I'm ever so happy to make Angelique Sous La Pluie my first reviewed Frederic Malle. Created by the genius nose Jean Claude Ellena, this is one of the more accessible Malle fragrances, but at the same time is utterly unique and beautiful. Between Angelique Sous la Pluie and Guerlain's Angelique Noire, I'm left to wonder why more perfumers don't use angelica. It has a wonderfully floral-vanilla-green quality. The top notes give no hint that angelica is coming—they are crisp, peppery, and do indeed have a watery quality that lives up to the fragrance's name. The angelica appears several minutes into the drydown, and it twines itself around a cedar bough quite gracefully.
Frederic Malle is available at barneys.com, and the very cheapest size available is the 3 x 10 ml refill pack for $70.
I will confess: I am a huge fan of lily fragrances. Something about lilies is so appealing to me—their lush green floral bounty makes me think of vibrant life. They are strong in profile but also delicate with their sweet, watery fragrance. That is exactly how I think of Frederic Malle's Lys Mediterranee, which to my mind is the best lily fragrance out there. (And it had better be, for the price.) The official notes are: ginger lily, water lily, lilium speciasum, orange flower, angelica root, ambrette and musk. This is rare for me, but I can actually detect all of those elements in this fragrance. They are eminently harmonious, and yet somehow distinct. I find this fascinating. Lys Mediterannee lasts several hours on my skin, and gets a tad sweeter towards the end but otherwise remains fairly linear. Unfortunately, like all Malle fragrances, one must buy this from Barney's, and for some reason it's more expensive than Angelique Sous la Pluie: $85 for the refill pack.
Cashmeran. One of the things I love about perfume sniffing is that I learn something new all the time. Do you know what cashmeran is? Apparently it's a blend of musk, woods, and resins. It's also the featured ingredient in Frederic Malle's newest release, Dans tes Bras. I'm heartily intrigued by this fragrance, mostly because I've never smelled anything exactly like it before. The cashmeran dominates from the get-go, brightened by a touch of bergamot in the opening notes. It smells like a blend of incense and orris root-it's earthy but light at the same time. As the scent evolves, heliotrope gives it a powdery tinge. I can't really pick up on the other flowers said to be in the scent and I'm kind of glad-jasmine and violet would probably strike me as at odds with the musky woodsy earthy powdery thing going on here, if I could detect them. I'm also not getting much spice, even though clove is said to be a note. And that is a shame, because I think a bit more clove would be a small improvement.
Dans Tes Bras has proven to be an interesting, cozy sniff. But I won't be buying it. It's one of those rare fragrances that I like but do not lust for. I know right away it's not something I'd like to smell like all day, and I'd never reach for it if it were in my collection. But you can buy it from Frederic Malle's website if you like. A refill set costs 65 euros. We won't go into how much the larger bottles cost. Because that would only make us angry.
It is fall. The air is cold. The leaves have turned and are falling to the ground. The world is retreating to a barren, lifeless state-I hate this time of year, and will probably spend the months til March in a miserable funk. But, at least I have a sample of En Passant to get me through it. This is an Olivia Giacobetti creation-and if I hadn't known that beforehand, I probably would have guessed after sniffing it. No one does delicate or ethereal like Giacobetti. There are few things more naturally intoxicating than the scent of lilacs in bloom. They are sweet, green, and they speak of a coming summer. For all of that, they are not all that common in perfume composition. I'm not sure why-perhaps it's difficult to get this particular flower right? The top notes of En Passant are all lilac, but they fade heartbreakingly quickly, like the flowers themselves. Next comes an unusually well done aquatic note and refreshing cucumber. Far into the drydown, I detect a faint nuttiness from the wheat note included.
It is a refreshing, amazingly original composition and I want to buy it. BADLY.
I am not traditionally a tuberose fan. It can be beautiful, but it can also easily turn brash and smell "loud" to me. Frederic Malle's Carnal Flower stands as the exemplar to my nose, and it should-it reportedly has the highest concentration of tuberose of any fragrance currently sold. The opening notes have the same lush, green tone of Lys Mediterannee. That quickly gives way, however, to a vibrant, sweet, humid tuberose note that is heightened considerably by a surprising hint of eucalyptus. Dominique Ropion, the nose behind this fragrance, was an utter genius to pair the wild exuberance of tuberose with eucalyptus's restrained, cold, medicinal quality. As the scent dries down, this duo stays fairly true, but I do detect a hint of jasmine, ylang, and orange blossom as well. They lend a sophisticated tropical floral air (if there is such a thing). I adore this fragrance. I think I should buy a Frederic Malle altar and worship at it daily. Deeeelightful.
Because it does have all that tuberose, Carnal Flower is unfortunately even more expensive than its siblings. A 50 ml bottle at Barney's will run you around $195. OUCH! I'll make do with my 2.5 ml sample. A single spray lasts the day-this stuff is potent!