Frederic Malle: 18 posts

Frederic Malle Carnal Flower : Perfume Review



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

Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower explores the sensuality of tuberose rendering white blossoms both as if bathed in the sunlight and touched by the evening shadows. In the Victorian language of flowers, tuberose signified dangerous pleasures, while in India young girls were warned against inhaling its aphrodisiac scent after dark, lest it lead them into trouble.

Its herbaceous verdant opening notes interspersed with tart shimmer of bergamot are structured as a crescendo leading to a heady burst of petals. The heart is comprised of creamy tuberose layered with lacy jasmine notes, their richness complementing the unique hot rubber and warm skin facet that hides underneath the white voluptuous petals of tuberose. …

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Frederic Malle Noir Epices : Fragrance Review



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

The orange opening Frédéric Malle Noir Epices is dark and dimly lit, as opposed to sparkling like a handful of glitter. Touched by the soft apricot notes, rose begins to unfold gently, wrapped in a foil of velvety green and herbal notes. The moment the orange sweetness is dimmed, the transition is akin to throwing open a door into an idealized vision of a souk, where spices are displayed in colorful mounds.

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Frederic Malle Une Rose : Perfume Review



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

Une Rose was created by Edouard Fléchier for Frédéric Malle Editions de Parfums in 2003, and it is a fragrance that hides darkness of woody amber under the sweetness of crimson roses. Its utter lack of sentimentality and preciousness that are common in rose fragrances is akin to Degas’s sympathetic, yet honest treatment of ballet dancers. Beauty with a sinister edge is how Une Rose can be characterized.

The top notes spill into luscious red rose petals, touched by dew. Rose is accented beautifully by geranium, which emphasizes the voluptuous quality of the central accord. A dark honeyed aspect is thrown into relief by the vividness of the rose as it unfolds slowly. The petals can almost be felt against the skin, their silkiness contrasting with a distant dark whisper. This whisper grows louder until it is strong enough to scatter the unctuous richness.

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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.

Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur : Perfume Review


1925_dali Picasso_1922

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

Walking through the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, I realize that in much the same way as great artworks inspire the new generation of artists, the influence of Jacques Guerlain’s Shalimar (1925) is felt in Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur (2000). Neither like Dalì simply imitated Picasso, nor is Musc Ravageur a copy of Shalimar. It is a fragrance with its own creative merit that incorporates elements from Jacques Guerlain’s composition in order to convey another vision. While Shalimar makes one wait in order to see what makes it a perfection—which one has to admit it is, whether one likes it or not, Musc Ravageur starts to unfold at once. Its animalic elements are seamlessly blended into dark vanillic warmth, interspersed with cool notes of bergamot and lavender. The heightened interplay of powerful sensations, from hot glow of amber to icy sting of citrus, is what makes Musc Ravageur a memorable composition from the first inhale.

While I do not like many scented body products, Frédéric Malle has impressed me with the quality of its ancillary lines. Musc Ravageur Oil is a great alternative to the Eau de Parfum, especially for those who find the initial balsamic burst too dark. It absorbs rapidly into the skin and, with some sacrifice of development, melds into a softer version of the EDP. The soft balsamic warmth of this sensual fragrance would also work wonderfully on a man.

Paintings (from left to right, click to enlarge): Salvador Dalì, Venus and a Sailor (1), 1925. Ikeda Museum of Twentieth Century Art, Shizuoka, Japan. Pablo Picasso, Mother and Child, 1921-22. The Alex L. Hillman Family Foundation, New York, NY, USA. (from and, respectively.)

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