Frederic Malle Dries Van Noten Perfume Review

Going to Paris is always fun, and it’s even more fun if you get a chance to snag something a couple of months before it hits our lovely shores, and when I visited Frederic Malle, hoping the new Gardenia room scent was now in the big scented guns (it wasn’t, boo-hoo!), what did I spy, but the new Frederic Malle Dries Van Noten, or Dries Van Noten par Frederic Malle, as it’s listed on the bottle, that had arrived just that day!

For a perfume that’s not even available in the United States yet (launching in April), there are a ton of reviews already.  Hmmm, I thought I might be early on this one.

Notes listed – citron, sandalwood, guaiac wood, saffron, Spanish jasmine, nutmeg, clove, violet wood, tonka bean, Peruvian balm, Cashmeran/blonde woods, vanilla and musk (I combed several sources to get this list, and from what I’m smelling, I think it’s the most complete). Victoria noted “The sandalwood used in Dries Van Noten is santalum album, an Indian variety of sandalwood grown in Australia by a company called TFS.”  A nice touch to find a source of sustainable sandalwood .

Dries Van Noten is really cuddly.  The interplay with saffron, tonka, vanilla and musk is warm and inviting, with this weirdness that keeps developing the longer the scent is on, how the sandalwood mixes with something else – it’s cool, odd and never fails to amuse me.  Denyse and I talked about the projection and lasting power in Paris.  Like she does, I don’t find it to have a lot of projection as I lean into it.  What I did notice, it has a great waft as you  move. That quality is one of my favorite things to find in a perfume I really like that I think disappears too quickly.  Don’t get heavy-handed with this, it has great movement sillage that might surprise you and persons around you.  You’ll keep catching whiffs of something delicately balancing on the verge of gourmet, like a memory of gramma baking your favorite goodies in the kitchen – not real, better than real.

Malle wanted to embrace “the sober warmth of the Flemish people.”  And I think he did that.

frederic malle dries van noten

This isn’t a frivolous scent, but it’s not overly serious, either.  There’s a comfortable eclectic sensibility in Frederic Malle Dries Van Noten, letting you feel cozy with your own weirdness.  What I also admire is Dries wound up bailing on a designer fragrance with a company that does a lot of those (from Denyse’s post, and I do remember it being slated for a future release) and went with Malle to do his scent instead.  And this fits him, Malle’s sensibility fits him.  I’ve found myself spraying on Dries Van Noten every day since I got it.  It is so easy to wear, but it has an aching tender vulnerability that makes me just want to hug it a bit and tell it not to worry about having three ears and Size 15 feet.

I’ve missed you guys!  It feels like I’ve been away forever. Paris was wonderful. Seeing my family there was even better.  We took in a day trip to the Champagne region. I also found a great scarf at Bon Marche, and I had to restrain myself from buying 30 of them.  Ack, they were stocked up on beautiful, soft scarves this time.  We finally go to the Louvre, also did lunch at the d’Orsay, met up with Denyse for drinks, and it was lovely.  We really need to do a Posse trip over there one of these months.

So let’s do a giveaway for some Frederic Malle Dries Van Noten!  I’ll give away 10 samples to randomly drawn comments on this post.  Tell me what you’ve been up to while I’ve been away or did you get a lot of snow?  We got another snowstorm – our third in a week – Sunday.  I hadn’t made it out to replace the Tacoma that got totaled before we went to Paris, so I had to talk my youngest son into coming and getting me and driving me to the dealership to buy a car so I could go somewhere. My Barbie Car is very delicate and refusing to go in the snow, and I refuse to be sensible and trade it in on a sensible car, so I leased a sensible car instead.  Well, sensible is relative. It’s more sensible than my Barbie Race Car.

  • trickyholly says:

    No snow, but lots and lots of meetings.

  • Nancysg says:

    Gray skies for days, but no more snow. May be it will all be gone in a another week. That first snow of the winter is so pretty, but by now it is icy and dirty. Where is spring? Would love to smell this new Malle.

  • Steve H says:

    Not that snowy in Cali, and even temps in the 70’s!

  • Diana says:

    I’m trying to get used to the cold again, after relocating from NC to Chicagoland in January. When I look at the weather forecasts and see that it’s been in the upper 50’s in NC while in the 20’s-30’s in IL, I sigh. Oh well. Gotta go where the work is, eh? This new Malle scent sounds like it would be just the fragrant “hug” that makes it all better…. 🙂

  • Dubaiscents says:

    I am wishing winter would last longer here. I had to turn on the A/C cause it was getting too hot! I would love to try this new scent, it sounds right up my alley!

  • Gisela says:

    The snow is finally melting – I sooo hope the sun will come out soon. This winter was the darkest since over sixty years here…

  • Leonel says:

    Glad you had fun in Paris!

  • Steve Tsotras says:

    sandalwood, citron, tonka bean… smell this i must!!

  • Dionne says:

    I thoroughly enjoy the international flavor of perfumista-hood, but after several years I’m still occasionally caught by surprise. (“What does she mean, did we get a lot of snow? OF COURSE there’s a lot of snow….. oh wait – accompanying head-slap – not everyone lives in the Canadian Rockies.”) I’m still recovering from my trip to Mexico – NOT going to go into details – but it was such a faboo time, I consider it totally worth it.

  • Lynne Marie says:

    Welcome back Patty! Paris sounds completely wonderful, I’m glad you had a good time – you earned it! and I bet you smelled wonderful the entire time. The great Northeast has been: snow, rain, snow, rain, rain, snow, ooh what’s that big yellow thing in the sky?, snow, rain, snow, rinse and repeat. C’mon April, I am so DONE with winter!!.

  • Suzy Q says:

    No snow in the south but I would love enough of it for a snow day. And then watch it melt. It’s been overcast WAY too much this winter. I’ve been wearing a lot of comfort scents.

  • kenyabn says:

    For those of us who can’t wait to try it, my sales lady at Barneys NY (Chicago) texted me they just got it in.

  • Allison says:

    Spending time reading about perfumes and ordering samples!

  • alyatse says:

    Went skiing while you were in Paris. Lots of snow here in Canada:)
    New Malle sounds intriguing, would love to try it!

  • Shana A Wolf says:

    I have been spring cleaning and reorganizing. Dries is one of my favorite designers and i have noticed if you like a designers esthetic, you usually like his fragrance

  • susan says:

    No snow in Texas, that’s for sure! I’ve been up to the usual. Just got a promotion at work. YAY!

  • Tiara says:

    Paris…Bon Marche…a new Malle…lunch at d’Orsay…I want to be Patty when I grow up. Plenty of stress these days on so many levels in so many areas of life. But at least we’ve skipped the snow for the most part around here. The snowdrops are in bloom and the daffodils are just starting to show–spring is so close and yet so far away.

  • CC ... says:

    It sounds dreamy. As far as what’s been happening in my corner of the world, I’m just thankful my son finally found employment after looking for so long. And I’m heading to NYC this weekend … sadly, it’s for a funeral but my siblings and I will try to wander about the streets of New York for a little bit, at least. Thank you for the generous draw, Patty … and welcome home! 🙂

  • MariaA says:

    Oh!! Paris is lovely and I am planning a trip there too next month! Here in Londn we have cold, cold and some more cold! So great to snif the new DvN-FM perfume and the scarf must be gorgeous!! I love scarves!!

  • Erda says:

    Welcome back, Patty. It sounds like it was a great trip.
    I hear there was snow in Paris, too–did you get hit by that?

    Too much snow here in CT–everything is so grey and grim. I’m ready for spring!
    Over the weekend, the National Weather Service site for my area had a bit of a glitch, and it said the temp was 201 F or 94 C!
    Not sure how that happened–wishful thinking? Or really scary global warming.

    Thanks for the opportunity to try this intriguing scent.

  • Cheryl G. says:

    Welcome back Patty!
    I’ve been contemplating an un-sniffed fb of Mito. Too afraid to pull the trigger so I ordered this pretty-ugly LuLu Frost necklace instead:

    You’ve piqued my curiosity with the Dries Van Noten, and I hope you post a picture of your new scarf. I would love to see it.

  • wefadetogray says:

    its been cold here in nyc and according to the news it will get rainy tonight which is terrible. here it usually rains with winds so no umbrella can protect you against the horizontally furious drops of water.
    i cannot wait to sniff this fragrance. it sounds like something i will love 🙂

  • Merlin says:

    Nope, here in South Africa it is mid-summer and HOT. I’v been sampling some Malle’s lately so I would love to try this one too!

  • cj says:

    Welcome back! I have had the most wonderful month. I treated myself to a massive order of samples from STC and a bottle of l’Heure Fougueuse for my birthday; I found out that I will be spending two weeks in Venice in the spring to help with a friend’s installation for the Biennale; AND I got engaged to my fella (speaking of snow, it happened the day of a massive snowfall here in Toronto)!! I’m already thinking about my wedding perfume… I’m pretty sure it will have to be Carnal Flower – the most radiantly beautiful fragrance I know. Thanks for the draw! I’ve been dying to try this. I’ve been hounding my poor FM SA since I heard about its release.

    • Ann says:

      Congratulations, CJ!! So very happy for you! And you will be stunning in Carnal Flower, no doubt about it! Wish it had been around when I got married back in the dark ages (20+ years ago).

  • LindaB says:

    No snow here in the desert, but a cuddly scent would make it feel more like winter “should” feel like!

  • Heather F says:

    Glad you had a wonderful time in Paris! This perfume sounds so great, and right up my alley–I’d love to be entered in the draw (lord knows I’ll seek out a sample eventually, regardless 🙂

  • Kelsey A says:

    I can’t wait to try this one! Love cuddly and weird things. Glad you had such a good time in Paris!

  • grizzlesnort says:

    Flu season is finally over. The daphne are blooming. The crocuses are up. Please enter me in your draw.

  • Boriana says:

    Oh my goodness, I have been dying to try that, ever since I heard about the release. Love most Malles, my hopes are high for this one.
    I wish I was in Paris right now, or at least had a trip to Paris in my future… This New England winter has been cold, plentiful with snow, but worst of all, cold after flu after stomach bug have been pummeling us to no end… The disease du jour is strep…. Spring cannot come fast enough.

  • Catherine says:

    Your time in Paris sounds lovely. I’ve never been to the Champagne region, but we did get to do a long weekend beer (for him) and (wine) for me in the Santa Rosa area earlier this month.

  • rosiegreen62 says:

    Hooray, You are back. I would love to hear more Paris stories ( living vicariously ). All is gray, wet and peaceful in the PNW. Between your review and Victoria of boisdejasmin I have been dreaming of trying this scent. Thanks for hosting a draw.

  • Dana says:

    Glad you had a wonderful time. Welcome back! Usual wintry mix of cruddy weather here in Cleveland. Actually had some sunshine yesterday, which is quite the exception. Would love to smell this. Thanks for sharing.

  • maggiecat says:

    Jealous that you’ve been to Paris, but glad you had a good time. No real snow here in North Texas (a little sleet) but very weird weather: warm and spring-like one day, and icy cold and nasty the next. Sometimes in the same day. At least we’re hardly ever bored…

  • dremybluz says:

    This new one sounds really interesting. Same old grind here in Dallas. Glad you had such a great trip to Paris

  • eldarwen22 says:

    Welcome back! I’ve gotten a few vintage frags and cussing out mother nature. By February, I am really sick of the biting cold and snow. It’s biting cold (10-15 degrees) for a week then for a day or two it’s in the 40’s. All topped with freezing rain.

  • Megan P. says:

    Hope you had a fabulous time in Paris! I have Paris-envy right now lol. No snowstorm here, but the dry season is coming up (too early in my opinion). Been spending my days lounging in my favorite cotton shirts and whatever book I have in hand. Cold coffee is a welcome addition to the increasingly warm days. I do think the Dries Van Noten scents will carry extremely well here because of the heat. 😛 Can’t wait to find me a bottle (or two) of my own.

  • R_UN says:

    Dying to try this one! It’s grey and snowy and rainy where I’m at. Trying to keep the fog out of the brain with some nice smells…

  • Wendy says:

    Welcome back, and glad you enjoyed Paris. It has been snowing every few days here in Wisconsin, and I have been craving a cuddly gourmand scent. Looking forward to trying this scent a lot; it sounds lovely.

  • lissa says:

    Lovely to have you back! No snow here yet bitter cold. I’ve been writing a long overdue book.

  • Civet says:

    We’ve had smatteringd of snow here in WY, but nothing big. Wish it would dump a foot or two!

  • fleurdelys says:

    We had about a foot of snow in the NY area a couple of weeks ago, but at least it fell from a Friday evening to Saturday morning. Since then, we’ve had just chilly rains. Thanks for entering me iin the drawing.

  • Martha says:

    Glad you’re back safe and sound, Patty. To think that earlier this month I was considering pruning my climbing rose and a couple other shrubs because we were having such a mild winter here in KS! In the past week we’ve had two whopping snowstorms, with thunder and lightening no less. My back objects to my thoughts of breaking out the snow shovel, but shoveling snow is going to happen sometime today. So anyway, please think of me when choosing the ten lucky winners of the Dries Van Noten samples.

  • Ann says:

    Welcome back, dear Patty! We missed you but are so very happy that you had a ball! Can’t wait to hear more of your tales from Paris. This scent sounds wonderful; especially the saffron and guaiac wood. And I love the idea of weird and cuddly vulnerability (no draw for me, of course.) Thanks!

    • Ann says:

      Just rain and cold temps here in the deep South. No snow, thank heavens, as everything around here just shuts down and everyone goes into panic mode when we get any snow or ice, ha!

  • Tora says:

    I think going to Paris with a fellow Perfume lover would be a blast! My hobby bores my friends to tears of ennui. I have wanted for years to go to Serge Lutens in Paris. I have been enjoying a new or forgotten sample a day, first thing while sipping coffee. Sometimes, the Best part of my day. This morning Humaniste by Frapin. Whoa! hold on to your Juniper Berries!!! Anyway, here in Florida, it is muggy and overcast, a good day for putting in the spring vegetable garden if I didn’t have work…….

  • Kathryn says:

    Your trip to Paris sounds wonderful, Patty, but we are all glad to have you back home. I missed reading your posts. There’s lots of snow here in northern New England, more this month than we’ve had all winter. About ten inches fell over the weekend and another foot is expected tomorrow. The up side is that the days are getting longer and all that white snow radiates an amazing amount of light when the sun shines. I think that this would be the perfect weather to try the new Dries Van Noten. Thanks for the draw.

  • Irina says:

    welcome back- we missed you too
    wonderful time you had and I am glad you did
    no snow here, just a russian mountain for the temperatures- having horrible migraines and wishing for something new to sniff in between

  • Connie says:

    Welcome back Patty! I wish I had been in Paris, but I got to go across the country to California to see grandma (and visit Scent Bar for the first time). I bought Philosykos (finally!) and was gifted some of my deceased great grandmother’s L’Aimant, by my grandma.

  • mim666 says:

    Your time in Paris sounds great! Welcome back!

    We got mostly rain instead of snow recently.
    I would love to try this! I love saffron, woods, cuddly vulnerability and weirdness.

  • hlmenken says:

    I wish Frederic Malle would put out a new masculine scent. He seems to neglect us.

  • Barbara says:

    Supposed to have a snowstorm starting today here in Michigan. Winning a cuddly sample of this FM would be great!

  • FearsMice says:

    Glad you had a fab trip! Hope you’ll do more posts about it, too. It’s been relatively warm and dry here this winter, which I love — but I know my poor plants will suffer come summer. Still, I’m craving cuddly-weird scents, and DVN sounds like a wonderful way to make it through March.

  • Tony says:

    Welcome back! I have been busy with all my personal stuff lately. Nope I don’t get snow over here, I wish i do. But all I get is sunshine all year round, and plenty of rain…thanks for the draw, can’t wait to try this one, it sounds like my kind of scent!

  • NancyK says:

    More snow/sleet on the way here today in Northern Illinois. Ready for spring.

    The new Frederic Malle sounds lovely.

  • solanace says:

    Good to know you all had fun in Paris. Lunch at the Orsay is great! Which perfume did you wear for such a classy occasion? Tell us more, and please, tell us about the food! 🙂

    These notes really appeal to me, but I wish the sillage was bigger. Sustainable sandalwood (yay!!), tonka and Peruvian balm? Please, count me in. Thank’s for another super cool draw, Patty! The summer here has been very hot and sunny these days. It is already hot, and it’s 6 am! Days have been starting very sunny, by noon it is very hot, and then we have a big rain in the late afternoon. The plants are having a blast! I’ll be wearing a very tiny amount of Goutal’s Rose Splendide or Vanille Exquise, because citrus scents smell sour, worse than sweaty on my skin when the weather is that hot.

  • TaffyJ says:

    Just as I was congratulating the weather for giving us a tolerable winter, we are due for a big snowstorm tomorrow. I am not venturing out, however, because I strained my back. Stupidly. Also, “One More Day” from Les Miserables is now an earworm (pleasurable the first 20 times.) Thank you, 85th Academy Awards.

    I love that idea of sillage balancing on the edge and making a shy appearance. Such a beautiful essay on this perfume, Patty!

  • Ninara Poll says:

    Oh, I love the idea of a scent that has, as you put it, “great movement sillage” but mediocre projection — it puts me in mind of a very delicate, long silk scarf that is unnoticeable to the wearer but trails along behind like a gorgeous banner. Are there any other perfumes that fall into the “great movement sillage” category that won’t make people want to kill me 😉 ?
    I’m happy that the trip to France went well! I miss Paris and hope to go back someday. Snowwise, my little corner of the country managed to actually miss the snow the past three weeks; I think our last dusting was a little over three weeks ago. The North Carolina mountains seem to have borne the brunt of the snow.
    And lastly, my gorgeous little sample of Amouage Beloved Man arrived safe and sound! The hubs actually recoiled in horror when he smelled it, so I don’t think I’ll get to spray him 🙁 My dad, on the other hand, is enchanted with it, so at least one man in my life will wear it when I’m not 😀 Once again, thank you! *hugs*


  • Vidaliscious says:

    PAAATTTYYY!! Sounds fabulous! Love Dries’ line of clothing especially those that use the artist James Reeves’ photography as the prints. Sounds like the scent is equally classy. Hoping to get to Paris this year… seriously, when is the next Posse trip? Jonesing for chocolate in Chicago…!

  • Zazie says:

    This new FM sounds wonderful!
    I’ll love to hear more about your parisian adventures -please!
    While you were having fun under the tour Eiffel, I’ve “enjoyed” some snow and gray skies, several tarte tatins to keep up with the dreary weather, and some fun planning for future trips.
    Thanks for the draw!!!

  • Tatiana says:

    Glad you had a wonderful trip to Paris with your family. I’m not sure I could have restrained myself to just one beautiful scarf from Bon Marche! Our weather was on the cool side with one huge rain storm last Tuesday, but overall it’s been a dryer than normal winter. Very excited and curious to try this new scent on the skin.

  • scenthive says:

    So glad you had a fabulous time in Paris, I am so envious. I’ve gotten the ball rolling again on Scent Hive, been working, being a mom, and playing lots of tennis.

    Would love to give this scent a try, it sounds heavenly and I do love a perfume that wears close to me so it sounds right up my alley…along with those notes!!


  • PianoGirl says:

    Sorry for the misprints, guys. “Tell me” and “too late”

  • FragrantWitch says:

    Welcome back, Patty! So glad to read that you had a great Paris trip. The Dries van Noten sounds very sniff-worthy, (cuddly! Saffron!) I’ll have to see if its in London anywhere . Looking forward to hearing more of your tales from the scented city!

  • PianoGirl says:

    Lot’s of snow in MN! Last weekend was busy: played a recital and tested Les Nombres d’Or samples. Need to spare some money..a lot of money. Can anybody confort me and tell be that Mona’s first line will be back soon? ‘Cause her “gray line” samples are impossible to find. I am dying to try, I discovered Mona to late..

  • Datura5750 says:

    Welcome back! I would love to try this!

  • LCT says:

    I noticed that this is available on the FM site already. I had to seriously restrain myself from blind buying it this weekend. Forced myself to back away from the computer. I’m so sure I’m going to love it though! Ugh. What AM I going to do with myself?

  • shaney says:

    Bon Marche! So wonderful…

    We have snow, but not enough, I’m afraid, to offset what looks to be another terrible fire season (ugh, why did i turn all somber?).

    I am excited to try this. It seems the reviews I’ve read so far are all a positive spin on just ok…but the saffron, blond woods, and peruvian balm are all enough to pique my interest!

  • Jackie b says:

    We have had bushfires, cyclones and floods here, so your post brings me thoughts of gentler climes…and cuddly perfumes, oh yes please!

  • Michael Leong says:

    my wife has been talking about this perfume for a while. she is dying to try it! i have been working, working, and working. no more snow storms here, i hope.

  • thegoddessrena says:

    This sounds like a must try. Life has been mostly school and work and I’m eagerly awaiting my tax refund so I can buy some new perfume

  • spiker says:

    The weather forecast is for freezing rain turning to snow tomorrow here on the midwestern prairie. I intend to spend as much time as possible daydreaming I’m in Paris.

  • John Tsuzumi says:

    I’m a fan of FM in Tokyo. Is the draw restricted to the US? I hope not!

  • masha7 says:

    I’ve tried just about all the Malles, but never found one that really seemed to fit me. Admired them all, yes, but I’m still waiting for That Perfect Malle for me. I may sound naive, but this seems like it could be the one…cuddly and weird? Oh yeah. Please enter me in the draw, and thanks!

  • ElizabethC says:

    Hoping it doesn’t get too cold here since I just planted a new David Austin bare root rose (yep, that’s me, Miss Impatience). I’m going to see how this rose does in a large container and, if it works, I want to fill up one part of our front yard with roses in containers. Would love to try this perfume – I’ve always liked cuddly scents and this sounds fantastic.

    • tammy says:

      Oooh, which one did you get, and what zone are you in? I have been eyeballing my catalogues, but we’re still belowfreezing here.

      • ElizabethC says:

        I ordered a Molineux (a small bush that has the most amazing yellow flowers) directly from David Austin and am waiting on that one. Our local garden store had a sale, so I went with a list of roses that would work in pots. Of course, I then saw what the Evelyn roses would look like and grabbed that one. Sooo – might not work or might be just beautiful. I’m in Seattle and, of course, after I purchased and planted the rose they started predicting that it might snow – nothing yet and I am crossing my fingers 🙂

  • Janet in California says:

    This does sound cuddly and nice. No snow here! We are having one of the driest winters on record. Water rationing here we come.

  • hajusuuri says:

    We were supposed to get bad weather in NY/NJ this past Saturday but it didn’t turn out too badly. I got together with friends to celebrate the tail end of the Lunar New Year (yes, it goes on for two weeks !!!). Welcome back!!!!!

  • Ari says:

    Patty, I’m glad to hear you had a great time in Paris! I can’t WAIT to try this- “saffron” and “cuddly” are some of my very favorite perfume words. I haven’t had much fun while you were gone, but this weekend, after my family went to visit my brother at the hospital, my mom and I got to try the Jo Malone Sugar & Spices. I liked Bitter Orange & Chocolate best, although my mom declared it “nasty”.

  • SS-K says:

    It sounds amazing. I adore things with saffron! No cold weather where I am, at least not by your standards. Did you have lots of yummy food while in Paris?

  • FeralJasmine says:

    Hey, welcome back! This has been about the most unpleasantly change-ridden two weeks of my adult life and I am so looking forward to a dose of escapism through hearing about all the beauty that you saw and smelled. Hearing about a scent with aching tender vulnerability is a great start. Maybe I need to try that one. Keep the perfume tales coming, Scheherazade! It’s good to hear (read) your unique voice again.

  • Justine says:

    I can’t wait to dab this one on my neck; that mix of notes sounds wonderful. While you were gone we had springlike weather and then BAM, the cold rolled in and suddenly we were all whining about it not being 70 in February anymore. Welcome back!

  • kelly says:

    I had a lovely impromptu dinner with old friends on Saturday night. My friend Laura is someone I’ve known for decades. She was wearing a perfume with a violet note which was gorgeous. Wondering how the violet note plays in DVN which sounds lovely. Congrats on your time in Paris, City of Light!

  • David says:

    Sounds interesting. I was so happy when I was able to get a couple of bottles of Dans tes bras before it was released in the US. Can’t wait to try this one.