One of the reasons why I sample so many fragrances, is that ever so often I come upon a fragrance that smells like nothing I’ve ever smelled before. Even more rare are those moments where not only is the smell new, but the overall effect (diffusion, wearability, experience) of the fragrance is brand new also. This happened with Dans Tes Bras – the new scent from Frederic Malle.
DTB is extremely hard to describe. It’s floral, salty, slightly synthetic (aldehydic) and fleshy.
Here’s where I think Maurice Roucel (the nose who created DTB) and Frederic Malle were going with this scent: We are tired of all of the new musk prominent scents in the niche market now. We’ve done musk with Musc Ravageur. We want to do something different – we want to capture the smell of a person, not their animalic properties (or indolic emanations) but their personal smell. But we also don’t want it to smell like a CB I Hate Perfume or Demeter scent – a novelty scent. It should be sophisticated, and let’s throw in a safe floral to make it easier for people to ‘get’. Violets!
I like violet notes, but this violet note is almost chemically treated in a way that it radiates a fuzziness to it. Nothing close to the musky, civet-heavy barbershop vibe of Midnight Violet by Ava Luxe – or the sharp, pungent violet leaf notes in Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene and Narciso Rodriguez for Him. Rather the violet emanates like a gas behind a wall of synthetic diffused notes. Have you ever walked into a bathroom where someone has sprayed hairspray just a second before you walked into the room – and the air seems charged with ions and almost has a taste that hits the back of your throat? Well, DTB smells like that. Not the smell of hairspray (for that note, see Cuir de Russie by Chanel). But instead the smell of air, that has had hairspray diffused in it. With violets.
As it warms on my skin, DTB gets slightly more tangy. I think an online review I read mentioned ‘a field of mushrooms’. This description is close but I think it reminds me of the smell of an algae encrusted fountain, in a garden. Perhaps chlorophyll or something akin to mildew, yet dry (not watery or aquatic). Then, the strange accord recedes a bit on my skin and combines with my own skin smell and gives off a blindingly accurate recreation of salty, human skin. Fascinating!
I used to work cutting grass, as a summer job, during my high school years (I hated it!). In Miami, all landscaping jobs can be grueling due to the sunny, rainy and humid weather. I remember the smell of my clothes throughout the day while working in the hot sun, saturated with sweat and then drying in the work van on the way to the next job. Only to become saturated with sweat all over again, when we started the next job. Not the smell of sour body odor - but very much a sweaty body, dried by the sun.
The entire duration of the scent is close to the skin, with extremely below average sillage - yet average longevity. When the scent disappears from the surface of my skin, all I could smell was whiffs of the Cashmeran or white musk (I can’t figure out which one it is, since some musks I can’t smell…), with all of the other notes completely gone.
It’s impossible to compare this scent to any other scent on the market. However, lovers of the perfumer Geza Schon and his stripped down fragrances (Escentric 01 and Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules; gs02 by Biehl) or Christopher Brosius’ strange accords (Chanterelle Mushroom accord by CB I Hate Perfume or Cumming by Alan Cumming) should definitely try DTB because I think it was created with the same sense of fragrant 'vagueness'.
Perhaps the only drawback for many will be finding a time/place to wear Dans Tes Bras. To a Halloween party? A Flaming Lips concert? To the Burning Man Festival?
Me? It smells so wonderfully innovative, I plan on getting a full bottle (or atleast one of those travel size bottles) and wearing it whenever I damn well please.