Perfume Review: Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie
Nobody sees a flower, really, it is so small. We haven't time - and to see takes time like to have a friend takes time.
Dominique Ropion, he of Carnal Flower, Amarige, Ysatis and Alien, paints his flowers big. If you come to Une Fleur de Cassie familiar with its star note through the acquaintance with Caron's Farnesiana, you are in for a bit of a shock. The difference between cassie in the former and in the latter is as that between a glamorous, wanton vixen with come-hither eyes, holding a long cigarette holder, surrounded by a crowd of admirers and a tender young mother cuddling an infant in her gentle arms. The voluptuous vixen appears to me to be not so distantly related to Roudnitska's elegant and dirty Diorama...I may be imagining things, but it seems that Une Fleur de Cassie pays very subtle homage to Roudnitska's work...or else it is simply that Ropion happens to be the lucky owner of the same gift of sensual, bold, expansive strokes and incredible finesse, of being able to combine the utter refinement with shocking dirtiness, of adding a dark, unchaste depth to the elegant and turning the coarse and animalic into something breathtakingly chic.
Une Fleur de Cassie's development consists not so much of the notes smoothly transfroming into one another as of them expanding, growing richer and deeper before finally settling into a soft, comforting drydown. The scent is built around the accord of cassie (acacia farnesiana) , mimosa and jasmine. This core blend is warm, with an unexpectedly balsamic, spicy quality. Often, acacia/mimosa fragrances have an almondy flavor, in Une Fleur de Cassie, however, I vaguely smell the warmer spiciness of cinnamon. Jasmine brings a wonderfully indolic undertone to cassie and mimosa, thus turning the usually maidenly, delicate, poignantly-springlike notes into exotic, provocative blossoms, in the heat of summer. At times, I can smell carnation, which adds some more piquancy to the composition; honeyed, red roses bloom in the heart of Une Fleur de Cassie, and the base rounds the blend with a sweet, cushy note of sandalwood...but the star accord, with its strangely resinous floralcy, is always apparent, never letting the wearer out of its sensual embrace. The beauty of Une Fleur de Cassie is carnal and haunting and more than a little quirky. It seems to me that it might not be one of the most easily approachable and likeable perfumes in Malle's collection (the quick glance at the reviews on Makeupalley will reveal almost a complete lack of in-between opinions, it is either love or utter detestation), but it is certainly one of the most unique. Since I happen to be one of the lucky people whom the capricious Une Fleur favors with its warm affection, it is most definitely full bottle worthy for me.
Une Fleur de Cassie can be found at Barneys, $210.00 for 100ml. It can also be bought directly from Editions de Parfums, €55.00 for a set of three 10ml refills, €95.00 for 50ml, and €142.00 for 100ml. The fragrance is also available in Body Lotion (€65.00 for 200ml) and Beurre Exquis (€100.00 for 200g).