Frederic Malle Angelique Sous La Pluie and Portrait of a Lady

I’ve so looked forward to revisiting the Frederic Malle line, and we start with one old favorite and one newer to the line – Frederic Malle Angelique Sous la Pluie and Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady.

Frederic Malle Angelique Sous La Pluie was released when the line launched in 2000, and it’s been one of my favorites both from Malle and Jean-Claude Ellena – the go-to scent on days when everything else just seems like too much.  Notes of angelica leaves, juniper berries, coriander, musk, and sweet cedar keep this scent dry and peppery woodsy. Turning more musky takes this scent in a whole different direction without losing all that peppery woods on the open.  This is a lovely and easy to wear unisex scent that seems deceptively simple on the surface but has such a great journey. This will always be an easy to reach for scent for me, and it surprises me every time I wear it with just how much I love it and wonder why I don’t seek out its company more often.

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Ladywas released in late 2010, created by Dominque Ropion.  I dithered on this one for a long time because it’s rose. I don’t dislike rose, but it’s just not what I usually want to wear, so few rose perfumes appeal to me on a “want to wear it” level.  Raspberry, cassis, rose, cinnamon, clove, benzoin, sandalwood, patchouli, frankincense, ambroxan and white musk.  Amped up incensed spiced rose. It’s beautifully made, but I was just never sure I liked it.  It stops short of a hyper-rose scent, but I can’t figure out why I would say that because it is hyper-rose, but it’s just note heavy, even though it should be.  The patchouli is prominent, and it feels a little scratchy, almost thorny, and a little bit trampy, which is something that’s pretty important in my roses, except the super-innocent ones. This rose has thorns.  It mellows as it’s on, which is great because that open is a little intense.  And it’s that mellowing that gives it the lightness.  If I had to pick between Frederic Malle Une Rose, Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose and Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady, this one would be the rose that I’d wear happily, and it could go sit beside JAR Bed of Roses,  Hermessence Rose Ikebana, MDCI Rose di  Siwa, Serge Lutens Rose de Nuit and a handful of Rosines (Kashmirie, that gourmand one whose name is escaping me and the citrus one) that are my go-to rose scents when I really, really really just want to smell roses.

But just with these two scents, one from the early start of the Frederic Malle line to one that is one of the most recent, the quality of everything that is done comes through.  Whether you wind up making a favorite of any of the scents, you can’t help but admire them.

Now I want a great big fat jasmine or gardenia perfume from Frederic Malle. I know he said he can’t or won’t do the room scent Gardenia that I love, but just anything like that would be amazing.

Rose scents? Love them or hate them?  If you hate them, why?  I’m curious because I’m always trying to put my finger on why I’m not a huge fan of rose scents when I love roses and their smell in the garden so much.

You can get a Frederic Malle sample at Surrender to Chance

  • orange comforters says:

    I’ve always called this “red punch” and have loved it ever since I was a little girl!

  • Cris Norman says:

    Nearly all men talk to failure because of their insufficient persistence in creating new offers to take the place of those which fail.
    If you find yourself to the side of many, it’s time to stop and reflect.

  • nancy says:

    It seems like most of us are selective in our rose scents. The ones I like and sometimes wear include Rosine’s Rose Kashmirie, Une Zeste de Rose, and Rose d’Ete, DSH’s Rose Verte, Roxana Villa’s Rosa and Vespertina, and Montale’s White Aoud. I absolutely dislike Rose Praline, which others like, because it is way too sweet for my taste.

  • Lisa S. says:

    My fave rose perfume is Tauer’s Une Rose Vermeille. To me it is the most cheerful, happy perfume I own. I know, that sounds weird doesn’t it? It’s just something about the rose, lavender, raspberry and lemon that makes me happy. It lasts all day and into the next on me and at the end I get all of above tempered with warmth, vanilla and sandalwood.

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    I’m not entirely sure that I like rose as a dominant player in any perfume. I adore Chanel no. 19 in EDP form because it’s a green rose that doesn’t turn icky. Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie is a rose that turns into a powdery kind of icky. Everyone keeps saying Amouage Epic but I get nothing but frankencense and spices.

  • nozknoz says:

    I quite like a number of roses – BK Liaisons Dangereuses and Rose Oud, Amouage Lyric and Homage Attar, Rose Poivree, Parfum Sacre, S-Perfume 100% Love and Nahema. I think what these have in common is a) high quality and b) they are not simple soliflores: rose is prominent but there are other significant notes as well. There are others I like at first sniff, but soon they either disappear or begin to grate on me. I don’t know what it is either, but when rose goes wrong it, it really gets on one’s last nerve.

    I like to smell the Malles because they are so interesting, but they often seem a bit hard, dense or unremitting to me – somehow masculine. Le Parfum de Therese is the only one I really enjoy wearing, and even that has a bit of an edge compared with sister Diorella.

    I decided I HAD to have PoaL because the quality is just so beautiful (and I found a discounted bottle), but it’s a bit punishing. I’m leaning in to smell the amazing rose, and that patch bonks me on the nose. I can’t stay away from it, but don’t wear it very often, and never out of the house.

  • 50_Roses says:

    I love rose fragrances, although I do not love every one of them. I have trouble smelling the rose if there is too much other stuff in there. For example, I don’t get any rose from Parfum Sacre, just a lot of black pepper. Joy is almost pure jasmine to my nose (and I dislike strong jasmine scents), and I don’t pick out the rose in Arpege or no. 5, although I know it is supposed to be there (and I do love both Arpege and no. 5). PoaL didn’t do much for me, which is just as well considering the price tag. Some rose soliflores do turn too sour on my skin, or otherwise seem to be too oversweetened. I do love Coup de Foudre, which is a lovely, fresh-smelling rose to my nose. I was thrilled to nab a FB of it in Swapmania. I also got some Happ & Stahns Rosa Alba, which smells very similar to CdF, but just a little sweeter and warmer, and Poussiere de Rose, which is a nice, spicy/fruity rose in which the rose still is quite predominant. Shiseido White Rose (courtesy of TPC)is a beautiful, ethereal rose. If it has a flaw, it is that it is quite subtle (no sillage monster here!) and not particularly long-lasting.

  • Nancy says:

    Electron…what do you think?

  • Perfumista8 says:

    I thought I’d never be able to wear a rose soliflore until I tried Diptyque Eau Rose. It seems like exactly what I shouldn’t like but I really do and I plan to give it major skin time this Spring. I guess this is the year of the rose for me because I also fell for Rose Oud, Loukham and Portrait of a Lady this past Winter. Im curious now about Rose Praline.

  • Kit says:

    In general, I don’t like rose perfumes. They are too sweet, too pretty, too insipid. There is one glaring exception, however, and that is MFK Lumiere Noire. For whatever reason, I love that perfume and think it smells just how rose should smell: dramatic, beautiful, and opulent.

  • Olfacta says:

    After I began to learn about perfume, I realized that the ones that made me swoon always had rose as part of the blend. Early on it was Au Te Vert, and a whole list of rose chypres like Paloma Picasso or the first Scherrer, but never a rose soliflore — I hated Tea Rose, in fact gave a big bottle of it away! Then discovered the Rosines, and Amouage Lyric for Women and so on. But for some odd reason I still don’t like the rose alone or even especially like the fragrance of the flower — there are many different types now, though, so I can’t really judge that. (I have a David Austin bush that is supposed to smell like myrrh, but doesn’t, although it has beautiful small pink-white blooms.)

  • ClaudiaRae says:

    I love roses (as flowers), not just for the scent, but for the wonderful range of colors. Same with rose perfumes, but even though I can’t single out a favorite petal color, I know my favorite rose perfume is Ta’if, hands down.

  • Musette says:

    Joe mentioned Epic, which made me think of Jub25 – the rock rose comes through in the cream but the whole thing is so seamlessly done that you can’t really tell one note from another – at least I can’t. And that’s just fine.

    Rose d’Ete is another favorite – greeny/citrusy rose that’s perfect on a mid-spring day. It’s the one Rosine where the rose takes a back seat to the other notes (at least a little bit) thus making it more wearable in hotter weather.

    I just got a Dubai perfume oil – Luxor – in Swapmania. Wow. What a rose! And am awaiting some Bulgarian rose otto vials. 😡


    btw – PoaL is beautiful and eminently wearable on me – in the body cream. As a perfume stand-alone, I can’t do it. Just cain’t!!! 🙁

    • tammy says:

      I get nothin’ but cumin and aldies in Jub25, unless you count whatever it is that my nose reads as rich and complex ( probably that seamlessness you reference)

      What’s so weird is I have always hated cumin and aldehydes, truly hated them, but I adore Jub25.

      And I was dying over those ottos, but I had nothing left to offer up!

  • Joe says:

    I don’t *feel* like I’m a huge rose fan either, but I always rose frags when I wear them… and I do really love several.

    Just the other day I received a gift decant of LL Baie Rose 26 and I think it’s great. Other loves include Montale Black Aoud, Portrait of a Lady, Epic Woman (some don’t feel this is so rosy?), Lyric Man, Coup de Foudre, and Une Zeste de Rose. So yeah, I really enjoy rose… it’s just not what I think of myself reaching for frequently.

    The accord also often tends to eat everything else in its path, so sometimes it’s difficult to want that kind of focused commitment. I love when a perfumer manages to sneak the rose in there in subtle amounts — for that reason I love L’Eau de Tarocco, which is such a perfectly balanced orange, saffron, and rose cologne for me. I think one could say the same about Safran Troublant and others where the rose barely peeks out.

    • Musette says:

      I love love LOVE Epic Woman but only get the rose in the shower gel and body cream. Perfume sprayed solo is gorgeous but mostly incense.

      And that Zeste! 😡

      xo >-)

    • tammy says:

      So funny that rose eats everything else for you…I can’t smell it all if it’s mixed in with almost anything else!

  • tammy says:

    I adore rose; it’s probably my favorite note.

    But oddly enough, I am almost completely anosmic to almost anything other than rose soliflores.

    I cannot smell it in most perfumes. I get no rose in L’ Arte, PoaL, Rose Chyprée,Lumiere Noire,Paris, even my beloved Joy, which is almost all jasmine on me.

    The roses that some non-rose lovers do enjoy, like the DelRae rose and Rose de Siwa, smell like Ban roll on to me. I think I have identified the offending rose as the mai/May, and try to avoid that one. The one Rosine I tried had the same effect,

    My HG is AG Rose Absolu. I also love the Bvlgari rose, the Creed (dabbed, anyway; when sprayed it gets very citrusy on my skin) and Penhaligon’s Elisabethan Rose. I like Serge’s rose, and Malle’s, but for the price, they don’t really add much to what I already have.

    • Elisa says:

      You know, I often don’t think non-soliflore rose perfumes smell like actual roses. When something just has a rose note thrown in, I tend to experience it more as a bit of color or even flavor. Like I see the “pink” or the “red” in it, but it definitely doesn’t smell like a living rose the way a good rose soliflore does. Geranium stands out more in compositions.

  • Lisa D says:

    I love rose fragrances, but do indeed have to be in the mood. SL Sa Majeste La Rose is gorgeous, and I’m currently having fun with Keiko Mecheri’s Gourmandises, which is a pretty-pretty rose that also somehow smells like jam. I also like the drydown of L’Arte di Gucci quite a bit. For me, there’s no getting around the fact that when I bend to sniff a rose, it’s a pure and simple pleasure, and I think that always ends up being a component of my rose scent wearing experience.

  • Musette says:

    I used to think I hated rose having, as does Ms Christian, PTSD from Tea Rose – oh, how overapplied that was! b-(

    Then came Amouage Tribute Attar. The dried rose petals crumbling under the smoky bits caused me to rethink @};-…and I’ve been on a rose journey ever since.

    xo >-)

    • Ms.Christian says:

      I admit to wearing Parfum Sacre (though sometimes it aggravates me) and Joy (vintage)- but they are both so well blended and not what I would consider “rose fragrances.”

    • Jayne58 says:

      Me, too, me, too! I thought I did not like rose perfume, although you will frequently find me diving nose-first into a rose-bush (oh, Margaret Merrill, the sweetest, most wondrous thing I have ever grown). However, Amouage turned the trick along with Osmonde Jayne Taif – now strew my path with rose petals please.

  • DinaC says:

    I like Rose best when it’s blended with something else like Arpege or No. 19. Yesterday I wore EL Knowing, which is rose + green. I haven’t explored rose very much yet, which is a surprise, cause I love the smell of real roses. Just not sure I want to smell like a rose. I’ve tried a couple of roses that went sour on my skin, too, so that’s made me a bit rose shy. (Voleur de Roses and Paestum Rose, iirc) I’ll have to order a bunch of rose samples sometime and give them a try.

    • Joe says:

      Do you get rose in N°19? That stuff is one of my holy grails, in edt and extrait, and I’ve never picked it up. Interesting!

      • Elisa says:

        I get powdery rose in the drydown of No. 19, after all the galbanum and iris have settled down. Can’t say I’m a big fan of that stage though. I love rose but not when it’s too powdery.

      • DinaC says:

        I get some rose in the edp, which is my favorite format of No. 19. But I agree that the galbanum and iris are more dominant. All this to say that I really like rose best when it’s only a supporting player and not the leading lady. :-)

  • Tatiana says:

    I love garden roses. But in perfume I guess I need to be selective. So many rose fragrances turn fruity sour on my skin. Kind of like the water that cut roses have been sitting in for a week, without being changed.
    PoAL was the first rose scent that didn’t turn sour on me. But it took me almost a year to decide on it. Now it’s my go to cold weather scent. On days I want PoAL but lighter, I use just the body cream. On me it’s a patchouli rose. On my daughter it’s this other worldly cinnamon, sandalwood rose. Mmmm.
    I would love to expand my rose scent wardrobe, but not sure what direction to go. Thought I liked L’Artisan Voleur de Roses, but the last time I tried it the patchouli was amped and sour on my skin. Maybe I’m just getting sour old lady skin. Sigh. I’m leaning towards Le Labo Rose 31 right now. But I’m also enjoying my sample of By Kilian Rose Oud. Hmm, maybe one of the travel sets in that?
    Glad you like Angeliques. That’s another Malle I own and love. I find it very refreshing and crisp.

    • FragrantWitch says:

      The bit about the standing vase water is exactly what I was trying to describe! Thank you!

  • maggiecat says:

    I love roses but like most of you, have to be in just the right mood to wear rose scents. I’ve enjoyed Lancome’s Mille et Une Roses and Body Shop’s Moroccan Rose, as well as Stell Nude for these purposes. And on an unrelated note, now Patty has me lemming to try Angeliques sur les Pluies. Sigh.

  • Melissa says:

    I love rose scents, but I don’t reach for them very often. After about two hours on my skin, I’m usually finished with them-they overwhelm me after a while. But for those two hours, here are some that I love: the gourmand Rosine scent that you mentioned is one-I believe it’s Rose Praline? Rose de Nuit, Rose Oudby Kilian, Amouage Epic Woman, Parfums Delrae Coup de Foudre, the unreformulated Rose Poivree for my dose of dirty, skanked-up rose and others that I just can’t recall at the moment. Right now, I’m wearing Neela Vermeire Mohur. I think it’s about to join the list of favorites. I read it as a light rose-leather-oud. And it’s subtle and soft enough to wear to work. It’s also so nicely blended that I don’t tire of it after two hours.

  • FragrantWitch says:

    Not generally a rose fan. It has a mustiness, like clothes that have lain wet in a washer for too long, in perfume ( at least on me) that I cannot escape. I admit to not really seeking out rose scents due to this but the ones I have come across range from ‘meh’ to ‘ eeeeewwwww’. The only exception to this that I have found in my grandmothers vintage Arpege- I get just a gorgeous scent, no sourness, but that is not a ROSE scent in the way others are. Ah well, at least there are plenty of other fragrances out there! :)

  • rosarita says:

    I love rose scents. When I first started participating in the online perfume community, I chose my user name with roses in mind. My first perfume as a child was a bottle of Arpege that my parents brought back from a European vacation (my sister got Worth) and Arpege is rose/jasmine; maybe that started my rose love? I bought myself a bottle of Norell with babysitting money (from the drugstore) and that has lots of rose, too. I don’t know. I have many favorites but they are mostly of the dark, brooding variety. The best rose soliflore imo is DSH American Beauty, and I have lots of love for some tea roses like Rosine’s Un Zest. The smell of Nahema is like catnip to my nose; it makes me want to roll around in it, wallowing. I hope to have some of the extrait someday.

  • Francesca says:

    I like rose when I’m in just the right mood, but it has to be a spicy rose, a patch-y rose. I’ve mentioned before I love MPeG George Sand; Une Rose Chyprée, PoaL, Diaghilev are other favorites. And although I don’t normally go for rose soliflores, a company called Shea Terra produces a Moroccan Rose Water (I couldn’t easily find it on their site, but Amazon carries it) that’s amazing. I spray it on my face at night and I can still smell it in the morning. Also nice mixed with vegetable glycerine for the hands, as in great-grandmother’s day.

  • Sherri M says:

    Interesting question. I guess I can’t say I’m a rose hater but since recently discovering so many beautiful ones, I’ll just have to say I’m super picky about rose scents.

    Maybe spending time with a lot of natural roses makes us realize the shortcomings of any perfume. Or might be it has old lady/nursing home connotations. I don’t know.

    No sense in the ones I do like, either. I like innocent ones like Sinfonia di Note Petales Rose (can’t find that one anymore, sadly) and Rose di Siwa, Rose Absolue, the new Diptyque Rose, the cosmetic-y Lipstick Rose as well as the “sexy” roses Rose Poivree (reformulated I assume) and Lumiere Noire and PoaL sprayed very, very lightly (Angel style

  • bloody frida says:

    I absolutely adore rose scents. PoaL is breathtakingly beautiful to me. I believe I love rose scents because my great grandmother wore some type of rose water and she was English, so hence my love of rose and everything British!

  • hongkongmom says:

    Mmm..funny I don’t like to wear them either, but I love to smell them. My favs are Sa majeste, L’arte de gucci, Ecume de Rosine, Nahema, and Rose Oud by Killian, which I dont have, but probably would wear if I did. When I do wear ecume, I find myself wondering why I dont wear it more often! Roses visually have a very structured beauty and thorns! Perhaps that it why!

  • Ms.Christian says:

    Hate them.

    I am still suffering with Perfumer’s Workshop Tea Rose induced PTSD from the early 80s.

    • Francesca says:


    • Ann says:

      I’m right there with you, Ms. Christian. Between that Tea Rose and a roomie who swam in YSL’s Paris, I was practically a rose-hater as well. But a few spicy ones (L’Arte, MFK’s Lumiere Noire, Amouage Lyric) have brought me around a little. PoaL was a bit too strong for me, but the body cream might work.

      • Ms.Christian says:

        Oh. Paris. Yes. That one spooked me pretty badly, too. *shudders*

        • Musette says:

          I got a full line of Paris from an admirer, back in the 80s – this is such a cool story – I was waiting for my SA – he was working with her, picking something out for his mother. I chatted with them for a few minutes about what might be good for her and pretty much left it at that. He finished his purchase, left (waved goodbye). I then went blithely along with my own purchase and wondered why my SA was taking so damn long to wrap it up. Imagine my stunned surprise when she handed me a shopping bag you could stun a rhino with! That man had asked her to give me the Paris line as a thank-you gift! 😮

          I wore the living daylights out of that stuff. Hey, it was the 80s!!!


          xo >-)

          • ggperfume says:

            Fabulous story!

          • tammy says:

            That made me smile so large!!! How utterly sweet!

          • Ms.Christian says:

            The 80s was the decade of excess, wasn’t it? Shoulder pads, big hair rock bands, lots of nose candy…

            Great story, M. :->

          • Austenfan says:

            This is a wonderful story.
            I love YSL Paris. It’s the fragrance that I have owned since it first came out up till today. And the one I currently have the most bottles of ( 5 EDT, 3 EDP and 2 tiny bottles of extrait)
            It’s pretty much my comfort blanket for untoward circumstances. + it got me through med school.

          • Ann says:

            Yes, great story! Good perfume karma, indeed!

          • rosarita says:

            Late to the party, but that’s a wonderful story, Ms A <3