Frederic Malle Dans Tes Bras : Fragrance Review



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

Sometimes I read a fragrance description, and even though I know not to attach too much importance to the notes, the idea of a perfume is conjured nevertheless. Would a fragrance called “in your arms” evoke anything but the warmth of a hug? When I first read about Frédéric Malle Dans Tes Bras created by perfumer Maurice Roucel, I imagined sweet violets folded into creamy layers of musk and vanilla—soft, tender and comforting.

At first, Dans Tes Bras seems to take me along the expected route of sweet and pretty. As soon as the liquid seeps into my skin and the alcohol evaporates, a violet unfolds. It starts out as soft and caressing, with a jaunty green accent that tempers its bonbon like sweetness.

The initial illusion of a mild caress is fleeting, however. At first, I was not prepared that Dans Tes Bras’s next turn would take me into much more passionate territory. The spices smolder under the violet petals, turning them dark and rich. The opulent musk that occupies a territory between woods and ambers–Cashmeran of the marketing copy–adds its sonorous timbre.

Dans Tes Bras takes its cues from the voluptuous perfumes of the 1980s-early 1990s: Yves Saint Laurent Paris and Lancôme Trésor. Like those fragrances, Dans Tes Bras uses its floral accent as a pretext to talk about woods and musk. As such, it is not a violet, but a violet tinged wood. The late drydown is an interesting interplay of dry and sweet, powdery and creamy. It is warm and comforting, but also unexpectedly dark.

I admit that I do not wear Dans Tes Bras as much as the indulgent Musc Ravageur, another Roucel creation for Frédéric Malle. However, whenever I reach for my sample for an occasional spritz, I become aware that Dans Tes Bras still surprises me. This makes me realize that we are in together for a long haul.

Frédéric Malle Dans Tes Bras includes notes of bergamot, clove, jasmine, violet, heliotrope, cashmeran, patchouli, sandalwood, and musk. Editions de Parfums fragrances are available from Aedes, Barneys New York, Frédéric Malle boutiques and directly from Frédéric Malle Editions de Parfums’s website.

Image: Blue Lovers (1914) by Marc Chagall.

Sample: my own acquisition

Bonus reading: The French Ministry of Culture recently awarded the order of “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres” to five perfumers: Daniela Andrier, Françoise Caron, Olivier Cresp, Dominique Ropion and Maurice Roucel. Denyse of Grain de Musc attended the event, and you can read her story here.



  • patuxxa: … violet and woods? Oh dear, another one for the lemming list! I’m still a little traumatized over Violet Blonde, though – I adore the violet opening, but then it falls completely flat on my skin. February 1, 2012 at 6:46am Reply

  • Raluca: I was given a sample of Dans Tes Bras when I bought Carnal Flower and love it! It seems to stay close to the skin which is why I don’t wear it often. I keep the sample in my cosmetic bag and I can smell it whenever I open the bag which is weird given that I cannot smell it on myself when I wear it. It is very, very nice and certainly different. I also have a sample of Musc Ravageur but I have more trouble with that one. I’m not sure if I like it. May be it’s my nose. 🙂 February 1, 2012 at 7:33am Reply

  • Victoria: I hoped that Violet Blonde would be more dramatic. Now, Dans Tes Bras is dramatic, but it is a pleasant softness. It is soft, but loud–a surprising combination. February 1, 2012 at 10:13am Reply

  • Victoria: Maybe, it's Musc Ravageur! There is nothing wrong with your nose, I'm sure. 🙂
    I think that I don't wear Dans Tes Bras enough, because I still keep thinking of it as a pretty violet. Then I put it on and boom–it is something so completely different and so much better than my preconceived idea of it. February 1, 2012 at 10:24am Reply

  • patuxxa: That sounds more and more like it’s right up my alley 😀 February 1, 2012 at 10:49am Reply

  • Kym: I really like Dans Tes Bras and am dying to get a swap going on it since I don’t know I would wear it often enough to warrant a full bottle. It’s a little odd and reminds me of Stephen Jones (which I find far more odd, but in the same manner). 🙂 February 1, 2012 at 11:39am Reply

  • Sandra Levine: I expected to love Dans Tes Bras and was disappointed when I tried it. Your description has inspired me to sniff it again. February 1, 2012 at 1:21pm Reply

  • Victoria: Please let me know what you think when you try it. February 1, 2012 at 5:18pm Reply

  • Victoria: At first I didn't care for the intro–too sweet and too green. Over time though, I got used to it. It makes sense next to the woody notes.
    The perfume took a while to grow on me, that's for sure. February 1, 2012 at 5:23pm Reply

  • Musette: V-
    DtB is one of the few Malles of which I have no olfactory memory. I just pulled out my sample and am anxious to retry.


    ps. love the new look! February 1, 2012 at 8:38pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you, A! So, what do you think of Dans Tes Bras?
    P.S.You know, since March called it Dante's Bra, I invariably keep messing up the name. I once even blurted it out at a gathering. Try it one day on purpose–it makes for a good conversation starter!  February 1, 2012 at 10:11pm Reply

  • Nick: Dear Victoria,

    Your description inspired me to revisit this, so I spritzed a little on at a counter. It definitely keeps surprising as you commented. It’s almost hard to get to know, even a little austere whilst being ephemeral. Does not have that instantly legible gorgeousity of other Roucel creations. Still, the sillage is appealing even if it confounds a little as you lean in closer. February 2, 2012 at 2:15am Reply

  • Victoria: >>Does not have that instantly legible gorgeousity of other Roucel creations.

    Nick, I completely agree with you on this. It takes its time to show its character, and I think this is the reason why it took a while to grow on me. On its lasting power, one friend commented that she could hardly smell it, while another complained that it was too strong. I think that it uses a particular blend of musk that does not register in the same way with everyone. Musk anosmias are very common. Even Roucel mentioned in one of his interviews that he can’t smell some musks. February 2, 2012 at 9:01am Reply

  • Marko: Ooops – I’m a little late to the party. But I adore Dans Tes Bras and have been wearing it since its release, so I just had to share my thoughts on its beauty. To me, it always smells best “the day after” – remnants on my skin and especially on my clothes is swoon worthy. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the fragrance when it is first applied, but it is SO aggressive in its attempt to be “cozy” that almost feels like a different scent to me…’s almost like the fragrance needs a day of absorbing body oils and “environmental odors” to truly sing. And, surprisingly, it DOES remind me of being hugged tight by my grandmother’s tiny, plump arms…..”clean” (and slightly floral) mixed with a day’s worth of chores, cooking and washing the dishes – it reminds me of her every time I wear it.

    After re-reading the above, I realized that I have a major “emotional” attachment to this fragrance because of its association with my childhood and my dear, sweet grandmother….I’m probably not being very “objective” about the fragrance – but I love what it does for me and where it transports me….just thought I would share that. February 2, 2012 at 12:53pm Reply

  • Victoria: Your story is very touching. This kind of emotional, personal connection is very rare. As I was reading about your grandmother, you’ve reminded me so much of my own. She always wore one perfume or another, but it was the mix of her perfume, lotion and vanilla (she was always baking something) that is what I remember, rather than a single individual scent. February 2, 2012 at 4:14pm Reply

  • Eric Brandon: Probably my favorite Malle fragrance and the one I’ve come closest to buying in a full bottle. Bright like neon, soft like skin. February 3, 2012 at 5:45pm Reply

  • Jennifer: Maybe I’m anosmic to something in it but Dans tes Bras pretty much smelled like latex paint and a pinch of light floral on me.This was from a red carded sample too. February 11, 2012 at 6:44pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thanks for sharing your impressions! All of us smell things differently, so it is interesting to hear other opinions. February 15, 2012 at 11:35am Reply

  • nikki: How very interesting! I am not quite sure about dans tes bras…but will try it again. HOwever, the memories of grandmothers’ scents had me almost in tears just reading…I bought my grandmother’s perfume which is “Tosca” and smell it from time to time… March 12, 2012 at 11:58pm Reply

  • Melissa howland: i can smell skin covered in sunscreen..
    Which i love!Reminds me of the beach September 11, 2012 at 11:46am Reply

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