Perfume Review: Music for a While by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle


I may have said it before but Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle is one of the very few fragrances brands where I’d happily own a bottle of each and every scent in the collection. I have many, many favourites and see the collection as one of the most finely curated out there. As a Creative Director, Frederic Malle has a real knack for bringing out the best in the perfumers he works with, resulting in wearable fragrances that tread the line between classic and modern perfectly. In short, Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle is one of the very best perfume brands on the market and you can come at me if you think otherwise…

“At a party on Paris’ rive gauche, a woman’s fur coat is lifted from her bare shoulders, exposing her neck to the candlelight. Aware of many eyes upon her, she pauses, smiling to herself, before emerging like a conqueror from the shadows.”

Malle’s latest fragrance is intriguingly-named Music for a While. Created by perfumer Carlos Benaïm (who also penned Malle’s Eau de Magnolia – one of my absolute favourites in the collection), Music for a While feels like somewhat of a break from tradition for Malle in the sense that it is quite a fun fragrance. It’s almost as if Malle is repenting for the erotic baroque nature of their last edition, the Alber Elbaz collaboration Supersitious (another favourite – I told you I had many!) and is cleaning up their collection with something a little bit more frivolous. I tell you what – I am here for it!


The Notes

Pineapple, Mandarin, Lavender, Patchouli, Amber and Vanilla

The Perfumer

Carlos Benaïm

How Does it Smell?

Pineapple feels like an unexpected and somewhat odd place to start in a Frederic Malle fragrance but alas here we are at ‘peak pineapple’. Now, pineapple is a fun, tropical note that tends to be used in fragrances of a lower rank that would not be befitting of the shelves at Malle, but as always, this brand has found a way to ‘luxe it up’. The pineapple top note is juicy and tart, with a grapefruit-like acerbic quality. It’s a shock, in a good way, that a Malle fragrance would open in such a way and perhaps the most surprising aspect is the sugar syrup vibe that comes intwined with this unconventionally luxurious fruit note. Sugar! Who’d have thought it!

Of course, pineapple is not the only note of note in Music for a While, after all there is a lot more going on. Cleverly, the toasted sugar aspects of the pineapple are slotted right in place next to a vibrant lavender note, making for a vivid and juicy lavender that feels as if it has been served in a delightful glaze. Now, I’m making this all sound very edible and sweet, and whilst it definitely has a sugary vibe, Music for a While stops short of being considered a gourmand. The lavender, with its cooling, herbal nuances places it in the context of a contemporary fougère, whilst the patchouli-soaked base amplifies the masculine edge.


Speaking of that patchouli base, let’s throw that in as yet another unexpected twist (it seems that Music for a While really is full of surprises) in this intriguing tune. The patchouli is dry and rich, much like the overdose used in Malle’s Monsieur., albeit dialled back considerably. It has warm facets of vanilla and a touch of booziness to ground it, but for the most part, this patchouli base brings lightness and fizz, cutting through the lavender and pineapple like gauze to create infinite shadows.

I had heard mixed things about Music for a While and I’d even given it a brief sniff on a tester strip in store, but brushed it off as something uninteresting. But since I’ve been wearing it on skin I’ve just fallen for its vibrant, humorous charms. Music for a While is by no means my favourite Malle fragrance (don’t make me say which because I don’t have an answer for you, soz), but I see it as a great summer alternative to the fresher scents in the collection – something for sticky summer evenings, perhaps. Music for a While is a truly interesting fragrance – I can’t work out whether it’s ridiculously butch or just a bonkers gourmand – it really has me puzzled but I for one have enjoyed every single moment of wearing it.


Music for a While is available in 10ml (£46), 50ml (£158) and 100ml (£235) Eau de Parfum.


Sample, notes and quotes via Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. Images are my own.