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


Superstitious information

Year of Launch2017
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 37 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

Aldehydes and rosy-jasmine grab my attention, at first. Then I smell soapy amber. I do love the incense and vetiver combo. It is sharp, yet fresh. Then it reveals mellow patchouli, that later seems to deepen. I feel as though I am missing something, as I had a dabber vial and not a spray to test this. Perhaps more would've been revealed...
21st August, 2018
The first thing that comes to mind is that this smells like a very expensive soap. Aldehydes come first, clearly dominating the blend which feels dreamy and blurry. To this theme, a skinny rose contributes with an airy, fuzzy, clean softness and freshness. Next is the jasmine that comes in force, indolic and sparkly and leaves the other notes in the background. The composition feels vintage and it's tenacious. About 3 hour in and it changes again, the soapy feel from the start now smells like clean sheets left to dry in the wind. It is mostly floral, a mix of white florals which I can't pinpoint. White musk is added and it's the one that gives me the "fresh laundry" smell. From now on, the fragrance doesn't seem to change that much anymore and it gets softer and closer to skin. Much tamer and less complex that in the beginning, barely hovering above the skin, it's mainly laundry white musk with soft floral mix and a gentle wood base. The vintage feel is gone and it feels contemporary now; it's almost another fragrance. The transition and note shift is seamless throughout its life ; it doesn't feel forced even though the changes are significant at times. As a whole, it leans feminine.
26th June, 2018
I don't know why this isn't completely adored. This is a beautiful fragrance. I understand that it may not get selected when smelling on strips. I even understand that wearing it once through a small tester, may not change your mind. However... If you can wear this a second time, I think you will see that your mood is changed by the wearing of this fragrance.

It's really not a throwback to old ways as much as is said about it. Instead it is very modern.

I am a man, but like many of you, I own and wear, and love a wide variety of fragrances. I own masculines, and those marketed pour femme, however when I wear Mitsuoko, although I love it, I see why it was marketed to the audience that it was, especially in it's time! Superstitious, may not be for the man who prefers to shop for Aramis time after time, or has only ever worn Kouros once released, however, I don't think that audience is shopping for the new Malle floral anyway. Point is, this is as unisex as any floral/aldehyde has ever been. (To my nose of course!)

Think about it this way. When I wear Superstitious, it has the most amazing feeling, circulating the air around me, ever fresh and light, never suffocating.

I continue to see comparisons to No. 5, and to me, this is not doing any favors as a comparable; mostly because many of us have very specific associations with that fragrance, almost as if it were an acquaintance we all knew. Some of us are the best of friends with her, and others of us see her as the tawdry jezebel from a by gone era. Either way, I think the comparison is disadvantageous.

I am clearly biased by my adoration of this fragrance, but I in no way think it to be earth shattering, I just think it is misunderstood, and miss-conveyed, almost to the point of scaring those who are looking for something modernistic, which it absolutely is!

Is it Aldehydic? Yes!

Is it Floral? Absolutely!

Does it combine all of this with a beautiful Incense? Yep!

Is it old? Maybe in quality.

Words to aid in the description of this could be:

"Superstitious by Frederic Malle is..."


“what's happening!”



“Glistening, albeit a bit crude”



Try it, I think you may just like it!
20th June, 2018 (last edited: 30th December, 2018)
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

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