Woods and Waffles – Review: Dries Van Noten par Frédéric Malle, Editions de Parfums

By Tara

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.

Quotes and images from the Frédéric Malle website.

About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
This entry was posted in Fragrance Reviews, Frederic Malle, Woods and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Woods and Waffles – Review: Dries Van Noten par Frédéric Malle, Editions de Parfums

  1. Sabine says:

    I like DvN a lot, but thought that it would work better on a man, although I have yet to find proof for that. (husband refuses to wear it). It’s interesting that you mention the colours, I have used the same in my description, but mine are may be a lot paler than the ones you have in mind.

    • Tara says:

      That is interesting to learn you used colours in your description too. I got a lot of saffron so that’s probably why I see it in slightly bolder colours than you.

      Too bad your husband won’t wear it in the name of research at least 🙂

  2. Vanessa says:

    “Woods and Waffles” sums Dries Van Noten up perfectly (I called it by its correct name for once!) – it was a whispering gourmand on me by comparison with many scents in the broadly biscuity line. I would also be interested to see who he picks to collaborate with in future – someone Scandinavian might be good. And it is nice to have Belgium bigged up a bit, as it suffers somewhat from a narrow Leffe beer, Leonidas chocs and mussels & mayo rep. 😉

    • Tara says:

      Someone Scandinavian would be interesting.

      DVN is “whispering” for a biscuity perfume. Beer, chocolate, mussels and mayo could have been different way to go 🙂

  3. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Thank you, Tara – I’m happy I’m getting a review for this particular parfum from a person I have utter trust in. In spite of adoring and admiring both men, Van Noten and Malle I’ve never tried the fragrance. It will be high time now !
    Malle and my beloved Haider Ackermann would fit perfectly for a future collaboration – wouldn’t they ?!

    • Tara says:

      Thanks so much!

      I suspect this one will be rather too sweet for you but all new Malle releases are a must-try.

      Haider Ackermann’s clothes are amazing! I wonder if FM will veer away from fashion for the next one though. We’ll see.

      BTW I may have to spring for a bottle of Ceour de Vetiver Sacre, along with Traversee du Bosphore, sooner than planned now they’re both classed as “Last Chance To Buy”.

      • Lady Jane Grey says:

        CdVS is different on everybody – I’m curious to know “Tara’s CdVS”
        I’m sick at home (with flu), not well at all.

        • Tara says:

          Oh no, i’m so sorry to hear that. I do hope you get better very soon. You must be bad to be stuck at home.

          Reading B’s review and others I can definitely see how CdVS is different on different people. I’d love to test it properly but I’ve panicked and made a best offer on ebay.

          Big hug to you, my friend.

  4. From my sample, I mostly smelled the guaiac, vanilla, sandalwood, tonka bean, and nutmeg. I agree that it’s a very well-blended fragrance. So that may be part of the reason I didn’t pick out the other notes. I’m glad I tried DvN.

    • Tara says:

      Yes James, you may well be right. It could be one of those fragrances where people pick up on different notes because they’re all well blended into the mix.

      I’m glad you tried it too. The whole line is an exercise in quality.

  5. Olfactoria says:

    I like this perfume very much in theory. 🙂 It sounds very good, the notes are yummy, by all means, I should love it.
    But once I wear it for more than an hour I grow edgy. Its inexorable insistence at being here (whisperingly so, but still) is unnerving to me.
    I look forward to another one in this line though.
    Thank you for your thoughtful review, dear Tara.

  6. Lady Jane Grey says:

    O.K., now you make me curious, you two…

  7. hildegunn says:

    This is one of my favorite “comf-scents”. I get at touch of saffron, Other than that, it’s all about sandalwood and vanilla on my skin.Not as sweet as my other foody favourites. I’ve heard a faint whisper about Cate Blanchett being one of the Chosen Ones. As a scandinavian, I think he should make one inspired by Liv Ullman. She’s amazing. Or danish diva Ghita Nørby. Ooor the late, amazing jazz singer Monica Zetterlund. Three amazing women. ❤

    • Tara says:

      I can easily imagine it being a comfort scent for many. I wish I got more sandalwood.

      Thanks for the tip about Cate Blanchett. That would be so great.

  8. Alexandra says:

    A lovely review as always – thank you. I’m afraid I catagorised this as a bit of a ‘meh’, I liked the sweetness and I am always a fan of woody notes, but I just found it a little uninteresting. I can happily put it in my no thank you pile.

  9. Amy Bella says:

    I read your review yesterday and decided that I must give DVN another try. Unfortunately, I will remain with the underwhelmed. I “should” love it based on the notes, but it comes off way to sweet on me. It smells so much like a breakfast cereal – I can even smell the cardboard box! 🙂

  10. Marie says:

    Thanks for your review, Tara.
    I liked DvN but agree with you that it doesn’t offer enough in the long run. It also reminded me of EL Sensuous, just a bit stronger and more gourmand.
    However, I think the perfume will be among the most purchased ones in the F. Malle line, it should appeal to many non-perfumistas (maybe the target group are not us but the DvN fashion-addicts) and Dries van Noten could have done a lot worse with his first fragrance 😉

    • Tara says:

      Hi Marie

      Yes, I think it will be a good seller too. Sweet, gourmand style perfumes are generally crowd pleasers. Perfumistas might need a bit more complexity to keep their interest though, as do I. I certainly didn’t dislike it though.

      I agree it’s not a bad start for this new collection.

  11. The early consensus from those who’ve tried it is that Dries Van Noten is an incredibly cozy and comforting scent. I think that is very true, if you like gourmand fragrances. But those who aren’t so keen on smelling like food may not be that enamoured. It is one reason why I’m not a huge fan. Another is that I find both its sweetness and its linearity to be, ultimately, a bit too much for my personal tastes — especially for the price. The perfume starts at $185 for a 1.7 oz/50 ml bottle, with the larger bottle retailing for $265. Even if you buy the set of 3 travel-sized minis, it’s still $125 to smell like a Snickerdoodle and yeasty, sugar dough.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s