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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Perfume Review: Frederic Malle Outrageous!

By Tom

Frederic Malle is one of the most interesting lines out there, with such rich and memorable scents ranging from from Angeliques sous la Pluie to Vetiver Extraordinaire. I don't think there was one that I have smelled that I was merely indifferent to: all of the ones that I have smelled are heart-breaking, even if I couldn't wear some of them in a million years.

The latest in the the line is Outrageous!, which is for the younger set, and is going to be the house brand for the Barneys Co-Op stores. The listed notes include (from the SA) Caipirinha, clean laundry, amber and cedarwood.

First off, let me write that I don't care for punctuation in perfumes. If you need an exclamation point in your title, you most likely aren't living up to it. Sadly, this one doesn't. It starts off a bit like the new L'Artisan Jatamansi, then starts getting Gendarme around the edges. It finally morphs into a much paler and far less interesting watery version of the original Acqua di Parma. Maybe someone whose previous ne plus ultra of fragrance was CKone will be blown away. I thought it was pleasant, but it made me run to the cabinet and apply some Acqua di Parma.

There, that's better.

Outrageous! is available at Barneys and Barneys Co-Op stores at $110 for 3.4 ounces.
Acqua di Parma is availablle at Barneys at $111 for 6 ounces.

Image source, Cosmetic World.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shocked and dismayed!!!
Say it isn't so!!!
A Frederic Malle that is merely--Meh.
This I will have to smell for myself.
Can speak of this anymore right now, I must now go to my quiet place inside.

10:12 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

The world is going to hell in a handbasket, isn't it?

10:33 PM EDT  
Blogger Erin said...

Hey, what about Dzing! But this is sad news about FM. I had such hopes, even though the note list just didn't turn me on.

10:44 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

The Frederic Malle's are good, but definitely not revolutionary- rather I find them to be massively overhyped. They are classic fragrances made with a modicum of originality and good qualiity ingredients, but they certainly dont push the envelope in any way. Someone already well accustomed to the classic lines from Caron, Guerlain, etc. will find them interesting, but wont be moved to claim them as the next best thing. I have tried En Passant, Vetiver Extraordinaire (good linear vetiver fragrance, but there are many vetivers out there which are as good or better), Bigarade Concentre/Cologne Bigarade (variants of Creed's superior Citrus Bigarade), Angelique Sous plouie (a typical Ellena theme - Terre D'hermes does it better), Carnal Flower (a great unisex tuberose), French Lover (good stuff, but terribly lacking in originality), Le Parfum de Therese (fruity floral - similar to Spring Flower with worse fruity notes but a better base), and Musc Ravageur (good musky vanilla but not a patch on Guerlain's Shalimar).

I am not suprised to see Malle delve into the lower denominator. He wants to expand his line of stores, and he needs more recognition and cash. The terribly generic Outrageous! will give him that. Atleast I like the exclamation mark.

11:18 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...



11:54 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I would say so, if this weren't an obvious attempt to generate market share. I suppose one can look on the bright side and think of it as a nice starter for the Axe generation- one day they are in Outrageous and the next thing they know they are in Musc Ravageur

11:56 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Dzing! is the exception that proves the rule? I am btw now madly in love with Dzing! and was thrilled to read (on Basenotes) that rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated

11:58 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I can't argue that, since I agree. I do find them lovely, but French Lover was the only one that I really wanted to buy, and while I love it I hold no illusions that it's a groundbreaking scent. Given the choice of a trip to Carons urn and some time in one of those goofy phone booth/test tube thingies and I know how I'll come out smelling...

I just sort of feel about Outrageous! and I did about the Cimmaron by Cadillac or Halston III for JC Penney. What's next? Rolex putting out plastic watches called Swolexs?

12:08 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WAIT!!! give this scent another try, and WEAR IT. It's really FREAKIN GOOD. it's like molecules of summer sunlight radiating around your body, it morph from a PERFECT lime note, to a pixel perfect green apple, mint, and finally, the sheerest hot tub cedar. It feels so right. It 's my new anti perfume scent.

1:13 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Anon II

Sorry, it's not. It's been done and done better 80 years ago and Barneys has the original; this is a pale anodyne of a brilliant scent for a buck more.

1:44 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can it be that a Frederic Malle fragrance actually has notes of.... CLEAN LAUNDRY?! Noooo! Not that! What's next - "ozonic marine" notes in a "beachy" scent? I think I need to go lie down in a dark room with a cool compress. Ack.

1:45 AM EDT  
Blogger leopoldo said...

Faizan and I rarely see eye to eye - and I can't agree with his depictions of half the scents he mentions. To me, Bigarade Concentree is several miles above the Creed in quality - but me and Creed: we have a rocky relationship. Faizan, what's my way in here, eh? (I do love Angelique Encens, Tabarome, and like VIW).

As for Outrageous! - it seems to be cashing in on the mid-80s revival - the lettering, the exclamation mark - but like all of that schtick, is a watered down version of it.

Blimey, I've nearly written as much as your review! ;-)

3:32 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yes, I was told that Dzing! was not being discontinued, but then again, Ina does have more of an "inside scoop".

3:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

leopoldo, Bigarade Concentree is more hay and cedar than the bitter orange note. If you like that sort of thing its a good buy, but it really can't compare to the startling quality of the bigarade note in Citrus Bigarade (it also has to do with the modern synthetics that are used both in Bigarade Concentree and the Cologne version). To anyone who has spent enough time with Citrus Bigarade and C/Bigarade Concentree, the difference in the quality of the bigarade note will be obvious. Even Little Italy from Bond no. 9 has a clearer and more impressive juicy orange note. The Creed citruses like Selection Verte, Orange Spice (which Kouros is obviously inspired by), Bois de Cedrat and Citrus Bigarade are some of the best there are. For woody smoky scents, there are few better than the grand woody oriental, Bois du Portugal. Green scents? Try the incredible Feuille Verte from 2006 (limited edition). The rich water citruses like Millesme Imperial and Silver Mountain Water have few peers. The rich mossy woods scent Acier Aluminium is an excellent example of the perfumers art. You like Vetiver Extraordinaire? Try Vetiver (1948, not Original Vetiver) by Creed, a stunning example of a "mineralic" vetiver. If you like heavy, honeyed scents with loads of vanilla and nostril-shattering sweetness, or if you dont like the ambergris base, this house isn't for you. Eitherways, its off topic but since you asked and I am up late because of a heavy caffeine dose I obliged. If you think the Malle's are the bees knees, well enjoy them!

To stay on topic, I don't think Malle is the first house to seek popularity. With the rise of niche perfumers, even this previously "niche" niche arena has become very competitive. Recently there was a lull in L'Artisans output, and many were of the opinion that the house had sold out. Coincidentally, L'Artisan is following a similar track of expansion after being acquired by a Bay Area private equity firm. Most think that the recent Serge Lutens releases point to either a diminished artistic output..or greater mainstream acceptance. So yea, its not just Malle.

4:23 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Great article! I am reluctant to try Outrageous!, because it sounds like everything I don't enjoy in perfume.

Unfortunately the rumors of Dzing!'s demise are not rumors anymore. 50ml bottles discontinued, and that is usually a sure sign that eventually 100ml will be gone too.

I can't agree with Faizan re: Le Parfum de Therese's similarity to Spring Flower, as I smell absolutely none, but I agree about expansion. As soon as it started, Outrageous! was inevitable.

6:40 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Not excited!

7:09 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

SO ... the name is perfect?!?! Because for Malle to do something as you've described is nothing if not outrageous, no?

Joop! makes me laugh. Hey, how about the CVS one that's called Exclamation! that just has the big "!" on the spray can? Next to the Axe. Yeah, down there, can you reach one for me? It's next to the toenail clippers. Thanks.

PS And YES, I want a Swolex. :-P

8:26 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I still can't believe they did this, but I understand from a marketing point of view trying to get the younger set into your perfumes younger. It just sucks that they did it with something that wasn't that good.

10:53 AM EDT  
Blogger Gaia said...

Malle Light? Who needs that?
They're opening a Barneys Co-Op five minutes away from my house (the joys of Jersey living), so I'll give it a sniff, but the clean laundry note sounds off-putting.

10:58 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I know how you feel, but I do hope that it nets him some cash. We'll just ignore it and concentrate on the rest of the line.

It's Malle's "New Coke"

11:55 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you're welcome to write more...

I really don't know about the Creed V/S Malle argument because (donning fireproof suit) the few Creeds I smelled I found unimpressive. There. I wrote it. (slinks off)

12:07 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was going to say Dzing! but obviously I overslept & lost my chance to be smart & original. Oh well. And yes, the Thomspon St L'A ladies told me the 50s were gone.

I wrote this off when I read abt the clean laundry note. I mean, I'm gonna pay $$ for Tide? On the other hand, my cat would love it. I can't keep him out of the clean laundry piles when I fold.

12:07 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I hope it's the truth, but Marina (who would also be in the know) has other, worse news...

12:08 PM EDT  
Blogger Erin said...

Faizan: Not to start a war here, but just because only Tom and Leo commented does not mean we all agree with you! :) Love the Carons and vintage Guerlains, but can't *stand* many of the Creeds, including many you mention. I think you might find that, outside of Basenotes, that's a pretty common line of thought.

12:09 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I am printing that out and heading to Neimans. If I end up sweet-smelling but living in my car it's your fault! ;-)

12:10 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I saw this on Basenotes:

"I then headed over to the L'Artisan booth, and got to talk with Francois Duquesne (President USA). He was somewhat embarrassed that they did not have all of their samples around at their location. I asked about Dzing, and he told me 'do not believe all of those internet rumours about it being discontinued'."

Which is leading me to hope. In any case. shove a bottle under the counter until I can get there...

12:22 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


nope. not excited at all

12:23 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


No Swolex, even in jest. Some things just cannot change!

12:30 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


It wasn't that it was bad, it's just that it was so meh.

It's like having Julia Child have you over for dinner and having her serve you Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

12:31 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Barneys seems to be on the expansion trail themselves- they opened a Co-Op store here in The Grove (god knows why, it's tiny and it's only about 2 miles from the BH Store)

12:34 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


If they had marketed is as kitty cologne I'd be happy..

12:35 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


come with me to my flame-proof room..


12:39 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

LOL -- I'll stand by my original statement -- when FM is making an obvious bid for market share, the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

1:17 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I agree with a commenter above, it is indeed somewhat of an "anti-perfume" perfume. My first impression was that it's industrial, heavy-duty and has an odd appeal, in the same vein Dzing does. I have a love it or hate it relationship with Outrageous. It's repulsively appealing, and I think I like it, in the end. Oh, and it's also rather un-Sophia Grojsman.

1:20 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Faizan / zztopp, el maestro de Creed. I don't like Vet Extra much, really do prefer the cumin / cedar / bigarade mix of BC over the Creed, and MI and SMW make me feel ill... Horses for courses. I'll defend SL too - a long way from a sugarfest in my opinion.

But good chatting with you.

Hijack over Tommo!

1:29 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Sure leopoldo, great to notice you enjoy lurking at BN too! In addition to the recommendation of AdP as an alternative to Outrageous!, I would also recommend you try the criminally underrated Grabazzi by Gendarme.

3:23 PM EDT  
Blogger Solander said...

Hello Tom, hello Marina, it's great to be back among the perfume blogs again! My move, and vacation, and summer course kept me away but now I'm pretty much settled in York.
I like the caipirinha note... I mean, yeah, it's obviously a marketing ploy, but I love caipirinhas and I love lime, so... The scent in general sounds like a dull "fresh" aquatic/minty/chilly men's cologne though...
I bought a big bottle of Dzing! in Bologna, by the way. Can't risk it. Oh and I also visited Harry Lehmann in Berlin, the old perfumery where scents are sold by weight!

6:44 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

yes, it is handbasket time, I guess

6:49 PM EDT  
Blogger priscilla said...

One most excellent perfume with an exclamation point in its name--Dzing! (I'm sure I cannot be the first person to point this out.) ;-)

6:50 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I'm glad it did something for you. Wish it did for me

6:50 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Welcome back! You were missed!

6:51 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Yeah, Dzing! was pointed out to me. That's one that screws up my theory, but i am happy that it does...

6:51 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My heart sank when I saw the ad for this in the latest Barney's Co-Op catalogue. I thought Malle was above this sort of thing. The name(!), the mass marketing, the notes of "Clean Laundry" and- the last straw - the the moron who said it was 'FREAKIN GOOD' - all cause me to running screaming away from this fragrance and pretend it never happended. Hopefully it quietly disappear as quickly as it arrived. I also think the price is rather high for a fragrance which seeks a mass audience.

I will stick with Angeliques and Cologne Bigarde, along with my Creed fragrances (Silver Mountain Water, Neroli Sauvage and Royal Water) and continue along blissfully ignorant.

10:35 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is the most addictive of Frederic Malle's. I LOVE the Lime on crystal Meth accord, followed by the Purest White rose ,still dewy and fresh . This is Pure sunshine in a bottle.
Pure happiness. other FM's I have, Eau D'Hiver, Bois D'Orage.
BTW Chandler Burr Five stars
Luca Turin four Stars.

2:06 AM EDT  

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