Superstitious (2017)
by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle for Alber Elbaz


Superstitious information

Year of Launch2017
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 16 votes)

People and companies

HouseEditions de Parfums Frederic Malle
Created ForAlber Elbaz
PerfumerDominique Ropion
Parent CompanyEstee Lauder Companies

About Superstitious

Superstitious is a shared / unisex perfume by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. The scent was launched in 2017 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Dominique Ropion

Reviews of Superstitious

After spending an adequate amount of time with Superstitious, I am a bit surprised at the classical references in the chatter around this fragrance. I have to concede that I haven't tried Lanvin's Arpege; however, I doubt vintage Arpege smells like this - especially it's hard for me to imagine Arpege sharing a temperament with Superstitious. Superstitious has all the trademarks of a post 2010 Ropion creation for Frederic Malle. It is meticulously crafted, seamlessly blended and has precise movements and proportions. It is a floral, but a lot more than any regular floral. There is a prominent dose of aldehydes, that appears deliberate. This renders a sparkle to the composition, to counteract the rose and the fruity aspects. Rose is at the heart of the fragrance, paired elegantly with an abstract note of peach. The triad of aldehydes, rose and peach comprise the central accord of the composition, and it stays linear throughout much of the development. There is a refined soapy aura, and also an airy mood that prevails most of the time. The slow transition finally reveals, after well over seven or eight hours, a dry down where an airy vetiver note takes centrestage, and harmonises the primary accord which now has a hazy, soft focus. Sillage and duration are both excellent.

While Superstitious does have a retro charm, it employs more of a nod rather than more obvious references. It is as modern as any perfume in 2017, the only difference being Superstitious offers a view into the past through a lens, but without any baggage of nostalgia. It blends in a particular vintage style well within a modern perfume structure, more as an embellishment. It does not want to take us back, but it brings back something from the past to accentuate its aesthetics. In terms of temperament, Superstitious has an emotional aloofness, a dry, cold character that is perhaps what it was supposed to conjure up. It smells familiar but with a definite sense of mystique. It does have a darkness about itself, which is more of a dim gray dark character rather than anything dramatic, more misty than gothic. It is angular, it is synthetic, and at times even leans towards a bit avant-garde. It is definitely not for me, especially since I usually do not gel well with fruity fragrances, especially peach. While Superstitious is far from 'fruity' since the peach note is so abstract, it nonetheless veers close to something I would admire from a distance rather than on my skin. Personal tastes aside, Superstitious is a solid offering for perfume lovers, especially in 2017, even after considering the astronomical pricing. It is immaculately crafted, absolutely not a top note con job, and has depths and nuances that are revealed after a few wearings. This is a perfume that may appear deceptively simple at first, but becomes more intriguing and interesting over time. I also think of Superstitious as being parallel to other fragrances with obvious retro references. While several new creations successfully evoke vintage perfumes directly by construction (MAAI being a leading example), Superstitious touches on the same subjects but passes by eventually. It can be elusive.



Those of you who know how my tastes in perfumes lack in refinement and sophistication, you wouldn't be surprised if I eventually end up with Superstitious, given how much of a sucker I am for strong perfumes. I am absolutely thrilled with this attribute of Superstitious, which makes it a very strong candidate for debate and discussion in the sadly now-defunct Thickheads group. Its potency is good, but is excellent considering it's primarily a floral, not a monotonous amber. I happy to admit that I can safely use attractive adjectives like 'thick' and 'robust' when mentioning its sillage and duration. )
03rd October, 2017
Aldehydic. Aldehydic to the point that it's almost medicinal. In my opinion, this amount of aldehyde usually spells "paranoia".

I guess it's intended to be a modern take on floral aldehydes notes, but I don't get much floral, except for a shadow like sourness lurking somewhere in that dazzling aldehydes mess.

Now comes to think it, I understand why it's called "superstitious". It does give out a neurotic vibe.
30th August, 2017
Superstitious is like a woman that walks into a party wearing a gold lame dress that plunges to her navel. Like everyone else in the room, you think she’s gorgeous, but you’re not sure if she’s really your kind of people. I’m not sure I understand her yet, so I’m going to circle this interesting creature a little bit longer while I try to figure her out.

People are citing all manner of classic perfumes as reference: Arpege, Gold, even Portrait of a Lady. But none of those references help me place her in my mental pantheon of smells. Superstitious strikes me as more a modern cyborg than something classical or referential. And it certainly has nothing to do with Portrait of a Lady. Actually, I find it comes at me from slightly beyond my frame of reference, and thus my footing is unsure.

Something that takes me aback is the astringency of the opening: it’s as metallic and bitter as a mouthful of pennies, sluiced with the acid of unripe fruit. Sensation-wise, it reminds me of biting into a persimmon that’s two weeks away from becoming perfect, ripping all moisture from my mouth.

I’m starting to understand that not aldehydes smell or feel the same. Some feel loose and creamy, like those at the top of Chanel No. 22 – the fizz of a can of Fanta mixed into a pot of Pond’s Cold Cream. Some feel tight and lemony, like Tauer’s Noontide Petals. The aldehydes of Superstitious, on the other hand, are extremely fine-grained and waxy, like a bar of green soap put through a microplane grater and blown up your nose. It reminds me somewhat of the opening to Seyrig by Bruno Fazzolari. The onslaught is aggressive, and slightly mean.

What’s amazing about this fragrance – and I say this even before figuring out whether I like it or not – is how the clean, chemical bite of the aldehydes have been balanced out by the dirty, botanical impression of flowers. Even in the first onslaught of the perfume’s harsh, soapy green fuzz, you can smell the slightly unclean jasmine – wilting and browning, as if about to drop off a vine and into your lap. This produces an effect that is half synthetic, half naturalistic. You can almost imagine the perfumer muttering to himself as he works out the formula, “a little bit from the lab, and now a little bit from the garden”.

The quality of the florals is amazing – there is a Turkish rose, jasmine from Grasse, and a hint of dry peach skin a la Mitsouko in the later stages. But put aside expectations of sweetness, or even density. Even with the late addition of the peach, things stay dry, leathery, and slightly sour, like the inside of the strap of your watch after a long hot day, or the taste of a very dry, metallic white wine on the back of the tongue.

Which is a way of saying that although all signs point to lushness, this is not a particularly lush perfume. Being a longtime fan of Alber Elbaz and his work for Lanvin, I had expectations of something with as many dangerous curves as his midnight blue and flesh-colored dresses for this house in the 2008-2009 period. Alber himself is round; is it weird that I was expecting a perfume with his name on it to be round too? But Superstitious turns out to be as chicly angular as one of his models.

The drydown is a slightly smoky, raspy base of vetiver and woods that somehow reads to my nose as incense. It is slightly sweeter, or at least, less tart in the far reaches of the scent, and I find it comforting.

Superstitious is a very interesting, beautiful, and somewhat challenging perfume. It is perhaps easier to admire than to love, because a certain bitchiness inherent in its character suggests that this is a perfume that might not love you back.

But despite a certain lack of easy access here, I really do like Superstitious, not least because it turns my expectations on their head. Expecting lush and sweet, I get angular and tart. Expecting classic, I get modern. Most of all, I admire the perfume’s sublime balance between its metallic, chemical shimmer and its unclean, slightly earthy flowers and fruit – and it’s this last aspect that might move me towards an eventual purchase. Some day.

29th August, 2017
Genre: Floral

I’ve taken my time reviewing Superstitious. It’s a big, ambitious fragrance by a prodigiously talented nose, and I’ve felt the need to wear it several times over a period of weeks in order to acquaint myself with it sufficiently for an accurate description and a fair assessment. In overall style, Superstitious is a great, big aldehydic floral composition, the likes of which has not been done often since the 1970s or 1980s – maybe even the 1950s. It opens with a powerful blast of aldehydes, which resemble nothing so much as hairspray. These are quickly followed by an intense peach note. Next up are a potent rose and jasmine, and the four elements persist and combine in an angular, yet rich fruity/aldehydic floral accord of tremendous power and persistence. This central floral accord has underpinnings of vetiver, patchouli, and cinnamon, which together add a spicy-woody depth to the overall olfactory profile. The emphasis here is on "angular." If peach, aldehydes, rose, and jasmine have you thinking of Chanel No. 5, you're on the wrong track. The aldehydes Ropion employs here are not the soft, fuzzy variety. They have instead a crisp, effervescent olfactory texture, more akin to champagne bubbles than to peach fuzz.

While unmistakably modern in its daring overdose of snappy aldehydes, Superstitious can also feel decidedly retro in its sheer heft. It has the presence of a 1980s classic such as Knowing or Beautiful, and a structure, with its balanced blend of synthetics and naturals, that is classicizing in Ropion’s best manner. There’s an overall edginess to the composition, however, that keeps Superstitious from feeling dated.

All that said, Superstitious is a fragrance I can admire more than love. Partially, I have a hard time with how darn intrusive the stuff is. It practically enters the room moments before I do, and lingers a good ten minutes once I’ve left. There’s also something chemically abrasive to my nose about the drydown that I just can’t quite abide by, no matter how I try. Oh, and did I mention that Superstitious is powerful? This fragrance, in eau de parfum concentration, is every bit the equal of Giorgio, Poison, Opium, or Samsara, and I’ve yet to manage applying it lightly enough for an effect that reads less than a 9 on the Richter scale. I expect that many will love this scent, and that just as many will loathe it. Hey, at least it isn’t boring.
17th August, 2017
Meh. A few seconds of old-school flowers drenched in every possible chemical, very quickly drying down to some green kitchen herbs, still drenched in chemicals.

The flowers are nice for a minute, but it's a mix of oregano and basil, with a pinch of cassis, with its hints of bile, that are the stars of the show.

But it's that mix of chemicals - I'm guessing aldehydes and hedione and any other "uplifting" "fresh" odorant you can imagine - that sets Superstitious apart. I can see how they were trying to build a classic recipe into a postmodern abstraction, but I don't really think it smells all that great.

Frankly, I don't get the hype. I don't particularly enjoy the unrelenting chemical haze, and everything else is unremarkable. I get that it's trying to fuse classic hyper-feminine elements with masculine herbs under a surrealist haze, but somehow, with all that effort, the points of interest seem to cancel each other out, leaving Superstition a bit boring. It's not a bad perfume, per se, but if you're desperate enough for an aldehydic floral to pay Malle prices for this, I'd suggest that a trip to, just as an example, a Patou counter would yield better results.
17th August, 2017
Echoes Paloma Picasso perfume with a touch of Sisley Eau de Soir.
Understated luxury.
21st June, 2017 (last edited: 24th June, 2017)

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