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:
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
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.