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