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.