Sunday, January 31, 2010

Frederic Malle's Picks: Ready?

According to the latest column by Frédéric Malle, head of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle niche line, "The Fragrance Guy" in Allure Magazine, it's just the state of things that several synthetic ingredients are necessary to replicate natural scents. On his column Malle discusses how the science of aroma-chemicals is able to reproduce scents of nature more accurately than previously thought possible, through artistry approximating reality almost photorealistically. In the state of today's perfume market, where often aromachemicals act as the sole (or predominant) ingredients in perfume formulae, you'd think that they would have the mimicking of nature down pat. But perhaps that's not the point...

His interesting group of fragrant picks includes:
1.Diorissimo (lily of the valley bia hydroxycitronellal),
2.Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat (citron hesperidic cologne by Guerlain), 3.Lauder's Pleasures (soapy aldehydes and crystalline replicated peony and lilac),
4.L'Artisan L'Eau d'Ambre (the warm of fir resin) &
5.Carnal Flower (tuberose with an eycalyptus note which naturally occurs in the flower) from his own line. Fascinating to contemplate the relevance as Carnal Flower is reportedly the fragrance with the highest ratio of natural tuberose absolute in the market.
An eclectic bunch to be sure!

tuberose pic via


  1. interesting- hard to get Allure here so thanks very much for posting this

  2. Much as I love & appreciate M. Malle for bringing about a few of my most beloved frags, and much as I believe he does know about fragrance, I can't help but wonder just how much he has to alter this column to suit the commercial sensibilities of Allure. Fashion magazines hardly ever voluntarily randomly editorialize about products -- there's usually been some sort of placement agreement. I think L'Artisan is the most "niche-y" house (besides his own) I've ever seen him mention in the magazine. But maybe this is just sour grapes on my part because I don't want the whole world wearing my darling Carnal Flower!

  3. K,

    isn't it? You're welcome. I like the odds and ends :-)

  4. SS,

    you bring a VERY interesting point into the discussion and I think you're right to some extent. There might be some coaching to the direction of "hey, is there anything from X and Y company you like so we can include?" After all, I know that from personal experience...Of course me and Malle are not on the same level on what has to do with editorial freedom I guess.

    The two things which particularly impress me are:
    1)Diorissimo has lost some of its lustrous veneer of the "lily of the valley hologram" it had. I suppose any reader who prompted by the article sniffs it at the store will be a little disappointed. Or maybe not, since they can't compare with the older formula. Anyway.
    2)Pleasures isn't very natural smelling and to be quite honest I don't think it even tries! That's not the concept. It's a soapy, aldehydic, slightly peppery composition that's as abstract as the idea of a snowy laundry day. But maybe that's just me... ;-)
    Carnal Flower, sigh, is completely fabulous...

  5. E: I'm not sure I understand what the list of five is supposed to actually represent?

  6. Also, regarding your reply to SS: It's coincidental that I smelled Diorissimo on a card for the first time this weekend on a card. I'll first say that it's the type of high-pitched floral that isn't necessarily my favorite type (though I enjoy MDCI Coeur en Mai). However, even given that, there was something about it that made me realize after sniffing the card many times over a 30-minute period that it is the type of scent that might easily induce a headache. Upon first sniff though, I thought it seemed like a pleasant enough floral, and I was not in any way struck by it smelling "cheap" or overly synthetic. (This last adjective must be taken with a grain of salt because I realize that many frags may be almost wholly synthetic, yet not "smell synthetic" -- by which perhaps I mean "plasticky" or "chemical-like" -- to my amateur nose; which is, of course, as it should be in a well-made, albeit synthetic perfume.)

    What relation the Diorissimo I smelled yesterday has to the original formulation, I will likely never know.

  7. Joe,

    the list suppossedly focuses on which perfumes reproduce nature satisfactorily through the magic of synths. Or so I gather ;-)

  8. Joe,

    Lily of the valley is exactly the kind of note that is WHOLLY synthetic for reasons of production difficult/non cost-effectiveness. The original Diorissimo did use natural jasmine though, whereas the new one does not. It's all a matter of dumping down the formula, I'm afraid, also the restrictions on a couple of ingredients (the original LOTV synth included), so it's a difficult issue. The scent was supposed to be initially sharp (LOTV is that kind of thing), but mellow out and become rounder later on. This doesn't happen with the new one: it just flatens like an overcooked pancake...Sad...

    PS. Profuse apologies on not thanking you on your lovely little package yet. Sincere thanks are in order!! (I love it)

  9. You're very welcome. I'm curious to know if you'll write one day about your impressions of Amaranthine... but no hurry in any case!

  10. J,

    sure, I am planning to! Thank you once again, I was very pleased with it :-))


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