The upcoming launch by Editions de Parfums, spearheaded by Frédéric Malle its founder publisher and self-described evaluator, is called Portrait of a Lady. It is a composition signed by perfumer Dominique Ropion for whom Malle professes great admiration. The nose is the one who so far has contributed the most to the library of soon-to-be 19 fragrances at Editions de Parfums with Carnal Flower, Une Fleur de Cassie, Vétiver Extraordinaire, Géranium pour Monsieur and now Portrait of a Lady.
The new composition turns out to be a continuation in a sense of the work done on Géranium pour Monsieur as Portrait of a Lady is motivated by an almost pure-perfumery approach as it is based on an accord found within the previous composition...
As both Malle and Ropion we are told are "avid users" of Géranium pour Monsieur, it occurred to both of them that this perceived accord had the potential to be developed into a "modern oriental."
Malles likes to use the notion of "olfactory adventure" to reveal the somewhat random nature of this type of creative tackling explaining that him and Dominique Ropion sometimes like to launch into perfumery creation without any precise plan nor goal, just to see where it will take them.
Without entering into the minutiae of the fragrance composition now, on which Frédéric Malle dwells perhaps even more characteristically than is usual in the press release, we can note that there is a "daring dosage of the best Turkish rose essence" in the new scent as Editions de Parfums underline that they stand by their principle of offering complete financial freedom to their authors.
Interestingly, the house continues to take some distance from the notion of unisex fragrance which is often associated with the universe of so-called "niche perfumery;" in practice anyone can choose to wear whatever they wish to of course, but clearly Editions de Parfums is interested in exploring and refining gender codes with their latest works.
Portrait of a Lady is described as "a symphonic perfume, a new oriental rose, a sensuous beauty that attracts people like a magnet, a modern classic."
The notes, which are each said to be essential to the composition, with no effect of redundance, are rose essence from Turkey, blackcurrant, raspberry, cinnamon, clove, rose absolute, patchouli heart, sandalwood, incense, Ambroxan, a white musk cocktail.
We are told further in an artistic-manifesto tone that "Dominique Ropion did not surrender to modern conventions by which a fragrance must include Hedione, Iso E Super, Lilial etc."
The name of the fragrance is borrowed from the novel by Henry James The Portrait of a Lady (1880-1881.) Frédéric Malle who read it thought that it was a name which described the composition well.
Via press release and additional Q & A