The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews & blog.


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Frederic Malle Synthetic Jungle

When I hear the name Synthetic Jungle, my mind automatically goes to “Asphalt Jungle” and gritty realism and inner-city strife. So before even giving the perfume a try I’m struggling with the different, yet very memorable name.  Then add Frederic Malle to the mix and I have the feeling that I won’t be using the words, soft, serene or gentle in my description.  But I could be wrong.  Let’s find out.

WHAT I SMELL:  Synthetic Jungle opens with a slightly chalky lily of the valley that’s very green, very fresh and a little dewy.  Soon after, there’s an addition of just a touch of earthiness which gives the composition an undercurrent of black rich soil.  It’s the perfect accompaniment to the lily of the valley.  The perfume is semi quiet, but as soon as I write that it begins to blossom and the green really takes a forefront.  The addition of ylang ylang infused with the lily of the valley brings the perfume from the more demure to the more mature as the ylang ylang is more rounded and deeper and rather magnetic.  But after some time, that too quiets and the perfume begins to lightly thicken as if its encased in a light and chewy putty.  But that dissipates and once again the lily of the valley comes forward.  In the end, a little powder and a light leather help to even out the intensity of the green.

From the Frederic Malle website:

Bright and lush, mysterious and provocative, Synthetic Jungle is a stylized landscape in technicolor greens. An ode to cult perfumes of the 1970s, Synthetic Jungle offers a modern vision of nature reimagined.

Flipo retained the opulent basil of the original composition, along with a recomposed bouquet of hyacinth, lily of the valley, natural jasmine, and Ylang Ylang oil. To modernize and sharpen, she then added synthetic black currant and styralyl acetate, effectively putting the bouquet through a glossy, sparkling filter.

Flipo simplified the Chypre and leather notes, resulting in a cleaner, more streamlined accord. Finally, she added patchouli.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  The characters from the 1960-70’s Sid and Marty Krofft tv show “The Banana Splits.”  Don’t ask me why, but this is the first thing that popped up in my mind as I was wearing this.  No, it’s not because of any kind of banana note.  Instead, the perfume conjures in my mind what the fuzzy materials of the characters would smell like…a bit of 1970s artificiality akin to shag carpet.  Go figure.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE SYNTHETIC JUNGLE:  green, nostalgic, different

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT SYNTHETIC JUNGLE:  CaFleureBon, Perfume Posse, Colognoisseur

BOTTOM LINE:  I’ll admit that this review is probably one of the strangest I have written and my thoughts of “Asphalt Jungle” were way off.  But Synthetic Jungle is a bit different in its own right.  It’s rather nostalgic with its inspiration from perfumes from the 1970s and with that the “synthetic” really can be felt.  At the same time, it’s rather a pretty perfume that’s easy to like.  That said, I can see many really liking this perfume.  An interesting composition overall and clearly one that has played tricks on my mind.

  • Bone Rating: 3.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Chypre
  • Nose:  Anne Flipo
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $210 for 50ml Eau de Parfum.  Also available in 10ml travel size and 100ml.


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Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie

Une Fleur de CassieWHAT I SMELL:  Une Fleur de Cassie opens with bright aldehydes which move quickly into a mimosa note that is soft, airy, slightly fuzzy and which feels like it’s lightly infused with cotton.  The fragrance is rather dreamy and ethereal, but as soon as I say that, I can feel the perfume begin to grow and expand.  A hay like quality becomes the dominant presence, but the straw manages to remain light even though it’s saturated with modest florals which soften the perfume.  After and hour or so, the fragrance moves its attention to deeper consistency with a bit of leather and earthy rootiness making the fragrance move from the feminine to the masculine, but as soon as I say that, the tender flowers seem to dominate again. Une Fleur de Cassie is interesting in that it’s pretty, but not in a traditional sense.  Instead it is a captivating beauty made from the divinity of the earth through subtle and natural components, most prominent being the mimosa.  In the end, the fragrance doesn’t morph and transform all that much, but that’s perfect as Une Fleur de Cassie is simple beauty at its best.

From the Frederic Malle website:

The rare and exotic cassie flower is not easily tamed. Intoxicating and coarse, its fragrance is from another era. But the modern and infinitely precise writing of Dominique Ropion makes of Une Fleur de Cassie a very modern composition. This perfume is composed by rare ingredients such as mimosa absolute, jasmine absolute, cassia absolute and rose absolute, with carnation as a counterpoint, set upon a vanilla and sandalwood base. Rich, intricate, complex – like an haute couture gown.

Manon of the SpringWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Emanuelle Beart as Manon in the 1986 film “Manon of the Spring”

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE UNE FLEUR DE CASSIE:  untamed, earthen, subtle

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT UNE FLEUR DE CASSIE:  Perfume Posse, Smellythoughts, Grain de Musc

BOTTOM LINE: In reading the reviews cited above, I seem to have a much simpler ride with Une Fleur de Cassie than others.  To me, the beauty in the fragrance is the simplicity in which it unfolds.  It does seem to change and morph a bit with your body chemistry and I am wondering if this would bloom much more significantly on me when the temperatures are warm.  As it stands now, it’s only 10 degrees outside leaving nothing to bloom at present!  I have the feeling my sample of Une Fleur de Cassie is going to be drained within the next few weeks.  Simply lovely.

  • Bone Rating: 4.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Floral
  • Nose:  Dominique Ropion
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $200 for 50ml Eau de Parfum


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New Release: Eau de Magnolia by Frederic Malle

Eau_de_magnolia

WHAT I SMELL: Eau de Magnolia opens with a lightly fizzy warmed bergamot.  It’s rather sour and green, but that sour aspect retreats after around 10 minutes when the magnolia makes an entrance.  The fragrance at this point is very light and wispy and is sweetened with a breath of patchouli.  All of this seems to be sitting upon a dry woody base that feels like it’s pulling the moisture from the fragrance.  After around 20 minutes the magnolia begins to radiate, but it’s contained and never reveals too much of itself.  It’s also cool and feels rather removed and distant.  After another 20 minutes, the coolness is replaced by some warmth, as if the afternoon begins to filter through the curtains to help lighten and heat up a dark room. In the end you’re left with this light and delicate muted floral that  is infused by a interesting citrus component.

Eau de Magonlia notes from the Frederic Malle website:

Top note is Calabrian bergamot; middle notes are magnolia, vetiver and patchouli; base notes are cedar, moss and amber.

Fading Away, 1858.WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A fading southern beauty.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE EAU DE MAGNOLIA: somber, muted, fragile

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT EAU DE MAGNOLIA: Olfactoria’s Travels, CaFleureBon, Kafkasesque

BOTTOM LINE:  Magnolia can be tricky to recreate; the floral effect can leave a perfume loud, artificial and cloying.  Eau de Magnolia manages to escape that trajectory and instead takes it in a direction that is soft, haunting and full of melancholy.  It’s pretty, but it’s a perfume that leaves me feeling rather sober.

  • Bone Rating: 3 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Floral
  • Nose:  Carlos Benaim
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $175 for 50ml