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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

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.

If I could paint the flower exactly as I see it no one would see what I see because I would paint it small like the flower is small. So I said to myself - I'll paint what I see - what the flower is to me but I'll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it - I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.

...Well, I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower - and I don't. - Georgia O'Keeffe

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).

51 Comments:

Blogger tmp00 said...

Oh dear, and here I am sitting with a Barneys card with a zero balance on it.

Luckily the Frederic Malle rep there has been resolutely unfriendly to me, so I think I may just ignore this.

11:13 PM EDT  
Blogger Ina said...

Ah, this one is a beauty but a very tricky one. It smells like paint and paper at first, then transforms into a voluptuous floral. Definitely a love or hate scent, no neutral territory here.

11:53 PM EDT  
Anonymous andy said...

Dear Marina, Either lover or utter detestation: This I loved!
Maybe this is a tribute to Roudnitska, in a sense, with many walking away with detestation being "shocked" right now, coming back later and fall in love then.

12:49 AM EDT  
Anonymous lady jane grey said...

What an amazing review, again, Colombina ! (oh, Georgia O'Keeffe, wonderful) You make me extremely curious about this parfume. I took free from te office today - have plenty of time, could end up with an order for it ...

1:49 AM EDT  
Anonymous carmencanada said...

Une Fleur de Cassie is one of my loves... I find nothing unpleasant about it at all and I am always fascinated by its delicate complexity. It's a spring day in a fragrance: rays of sun, puddles of rain, mud, and the fragrance of heated skin at the end of the day when you've sat outside to take in that first sunshine and feel a little feverish in the cool evening, in that warm animalic drydown...

2:23 AM EDT  
Anonymous Maria B. said...

Love-it-or-hate-it fragrances are so exciting. Nothing boring about them. I'll go and put on some Farnesiana and wonder about the other.

2:34 AM EDT  
Anonymous dinazad said...

To my utter devastation, all I get from FdC is reminiscence of a not really welcome kind: it smells of the "dry shampoo" powder we used to put in our hair when we got up too late to wash it and still wanted to look acceptable at school.... Where'd that disappear to, anyway? It had a distinctive smell, and I really don't want to be reminded of that. And I so wanted to love at least one Malle! (OK, I like Angeliques sous la Pluie, but in an distant, appreciative way, like I admire orchids or modern designer fashion - without wanting to become really closely accquainted).

3:22 AM EDT  
Anonymous Leopoldo said...

I'm a real oddbod on this one - I quite liked it....

5:37 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

This is actually a scent I went from feeling *complete* revulsion for (sewage on my skin) to absolutely loving. Deeply. Can't explain it. Once again, I'm guessing it's the work of aliens during some abduction I was unaware of.
Great Georgia O'Keefe quote. That's why I love my macro lens - flowers, leaves, etc. are all so unusual and gorgeous if you get close enough to isolate and focus on individual parts, textures, etc.

7:25 AM EDT  
Anonymous newproducts said...

I have been trying to smell this one, but my request for a sample at Barneys has been ignored. I wonder if this scent will favor my chemistry. It sounds wonderful if it does. I think I just may call Barneys again.

7:28 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

EEEEEEEEeeeeek! Ack! I hope all your fanbase doesn't run out and buy this unsniffed (you did warn them, though...)

Do you think it's true that, if things are going to go wrong on you, they tend to go wrong in some sort of predictable pattern? (You get Play-Doh or something else you don't like?)

8:50 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

To,
How dare (s)he! Pox on the evil rep.

9:01 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Ina,
Yes very tricky one, from what I hear. It is good from start to finish on me, but I read some horror stories :-)

9:02 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Andy,
You point out the quality that I think all "Great Scents" possess: they might not work on you but they are compelling enough for you to keep coming back and re-trying.

9:05 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Lady Jane,
Thank you!
Yes, free time is dangerous for one's wallet :-)

9:06 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

D,
I think you are my Scent Twin, because we like so many similar things :-). But, like in a bad soap opera, I am the unlucky twin, given away to live somewhere unglamorous, whilst my lucky twin is enjoying the perfume paradise that is Paris :-)

9:08 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Maria,
Well, imagine Farnesiana being a very bad girl. Farnesiana gone very, very wild :-) A little bitchy, very capricious, really high maintenance...There, you have Une Fleur de Cassie now :-)

9:11 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Dinazad,
I have a much worse problem with Malle line...I like practically everything. :-)
I always wanted to find dry shampoo, and I swear I saw it sold online somewhere, but forgot where.

9:13 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Leopoldo,
I am an oddbod too then :-)

9:14 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

L,
Well, in this case these were nice aliens then :-)
I felt the quote was very appropriate for the work of perfumers too. As they too have to see a flower through a micro-lens to discern its details and nuances and to "paint it big" for others to be able to see.

9:16 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Minsun,
What is it with Barneys? Tom had trouble with them too (not NYC though).

9:18 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

March,
So what hated note did Cassie have that made you dislike it? Because I kind of get a feeling you are not in love with it :-)

9:18 AM EDT  
Blogger lilyofbp said...

I like this much better than Farnesiana, which is one Caron I don't wear (I do like it, but it's just not me). For those that have trouble with the Malle, the body butter, missing the unusual opening, is easier to like (hard to dislike, I would say).

9:22 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

J,
Oh, now I want the butter too!
Now that I am very much over almond in perfume, I too sometimes find it hard to wear Farnesiana. But Une Fleur has no almondy-ness on me, luckily.

9:30 AM EDT  
Blogger donanicola said...

Lovely review thank you. I have a sample of this from Les Senteurs (where the guys wear it!) but have yet to give it skin space. A brief sniff on a strip intrigued me mightily so I will try later/tomorrow. Sounds the perfect Spring scent. BTW the dry shampoo - sorry Dinazad but were you thinking Batiste? I remember that stuff. Now its Bumble and Bumble hair powder at an outrageous price!

9:55 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Nicola,
I see they have great taste at Les Senteurs (not that there was any doubt about it). When you have a chance to try Cassie, please share your impressions.

9:58 AM EDT  
Blogger chaya ruchama said...

yhsI think it's gorgeous-
And I loved your review, Lollipop.
Agree that it's love or hate- but it GROWS on you over time, if you let it.

Others like it on me, but then , they like Iris Poudre on me, too...
I guess, sometimes somethings smell "good", but don't fit your persona.
Am I talking out of my tuchus-
Or does this make sense ?

Anyhoo, I apologise for not being more responsive to my sweet Marinochka.
Sniffa-fatigue.
Please forgive !

10:23 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

I,
You take your time to rest after the Sniffa! I hope you had lots of fun there. Did you buy anything? fell in love with a new scent?

10:29 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

"Well, imagine Farnesiana being a very bad girl. Farnesiana gone very, very wild :-) A little bitchy, very capricious, really high maintenance...

If I still worked in Beverly Hills this would have me at the front door at ten, card in hand. Lucky for me I now work downtown.

But I will have to brave the grinchy Malle boy at Barneys to try. Perhaps a purchase might perk him up? :-)

11:00 AM EDT  
Blogger chaya ruchama said...

I did you proud, baby...
It was my 'early' 53rd b-day present from B, my DH.

I molested many, fell in love [again and again and again] with Terry, Juvy, Madelyn, Raphaella, Musetta, MarkDavid,Ruby, et al...

I bought:

Vega
Sous le Vent
Violette Precieuse
the last bottle of Orchidee Blanche
SMN's Acqua Di Cuba
Aftel's Cognac, Parfum de Maroc, and Shiso [mini's]

I STILL want [trollop that I am] :

Liu
Cuir Beluga
Cradle of Light
To marry CB and make him deliriously happy;
To make a sandwich out of Neil Morris;
And to sing more lieder for all the boys at Aedes, who are Deutsch with Deutsch-sauce...

If only you were with me-
We could have made beautiful music together...

11:04 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Tom,
Try behaving a little bitchy, very capricious, really high maintenance, and he will fall over himself to please you. :-)

11:05 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

I,
My goodness gracious me! You really, really did me proud!! Very well done!

11:06 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Well .. I get a bit of Ina's paint thinner note, plus that sort of semi-rotten musky smell that I think people complain about in linden. Either one of those is not a deal-killer, but together... somehow I never get to the luscious part! I'll keep trying, though.

12:56 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

March,
Well, yeas, those two together are nto good at all :-(

1:08 PM EDT  
Blogger faizanjax said...

Nopes, dont like this one. It isnt "bad", but it doesnt grab me much. I much prefer Carnal Flower. If I were to blow a bundle on a Malle frag, it would either be Musc Ravageur or Carnal Flower.

After spending over an year with decent sized decants of almost the entire line, I find myself not that enamored with this house. We already have the Lutens, Creeds, L'Artisans, etc. The house of Malle doesnt distinguish itself from already existing houses. Sure, the fragrances are well made, but they lack that certain something...that distinguishing quality. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the driving vision of the house is to place no restrictions on the perfumers abilities - and these perfumers would rather create better versions of their favorite fragrances. I actually find the newer houses like perfumerie generalie, empire, etc to be more exciting and different.

What do you think ?

4:36 PM EDT  
Anonymous ghostranchguy said...

yeah... this is definitely a HATE scent... smells frightening... like some hairnet... an OLD hairnet probably from the mother in psycho... it's a nasty conconction that totally abuses the gorgeous acacia farnesiana and weaves it into a filthy scalp... acacias have always been for me the most hypnotic blossoms ever... a bewitching little puff that tugs at the heart as did the scent of my dad's butchwax during my youth... sorry... the only malle worth anything is angelique sous la pluie

4:40 PM EDT  
Anonymous carmencanada said...

M., I can just see our soap opera from here... The lovely blond sister with the adorable husband and daughter; the childless, wicked, gay divorcee living it up in Paris, secretly linked by their common fragrant passion for skank and similar skin chemistry... Too bad the flat's not huge, or I'd have the whole Columbina tribe over here, and quickly!
Funny how Une Fleur smells so awful on some people. So far, I haven't found a Malle I didn't like, and at least half of the line I utterly love... C'est la vie.

5:02 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have adored this one from the start. it's like diving into the heart of a flower and breathing in every part of it all at once. which is why i think it startles so many people. you know how a flower petal looks like lush, incredibly color-saturated velvet up close? it's like what color and texture would smell like if you were surrounded by them. - minette

5:29 PM EDT  
Anonymous timam said...

oh la la, this sounds like something for me, non ;) ? *must* try it. plus it is almost cheap compared to some other Malles.
thanks for another beautiful lemming :-D!

5:31 PM EDT  
Blogger Patty said...

Cassie is perfection! It's sorta like Tubereuse Criminelle in that it starts off sorta horridish, but turns stunningly beautiful. You get to anticipate that nasty open just because you know what is to come!!!

Beautiful review!

6:31 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Faizanjax,
On the one hand, I completely agree with you that, whereas Creed, Lutens, etc. have Something, a leitmotif that runs through all of their scents and unites them into one more or less coherent collection (even though I could never express what that Something actually is), the Malle scents are all very different. Which is of course due to the fact that Malle works with many perfumers. On the other hand, it doesn't bother me at all, the same way as it doesn't bother me that all the books in a library are very different, you know? As long as they are great scents, I don't care, and they do work very well on me.

7:39 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Ghostranchguy,
I was hoping someone will comment, on whom Cassie really doesn't work! I laughed out loud at your hairnet comparison :-)
I do love Angeliques too.

7:41 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

D,
OMG that is funny! made me sorry it isn't actually true! :-)
I am trying to think of a Malle scent I detest. I used to dislike En Passant, but I am starting to like lilac, so perhaps there really isn't a single Malle I wouldn't wear. Which is tragic for my wallet. :-)

7:43 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Minette,
You said it!! It is a flower up close, basically being inside a flower. Fantastic!

7:44 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Tina,
Welcome back! I can't predict whether you will like Une Fleur, she is a capricious thing, this one, but it is definitely worth a try!!

7:45 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Patty,
Thank you! You know, I don't even get any weird stuff in the opening, but I love it just the way it is :-)

7:46 PM EDT  
Anonymous Lavanya said...

have to try this...love what Georgia O' Keeffe wrote...wasn't that the inspiration behind CB I hate Perfume- To see a flower too?

2:30 AM EDT  
Blogger donanicola said...

OK I tried it on this morning. Was unsure to begin with - maybe Ina's paint thinner note but an hour in and OMIGOD! Like a full bodied flower bloomed on my wrist with a bit of filth lurking. Lovely. Reminds me a bit of Caron's Narcisse Noir but I think I like this better. Thanks for the nudge in this direction. Happy Easter! (or am I too early for you?)

5:59 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Lavanya,
Oh was it? I have to find that one now to see what Brosius came up with being inspired by O'Keefe!

7:55 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Nicola,
I am so glad you liked! "With a bit of filth lurking"- love that! :-) Happy coming Easter to you too!

7:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Gemma said...

I'm Openmouthed with this stuff....

Yes, it takes time to be understood, and specially to appreciate its beauty: I'm wearing it for 2 months and it still stunnes me every time, some side-effects change (really!!) depending
1.on the part of the body you put it on,
2.if you put it on just after the shower or not (I swear it works nicely with the soft sweat that emerges to cool the skin surface),
3.the clothes,
4.your mood,
etc etc...

real multifaceted, chamaleonic scent!
This stuff is "The Living Skin" (;)
-greetings to the spirit of the E.L.O.-

One of the most a-m-a-z-i-n-g scent symphonies I ever smelled.

Like Dane, my favorite part is the "calmer, floral, (some anised-mimosa/violet!!) touches" of the middle notes, but the opening, ooh the opening! soooooo HOT, isn't it????
nice drydown as well: subtle misty veil that sometimes can make you think that the scent is gone, but don't be wrong: is still 'there', like a whisper.

what more can I say?... highly recommended!!

6:41 AM EDT  

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