DRIES VAN NOTEN par FREDERIC MALLE (2013)

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There is talk of warm, cozy Belgian cookies; of fluffiness; fashion and wintery Bruxelles interiors, of a ‘modern oriental’ with a ‘very short formula’ (you’re telling me), created by Malle and perfumer BrunoJovanovic to represent the style of a well-respected contemporary clothes designer as part of a new strategy, at Editions de Parfums, to branch out into the potentially more commercial arena of ‘celebrity fragrance’.

 

And in that world, of Gagas and Minajs and Perrys, you never get a perfume as proficiently constructed as this:  ‘Dries Van Noten’ is a nutty, textural sandalwood- gourmand, a perfume that feels to me a bit like Häagen Dazs Macadamia Nut (possibly my favourite ice cream)  – sweet, milky, and, delicately/moderately spiced, with measured, precise layers of strong-smelling woods (guaiac, and a dry, unluxurious sandal), oriental notes of vanilla, tonka and saffron, plus a light, shimmering top veil of smooth, synthetic violets.

The perfume is legible, direct and well made, and I can imagine it smelling pleasant – quite urban funky sexy – on the right person, a kind of Lutens Chergui meets Musc Ravageur, but to me, despite its neat efficacy, there is something rasping and unpoetic in these logical blocks of fragrance: soft, theoretically, yet pungent, direct and harsh on my own ungrateful skin. The designer the scent is inspired by strikes me as far more nuanced, eclectic and intelligent than this namesake perfume which, though convincingly rich and luxuriant in some ways, ultimately, to me, comes across as smelling too ‘blocked’, basic; even crude.

19 Comments

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19 responses to “DRIES VAN NOTEN par FREDERIC MALLE (2013)

  1. brie

    But the notes sound so yummy!!! (especially the sandalwood..he!he!)

  2. Dearest Ginza
    You are not alone!
    The Dandy found this rather perfunctory. Dull, solid, reliable… like a bank manager from a different age.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  3. I couldn’t stand it. Simply couldn’t STAND it. lol. You know that feeling you get when you’re trapped somewhere, like on a plane, and you feel as though you’re going to scream if you don’t get off right *this* minute? That’s how I felt when I had DvN wafting off my arm. Granted, I don’t like gourmands, but everything about this scent — including the ridiculous over-hype — made me want to scream. Ugh.

    • Wow. Perhaps I was being too kind and ‘objective’ then, because I know exactly what you mean: there is no air nor sense of nature, hence my pictures of Lego!

      Incidentally, my father once had to slap my mother on a long haul flight to Thaikand where she suddenly had an attack of claustrophobia and had to get off. Thing is, she was making her way towards the emergency exits…..

      • I completely understand where your mother was coming from. I’ve felt the same way on a plane many a time. And I also have claustrophobia on planes. I never started making my way towards the emergency exits though….. LOL. That’s absolutely priceless!

  4. I feel exactly the same, Neil, only I wouldn’t have put it quite so politely. 😉

  5. Lilybelle

    I haven’t smelled DvN by FM so can make no comment on it, but I love your term “perfumosaur”.

  6. Lilybelle

    I always feel like a perfumosaur (and an everythingelseosaur) because I pine for the golden oldies I recall from days of yore, but I also fall in love with new fragrances on occasion (though the love seldome lasts as long!). I think there is room in my wardrobe for both. If you don’t like a fragrance, you just don’t like it. Today, a fragrance had better make my skin sing Yankee Doodle to make me part with any cash, and those are few and far between! 😉

  7. Dubaiscents

    I had big expectations for this one and found it to be just “meh”. I figure this is a good thing though cause that saves me the money to use on something much more worthwhile….Opus VII or the rumored Musk Oud by Kilian!

    • I think I have a sample of Opus VII upstairs. Will have to smell it properly.

      The ‘meh’ reaction seems to be widespread. As I said, Dries Van Noten has pleasant facets, but ultimately feels unfinished. It lacks that magic cement.

  8. I liked this one! It’s not oh-my-god-I-must-have-it-now, but I think that I can see it fitting in very nicely with the kinds of scents I wear in the fall. Probably because I also wear Chergui and Musc ravageur in the fall 🙂

    • ! There you go. Do you find that Chergui is not quite what it was? I am finding that with some Lutens these days.

      Ravageur I just DON’T UNDERSTAND. illuminate me!

      • I hardly remember what Chergui smelled like before its current incarnation, but my favorites smell fairly unchanged . . .

        As for Musc Ravageur? I love Shalimar, but MR is like Shalimar edited down to the purry and furry. It’s not as powdery as Shalimar, so it feels more modern to me.

        I hear people think it smells dirty, but it smells much more comforting on me, like amber and chocolate. Like a big fur coat dusted in cocoa powder.

  9. Ric likes soft-edged, rich and edible things on me, and so I thought Dries Van Noten would be perfect. He disliked it immediately. I was surprised, and he couldn’t put it into words, but now reading your description I see that he had the identical reaction: “. . . despite its neat efficacy, there is something rasping and unpoetic in these logical blocks of fragrance: soft, theoretically, yet pungent, direct and harsh on my own ungrateful skin. The designer the scent is inspired by strikes me as far more nuanced, eclectic and intelligent than this namesake perfume which, though convincingly rich and luxuriant in some ways, ultimately, to me, comes across as smelling too ‘blocked’, basic; even crude.” You are good, Neil.

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