The world of Dries Van Noten in a bottle

Frédéric Malle’s new fragrance captures the essence of the Flemish designer

Image: Jacques Giaume

Those who are fascinated by fine perfumes know that Frédéric Malle is a man to watch. Ten years ago he asked the greatest “noses” in the world to create the fragrances their hearts desired, which today make up his Editions de Parfums. Now Malle has come up with a new concept – “to translate the world of those I admire into scents”. First up is Flemish designer Dries Van Noten.


As Malle is not a “nose” himself, he asked Bruno Jovanovic to work with them, thus forming what he calls a ménage à trois. He and Jovanovic immersed themselves in Van Noten’s world and Jovanovic came up with the idea of building a perfume around sandalwood (its softness reflecting what Malle describes as “the sober warmth of the Flemish people”). He added vanilla (a classic accord inspired by Flemish pastries) and then a slightly jarring note of sulfurol (“to represent the way Van Noten often uses colours that don’t usually work together”). There is also some Peruvian balm and the whole is tempered with jasmine absolute, musk and traces of saffron, patchouli, bergamot and lemon oil.


It took the ménage à trois 18 months of intense collaboration to create a luxurious-smelling perfume with the saffron dancing brightly along the top of a buttery centre. The new fragrance (from £110 for 50ml) arrives in stores in February.