The Scented Hound

Perfume blog with abbreviated perfume reviews & fragrance reviews.


Dries Van Noten by Frederic Malle

DRIES PARFUMWHAT I SMELL: Dries Van Noten opens with a tangy citrus opening that quickly moves into sweet gaiac wood.  It’s slightly sugary with some vanilla undertones.  At the same time it radiates some comforting warmth through a layered honey.  The sandalwood comes to the surface bringing a more woody essence.  After about 10 minutes the saffron begins to reveal itself and there is a slight sourness that is revealed which is a good as it softens the sweetness of the vanilla.  In the end, Dries Van Noten becomes a very light and subtle comfort scent.

Dries Van Noten Notes:  sandalwood, guaiac wood, tonka bean, vanilla, saffron, jasmine, musk, bergamot, lemon, nutmeg, cloves, patchouli, woody notes and peru balsam

seductionWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: Seduction


WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT DRIES VAN NOTEN: Cafe Makeup, Kafkaesque, Adventures of Barbarella

BOTTOM LINE:  Dries Van Noten is a nice perfume, and for a Fredric Malle fragrance, it’s very understated.  In its essence, it’s like the birth child of M. Micallef’s Gaiac (in the beginning) and Guerlain’s Samsara (in the end) both of which I like very much.  As such, I don’t feel the need to run out and buy this for myself.

  • Bone Rating: 4 out of 5 possible bones
  • Scent: Oriental Woody
  • Nose: Bruno Jovanovic
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense:  $185 for 50ml EdP


New York City – Part 1

My better half always has a work related trip in New York City right after Thanksgiving every year.  Lucky for me, I tag along and we end up having a wonderful time with friends and just generally running around the city.  We arrived on Saturday afternoon and after getting checked in the hotel (we stayed at the Sanctuary right between Times Square and Rockefeller Center…the perfect location) we had our cocktails and went to go see “The Heiress” starring Jessica Chastain and Dan Stevens (from Downton Abbey fame).  The show was excellent and as we had 2nd row seats we felt like we were intimately involved in the show.  From a celebrity standpoint, I always wonder if the stars look like what you think they look like or if they are different from what you expect (short, tall, etc.).  Both Jessica and Dan were exactly what you would expect…Jessica was playing dowdy so it was hard to see if she was really pretty.. but Dan was handsome, but not overly so.  End of Day 1.

The Sanctuary Hotel, NYC

Day 2 was reserved for shopping.  So off to Soho we went in pursuit of perfume.  My hubby is incredibly supportive and had no problem dragging him along store to store.    After a little lunch, we headed to Lafco, the official boutique for Santa Maria Novella.  Beautiful store, full of wonderful SMN products from fragrance to liquor.  This was the perfect place to find gift baskets for anyone of either sex.  Of course, I was eyeing the colognes and was all about the Patchouli until I put some on my skin and was told by my better half that it smelled of tar and cleaning product.  I had to agree.  So off we toddled to MiN NY only a block away.

The cast of The Heiress

So what I had been hoping for was to get my hands on the new Parfum d’Empire limited edition Musc Tonkin, only to be told that they weren’t supposed to be receiving any until next week!  OK next… then I wanted to check out the new Frapin Speakeasy fragrance by Marc-Antoine Corticchiato since I seem to love all his work, thus my interest in Musc Tonkin as well.  Strike 2..they said they wouldn’t have that in until next week as well.  What I was introduced to was Terrasse a St.-Germain by Jul et Mad which went on light and green, only to turn into a wonderfully warm and beautiful sandalwood and patchouli scent (I hope to have a review on it soon).  So after doing some more sniffing, we once again toddled off down the road to go check out the new Osswald store.  In the meantime, after popping into other stores….

CELEBRITY SIGHTING:  In some obscure Japanese clothing/container store we ran into Jake Gyllenhaal.  Jake is exactly what you would expect… tall, bushy beard, pretty eyes and was dressed semi grungy.  This was a good celebrity sighting!

On to Osswald, only to find that they were closed on Sunday!  What store is closed on the busiest shopping weekend of the year??!!!

Yours truly looking kinda fuzzy…happy with new purchase!

Now the great thing about NY is that you can walk for miles and it never feels like you are walking for miles…so we left Soho and decided to walk over the Village and check out Aedes De Venustas, which is a surprisingly wonderfully small and intimate store.  They did have another one of my “must check out” fragrances in stock, the new Arquiste Boutonnneire gardenia fragrance for men. Unfortunately, it was much too gardenia for this guy, but given the right temperature (summer temps), it may be a bit more appealing.  I made the decision that Serge Luten’s Chergui was too my liking, but if I was going to spend money, I decided that it was going to have to be for something less readily available.  I even checked out the new non-art bottled Agonist “Black Amber” and if you are looking for an amber with a serious punch, you need to check it out.  In the end, I was drawn to something that I had already reviewed and loved and bought my self my first Frederic Malle…Portrait of a Lady.  By this time my nose was tired from the day’s olfactory overload.  In the end, we went out for a lovely dinner and called it a night.

Next post…Bergdorfs, Barneys, more shows and another celebrity sighting!  Oh..and my visit to the Art of Scent at the Museum of Art and Design!


Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle

If it had not been for the wonderful Undina, I would have probably never have thought about sampling this fragrance.  Thankfully, she sent me a vial of this wonderful jewel.

WHAT I SMELL:  Portrait of a Lady opens with an herbal and minty full-bodied musky rush.  With the name, I would have thought that this was going to be an over the top big floral.  What a surprise.   It start off very masculine and medicinal.  I had no idea where this was going.  After a while, out comes a very dusty and understated rose with black current along with a tempered cedar woody note.   There are many notes at play here, fruity and somewhat jammy mixed with wood in a way that’s all very subtle and really lovely.  I find that it’s proper and refined and seems like something from another era.

From the Frederic Malle website:

Portrait of a Lady is a new breed of oriental rose, a baroque perfume. It is based on an accord of benzoin, cinnamon, sandalwood and, above all patchouli, musk and frankincense. It takes off with an excessive dosage of the best Turkish rose essence that Dominique Ropion linked to the rest of the formula, thanks to a red berries and spice accord.

After hundreds of trials needed to balance such an excessive formula (Portrait of a Lady is undoubtedly the perfume containing the strongest dosage of rose essence and patchouli heart), a rare symphonic perfume appeared:  a new oriental rose, a sensuous beauty that attracts people like a magnet, a modern classic:  Portrait of a Lady. 

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: Gillian Anderson in “The House of Mirth.”  Yes, I know this is fragrance is based on a Henry James novel, but The House of Mirth is what popped up in my mind!


WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT PORTRAIT OF A LADY: Scentsate, Katie Puckrik Smells, 1000 Fragrances

BOTTOM LINE:  This is definitely full bottle worthy.  I just wish Frederic Malle’s perfumes weren’t so on the high-end of cost.  And don’t let the name fool you, this can easily be worn by men or women.  Thank you Undina for this wonderful discovery.

  • Bone Rating: 4.5 out of 5 possible bones
  • Scent: Oriental Floral
  • Classification: For women, but I believe this is easily unisex
  • Nose:  Dominique Ropion
  • Expense: $225 for 50ml EdP