Promise (2017)
by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle


Promise information

Year of Launch2017
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 29 votes)

People and companies

HouseEditions de Parfums Frederic Malle
PerfumerDominique Ropion
Parent CompanyEstee Lauder Companies

About Promise

Promise 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

Promise fragrance notes

Reviews of Promise

I get sweet raspberry and musk.
It leans to the masculine but as a man you just don't want to smell like a slightly dry version of one of those boiled sweets that you half finished and had to hurriedly put in your top pocket as you got called in for your interview.
It is too masculine for a lady unless you are pin striping it.
As the dry down proceeds it looses its sweetness but never relinquishes an element of fruitiness. It projects and lasts very well.
You can wax lyrical about different notes and historical this and spiritual successor to that but ...the problem is that its a nice smell with little application I can see.
As such its a James Dean of the the niche olfactory world. A true rebel without cause and a flawed work of art with no one to belong to.
Please please don't let this show FM is going all unisex. Moon was dreadful. As Picasso honed his art he looked for simplicty and unification. The perfumer here is looking for needless complication and self obsession.
Fragrance: 8/10 just don't know who would carry it off
Projection: 8/10
Longevity: 8/10
04th February, 2020
drseid Show all reviews
United States
Promise opens with an intersting slightly sweet, but also tart unripened apple with underlying airy rose support. As the composition moves to its early heart, the apple vacates, leaving the airy rose to take the fore, adding sanitized light patchouli and mild pepper support, with faux-oud-like cypriol rising from the base, growing slowly in its intensity as time passes. As the composition moves to the late dry-down, the cypriol has become the star as the rose has long since vacated, staying so through the finish, only allowing hints of resinous dry honey-like labdanum to peep through in support. Projection is excellent, as is longevity at around 12 hours on skin.

When I first heard about "Promise" being another Ropion and Malle collaboration, I was really eager to try the composition, as Ropion does his best work under Malle's direction yielding great results like Portrait of a Lady, Une Fleur de Cassie, Carnal Flower, and the first offering in the Malle Middle East series, The Night. The chances of another winner seemed pretty high, but there was one key note that was a potential showstopper... cypriol. Cypriol is used by many perfume outfits to approximate the smell of oud. It might have been a tell-tale sign of things to come when Malle priced Promise significantly less than all the others in the Middle East series that used real oud within. I would like to say Ropion was able to skillfully tone down the cypriol in Promise, but alas it is the composition's downfall, marring an otherwise fine effort by the master. On the plus side, the tart apple note really is handled quite skillfully, pairing surprisingly well with the airy rose and the initially supporting cypriol. It is only when the cypriol becomes the star about midway through the heart phase of development that the composition loses its balance, and loses the "promise" of being a major winner for Malle. I suspect that with some time, a perfumer the caliber of Dominique Ropion would have been able to get the composition balance in tune, but alas, as is, Promise becomes the weakest effort of the Malle Middle East series, and leaves this writer considerably wanting. The bottom line is the $390 per 100ml bottle Promise has some innovative tricks up its sleeve, but just can't keep that faux oud from obscuring its finer points, earning a "good" to "very good" 3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars, and a tepid recommendation outside of any price considerations. If one considers the price tag, "Promise" is a tough sell.
24th November, 2019
Promise by Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle (2017) is a spiritual sequel of sorts to Portrait of a Lady (2010) in the effect of it having rose as a prominent player in the composition with an oriental base, but is actually intended as the second in a limited series produced just for the Middle East. I liked Portrait of a Lady, but I find the price point to be utterly insane for what it was especially in light of it being more expensive than some other Frédéric Malle releases, since he evidently uses an uneven pricing model like Creed with gouging based on popularity. Here with Promise, Dominique Ropion once again works with rose in a Middle Eastern context as he did with The Night (2014), but with a sour and almost animalic base of cypriol and labdanum instead of oud. I think here the idea is to present a rawer take on a rose oriental perfume, much like one might get from any number of non-oud rose attars found from the multitude of Middle Eastern brands that trickle into the perfume community, without so much blending or smoothing in the way typically found in a French perfume. I think in that regard Dominique Ropion succeeds, making a deconstruction of his previous efforts with either Portrait of a Lady or The Night, abstaining from modern musks and ambroxides like those found in one, or heavy doses of barnyard oud like in the other. I don't think this will appeal to many people, but I also don't think it was meant to, considering it is not found at counters outside the Middle East anyway.

The opening of Promise is apple, clove, and pink pepper, like what is listed in the official notes for the fragrance. The crispness and spiciness lend themselves well as an introduction to the pure rose heart of Promise. Dark Turkish rose blends with a sweeter Bulgarian rose, presenting itself a little more jammy than Portrait of a Lady, but also not as full, rich, or deep. The rose here is meant to piece through the apple and spices, which is something it does quite effectively, although rose is not here to steal the show despite what the first thirty minutes might have you thinking. The labdanum and cypriol base is quite strong, already peeking through at the onset of the top notes, gradually growing more dominant as the rose comes in, then slowly fades. By the time the first hour is done, there is no mistaking this for anything but an oriental chypre with "cypress" accord of labdanum and cypriol cranking out some considerable heat with a sourish earthen tone, rounded by patchouli and given a touch of green. The rose dances on top this huge animalic sour plonk, while the spices come and go, giving Promise a much more virile and challenging posture than Portrait of a Lady, almost like it's wild heathenish cousin. Wear time is eternal without scrubbing, and projection can be a bit much, so be careful with application. Most certainly this is a scent for the bedroom, whereas Portrait of a Lady is better for a night out in sophisticated company. I'm guessing Promise is not meant for the first date in any case, but makes a very convincing "come hither" trail regardless of sex, even if the sourness of the base will be an acquired taste for some.

The Night was the first excursion into Middle East perfume for both Dominique Ropion and Frédéric Malle, and had a very authentic barnyard oud note in it because it was touted to contain an "unprecedented" amount of real oud in the composition, but at nearly $1000 is mostly out of the reach of even hardcore Frédéric Malle fans. With Promise, the second entry into this Middle Eastern line, it feels like Ropion and Malle return to something a little more tenable price-wise and accessible for fans used to the main line while having a similar exotic theme as The Night, adding another rose take alongside others such as Lipstick Rose (2000), Une Rose (2003), and Ropion's own Portrait of a Lady. Once you toss in Dawn (2018), which is Carlos Benaim's $1000+ take on Middle Eastern oud for the house, and The Moon (2019), Julien Rasquinet's contribution to the same line, then you see that Promise may have some value as the only "Middle Eastern Malle" that sells anywhere near the price of the rest. Whether or not Promise being the only semi-accessible entry from this ultra-exclusive line is enough to warrant your attention, it is worth noting as an exploitable option if you like Middle Eastern styles from Western perfumers but are tired of endless oud takes, although as a rose perfume it leaves a bit to be desired since that cypriol and labdanum in the base do more to shape the character of Promise than rose it is centered around. Promise does not really deliver as the spiritual sequel to Portrait of a Lady in the end, but it does offer a "through the looking glass" glimpse of how that perfume may have been conceived if it wasn't so intent on catering to Western tastes. Thumbs up.
13th October, 2019
I’m trying to think of one instance where I’ve been disappointed by a Dominique Ropion scent and frankly I’m at a loss. I’m generally quite enraptured by his bombastic and beautiful creations. Promise in its overdose of rose and patchouli reminds me in some ways of his masterpiece, Portrait of a Lady. Promise however distinguishes itself with an apple top note and some sourness, which I think could be divisive. Lucky for me, I find that love this creation and can’t quite stop sniffing myself. Sooo...go check out, Promise. It is in my view an intoxicating and sexy addition to the GORGEOUS Frederic Malle line up.
22nd September, 2019 (last edited: 23rd September, 2019)
Oh rose, though art sick – and that’s the way I like you.
The promise of a true rose is one that is always deferred in perfumery, too many wrecks littering its rocky outcrops. Often it can be better, instead, to deviate from chasing verisimilitude and see what a bit of distortion reveals. Ropion’s Promise presents rose in an epic (and, yes, very loud) struggle with sour, wine mould tones up top and the smoke-and-choke pungency of the incense and cypriol combo in the base. And that struggle, for me, is beautiful; the rose’s agony immediate, touching, I hold it close to my heart.
The mode is definitely Middle Eastern/Arabic; and this a perfume with body and a forceful personality – a spray or two will suffice. For some this will be the ruination of the rose – too sour, too badgered by cypriol – and I can understand that. To me, the tensions of the sour, sweet, smoky and spicily resinous elements have the urgency of the tragic mode, it has drama, it touches the tender spot. Not a perfume I would wear every day, but one I’d give myself up to when I did.
18th January, 2019
At first I think this is a spicy rose scent. But, wait and the whirl of contrasts eventually digress to an amber base. Many amber scents are built upon rose which is a natural opening for amber warmth. Dominique Ropion creates unique contrasts that are difficult to describe yet the interplay is unforgettable. Prickly clove covers the sharp edges of green apple which masks the heart of rose which hovers mystically above depths of an earthy and incense depth of patchouli + nagarmatha + cypriol then the amber base. This incense woods base is cooling and attractive but balances the warmth of rose and clove from the opening. Promise is a radiating rosy amber that is drawn slowly into the core by the earthy incense base. The primary character of Promise is spicy and warm rose. But, the unforgettable quality is the depth of the incense as it lounges into the smooth amber which ties it all together. To me this creation is close to masterpiece territory from M. Ropion.
14th May, 2018 (last edited: 30th June, 2019)

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