Friday, January 9, 2009

Dans Tes Bras by Frederic Malle : Perfume Review

Dans Tes Bras (meaning “In Your Arms”) has been a notoriously difficult perfume to review. In fact, I’ve been lugging the carded sample with me for more than a month, first in a handbag, waiting for that opportune moment when I’d sit quietly at a café to take notes, then later –when that did not work- in a resealable bag in which it travelled with me to Greece and then back. The surprising bit comes here: it was not lack of time that had me tongue-tied, but the perfume itself. Double the surprise when you consider this is not just the newest Malle, but also a violet scent, violet being a note which I absolutely love. So what was the problem? To my horror, Dans Tes Bras actually made me nauseous the first couple of times I tried it. To my nose it smelled improbably synthetic, to the point that I actually had to scrub it off. After taking a little break from it, I tested it again, only to discover that… it simply bored me. While this is by no stretch of the imagination an objective take on the perfume itself (and perhaps it is not even fair), as I’ve mentioned before, I am growing quite tired of the violet/iris fashion that has been sweeping the perfume world like a forest fire during a particularly windy summer. Having said that, this obviously would not have been an issue had this been the most exciting violet I’d smelled in ages. Unfortunately it is not. (Perhaps Stephen Jones for CdG will manage to claim that spot if I ever get the chance to sniff it!)

After another little break, however, I’ve managed to actually warm up to Dans Tes Bras. Maybe it’s the fact that I am studying a book on Philosophy of Science at the moment, which actually tends to be even more boring than Dans Tes Bras' particular brand of violets. All jokes aside though, this is not a bad perfume. Dans Tes Bras promises to deliver “The deep and lasting odor of warm skin, with all its salty hints and rich overtones.”. The disappointing bit is that it smells nothing like skin. Still, we can rejoice for the inclusion of savory hints in the opening: The scent unfolds with the tingling saltiness of salmiac candy over a soft iris scent, before the sweet scent of violets kicks in. Right at the heart, the scent turns bizarrely mushroomy. Think fresh, earthy, uncooked mushrooms with a hint of (now you’re gonna get scared) metallic blood . The best approximation would be to imagine adding a few drops of Etat Libre d’Orange’s Secretions Magnifique on a bed of transparent, sweet violets. The rocky stage of slightly metallic, earthy mushrooms passes quite slowly, but patience will be rewarded when the fragrance makes yet another transition into a stage that smells purely of daintily sweet violets and something herbal, or vaguely minty. For me, this is the most interesting stage indeed, as I keep catching myself trying to place the slightly dissonant, fresh, almost medicinal note. The drydown is all earthy, pale violets and tends to be comforting enough to make me contemplate reapplying.

Talk of mushrooms, blood, earth and minty hints, just might make this perfume sound far more interesting and captivating than it really is, especially if I also add that Dans Tes Bras never smells quite the same, but tends to appear subtly different with every application. It has to be said however, that despite all those little things that make it interesting and different, the overwhelming impression it leaves me with, is that of a common violet.


Linda said...

Dear Divina!
I'm so glad that you feel well enough for this post! Soon after this fragrance made its appearance, I went to Liberty's to try it - the reviews sounded intriguing, and the whole concept of it sounded very sensuous. I was really disappointed as the sample seemed too subtle for words, and the most powerful note for me was salt water. Cetainly not warm skin! I think the SA agreed - in fact, as we both declared we loved Malle's Carnal Flower, this was definitely not for purchase (and it was SO expensive!)
Of course, I'm going to try again: the wonderful thing about fragrance is that it seemes to alter as one's moods change.
Hugs! Have a great weekend...

tmp00 said...

I applaud this one for daring to be so different. However that applause so far has not translated into an urge to buy.