Nice review. I'm waiting for a sample of Musc Ravageur to arrive.
Frederic Malle is one of few houses that I was very eagerly looking forward to sample so I ordered couple of their samples for me and for my girlfriend.
After wearing each of this once I'd like to share my first impressions with you.
Dans Tes Bras - this was first that I tried. Very different than everything that I tried. I agree with people commenting about kinda like mushrooms smell on top. Drydown goes to soft soapy musk. As I said in my previous comment about it, I like it, but not for its price tag. I will keep my sample and try it later.
Carnal Flower - hmm famous Carnal Flower. I expected lot from you. First spritz on my skin and I am surrounded by very realistic flower smell which has to be tuberose. Its very transparent and I can smell coconut balancing well this strong smell of tuberose. First couple of minutes (or maybe hours) this is heavenly smell and I am in olfactory heaven. Unfortunately coconuty/transparent sophisticated smell is slowly transformed into almost soapy sweet jasmine like scent which became boring and linear. If Carnal Flower smelled like its first half hour for a longer time it would be best floral scent that I smelled but drydown is just ok for my taste. Sample went to my girlfriend and unfortunately on her dry skin its not even that sillage bomb as it is on my skin.
En Passant - couple of weeks before I smelled scented candle with lilac fragrance. I really like smell of lilac so I begin hunt for realistic rendition of it. And where would you expect realistic flower smell more than in FM house? For lilac lovers En Passant delivers. Its just very optimistic, cheering spring floral scent that I'd love to smell on my girlfriend, so this sample went to her.
Lys Mediterranee - similiar in style to En Passant, there is also big lilac note, but also some orange flowers and maybe jasmine. Slightly less invigorating than En Passant but in the same vein of spring, realistic flowers. Sample went to my GF.
Noir Epices - I really had no idea what to expect from Noir Epices. Its indeed spicy, sweet but has some notes that reminds me scents from many years ago... Habit Rouge came on my mind first? I really like its smell but I think that this would fit more to some aristocratic lady than to myself. Sample went to my GF.
Portrait of a Lady - loved by many here on basenotes I had high expectations... and this scent delivers... this is more feminine, less butch version of Black Aoud. To me it smells of higher quality ingredients than BA, and aoud here is not as strong, neither as medical. There is strong raspberry note on top supporting rose + aoud + patchouli combo. Everything is perfectly balanced and almost yummy. It just gets better over time and very late drydown reminds me a bit L Artisans Voleur de Roses. I love the smell but also think that this suits slightly more to women than to men, but anyone that can pull aoud + rose combo can also pull Portraif of a Lady. I'd say that this is highest quality scent of whole FM line that I had chance to sample. Sample went to my GF.
Vetiver Extraordinaire - this was on my must try list for a long time so I was eagerly awaiting it. Top notes delivers what I expected. Rooty, mossy vetiver. Pure class. This makes me feel masculine and sophisticated. If only Encre Noire used this kind and quality of vetiver... For a first couple of hours I was almost ready to pay its price tag but unfortunately, on a late drydown, scent became sweet, and this ruined that raw vetiver quality to me . I will revisit it later but so far I prefer masculinity and linear vetiver quality of Encre Noire.
I still have to sample 2 more.
L'Eau d'Hiver, favourite scent of my basenotes twin Teemas and French Lover.
I already worn my sample of Musc Ravageur many times and it is indeed high quality scent. I just wish that basenotes were not as simple. Also I think that top notes of Musc Ravageur has similiar feel and quality to Noir Epices, which is slightly more feminine.
I hope that you liked my quick impressions. Overall I think that FM uses very high quality ingredients, and all of them have touch of sophistication and high wearability, unlike other niches that I tried (I am looking at you Montale).
Nice review. I'm waiting for a sample of Musc Ravageur to arrive.
You have exposed yourself to a nice assortment from that line.
Interesting that you say you prefer Encre Noire to VE, and that your favorite in the line is Portrait of a lady. Encre Noire and Portrait of a lady have hefty doses of smooth woody ambers in the drydown, so you probably like that note. French lover also has huge woody ambery notes in the drydown (after the deliciously dirty opening) so my guess is that you'll like it too.
I am hypersensitive to marine notes, and Lys Med has one, which I perceive very strongly, but I think most people, who are more ok with marines, probably don't detect it much.
My bigest disappointment was L'Eau d'Hiver. I expected to love this stuff but it doesnt do anything to me. Straight from sample vial (and top notes on skin) it smells very similiar to opening notes of Givenchy Pi (just less powdery and more floral). On drydown it smells just like 1 female scent my coworker use to wear, which I dont like much (and I think that it is some kind of Prada for women).
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I am wearing pyjamas that I had when I sampled Portrait of a Lady. After 3 days, its still heavenly smell. Maybe even better than before. Patchouli, incense, rose and oud in background. Very addictive.
Last edited by dreamer81; 3rd February 2013 at 06:48 PM.
Thanks for that write up, it was an enjoyable read.
If you ever have an opportunity to visit a Malle display do it. If they all are at all similar to the one at Barneys of NY in Chicago, it is not to be missed. For perspective -- I'm 50, old school, and I'm not much into brick & mortar shopping trips... That said, the experience I had checking out their whole line kept in a cooler case, the bios of the respective noses, the uber professional SA, the over-the-top enclosed sampling hoods, the samples, it all was head and shoulders above any other fragrance shopping experience I've ever had. Not that I've had tons. Hermes, next door, was great but still a distant second. It probably helped that it was a cold, cold weekday right after the Holidays when I fell into that Barneys. I was one of just a few customers for about 45 minutes in the whole fragrance area and the only one during that time in the FM area. I was wondering how they stay in business. Nevertheless, the delightful SA seemed to sincerely enjoy the interaction. She knew the line inside out. I ended up buying a bottle of En Passant for my SO. If I ever lotto I will search her out and buy the entire line from her --> how's that for a silly statement?
it seems your tastes are clear from this. You are right, Portrait of a lady has enormous staying power and is both longer lasting and more elegant than the more rugged French Lover - so if it is within the budget, I see no reason not to go for it.
most Malle displays are like the one at Barney chicago (where I actually bought a couple when I lived there). The Malle stores are even bigger and have big booths for smelling.