Friday, October 2, 2009

Frederic Malle Home Collection Scents & Saint des Saints review

"In this new adventure, I have chosen to work with perfumers or noses specialized in fine fragrances, as opposed to those in functional fragrance who would normally work on home fragrances,” says Frédéric Malle, the auteur behind Editions de Parfums and the instigator of several "lines" of fragrances across the market. “A fragrance should become part of life without smothering it. The goal for this new home collection is to embellish the complex alchemy that makes up the odors of our world.”

With imaginative names such as Jurassic Flower (centered on magnolia, which we had mentioned in relation to Malle before) and Coffee Society (the aftermath of a rich dinner) the sparse packaging eschews the ultra-luxe presentation upscale home fragrance brands invest their offerings with such as the rococo-looking Cire Trudon and Ladurée. I see half the bet already won: it's all about the formula, we're left to think! Judging by his Saint des Saints, which I was fortunate enough to smell through an inward connection, the mission is accomplished. Saint des Saints is a holy offering of myrrh incense and balsams (I seem to detect Tolu and Peru balsams, but nothing official is forthcoming now) that is capable of conjuring Caspar in turbaned gear in nano-seconds. I can picture myself reading my beloved books on medieval and renaissance alchemy by the throw of this scent, a blazing fire burning in the fireplace and some fine Napeoleon cognac in my palm. It just seems to condone such an atmosphere, which were it not available it should have been invented.

For this collection Frédéric Malle joined forces with fine fragrance "noses" Carlos Benaïm, a close colleague of the late Dr. Mookherjee (vice-president of IFF), the prolific and bestseller-producing Sophia Grosman, and Dominique Ropion, who has been working with Malle for a long time producing some of the line's most memorable creations. Since of the three only Carlos Benaïm hasn't collaborated with F.Malle before are we to expect the newest fragrance to join the fine fragrance line to be his creation?
The home range encompasses 5 florals, 1 woody and 3 compositions more attuned to orientalised sensibilities. The technology and artistry employed aimed to produce realistic scent “portraits” of flowers and essences for the home, combining head space techniques and natural essences, coming out with ways to emit the aroma as best as possible: that took the form of a candle (with wax especially formulated to aid diffusion, though what I smelled was not super potent), a diffuser (called "fleurs mécaniques" or mechanical flowers), or both. The innovation of the difuser is that it is an in-house development of the Editions de Parfums, a wireless cube that can be recharged with a refill. There is also another innovation available in one scent, Saint des Saints, which is called Rubber Incense: this is the Space-Age equivalent of the pot-pouri sachet that proviencial women put in closets to keep them aromatized; a small sheet of 100% recyclable plastic rubber is saturated with fragrance. The patented Polyiff technique from IFF allows diffusion for years without necessitating electricity or refills.

The Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Home Collection Scents comprises:

  • Un Gardénia, la Nuit by Dominique Ropion (available as a candle and fleurs mécaniques). The gardenia is one of Frédéric Malle’s favorite flowers and this is a rendition following the head space method of Dr. Braja Mookherjee producing a most convincing natural scent. Incidentally the most pricey of the range.

  • 1er Mai by Dominique Ropion (candle and fleurs mécaniques). This near-reproduction of the fragrance of a cluster of lily of the valley (muguet) is the result of working with historic formulae (Coty Muguet de Bois, Dior Diorissimo) for the flower along with head space technology.

  • Rosa Rugosa by Carlos Benaïm (candle and fleurs mécaniques). The reconstitution of the dry, cold, astringent-like scent of these wild rose bushes which grow on the Atlantic coast was developed by Benaïm “au nez”, just by using his nose.

  • Rubrum Lily by Carlos Benaïm (candle and fleurs mécaniques). The ravishing perfume of a full bouquet of lilies which has dressed up rooms since the turn of the century: Floral, green, salty, and very spicy.

  • Jurassic Flower by Carlos Benaïm (candle and fleurs mécaniques). A unique floral fragrance centered on magnolia thanks to top notes which resemble those of citrus fruits. A subtle lavender aspect and the sweetness of peaches complement this very natural smelling freshness.

  • Saint des Saints by Carlos Benaïm (candle and rubber incense). The work that Dr. Mookherjee did to record scents included the analysis of his favorite places such as Indian temples which lead to the creation of this mystical fragrance.

  • Coffee Society by Carlos Benaïm (available as a candle) This candle attempts to recreate that ephemeral odor of the living room after the end of a Parisian dinner, several dishes and the delicasies that accompany that demitasse. Among the perfumes of the home collection, this one most resembles a fragrance that is to be worn.

  • Russian Nights by Sophia Grosman (available as a candle). This simple yet rich fragrance has notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, iris and sandalwood producing a soft spicy ambery oriental. It was designed to embody the suave warmth of long nights in Russia, although I imagine it has more to do with the cozy feeling of a log-fire room than actual nights in the great outdoors.

  • Santal Cardamome by Dominique Ropion (available as a candle).The scent of sandalwood has become something of the far-reached Avalon for perfumers these days due to restrictions to its harvesting resulting in substitutions with sandalore. The Malle team came upon a chord of harmony of sandalwood cardamomthat compliment each other in a woody blend of raw attraction.
Frédéric Malle Home Collection Scents will be available in F.Malle's boutiques (at New York City and Paris) starting November 2009 as well as Barneys stores, and online at in December 2009. Prices for candles between $85 and $150, Rubber Incense $105 for 5 pieces, and Fleurs Mécaniques $380 with one refill included in the price. Each scent refill surplus costs from $70 to $100.

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Frederic Malle news & reviews, Myth Debunking: Scented candles cause cancer? The truth.

some info/prices via press release and Fragrantica, pic via osmoz


  1. It is, isn't it? I am already hankering after Gardenia, Rubrum Lily and Russian Nights (possibly Coffee Soceity as well!)

  2. Anonymous15:02

    Interested to see how this mechanical flower works/looks...sounds kinda Glade Plug-in-ish.

    The gardenia (Ropion's fav flower too apparently) sound lovely.

  3. Hi there!

    There is a photo of the device, it's a bit space-age-meets-pop-art!Here are Fleurs Mecaniques!> :-)

    Gardenia is such a wonderful, wonderful flower.

  4. Anonymous13:44

    How bizarre...looks like piece of stereo equipment.

    Being a boy, I naturally want one. :)

    Wonder how it will compete with L'Artisan's similar device.

  5. Anonymous06:34

    Love the idea; hate the contraption (color and hardness - should be something more earthy/natural looking)


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