito from Vero Kern. I wear the eau de parfum (tried the voile d’extrait as well, which is heavier on the tuberose) and it is absolutely lovely. It’s a green chypre, but way softer than Christalle, which always has this ice queen kind of feel to it. It is fresh, but has a creamy, cinnamon-like quality to it as well. Still wearing Mitsouko EdP most of the year though. And I might go back to Parfum de Therèse in summer. September 21, 2016 at 3:23pm Reply

        • Lucy: Mito has been on my to try list for some time now; your description makes it sounds absolutely lovely. I really stuggle to find scents that feel right in summer time, possibly because it is not my favourite time of year. I tend to veer towards iris accords but then find these so fleeting in hot weather that I often don’t wear any scent at all. I must search out Miti to try next! September 21, 2016 at 6:26pm Reply

  • Kat: I’ve been testing several new samples, recently, and this is the one that really stood out! As described, it’s animalic and seductive…an interesting scent that is not easily forgotten, as some others tend to be. August 5, 2014 at 1:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes! It’s exactly it–memorable and one of a kind. Another perfume I can’t see myself parting with. August 5, 2014 at 10:15pm Reply

  • Angela: I have been revisiting perfumes like Therese after spending some time with vintage diorella, rochas femme. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to apply or layer Therese in order to tone down the melon slightly?
    1. Re application, I am an under sprayer (in the sense that I spray therese into a cotton ball, then dab on one wrist, then lightly brush onto the other), but the warm weather still seems to amplify it.
    2. Re layering with another fragrance (with aliage underneath (also applied very lightly with a cotton ball) to make it slightly more herbal and less sweet (though there is an odd sweetness to my vintage aliage). Aliage also seems to work as a base underneath a dab of modern extrait chamade in order to amplify the green pollen aspect). It makes me think of drinking corpse reviver 2 with coochi americano (also read about on this blog). If these combinations are horrendous from an experienced perfume person point of view, I would appreciate any advice! Many thanks! September 2, 2014 at 1:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m not sure, because Le Parfum de Therese is so complex, and the melon note is a big part of it. I can only suggest trying and letting us know how it goes. September 2, 2014 at 1:48pm Reply

      • Angela: Thank you! It was not entirely unsuccessful (in this case the double negative seems appropriate given my tentative feelings about the combo) but now that I am reading your description above, I am thinking to try just a dab of encrire noir pour homme underneath (this is because I feel that my skin amplifies the sweetness of the melon and mutes the other aspects. . .

        I also tried applying the ‘normal way’ aka one spritz (which is a lot for me) and the dry down was more balanced somehow, but I always worry that spritzing may bother others around me. And, I don’t always have time to wait for it to dry down 🙂 September 3, 2014 at 10:09am Reply

        • Angela: Just scrubbed it off. I think I prefer vintage diorella eau de toilette or the black and white checked eau de cologne in this heat (sheepish emoticon should go here) September 3, 2014 at 10:47am Reply

  • Sarah: Parfum de Therese has become my default perfume, the one that is seasonless, and always needs to be replaced. But now I’m curious: Has anyone else noticed its similarity to the scent of alchemilla flowers? There’s that sour-spicy base which the flowers really remind me of. June 2, 2016 at 5:02am Reply

    • Victoria: I have never smelled alchemilla flowers, so I need to find some. June 2, 2016 at 6:55am Reply

  • Michele Hallett: I am wearing La Parfumerie de Therese today. It’s been awhile since I’ve worn it but I’m going through my fragrance collection and rediscovering some. It smells even better than I remember. I get the beauty of the fruit and floral notes tempered by the more green and animatic notes in a wonderful way. It lets me enjoy the fruit and flowers without being overwhelmed by sweetness. May 24, 2023 at 11:00am Reply

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