Portrait of a Lady by Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle
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8.2 / 10     442 RatingsRatingsRatings
Portrait of a Lady is a popular perfume by Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle for women and was released in 2010. The scent is floral-spicy. Projection and longevity are above-average. It is being marketed by Estēe Lauder Companies. Pronunciation
Scent goes well with The Night
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Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top NotesClove, Raspberry, Rose, Blackcurrant, Cinnamon
Heart Notes Heart NotesPatchouli, Sandalwood, Frankincense
Base Notes Base NotesAmber, Benzoin, Musk

Ratings

Scent

8.2 (442 Ratings)

Longevity

8.8 (340 Ratings)

Sillage

8.4 (333 Ratings)

Bottle

7.9 (313 Ratings)
Submitted by Fran, last update on 16.10.2020.
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Reviews

10
Scent
9
Longevity
8
Sillage
8
Bottle
2020Antiope
Translated Show originalShow translation
2020Antiope
2020Antiope
Top Review    14  
Celtic mysticism for gentle adventurers and dreamy explorers
Everything is right and I nod convinced to the described rose incense of Terra, the ingenious confrontation of two completely different types of women of seriousness, the mentioned song Lady is a tramp on Serenissima.

But there is something else in this fragrance that almost magically draws me to the keyboard.....

The violent incense prelude, which almost takes my breath away and immediately makes me think of Oud Essentiel by Guerlain, is immediately followed by an overgrown rose garden, which is already withering away and whose morbid charm makes you smile softly and wander into the pre-Christian past.
I close my eyes and am in the deepest England..... the celtic crosses on the weathered cemeteries... the wildly beautiful and rough landscapes... the roar of the surf...
What magic is at work here, that I feel so transported back in time and want to sink into my heavy illustrated books of Britain or the quiet and interesting documentaries about the Celtic past of the historical island ?

I attribute the intense impressions to incense; fragrances that contain incense have always held a great fascination for me. That in turn is probably related to my passion for old churches and cathedrals.......

The violently escaped incense evaporates relatively quickly and leaves the roses in charge for a while. These roses have become my declared favourites within a very short time; they are mild and fine in their presence, not dominating as is often the case. This is probably due to the blackcurrants, which inconspicuously but perfectly balance the rose presence and keep it at bay a little. Cinnamon is also mentioned; I like cinnamon very much in certain dishes, but not necessarily in perfumes and so I am grateful that I don't notice it here.
After some time, about half an hour, the roses took turns with the incense again and now finally leave him in charge.
The fragrance now exudes a presence on my skin which, despite its intensity, is not obtrusive, but pleasantly light for incense. The roses and woods remain ingeniously arranged in the background without being in shadow.

An absolutely irresistible perfume for all incense / rose scent enthusiasts!
I am hopelessly captured, dreamily escaped the present and would like to leave everything behind and go on a journey through time........
Allow me to add:
after I was back on the ground with my feet, I pondered and smiled for quite some time; why was it that I first resorted to this fragrance of all things?
Despite the fact that I did not win the raffle, I had charmingly received a few bottlings and took a small leap in the air in front of Serafina, who helped me to achieve this still absolutely magical fragrance experience for me!
12 Replies
8.5
Scent
9
Longevity
8
Sillage
9
Bottle
Ovaissaleem

56 Reviews
Ovaissaleem
Ovaissaleem
   3  
A Portrait of Perfection
Notes: Clove, Raspberry, Rose, Blackcurrant, Cinnamon, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Frankincense, Amber, Benzoin and Musk

A divine fragrance. This is one of those fragrances that's talked about a lot in the community and I finally got a chance to try this majestic scent. Even though it's marketed towards women, in my opinion it's definitely unisex. The rose is just lovely and prominent in this fragrance. This opens with a fruity note which is quickly over taken by that Intoxicating and seductive rose note, followed by Patchouli, Incense and Musk. Overall a seductive and sexy scent, I know I am late to the game but now I need a bottle ????
2 Replies
7
Scent
9
Longevity
7
Sillage
6
Bottle
Rosie88
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Rosie88
Rosie88
   6  
X-Mas in a bottle
When I sniffed the scent on a scent strip for the first time, I was as if enchanted. It smelled like fruity spicy roses with lots of green and some musk - delicious !

So I took a sample home with me and tested it extensively:

First, I can clearly see the clove. slightly prickly, but not biting... I can catch a whiff of roses and cinnamon... the prelude for me is very spicy and slightly green-pink...

After a short while (approx. 15 minutes) the woody-smoky is added... My skin absorbs woody and smoky things enormously well, which usually throws the other components mercilessly out of the game..

So also here... The prelude was very interesting, but after 15 minutes the smell on my skin is overrun by wood and smoke...

On my skin it smells like fresh green and slightly resinous fir forest with lots of smoke and spice...
It kind of reminds me of Christmas... Such a winter walk through the fir forest, in the hand a hot spicy tea, past moss, and firs, where the resin drips from the tree bark ..... Yes, it's Christmas for me...

So the fragrance stays with me for hours!
A little bit of musk sometimes pushes a little bit through, but that's it...

With a shelf life of well over 9 hours, I consider it to be quite good. The Sillage is also quite good, depending on the dose :)

All in all I don't find the fragrance bad, but it's a pity that the two notes "wood" and "frankincense" are absorbed too strongly by my skin and almost completely exclude the remaining notes...
3 Replies
10
Scent
10
Longevity
10
Sillage
6
Bottle
Valrahmeh
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Valrahmeh
Valrahmeh
Top Review    22  
Baroque painting
A terribly beautiful masterpiece. The light-dark billowing Caravaggio under the fragrances, simply magnificent. Baroque, but with class. Not fat and lavishly overloaded, but majestic and austere - just as one danced pavane at the court of Versailles.
They had fun, but always in style, they murdered, but behind the thick silk curtain. Eventually, however, the thick, already stagnant blood began to gush from underneath.
Wipe it away, says the King. And may it be hushed up, do you understand me? C'est une ordonnance
Mon Dieu, it's the little marquise who has been gossiping too much, quick, where is my rose scent...my heavy, deafening rose scent, otherwise I can't stand it...

I resisted it for a long time, I'm not at all the type for heavy wood patchouli rose fragrances, at some point it just hit me, I needed something against the daily banality of being. I rarely use it, but it's good that I have it. "Take it, it will help you", said the lady at my favourite perfumery. The only time I smelled it on someone was in Milan, in Via della Spiga. I think it was a man. Turkish rose, wood and patchouli. It was probably Prince Tancredi
5 Replies
Fqjcior

10 Reviews
Fqjcior
Fqjcior
Helpful Review    6  
Unforgettable and unmistakable
Perfumer Dominique Ropion and Frederic Malle get on with each other quite well, which can be proved by at least 5 scents from the serie Editions De Parfums: Carnal Flower, Geranium Pour Monsieur, Une Fleur de Cassie, Vetiver Extraordinaire and the most popular one among the true connoisseurs of perfumes Portrait of a Lady. Those who are more familiar with Frederic Malle’s offer know that most of Ropion’s scents are usually those graded the highest and the most marketable ones from all the others launched by this exceptional and exclusive brand.

Both gentlemen admitted that balancing Portrait of a Lady needed a lot of time and hundreds of trials. Their actions though, of which the starting point was Geranium Pour Monsieur, brought up a rose-cantered smell, which for me is undoubtedly the best I have ever tried out. Ropion combined in this smell rose essence with patchouli note, which is not that revealing after all but highly efficient and effective – as both those components get on together as any other components in perfumery. The characteristic smell of patchouli has been cleverly modified by cinnamon and frankincense in a way that it does not dominate that clearly – the lack of dominance also concerns other used here components, apart from the previously-mentioned rose. The components create a coherent oriental theme that entwines the rose essence. The base of the scent is strongly musky with some sandal wood and benzoin. The top accord, to be clear, consists of black currant and raspberry. Still, the beautiful warm and balanced rose dominates here most of the time.

Despite the name which might indicate feminine nature of the smell, the scent proves very well on man’s skin which I tested many many times. With its oriental rose nature the smell does not differ much from Cartier’s Declaration d’Un Soir , even though it is much heavier, saturated and thick in comparison to very successful scents by Mathilde Laurent. Other similar scents based on a modern connection of rose and patchouli are earlier reviewed Hippie Rose by James Heeley and Lumiere Noire Pour Homme by Francis Kurkdjian.
Portrait of a Lady is very clear, strong and lasts over 12h. The smell is perfectly constructed in its every aspect. It presents a modern way of a rose that is not that overwhelming, perfectly balanced and beautiful. It is a great smell, that gives a lot of satisfaction. I highly recommended it.
top notes: black currant, raspberry

middle notes: turkish rose, cinammon, clove, patchouli

base notes: sandalwood, ambroxan, white musk, benzoin, incense

launched in: 2010

perfumer: Dominique Ropion
7.5
Scent
9
Longevity
8
Sillage
7
Bottle
Lexa

20 Reviews
Lexa
Lexa
   5  
Portrait of a Lady (maybe a man too)
I’ve tested this fragrance when i was just entering the Niche world,so it was pretty much a shocking experience for me. Because Portrait of a Lady is a love or hate scent,for me ar least. So,at first i found it strange. Was so cold and so untouchable,a perfume more towards unisex than ladylike,with such a selfish vibe,was almost screaming ‘leave me alone,don’t touch me’. Of course back then i left it rot in a box,wasn’t for me.
I received these days a decant from a non reformulated bottle. Rose-patchouli combo,with a slight touch of raspberry,totally drowning in incense. Same cold incense i remembered from the first encounter. I don’t like this fragrance. Makes me feel very uncomfortable,and why lie,makes me pretty sick too. With a longevity of least 10 hours,a pretty strong sillage and a truly unisex vibe,Portrait of a Lady is perfectly wearable by a man also. It is not a jammy rose scent,not even fit for a young woman in my opinion,this is not for me. I totally refuse to wear or even smell it. I had only one experience like this. With Fracas Piguet. Of course they are not even remotely alike,but it gave me the same bad feeling. But it has its lovers. Which i absolutely admire. This is not a bad fragrance,not at all,but i believe this is a stone cold hearted one. You can find this mix at every step of the way in the perfume world,but this here is pretty much one of a kind.Conclusion: i don’t like it and i hope not to ever smell it again.
6 Replies
jtd

484 Reviews
jtd
jtd
Top Review    7  
grande dame
The rose and patchouli pairing is such a good fit that it seems like proof of fate. It’s been the basis for a range of leathery, ambery, woody and mossy perfumes spanning woody-floral, chypre and oriental genres. The Malle PR boasts that Ropion used surpassing doses of rose essence and patchouli coeur, a fractionated patchouli. Fractionated naturals are botanical materials that have been separated into their constituent parts by chemical and physical processes, especially molecular distillation, and edited to remove undesirable traits.

Around the time of Portrait’s launch more and more of these ‘tidied up’ botanicals were becoming available. Well understood materials like vetiver, cedar and patchouli saw their challenging attributes reduced or removed, leaving frictionless, blissful versions of the materials. They were sanded, polished and lacquered. Aroma materials manufacturers were pushing their hot new high-tech, stripped-down botanicals. They were an easy sell. They used a version of the best-of-all-worlds tactic to sidestep the endless botanical vs synthetic debate. They are ‘natural’ and therefore good but they have also been made better through chemistry and are therefore contemporary.

Used thoughtfully, fractionated botanicals allowed a measured, precise tailoring of olfactory effects. Unfortunately they also made their way into some simplistic compositions that smelled like ‘easy listening’ perfumes. The niche and mainstream markets of the time were top-heavy with a glut of radiant, synth-woody fragrances. Many perfume buyers had become accustomed to judging the quality of a perfume by how closely it approximated the properties of woody amber materials. These scrubbed versions of botanical materials matched the tone created by woody ambers. An entire fumie cohort was conditioned to respond to the ‘clarity’ of the new generation of fractionated botanicals.

Distillation of materials is not new to perfumery by any means. The recent emphasis on fractionating well-understood botanical aroma-materials stems from the attempt to dissect IFRA-designated toxic materials such as lavender, lemon and the notoriously virulent tea leaf and remove their noxious bits. Think of a fraction as a potent material that has undergone an exorcism.

**

Rose and patchouli have complementary facets that fit like a lock and key and have strong synergy. The camphorous chill of patchouli acts like an astringent to rose, keeping it from settling into the dull beauty that an uninspired rose perfume can have. Rose’s berry notes become wine-like and boozy when paired with patchouli. Resinous materials give rose a honeyed drawl and musk keeps the bloom on the rose. Camphor, berry notes, musk and amber are the olfactory attributes emphasized in coeur de vetiver and Ropion uses them along with incense, benzoin and god only knows what else to create the durable accords that allow Portrait of a Lady to last for days. It is classically Ropion in that rich natural materials and potent synthetics are focussed on the same goal: coherence. The perfume’s sillage and forcefulness hint at potent synthetics. Happily, though, the ear-ringing, gut-churning feeling I associate with over-reliance on particular synthetics to give radiance and endurance is nowhere to be found. Portrait of a Lady showcases Ropion’s exceptional capacity to calibrate synthetics toward specific compositional ends while avoiding their side-effects.

Since 2010 when it was released, Portrait of a Lady has come to stand toe-to-toe with an equally imposing patch-rose, Aromatics Elixir. While AE dominates the mossy/chypre side of the rose-patch hoards, The Lady has become the standard against which woody and oriental side of the rose family is compared. Rose-oud as well. It’s a perfume that begs to be described in superlatives and worn with abandon.
7
Scent
Mujo

48 Reviews
Mujo
Mujo
Very helpful Review    5  
Not just for ladies
Portrait of a Lady starts a little harsh, but settles down very nice and quite soft. The sillage is big and the longevity is extremely good.

I mainly detect rose, patchouli, incense and fruit with a clove and cinnamon kick. It's fresh, but not sour (maybe a little sourish, but not the usual disturbing kind) and there also is a bit of sweetness in there. I've read somewhere that it's very similair to Montale's Black Aoud and I agree. But where Black Aoud is linear (the initial notes are indeed comparable) Portrait of a Lady changes and has so much more facets.

If you disregard the name this could easily be unisex and therefore also be worn by a man.
1
Scent
stephaniek

44 Reviews
stephaniek
stephaniek
Helpful Review    5  
The Portrait of This Lady Is Old
If this is a PORTRAIT OF A LADY, the lady in question is well past her prime, if not dead. Her apartment is littered with tchotchkes and dried curling roses, an expired potpourri.

The only compliments you're likely to receive while wearing PORTRAIT OF A LADY is that you look so young... for someone who smells so old.

While there is undeniably a rose note present, the note is a present to no one nearby. This is not a bright young rose, not a fresh bloom, not sun-soaked, nor green earth and thorns, no. In PORTRAIT OF A LADY, you'll find no signs of life... or lady.
1 Replies
10
Scent
10
Longevity
10
Sillage
7.5
Bottle
Drseid

745 Reviews
Drseid
Drseid
Top Review    13  
My Favorite Scent...
Portrait of a Lady starts with a sublime mixture of rose, incense, wood and a hint of raspberry in the background to support the rose and incense, with patchouli growing through the dry down to mix with the incense as the rose recedes. It is rather linear, but when the scent smells this good, that is a very good thing, IMO. The sillage and longevity here are absolutely spectacular (my one spray lasted well over 30 hours at near full strength and sillage on skin) and the scent smells even better from a distance. As for classification, I don't know why this is marketed as a feminine scent, as I definitely think it is unisex and if someone said it was targeted as a men's scent I would have been far from surprised.

The only drawback is the cost... I went on a top recommended fragrance testing binge in Vegas, and only put a couple favorites on skin. Portrait of a Lady won out overall, but when I came back to Barney's to make the purchase it turned out to be $210 for a 50 ml and $300 for 100 ml (now it costs even more). Ouch! I ended up still buying the 50 ml after thinking it over some more, because it really is that good and unique. Finally, as people have mentioned in other reviews, this one is potent and one spray will almost assuredly get the job done... Go easy on the trigger folks! A BIG thumbs up for this five star winner from Ropion that is my new favorite scent overall.
1 Replies
Show all reviews (13)

Statements

BoBoChampBoBoChamp 54 days ago
8
Scent
9
Longevity
8
Sillage
Initially spicy-fruity, this slightly smoky spicy-earthy floral fragrance settles to a dusty resinous-woody base. 100% Unisex!
SharleezeSharleeze 85 days ago
This is an absolute masterpiece created by a genius. It think it will be Chanel N°5 of the 21st century.
PioPio 19 months ago
8.5
Scent
8
Longevity
8
Sillage
8
Bottle
Lovely scent. Can't go wrong with this one.

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