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!
We often talk about ‘notes’ or materials in fragrances and how they come together to create a multi-faceted composition. But these materials are incredibly nuanced themselves and each one brings not one, not two, but a multitude of different things to a fragrance, meaning that there is always a lot to learn when one goes back to the source materials. I always think that the best way to understand a perfume material is to break it down into facets and that’s exactly what these olfactory deconstruction pieces are for – to dissect each material into little parts so we can really understand what makes it tick, and what makes it smell so good.
Perfume is like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Each fragrance is made up of specifically shaped pieces that lock together. Perfumers match up the pieces, locking them together facet-to-facet, tessellating each nuance to either enhance or contrast them, or in some cases, to create something entirely new. The great thing is that, unlike jigsaw puzzles, where there is one way of piecing things together, perfumery is open-ended and the perfumer can tie things together in whichever way they see fit. This means that the picture at the end can be whatever they dream up. There are endless possibilities and to me, that’s pretty damn exciting.
It’s taken about two years of intense rose-sniffing but I have become wholly and completely obsessed with rose perfumes. I’d even go as far saying that rose is my favourite note. In fact, I’m going to say exactly that: rose is my favourite note in perfumery. I simply cannot get enough and whilst I’ve already written a guide to rose perfumes and even battled them on Fume Chat, I feel as I haven’t quite got my adoration for the note out of my system yet. So with that in mind, here’s a bit of a different approach to an article that allows me to wax lyrical about roses once more.
Roses are one of the most versatile ‘notes’ in perfumery. I say ‘note’ but there really is a vast array of rose materials used in perfumery, some to give a rosy impression and others to add complexity to other compositions. I want to celebrate this versatility of rose but instead of just compiling a guide to roses I’ve decided to showcase the many gradients of rose by creating a day of roses. The idea is very simple: these are roses for morning, noon and night and if you want, you could simply pick one for the time you need it, or if you’re adventurous you could transition through all nine during the day. Whatever you choose, I hope you’ll agree that there really is a rose for every minute, moment and mood.
If you hadn’t have guessed from Friday’s post, I’m a bit of a Frederic Malle fan-boy. There simply isn’t a single dud within his finely curated Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle collection. I own many, I wear them often and as I’ve previously stated on this blog, Malle’s collection is one of the very few where I’d happily own a bottle of each scent (wouldn’t that be lovely?). So there you go, I’m a fan and I know that many of you are too!
One thing I also love about Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle is the fact that the brand also has a range of incredible products for the body and home. There are candles, room sprays and rubber incense, not to mention body butters, soaps and shower gels a plenty! But there are also a number of scent-specific products that belong solely to one fragrance in the collection, for example; hair mist and after sun scented with Carnal Flower; and hair & body oil scented with Portrait of a Lady. There’s a careful randomness to this, with the products picked because they compliment the odour profile and spirit of the product. It’s easy to bring a product out in every fragrance in the collection but it requires a measured restraint to pick out the best scents for the best products. So kudos, as always, has to go to Frederic Malle for curating everything so carefully.
The latest product from Frederic Malle that I’m obsessing over is the Iris Hand Cream (Creme Pour Les Mains au Beurre d’Iris) which boasts a beautiful iris scent created by Perfumer Olivia Giacobetti. The cream contains a number of patented molecules that feature a film that clings to water molecules, thus preventing dehydration of the top layers of skin, in addition to a further film that protects against ageing and pollution. Its scent is a nod to the house of Medici, who brought the origins of perfume making to France and had a penchant for scenting their hands and gloves with iris hand cream. This is a very special product indeed, one filled with technology, history and beauty.
If you were to ask me if there was one perfume line that I think is so spectacular I’d happily own each and every fragrance within the collection, I would answer ‘Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle’ without skipping a beat. Malle’s line feels so carefully curated and it spans each and every corner of olfaction, making for a perfectly formed collection that is essentially the ultimate fragrance wardrobe. I have tried each and every one of them, and they would all be very welcome on my skin any day of the week.
A confession: I just fibbed to you. Up until recently I had tried every single Frederic Malle fragrance bar one: Outrageous! Created by none other than the legendary, nay the iconic, nay the perfume Queen, Sophia Grojsman (Paris, Tresor and all of the best 80s scents), Outrageous! was originally launched in 2007 as a Barneys exclusive, housed within slightly different packaging. Being a Brit I never managed to get my hands on a sample of this elusive beauty, but luckily for me, and for you, Frederic Malle is relaunching Outrageous (now sans exclamation point) as part of his impeccable collection. Brilliant, that’s one last tick off the list then!
Outrageous takes inspiration from the Caipirinha cocktail (try pronouncing that after you’ve had a pitcher of the Brazilian booze, its quite a hoot). Malle worked with Sophia Grojsman, a perfumer he had long admired to create this unusual scent which feels very much like a hidden treasure within Frederic Malle’s line. Outrageous now joins the likes of Cologne Bigarade, Eau de Magnolia and Cologne Indélébile as one of Malle’s thoroughly modern colognes however, this one has a really unusual and intriguing twist…
Newsflash, Perfume Lovers! Frederic Malle is coming to London for a meet and greet at Selfridges on Oxford Street on Thursday 17 November 2016. Being at the helm of one of perfumery’s greatest brands, Frederic Malle is quite the scented celebrity and he’ll be in Selfridges greeting customers and signing bottles of fragrance from his line. It’s an opportunity not to be missed!
Maybe it’s because I’m British and I simply have no choice, but I love the rain. My favourite moments are those cold nights when one is all tucked up in bed as the rain and wind lashes against the house. Not to mention warm summer days peppered by hot showers of rain that bring a welcome breeze through open doors and windows. These rainy moments are some of my absolute favourites and we haven’t even discussed the smell! The odour of rain is mineral, but it’s also an atmospheric adaptor that relies heavily on the landscape around it. Summer rain on hot tarmac smells different from muddy winter downpours, and so on. The one constant however, is the fact that rain always smells and more importantly, feels beautiful.
In this piece I’ve selected five fragrances inspired by the opening of the Heavens, which we’ve certainly seen a lot of in the UK over the last few weeks. They range from the grey nimbus clouds that precede and promise rain through to storms in the summer and the city, all the way to the odours left by the rain as it moves on. Each and everyone presents a different idea of deluge and downpour, crafting through olfaction, the spirit of nature’s temperamental emotions. So prepare yourself for precipitation and a veritable storm of scented rain!
In the UK we’re all walking around in a daze. The sun is out, it’s warm and there hasn’t been any rain in at least 48 hours. People are whispering to each other; “could it be?”, they ask; “I’m not sure”, they say. The ‘s’ word is on everybody’s lips but no-one dare say it. Could it really be summer? Maybe. The sun is out and the temperature is rising, but we did have rain, snow and hail last week, so perhaps we should wait before cracking out the shorts and sunscreen. I’m not ready to call it quite yet, folks, but I have an inkling that ‘s’ may be on its way…
For me, the summer season mean one thing: cologne. There is nothing better on a hot day than a generous spritz of a refreshing eau de cologne, except a water fight perhaps, but those are harder to come by in one’s old age. As far as colognes go, there is no beating Cologne Indélébile, the everlasting cyber-cologne created by perfumer Dominique Ropion for Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. Cologne Indélébile squeezes lemons the size of the sun into its bottle, boasting metallic freshness, hay-like neroli and a whirlwind of technical musks to keep it going up & up, and on & on. It’s a marvel of perfumery and now there’s a new way to make it last even longer.
This summer Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle are launching an accompanying Body Wash and Body Milk to the Cologne Indélébile, promoting the idea that to make your cologne truly everlasting, it’s best to layer up! So before spritzing on twenty sprays of Cologne Indélébile (something I am often guilty of), one can lather up in a deluge of delicately soft bubbles scented with Malle’s neo-cologne, before then smoothing on a moisturising layer of the Body Milk and then finally, spraying on the fragrance to finish. By building layers of the scent on the skin, one can dial back on the sprayer a bit so that Cologne Indélébile really can last longer than the average British summer.
“Monsieur., your chest rug is peeking through your shirt.”
“Monsieur., would you like the bear skin rug dry cleaned before you lie seductively upon it?”
“Monsieur., the 1970s called and they would like their headshop back.”
“Monsieur., is that an afro comb in the pocket of your flares or are you just pleased to see me?”
These were my initial thoughts when smelling ‘Monsieur.‘ the latest release from Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle. As you may be able to tell, it’s somewhat of a retro macho bomb and style wise, it certainly comes across as somewhat of a departure from Malle’s ultra-modern aesthetic. That said, I find it to be fabulously retro, which is to say that it celebrates a moment in time and a certain type of machismo that is utterly classic: that of the hairy chested, suave yet roguish animal of a man, or in this case a slightly older man. Wait, is Monsieur. a DILF?!
Monsieur is the second outing at Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle for perfumer Bruno Jovanovic, the man behind the delightfully subversive Dries Van Noten par Frederic Malle and designer scents such as Calvin Klein Reveal. With Monsieur., Jovanovic tackles patchouli, a staple ingredient within the world of perfumery that has made many a fragrance a classic. The thing with patchouli though, is the fact that it feels a bit old fashioned. It’s still used in perfumery today, of course, but most examples of the note today show it as sanitised to nothing but a dark fuzz that adds texture to the composition. Gone is that dirty, earthy and oily melange that we knew as patchouli in the 1970s and 1980s. Monsieur. however, aims to pay homage to the multi-faceted and complex nature of this ingredient and the perfumes of yesteryear, with over 50% of its composition comprising of patchouli sourced through molecular distillation. As the brand puts it; “Monsieur. is to patchouli what Carnal Flower is to tuberose”.
So Monsieur. is a patchouli weapon – a tool for seduction for the man suave enough to wield its powers responsibly. As Persolaise noted in his review, it’s also a fragrance that looks backwards rather than forwards, making it an interesting step in the Editions de Parfums oeuvre. Although evocative, I’m sure my description of Monsieur. as a somewhat-attractive paternal figure may not be what the brand intended, I shall therefore, refer you to the official description as per Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle:
“Although seemingly simple, this formula evokes for Frédéric Malle, since its genesis, remorseless seducers such as Alfonso de Portago, Mark Birley, Jose-Luis de Villalonga or Gianni Agnelli. Their manly and timeless elegance has relentlessly guided the development of this empowering perfume. Monsieur., a neo-classical perfume, manly and utterly elegant. Monsieur.”