A New Texture – Dries van Noten par Frédéric Malle Perfume Review

Dries Van Notes par Frederic Malle

Dries van Noten par Frédéric Malle

Dries van Noten is a belgian fashion designer described aptly by the New York Times as “one of fashion’s most cerebral designers”. Frédéric Malle is a fragrant curator who collects perfumers, allows them to take centre stage and gives them the creative freedom they need to shine.

Although both men come from different worlds they share a thirst for innovation and appreciation of beauty in all forms so it is no surprise that these two creative forces would collide. Their collaborative efforts have seen the birth of a truly new fragrance, one that positively shows that when done right there is nothing better than when perfume meets fashion.

The fragrance they have created with perfume Bruno Jovanovic is the first in Malle’s new line of fragrances; ‘by Frédéric Malle’. Intended as an “olfactory portrait of the world of Dries van Noten”, the fragrance captures the essence of erudite fashion in a high-art manner whilst feeling distinctly ready-to-wear.

Dries Van Noten & Frederic Malle

Dries van Noten & Frédéric Malle

“A perfume built around natural sandalwood, chosen for its softness and its character, and the fact that it is simultaneously exotic and evocative of the tradition of great classic perfumes. This very short formula made of very precious materials, generates a sober but distinct sensuality. It is, in my eyes, a fair parallel to Dries van Noten’s world.”

– Frédéric Malle

The Notes

Top: Lemon and Bergamot
Heart: Jasmine Absolute, Musk Accord, Saffron and Patchouli
Base: Santal Mysore, Vanilla, Ethyl Maltol, Sacrasol (Sulfurol) and Peruvian Balm

How Does it Smell?

When describing perfume we often speak of texture – how a fragrance or accord feels ‘smooth’ or ‘rough’ and how it can be compared to fabric or materials. Dries van Noten par Frédéric Malle is interesting as it brings an entirely new texture to the table, one that feels as contemporary and innovative as Van Noten’s fashion.

In cuisine this unusual texture would present itself as a saffron pana cotta – golden, spongy and delicate; and in fashion it would show itself as a super-pliable gauze – transparent and auburn in colour. As a perfume, Dries van Noten captures the essence of both gastronomy and couture in a texture that is soft, supple and gel-like all at once.

Dries van Noten is light and bubbly in the top notes with a trickle of ever-so slightly fizzy lemon and bergamot. These delicately effervescent notes are quickly paired with a warm wave of golden saffron milk that perfectly underpins the airier notes, bringing them down to earth.

Although Dries van Noten is hard to classify, flitting between a number of categories throughout its development, it reveals itself fully as a delicate, fluffy demi-gourmand in the heart with a translucent sandalwood-jasmine accord that is reminiscent of delicate biscuits sprinkled with brown sugar.

Shapeshifting again as it heads towards the base, Dries van Noten reveals more of its woody facets, pairing creamy sandalwood with equally velvety vanilla in a subdued and wispy manner. A lightly textured musk rounds the dry down off nicely, leaving only mere hints of the golden brown scent on the skin.

Dries van Noten really is something very special. It feels entirely new and contemporary when compared to other recent launches from luxury brands, including Malle’s very own Editions de Parfums line. This is subtlety at its absolute finest, a perfume that invites one to smell closer and deeper, luring one in to a delicate, warm and comforting embrace.


Dries van Noten par Frédéric Malle is available in 50ml (£115) and 100ml (£160) Eau de Parfum.

Image 1 via thewomensroomblog.com. Image 2 via thewindow.barneys.com. Notes via Basenotes.net. Quotes via fredericmalle.com.


27 thoughts on “A New Texture – Dries van Noten par Frédéric Malle Perfume Review

  1. A lovely review for a decidedly lovely perfume.

    As much as I found it pleasant enough from the get-go, it’s been a pleasure to find the more I wear it the more I like it. … Interesting that u get a ‘transparent auburn’ from it – to my nose it’s synesthetically more a creamy pale pastel yellow, but in a pellucid organza. – (And oddly enough it does actually smell reminiscent of some or other textile to me, tho’ I can’t quite figure which exactly.)

    But probably what I like most about it is that it’s so easy wearing – appropriate for any time or occasion. A really pleasant surprise. – Glad u liked it too. 🙂

  2. I haven’t smelled this one yet. Based on other reviews I’ve seen I’m surprised you liked it. I think a lot of people found it boring. I don’t think it would work for me because subtle scents rarely do, but you make it sound better than I thought it was.

  3. I wondered if this one was perhaps a grower and what Jules says seems to back this up. I don’t have anything like it in my collection so I need to get a sample and test properly. I tried it briefly but as poodle has read, it tends not to excite on first sniff, but soft textured scents often don’t.

  4. I agree about this one being ‘subtlety at its absolute finest’, and I speak as subtlety’s No 1 fan, as you know! It was a bit fleeting on me, that would be my only beef. And it is rare for me to complain about shortevity!

  5. I enjoyed your review very much. I wanted to love it, but it just isn’t me. I’m keeping my sample, as I find my perceptions change with time, and I might end up loving it 🙂

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