We now come to the third and final installment of my explorations of Editions de Perfums Frederic Malle, focusing today on a selection of the brand’s feminines. As before, I attempted to provide balanced commentary on each of these fragrances, and have tested each of them a few times on both my skin and a woman’s skin. Enjoy:
Carnal Flower (Dominique Ropion):
How it smells: Carnal Flower is a celebration of the exotic tuberose. Instead of presenting a one-dimensional, synthetic snapshot of the flower’s aroma, Dominique Ropion has captured the overall feel of the tuberose and its environment. The fragrance feels damp, like the humid air of a greenhouse. All of the facets of tuberose are captured well, including its camphorous, sweet, and animalic nuances. Not only is this a magnificent fragrance, but it also performs very well, lasting many hours on the skin with excellent sillage.
Why you might like it: Carnal Flower is an intoxicating floral – it is a fragrance that I would consider a masterpiece and perhaps one of the renditions of tuberose ever created. If you like tuberose and florals with an edge, this could be your signature scent. It is attractive, elegant, and head-turning. A brilliant work that smells wonderful in both warm and cool weather.
Why you might dislike it: Some people find tuberose to be too old-fashioned. In that case, stay away from Carnal Flower since it does not attempt to do anything especially modern or fresh. And if you are especially sensitive to eucalyptus – which can be a polarizing note – the opening of this fragrance might be unpleasant since eucalyptus is used generously to show off the greener and more camphorous aspects of tuberose.
Sample alongside: Creed’s Iris Tubereuse, Jo Malone’s Tuberose Angelica, Creed’s Tubereuse Indiana
Iris Poudre (Pierre Bourdon):
How it smells: Iris Poudre doesn’t surprise anyone – it smells like powdery iris. But where it sets itself apart from other iris fragrances is in its use of woods and vanilla to enhance the creamy and buttery facets of the flower. It is simultaneously sparkling (due to a heavy dose of aldehydes), powdery, and silky smooth. To some extent, like the other fragrances explored in this post, Iris Poudre is a literal, perhaps slightly idealized image of its subject.
Why you might like it: Lovers of iris and the Chanel classics should move mountains to obtain a sample. This would be an elegant work scent for almost any woman, and ensures that the wearer will be perceived as both serious and competent.
Why you might dislike it: Avoid if you don’t like very powdery or aldehydic fragrances. While it does last on the skin, it doesn’t stand out since it is very reminiscent of the Chanel classics.
Sample alongside: Chanel’s No. 5, Chanel’s No. 22, Carner Barcelona’s D600
Lys Mediterranee (Edouard Flechier):
How it smells: Lys Mediterranee smells of lilies and ocean spray. It is a white floral, but one that has aquatic elements. And by aquatic I don’t mean that it is a cucumber-like calone bomb. Instead, the salty aquatic elements come across as unquestionable authentic, like a fresh sea breeze. It is a fresh, summery, and very pretty scent. To me, Lys Mediterranee is on the casual side, to be reserved only for spring and summer. Performance is strictly average.
Why you might like it: When I smell this fragrance, I sometimes think of a dainty blonde woman in a white sun dress and greek sandals. If you are that type of woman, this might work well for you. Because it is not overpowering or excessively long lasting, it may work well in professional settings, depending on one’s preferences.
Why you might dislike it: It has salt water elements that may bring to mind a few less expensive fragrances.
Sample alongside: Heeley’s Sel Marin
L’Eau d’Hiver (Jean-Claude Ellena)
How it smells: Despite being a characteristically sheer Jean-Claude Ellena composition, L’Eau d’Hiver is a warm fragrance. The combination of powdery iris and heliotrope gives this an almond-like scent that somehow reminds me of an almond milk flat white. I imagine that in the depths of winter snow this fragrance might not have the power to envelop the wearer, but if applied like a cologne and perhaps spritzed on a scarf, L’Eau d’Hiver might effectively ward off an icy chill.
Why you might like it: If you want something warming for the winter but not overpowering, this is a great option – it feels like an eau de cologne that has been tweaked for winter. While the heliotrope makes it sweet and comforting, it has an airy fluffy quality to it that makes it wearable in nearly all weather.
Why you might dislike it: Like all Jean-Claude Ellena compositions, L’Eau d’Hiver is quite simple in structure and therefore lacks complexity. If you want something powerful and complex, avoid this fragrance.
Sample alongside: Hermes’s Cuir d’Ange