THE FIRST SIXTY SECONDS…… SYNTHETIC JUNGLE by FREDERIC MALLE (2021)

I am very late to the party with this one. But if there were one scent I was the most eager to try when I finally got back to Isetan department store in Shinjuku yesterday (the first time in almost three years…) it was Synthetic Jungle. Having read all about it, I needed to know for myself.

Based on the idea of a homage to the ‘cult green perfumes of the 70’s’, Frederic Malle hired Anne Flipo of IFF to create a modern super-green in the vein of Chanel No19 and Lauder’s magnificent Private Collection. Smelling it from the bottle briefly before I sprayed it I knew I would like it immediately – for me, this is happily familiar; more vintage Lauren parfum meets Sisley Eau De Campagne than the aforementioned classics – only less basilic; clarified and pretty, shiny, an intense burst of blinding verdurance in the initial blast that in the first minute or so is very sharp; disharmonious; almost radish-like.

In his review of the new Frederic Malle perfume Uncut Gem I read on Persolaise that Synthetic Jungle, while praised critically, has not been too commercially successful. It is not difficult to understand why. When the first impressions of a scent are this provocative and uncompromising – a fact that draws me in, but which for those who recoil from things this green as they would from a snake, you know you are in potentially no go territory.I am the opposite. I am dying to go there. Though ‘difficult’, there is a botanical ecstacy and clarity here that does indeed evoke the sap of the vaporous jungle morning; a luminous lily of the valley and hyacinth, which fades to what smells like living magnolia on the stem (a subtle patchouli and oakmoss underleaf does nothing to bring back the dark forested guilt and inveterate snobbery of 19 and Private Collection; those are far woodier; pinched); Synthetic Jungle instead quickly coalesces to a beautiful modern nostalgia trip with the sheening marigold uplift of the aforementioned Ralph Lauren, Cardin de Pierre Cardin and other greenhouse florals from the seventies: it refreshes the senses: : I think I want it.

24 Comments

Filed under Flowers

24 responses to “THE FIRST SIXTY SECONDS…… SYNTHETIC JUNGLE by FREDERIC MALLE (2021)

  1. It always amazes me how polarizing green scents are. I love them! They’re my idea of a freshie. I’d have expected something more tropical with jungle in the name. I shall have to try it.
    Found an old green favorite at a local high street shop recently, EA’s Arden Beauty. It’s by Antoine Lie, creator of Secretions Magnifique & Tom of Finland – certainly not as edgy though. Very reminiscent of a zen garden: brilliant green bamboo with lotus, lily, iris, orchid, ginger, & rhubarb over light white musk & sandalwood. Smells a lot like Zoologist Dragonfly yet quite inexpensive.

    • I like the sound of this, although I seem to have some kind of aesthetic prejudice against Elizabeth Arden for some reason bottle and packaging wise. Zoologist fragrances are often very intriguing but not always wearable. Not sure Synthetic Jungle is either, not ENTIRELY, but I still want it anyway as I need to have that green accord available to me in my collection.

      • I know what you mean, EA’s visual aesthetic is a bit frumpy & dated. EA is now wholly owned by Revlon (whom is annually teetering on bankruptcy) & has shifted it’s focus to fragrance rather than makeup & skincare. Kind of odd that EA spends $$$s hiring famous noses to create their scents but the presentation is a bit cheap, thoughtless, & often incongruent with the fragrances within. Still, EA is nearly always a safe blind buy for me except for its #1 selling (yet horrific) Red Door by Carlos Benaim. It is a mashup of oily red rose, powdery violets, and revoltingly heavy musk – I am sure Mr Benaim’s brief was to create a vintage makeup themed scent to commemorate the legendary cosmetics company (he definitely achieved that) but it veers far too matronly & overbearing for me.

      • My Whitney Houston-loving cousin used to wear it, so Red Door has some positive connotations for me, but also so MUCH that late eighties early nineties vibe with little class.

  2. Joan Gillies

    I know I want it!

  3. This sounds right up my alley! And I trust your nose. I love green scents.

    • Me too, completely. I loved it when I had it on – bizarrely, I just snuck the two heavily scented scent blotters under my hat and wore it for the evening, getting complimented on. The effect really was like wearing one of the 70’s greens, although there is a slightly disturbing ‘creamy white floral’ element that settles in later. Still, my residue of the perfume on my hair the next day made me feel like a model from a 70’s hair ad. I think I would just like to get the small 10ml bottle to have on hand for specific scenting, when I want that precise effect.

  4. I have not tried it but need to. So many perfumes…so little time and money!

  5. Hanamini

    I tried it excitedly a few months ago, because I’d read about it and love galbanum and other things green. Now I can’t remember exactly why, but something made me think I should go away and think about it—maybe I was expecting a bit more psychedelia. I haven’t done that thinking, so this is a great reminder to revisit it. I’ll be near a place that has it in a few weeks. Funnily enough, I’m wearing Private Collection today.

    • Private Collection is just……there are no words for how good it is. At the same time, it is slightly depressing – at least for me. Synthetic Jungle is just fun and emboldening: I tend to like Anne Flipo scents anyway as she is always good with a floral without making them too nimsy or chemical – her work for L’Artisan was always good, and I think there is a rambunctious colourfulness here that I like.

  6. I’m so glad you found this and are excited about it. I may sample it one day since I trust your nose and this review intrigued me.

    • Thanks for the vote of confidence! I must say that the first sixty seconds are……problematic: some people would HAAATE this scent and I was quite troubled by the fact that it didn’t have the right harmony at that stage so it’s definitely not a spray on the train type affair; also, concerned that the base note might be a little bit TOO synthetic muguet-tastic after a while. On the other hand, the way it lingers on hair is unbelievably good; I can imagine wearing it that way with the perfect shampoo complement and feeling amazing. It would be gorgeous in spring I reckon.

  7. This sounds like a must try!! Although nothing modern could ever compare to Private Collection or N°19, such legends, but I am a lover of green scents.
    Have you ever tried Silences by Jacomo? That is a fabulous green fragrance, truly magnificent.

  8. OnWingsofSaffron

    I always state I LOVE GREENS! however, it is very seldom that I do wear them! I have a bottle or two of the vintage as well as the first reformulation Vent Vert which I both find thrilling; yet why don‘t I wear them? I have the bottle of the J.-L. Scherrer which purportedly I LOVE, yet never wear! Why, oh why? Btw, I would love to sniff Synthetic Jungle as I love green scents, yet I somehow haven’t come round to it—why?

    • There IS something rather hissy about them : something that shudders.

      As you know, I have worn No 19 in buckets and adore how it smells on a coat – I actually apply it on clothes now and then wait for it – but often find the beginning of the extrait with the violet leaf ( which I actually hate – so piercingly sharp ) not entirely pleasant – better tempered with the lovely Iris in a prime edt

      The Scherrer I love sometimes : mine is not THAT green – just enough, leathery and aromatic, surprisingly butch.

      I have decided I am not so keen on the base accord of S Jungle – though I can still imagine craving the top

  9. Really like this one. Super distinctive and not crowd-pleasing at all.

  10. Hanamini

    OK, so I got myself a small quantity. But…the same thing as when I first tried it is putting me off, and it also put me off Superstitious, I think; is it celery? I love oakmoss, so I can’t be that, unless I’ve been mistaken about oakmoss all along. And I love eating celery, but any hint of it in a perfume or on anybody (my husband’s hands after cooking, the dog’s head after someone pets him) is repellent. Or blackcurrant, which I find hard (while adoring the fruit)?

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