Portrait of a Lady (2010)
    by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle




    Average Rating: 4

    Based on 173 ratings
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    Portrait of a Lady Fragrance notes

    Rose Essence, Blackcurrant, Raspberry, Cinnamon, Clove, Rose Absolute, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Incense, Ambroxan, White Musk Cocktail

    Portrait of a Lady information

    Portrait of a Lady is a women's fragrance by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. The scent was launched in 2010

    Reviews of Portrait of a Lady


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    Showing 1 to 6 of 38 reviews.

    Way Off Scenter's avatar

    United States United States

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    Genre: Chypre

    Let’s start with the name. “Portrait of A Lady” has to be the most outrageous fragrance misnomer since Exceptional launched its non-descript and deadly dull eponymous sports fragrance for men in 2008. If ever a fragrance broadcast “UNISEX” on application, this is it. Heck, had Malle offered it as say, “Black Stallion,” it might have done well as a masculine. First the porn star-worthy “Thunderwood,” now this…someone needs to talk to marketing.

    Portrait of a Lady actually launches on a searing black pepper note that gives Marc Jacobs’s Bang a run for its money. Following soon after are a dark, dry rose, oudh, and a camphoraceous (rather than earthy/sweaty) patchouli note, all supported by a rather stark and austere foundation of wood and frankincense. I see a conceptual relationship between Portrait of a Lady and the peppery-woody-incense rose of Caron’s Parfum Sacré, but the Malle is far less plush and comfortable. There are also parallels with some of the Montale oudh scents, including Black Aoud, which shares also leans on rose, oudh, and patchouli, and with Juliet Has a Gun’s softer and more recent Lady Vengeance.

    Portrait of a Lady’s somewhat surprising drydown distinguishes it from any of these predecessors. Rather than the expected balsamic woody-oriental base notes, Portrait of a Lady settles on a relatively hard-edged, dry accord of oudh, woods, and a proudly synthetic-smelling clean musk vaguely reminds me of Malle’s Geranium pour Monsieur. (Also by Ropion.) My only complaint, based on a single wearing, is that like Geranium pour Monsieur, Portrait of a Lady segues into its drydown early and abruptly. I would enjoy the scent more if the rose, oudh, pepper, and patchouli accord of the middle section lasted for more than a half an hour. When I can manage them, additional wearings may yield a different experience. Even so, I consider Portrait of a Lady well worth trying – for ladies and gentlemen alike!

    23rd June, 2014

    Klaaon's avatar

    Singapore Singapore

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    No rose by any other name is beautifully haunting and longing like Portrait of a Lady. Am still debating whether i as a grown man can confidently pull it off though.....

    12th May, 2014

    kumquat's avatar

    United States United States

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    Rose (absolue) stronger, evidently, plus pepper, Aoud and a powerful blast of patchouli, isn't sitting well with me. It has an oddly camphourous effect overall. I wonder if this is better suited for male chemistry. It just isn't working with mine and I keep getting soapy wafts along with peppery roses. A headache and a scrubber.

    20th April, 2014

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Romantic and decadent
    Probably one of my favorite masterpieces around and my most appreciated from this brand for sure. The combination of the complex spicy/fruity rose absolute, patchouli, a touch of oud and incense is romantic, decadent and poetic. You can detect the pungency from the raspberries by soon together with citrus (bergamot?), sweet spices and pepper. The first blast is indeed misty (more than vaguely prickly), rosey, barely medicinal, spicy/fruity and slightly resinous. The vintage parisian elegant soul of the fragrance starts soon to emerge as soon as the rosey patchouli (a la Histoires de Parfums- mostly Rosam- in common incense, spices, oud, patchouli, rose etc etc, even if Rosam is less fruity--and with some Noir Patchouli's nuances) takes the stage surrounded by multitudinous nuances (spicy, incensey, ambery and fruity). The more the development blooms up the more i detect the smooth ambery/blackcurrant/red berries fruity influence and the dominant Queen Rose in a finally thinned spicy mist. The dry down (softly rosey, silky and almost powdery) is exactly like a portrait of a romantic lady on the Rive Gauche's side in autumn.
    Pros: A royal combination of regal notes
    Cons: Any"</p>
    PS: Malle's POAL (a misty and resinous rose/patchouli) is neither a sharp rosey centered fragrance nor a straight forward rose itself since a misty and dense fruity amber (spicy blackcurrant+ Red berries + amber itself + creamy incense) plays a role of co-protagonist enveloping the floral element (never typically earthy/grassy/botanical) and hints of incensey and woody "resinousity" in a denser art-deco voluptuous embrace while the floral element is more properly catchable in the final part of the trip. Anyway also at the end the rose is yet finally slightly "misty". I detect some Rosam's vibe (misty/resinous rose-patchouli) and in the HDP's one the rose element is effectively more central in the body of a less fruity but almost equally resinous aroma.

    01st September, 2013 (Last Edited: 31st December, 2013)

    Diamondflame's avatar

    Singapore Singapore

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    Not a portrait but a sketch

    Anyone expecting an exotic rose fragrance for women is in for a big disappointment. Portrait of a Lady unveils a beautifully lush rose opening note only to have it cruelly obscured by a cloud of incense and wood smoke. Other than a subtly fruity undercurrent of black currants this is mostly a somber affair, a dark almost smoky resinous take on the rose-patchouli accord with emphasis on the latter.

    A portrait painting in colorful acrylic this is not, more a monochromatic sketch in dusty graphite.

    01st September, 2013

    Haddadi's avatar



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    Heady Ambery Perfume

    Its very bad ,I dont like it at all since its very heady spicy ambery perfume. I dont smell any floral note at all.The best description for this perfume is " Its YSL M7 Sister "

    30th July, 2013

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