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Portrait of a Lady – She smells great! (February 14th, 2011 New Fragrance Listing)

Last week I bought Portrait of a Lady by Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle. Yep, I just strode into Holt’s and bought a bottle. That’s right - Portrait of a Lady is now available in Toronto. Hallelujah!

This wasn’t a blind buy though, I had tried this EDP at the Malle store in New York in November and found it FBW and since I knew it would surface in Toronto, I focused on buying frags that I could only get over the wall.

My visit to Holt’s was a good one, got the juice and got the news. Frédéric Malle, his own self, will be at Holt’s Bloor Street in Toronto on May 5th. The time and length of the visit is still to be determined. Keep watching this space for details. Well, this news sure sent a frisson of excitement throughout the niche!

But back to the here and now. Portrait of a Lady was created by Dominique Ropion. One of the most highly regarded noses in the industry, he also created Une Fleur de Cassie, Vétiver extraordinaire, Carnal Flower and Géranium pour Monsieur for the Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle line. Judging by her provenance, I’d say this Lady was wellborn and destined for great things.

Portrait of a Lady is based on rose – the opulent, luscious Turkish rose, and it shows up right at the start, its richness and lushness amplified by raspberry and cassis. The berries don’t make it sweet/fruity so much as they make it richer, thicker and deeper. Then, to my nose, oud appears (hey, I didn’t make it, I just smell it….) adding that classic oud/rose accord that is so gorgeous when done right. Cinnamon and clove add spicy warmth, while patchouli adds an earthiness and a woodiness, that sandalwood plays up. It gets a smoky note from frankincense, and sweetness from ambroxan and softness from musk.

For all the powerful ingredients in it, Portrait of a Lady is not heavy or bold, nor is she too dark or skanky. She does have an edge and a presence and Ropion, the master of sillage, makes sure she has staying power.  Portrait of a Lady has old world mystery and new world elegance - a new oriental rose. This portrait is a masterpiece!

Portrait of a Lady is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $9.00 for 1 ml.

Make that three of us

This is a stunner. The rose is front and centre for the opening, and then th cinnamon / incense / oud business gets going. An absolute must have, especially in this dog of a winter! I think all of Ropion's contributions to the Malle line are the very best of what he offers, with the one exception being my very favorite, Parfum de Therese.

Malle has said that Ropion is the best nose working today, and I'd be hard pressed to find anyone else to take the lead ahead of him.

Portrait is divine

I sniffed this at Holts and it is absolutely gorgeous. The sales assistant gave me a blast on my wrist--the oud gives it a spicy undernote that is amazing. But as you say, it's not a monster perfume--it stays pretty close to the skin (I guess you'd get more sillage with more sprays, but I love having it stay close and one spritz is enough for that) but has terrific lasting power. I was spritzed on Saturday afternoon and could still get a hint of the scent on Sunday morning. If you're a rose lover, I think you'll swoon.

Re: Portrait is divine

I'm surprised at how many rose lovers there are out there and how many rose-based scents there are!
This one is a must-have though.
Oud isn'tlisted as a note, but on me it has quite a presence - Oh, M. Ropion, you are a genius!