Frederic Malle “Portrait of a Lady”
Perfumer Dominique Ropion, and Frederic Malle get on with each other quite well, which can be proved by 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