Dries Van Noten par Frédéric Malle is the first fragrance in a new collection by Editions de Parfums.
Frédéric Malle’s aim with this departure from the main line is “to translate into scents the world of people he admires”. It seems that Malle feels an affinity with Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten and it will be interesting to see who he goes on to collaborate with in the future.
Dries Van Noten the fragrance was released earlier this year and contains notes of sandalwood (a sustainable source grown in Australia), bergamot, lemon, saffron, nutmeg, clove, jasmine, guaiac wood, patchouli, violet wood, vanilla, sacraosol, tonka bean, Peruvian balm and musks.
The fragrance does have a definite gourmand quality, however the woods stop it from completely tipping over into full blown lick-your-own-wrist territory. This may be because Malle wanted the perfumer, Bruno Jovanovic, to reflect the “unexpected harmony” of Van Noten’s designs and encompass both the sweetness of Belgian desserts (such as waffles) and the “sober warmth” of the Flemish people.
Compared to the other fragrances by Editions de Parfums, the composition is pretty simple and Malle states that it has a very short formula. On me, it’s mostly a fragrance of saffron with a sprinkling of sugar over soft, pale woods. The citrus is just a dash, the spices mild and the jasmine subdued. The vanillic Peru balsam comes through in the late drydown, but it’s largely linear in terms of development.
Dries Van Noten is a fragrance I see in complementary shades of burnt orange, beige, white and brown.
It’s by no means a heavy perfume but it’s not ephemeral either. It has a quietly persistent presence, with excellent lasting power. I can imagine some Perfumistas being underwhelmed at first sniff but it did grow on me over several wears. It has an appealingly creamy texture, although I fear the sweetness and lack of complexity might grate on me in the long term.
This is a very well blended fragrance – nothing jars – which could make it seem less than exciting and it’s true that it’s far from being a show-stopper.
But, if you’re looking for a perfume to drape around you like a second skin, bringing comfort, sweetness and warmth whilst remaining chic, then Dries Van Noten par Frédéric Malle could be a very good fit.