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Portrait of a Lady Frederic Malle for women

Portrait of a Lady Frederic Malle for women
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Total people voted: 548
female 25- 25+
male 25- 25+

I have it: 360 I had it: 42 I want it: 713 My signature: 27

main accords
balsamic
warm spicy
rose
patchouli
smoky

Frederic Malle is a true perfume connoisseur and creator of the Editions de Parfums niche” fragrances without compromise" collection. His line consists of 19 amazing perfumes so far, all developed by, according to the Malle, the top ten noses of the world.

The collection expands in November with a new edition named Portrait of a Lady, signed by the famous perfumer Dominique Ropion. Dominique Ropion created the following collection of fragrances: Vetiver Extraordinaire, Carnal Flower, Geranium Pour Monsieur and Une Fleur de Cassie.

Portrait of a Lady is named after the novel by Henry James from the 1881. The perfume deals with rose note and spices in a new, modern way that varies between the oriental and chypre theme with patchouli, natural and intense, dominating the heart of the composition.

Portrait of a Lady is a modern, elegant and unusual expression of the Victorian novel, its heroine, Isabel Archer, her fate and the quest for freedom. She smells of dark roses, mystical and intense.

The notes of this sensual modern classic include Turkish rose, raspberry, black currant, cinnamon, clove, patchouli, sandalwood, incense, ambroxan, benzoin and white musk.

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady is available in high concentration of perfume from over 50% in bottles of 50 and 100 ml. Portrait of a Lady was launched in 2010.

Perfume Pyramid

Top Notes
Clove Cinnamon Rose Black Currant Raspberry

Middle Notes
Sandalwood Patchouli Incense

Base Notes
Musk Amber Benzoin

Main Notes According to Your Votes

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Longevity

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User votes
poor 7
 
weak 1
 
moderate 10
 
long lasting 36
 
very long lasting 81
 

Sillage

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User votes
soft 13
 
moderate 23
 
heavy 64
 
enormous 79
 

This perfume reminds me of  
Amouage Epic Woman
5 no yes
Hippie Rose
4 no yes

Portrait of a Lady Fragrance Reviews

Maed
Maed

Oh....this is developing wonderfully!

I sprayed it on about 1 hour ago and now the rose is predominant with some berry lingering.

Of course this is just the beginning!

Apr
07
2014
Arabian Knight
Arabian Knight

"Portrait of a Lady" has many faces, which, like all of Frederick Malle's scents take time to develop.

This fragrance is really built around the rose, which lasts until the end, but changes rather dramatically as the backing notes dance around it.

On the first spray it smelled quite dewy and green to my nose, then a found Ribena coming to mind as the blackcurrant and raspberry burst through. I admit I wasn't impressed at this point, smelling rather like the refreshment table at a children's birthday party, but after a while the Ribena notes evaporated and were replaced by a subtle smokiness, as if I had just lit a good quality incense stick.

The tone of the rose also matured into something drier and darker, but the remnants of the berries prevented it from turning into pot-pourri, before the benzoin and musk closed things out.

I can appreciate the development and the quality of this perfume. It has a classic elegance, good longevity and sillage, but it's not a sexy scent. Rather, it makes me think of some Victorian woman sitting beside a vase of roses, penning a soppy letter to some Mr. Darcy type. The rose in this never really stops being feminine so I can't recommend it for men unless they are serious rose fanatics.

Personally I have smelled a lot of rose/incense/patchouli combinations. The best one I tested recently was "Black Jade" by Lubin, also quite feminine, but much sweeter, cheekier and modern than "Portrait of a Lady".

Apr
04
2014
darrshan77
darrshan77

REVIEW OF DARRSHAN J VORAA

IAM ON MY 3 RD BOTTLE

ONE OF TE BEST ROSE INSCENCE SCENT IVE TRIED TILL DATE
LOVELY RICH SCENT IN ALL MEANS .

A MUST FOR ROSE LOVERS ITS NOT A TYPICAL SMELLING ROSE .ITS JUST GREAT

TRY POL

Apr
02
2014
christianne1
christianne1

Portrait of a Lady took at least 3 wearings for me to fully appreciate it. When I first tried it (more than once) a while back I was being rebellious against Frederic Malle because of the price so I think I was trying to find something wrong with it. I think I do that with a lot of things...I refused to even try Amouage for that very reason. But sometime between my first try of POAL...I decided to venture on into trying Amouage and fell head over heels for Epic. Then something dawned on me....there was something about it that kept making me think of POAL. So, I got out my new POAL sample and tried it again...and this time I was blown away. It was like Epic without the cumin and vanilla (or heavy spiciness). A more easy going version. POAL is beautiful and addicting and I sniffed myself all day and dreaded it fading away. Now all I can think about is a full bottle (edit: which I now have).
This is one of my favorite fragrances of all time.

I am surprised there are not any "reminds me of" to Epic. Obviously they do not smell exactly the same but the reminder is so obvious (to me and a few others on other forums). Both have that mysterious abstract rose quality and similar shared notes. Instead of an actual rose smell like Une Rose or La Fille de Berlin...POAL is like the dream of a rose floating around in a cloud of patchouli, musk, cinnamon sandalwood and incense. A sexy combination of light and dark...nice and naughty...feminine and masculine.

While POAL isn't "heavy", it has a dark quality to it. Almost gothic. Yet still somehow almost clean. This isn't the portrait of a lady, it is the portrait of a graceful vamp. And I mean that as the highest compliment.

Feb
25
2014
mihaela_i
mihaela_i

Beautiful and feminine mix of incense and rose, it takes you to another world full of elegance and grace. A very wearable masterpiece.

Feb
22
2014
LB152
LB152

Words could never describe my affinity for this fragrance.

When I wear Portrait of A Lady...

I feel dangerous and undefeatable...

Taller...

Sexier...

And like I'm some kind of immortal infinite entity draped in black lace sent to steal the minds of all men that DARE to get close enough.

Portrait of A Lady is juicy...spicy…smoky but clean and POWERFULLY FEMININE…and ONLY for a woman who knows what to do with her femininity. All other girls who know not what to do with their feminine power will be left offended, overwhelmed, and confused by Portrait of A Lady.

The sillage is heavy and engulfs the room (in a good way) and lasts upward to 8 hours -- making it worth the price tag.

Definitely signature fragrance worthy...

Feb
20
2014
MommyMaudlin
MommyMaudlin

Hi-five to Slapdash for renaming this "Snapshot of a Gentleman."

I'm not one to ascribe gender to every scent but this one, on me, is as male as Malle gets. If you've been looking for a masculine rose, this is it - although the rose isn't even taking the lead as far as I can tell. I can sense the rose peeking through, but the patchouli/woody note is clearly flying the flag. Personally, I need a little more warmth. This is a bit too cool for me.

Feb
18
2014
LANIER
LANIER

Frederic Malle presents Portrait of a Lady by perfumer, Dominique Ropion who has created other perfumes for Malle including the famous Carnal Flower and Geranium Pour Monsieur. It is an inspired perfume that for me it goes beyond the bounds of its inspiration. This rose perfume when it touches the skin becomes a portrait of whoever is wearing it. Man or woman, young or old, it is a dark mysterious floating veil that billows off the skin revealing aspects of romance and danger that is rooted in a solid perfume past which looks forward to the modern age.

Like a great painting its opening is in layers, Skin warming clove, cinnamon with a light touch of raspberry that is not jam but leafy are the notes that create the under painting. The introduction of black currant gives the perfume an animalistic touch that echoes the notes of great old perfumes from the early years of the 20th century. French boudoirs littered with memories of randy romps on a velvet chaise lounge are hinted at by this dirty little note. Rose is the dominating center of the painting here and never gives up its place as the imperial note, the masterly brush stroke that leads the perfume on.

The rose is born aloft through the central structure of the perfume by a gorgeous blend of sandalwood, and earthy patchouli. Mystery and glamour are added in here by a luscious smoky incense that darken the patina of this olfactory painting.

There comes in the dry down sumptuous amber that is highly polished with notes of white musk and a glaze benzoin bring golden hues to the final touches of what is now an impressionist portrait of the wearer. The perfume lingers now close to the skin and is not diminished in its mystery one single bit as it finally recedes into the past leaving your skin and your brain wanting to revisit the experience all over again. It possesses the grand silage and longevity of perfumes from a bygone era.

For me this is a wonder because in nature I love the smell of roses but in the perfume world they rarely move me. Here I find that the rose is truer than most and quite stunning. This is a portrait for the ages, a modern classic that whispers of the past and promises a glorious future for a long time to come.

PORTRAIT OF A LADY BY FREDERIC MALLE FIVE PLATINUM STARS *****

(FOR THE MAGICAL STORY BEHIND MY REVIEW VISIT MY BLOG SCENTS MEMORY)

Feb
08
2014
stephanieklein
stephanieklein

If this is a PORTRAIT OF A LADY, the lady in question is well past her prime, if not dead. Her apartment is littered with tchotchkes and dried curling roses, an expired potpourri.

The only compliments you're likely to receive while wearing PORTRAIT OF A LADY is that you look so young... for someone who smells so old.

While there is undeniably a rose note present, the note is a present to no one nearby. This is not a bright young rose, not a fresh bloom, not sun-soaked, nor green earth and thorns, no. In PORTRAIT OF A LADY, you'll find no signs of life... or lady.

Feb
02
2014
slapdash
slapdash

What's in a name?

In a parallel universe, Portrait of a Lady would be called Snapshot of a Gentleman. A tentative male audience would instead be emboldened and enraptured as a matter of course.

All because of a name.

But forget its title, for there is nothing stopping a guy from claiming this for himself. Rose petals of the deepest red hue.. brambles, thorns, twigs...and the soil it sprung from - bruised with pestle and mortar and then seeped in an infusion of crushed tart berries and age-old earthy patchouli.

Assertive as opposed to demure, robust and a little indelicate, approachable but certainly not be trifled with. Portrait of a Lady, you say? Jane Austen probably wouldn't approve. Cleopatra would, though, and preferably whilst ravishing Mark Antony.

A fragrance that stops me in my tracks, every single time. Forgive my waxing lyrical up to this point, because I could just as readily describe Portrait of a Lady using but one word:

Arresting.

P.S. Astonishing sillage and longevity, so go easy on the trigger; less is most definitely more.

Jan
31
2014
PolarBear2
PolarBear2

This is a dark strong rose with incense and more. I love it but cant wear it to work. If ever, only when the weather is several degrees below zero.

Jan
11
2014
spidola
spidola

“Portrait of the Queen” would be perfect name for this gorgeous perfume…
…the touch of purple velvet and black lace, heavy gold jewelry, smoky throne-room in the light of torches with knights conferring honor, endless garden of wild roses, royal bed covered by petals of red roses....and there is the Queen, sitting on her throne - adorable and awesome…

This mystic dark smoky rose perfume deserves all my respect!

Jan
01
2014
brightstar
brightstar

A dark and powerful rose. Portrait of a Lady is not a rose scent, it's THE rose scent. What really surprise me is how it change to a rose-patchouly scent to a cyphre in the drydown. It smells wonderful on clothes and it lasts for hours. Sillage is enormous.

Dec
30
2014
blaiseantoine
blaiseantoine

this is a beautiful warm spiced incensey rose ,elegant and sophisticated in my opinion completely unisex and easy to wear . stay good on skin but i didnt find projection and sillage extreme or astounding .anyway a really worth to buy


7,5/10

Dec
24
2013
darrshan77
darrshan77

REVIEWS OF DARRSHAN

Gorgeous rose wit proper balanced spice , incence and great sophastication . excellent for winters , rich scent not a typical rose scent .
love it very much

Dec
17
2013
darrshan77
darrshan77

REVIEWS OF DARRSHAN

Gorgeous rose wit proper balanced spice , incence and great sophastication . excellent for winters , rich scent not a typical rose scent .
love it very much

Dec
17
2013
wallywinthrop
wallywinthrop

OH MY GOD I RETESTED THIS ONE AND PLEASE FORGET WHAT I WROTE BEFORE. Fatal flaw was testing it on my palm - I put it on a pulse point and it revealed itself! Think Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan minus the vanilla with a big massive dose of rose - so gorgeous and woody, with delicate berry and incense notes. I'm going to fall asleep with my nose glued to my wrist.

Dec
11
2013
romanen
romanen

I love perfume and have had many high end brands. No other perfume could be compared to this one.
This is a masterpiece.

Dec
07
2013
Violetta*11
Violetta*11

...for what it's worth, because I am not a connoisseur, but I AM a huge fan and user of perfume

I think, when you read my comments you are not interested in what I like or dislike because taste is so diverse between people and even within the same person at different times (I do not like anymore what I liked when I was 15 years old... with the exception of Mitsouko).
If you want to experience a Frederic Malle perfume (any), you need to 'invest' in the mini collection and try them like you try fine chocolates in a sexy chocolate box. If you like the sample, read the composition and other reviews here and get it.
What I mostly like about any of FM's collection is that he makes his collection true to the name (if it is vetiver, it's vetiver), diversity (collection...bah)and quality (I normally do not like strong flower such as tuberose but when I tried carnal flower I loved is the same way another day I loved Portrait of a lady - so different, but both excellent)...
Like music and dance, perfume is a form of communication, so... let's use it - I use it EVERY day

Nov
27
2013
woodlandwalk
woodlandwalk

@Germany (review below) is right, there's a soapy feel to PoaL. I've reviewed it a while back but that was from a sample. I now have a full bottle which makes all the difference in getting to know a perfume

The soapiness is hot soap though, glowing fresh from the shower, but at the same time, this perfume is decidedly Gothic. If Cathy from Wuthering Heights had a smell this would be it - rain soaked, wind torn, darkly earthy, wild roses, lips stained from wild blackberries. I love it! It's the only perfume I know where patchouli has been paired to perfection, it's a heavily intense note requiring serious partners

PoaL seems to call for a proper occasion such as a fancy dress ball in a crumbling Venetian Palace. It's quite a ferocious perfume really, men can most definitely wear it too, it has claws

Edit: Oh yes, and looongevity

Nov
26
2013
Germany
Germany

PORTRAIT A LADY , I finally bought it. I had completely different visions of this one. It says its baroque , yet modern I do agree with that one. It says its all about patchouli and rose and I agree with that as well. BUT it has a completely different twist than any of the other rose patchoulis I have ever smelled. Its CLEAN , its clean patchouli due to the white musk and the Ambergris , I don't know what is responsible for the SOAPY feel this fragrance has , it's like a berry rose incency soap !!! A purple fruit patchouli , it smells like amazing laundry with a tinge of soap still left in it.
This fragrance is clean and fruity , I love the black currant , cinnamon and clove smell that is always present to my nose , it's not sweet but it has a tangy sweetness to it. Its tart and fresh to my nose. It can give the impression that oud is present but I believe it's not listed.
Phantastic fragrance. I am totally in love. Super versatile , not as I expected. Modern beyond believe , almost futuristic but with a hmmm yes, baroque feel ?

Nov
19
2013
Maybelle
Maybelle

Brilliant fragrance. I love it.

Nov
17
2013
miss mills
miss mills

Dear God, this is amazing. A heady concoction of rose, patchouli and incense - and my first foray into sampling Frederic Malle perfumes. This reminds me of catholic masses as a child mixed with the rebellious years and intimate encounters that came a decade or so after that. And there is a truly hippy feel to this, like my festival going days of youth. Hedonism (spice and incense) alternating with a chaste veneer for me (that'd have to be the rose AND the incense, too). Wow! All this in a scent! Looking forward to reading which memories or experiences other people find released when trying this beauty on.
PS Am I dreaming a hint of myrrh? Or am I just being transported back to mass again?

Nov
11
2013
aquila_2009
aquila_2009

Hi.

Portrait of a femme fatale.this is one of the most amazing and magnificent niche scents that i've ever come across.this fragrance is a head turner.it leaves a sensual aroma when you leave a room.it is such a sexy but yet cool enough scent it makes you feel attractive instantly.this scent is special so it may not be very suitable for everyone it is unique, haunting in its strength and complexity. in other word Sophisticated,Smoky, Expensive,Laudable,Classy, Dark,Rich,Gorgeous and Voluptuous.

The scent blends a variety of powerful elements, strong and passionate top notes of rose,cinnamon and black currant mix with incense and bove all patchouli,closing with earthy,sensual yet subtle base notes of amber,musk and woody notes.the composition is is thoroughly charming in its ability to be worn at the special occasion.PORTRAIT OF A LADY is not absolutely feminine but You can't wear this fragrance without feeling very brave and at least a little sexy.perfect for autumn/winter.Definitely try it on before purchase.

Sillage?Superb.

Longevity?Lasts and lasts.

7.5/10

Nov
05
2013
beata4u2
beata4u2

Portrait of a Lady? Seriously?! This is the most misleading perfume name ever. Lipstick Rose could be called POAL but not this! We picture lady as a static, distinctive figure, with her hair well done and just a bit rosiness in her cheeks. And what do we have here? We have a woman, who went on a date with her very handsome man to a rose garden late in the evening. They walked and talked. There was a smell of hundreds of roses and soil soon after the rain. It all started with a kiss but then their senses took over and they did it. Right there. So now, she has a messy hair, with rose petals stuck between, her clothes are creased and even more, there are traces of soil on her dress. She has a content smile on her face, her body glows and there is sheer happiness about her. Does a lady look like that? Nope. Don't get me wrong. I love that woman. She is so much more interesting than a lady! So much more alive. And I have no idea how I would name the perfume...

Oct
17
2013
pisces3774
pisces3774

Gorgeous rose and patchouli perfume. Quite similar to MFK Lumiere Noire Pour Femme, but with a hint of cedar-ness (though not listed) and raspberry.

Oct
09
2013
Sofreshandsoclean
Sofreshandsoclean

My favorite rose cloud. POAL is very open in the smell for me, like a clear vision for my nose and big and jam-like, truly baroque. And in a strange way very Scandinavian, i don't know why but I generally I find FM very clean in the notes compared to other houses.

Longevity an sillage is massive. I am truly addicted to this grand beauty. I simply crave it. It is perfection. I bow for your talent Dominique Ropion. Thank you. You invented the balsam my soul now need, like a flower need water. And rose is not even my flower normally.

If I was placed on a desert island all alone and had to choose only one perfume to accompanied me for the rest of my life, and choose it with my knowledge for know, it would be POAL.

Aug
25
2013
Allinug
Allinug

Oh dear, the only thing I can smell is rose and patchouli. I don't like to much rose smell and I don't like to much patchouli and this perfume have to much of both...not good.

Aug
24
2013
shrouded
shrouded

Drop-dead gorgeous! what else? I fell head over heels on this one. It's an exquisite rendition of rose-patch. with lots of incense going on.


I'm still kicking myself for not gambling on the FULL bottle. >:(

nonetheless, it's a gorgeous frag. I blind bought the 50ml.

The first time I wore this, the scent still echoes from my skin upon waking up the next morning (I had taken a shower before I went to bed) and that's after 18hours of application!

Sillage/Projection is undeniably massive! so radiant, so bombacious!.

Interestingly, what I envision when smelling this, is being in a misty grass field at dusk.. and as you walk through the mist (incense), you find a withering rose..

Aug
24
2013
Vincentium
Vincentium

Out of respect for my childhood and for Roudnitska, Eau Sauvage will remain my signature, but secretly is this one.

Aug
21
2013
Vincentium
Vincentium

The best from Malle, better than Carnal Flower.....i'd love to send a fruit basket to Frederic for creating EDP. Maybe I will.

Aug
21
2013
phy7174
phy7174

a fine unisex perfume,absolutely suitable for man.i think it is much better for man.but the drydown is just the same as Absolue Pour le Soir Maison Francis Kurkdjian.what a pity.

Aug
16
2013
EnPassant
EnPassant

Well guys... What can I say about this "lady"?

First of all, I usually run (far away) from all fragrances that has "she/ he" (and derivations) on the name!
But I have to confess, this one here... hooked me up! Really... I was buying my second bottle of Carnal Flower and I received a couple of samples of POL. I tryed at home... It was a scary love at first smell... And I was sure, I got in my hands the most beautiful and glorious rose/ incense scent. Simply delightful!
Is this a Portrait of a "Lady"? Maybe, but not the lady that everyone knows... It's a kind of Orphic Lady! If you will.
This perfume makes me know that I really love roses (I never face it before), also makes me think about how a different interpretation can be much more exceptional than the usual...
Projection and longevity? Stupendous...Dominique Ropion is a Master!

Everytime I wear this scent a song comes to mind:
"...Dark lady laughed and danced
And lit the candles one by one
Danced to her gypsy music
Till her brew was done
Dark lady played black magic
Till the clock struck on the twelve
She told me more about me
Than I knew myself..." (Dark Lady/ Cher)

And I surrender myself... No samples anymore! I have to have it!!!

Edit: I got my huuuge full botle!!! I'm heaven!!!

Aug
12
2013
Addict2Perfume
Addict2Perfume

Dominique Ropion’s Portrait of a Lady is this exquisitely lush rose! It’s very sophisticated and feminine. A sweet yet lightly smoky incense and an earthy patchouli mix in perfectly with the rose and you get a touch of raspberry with a little spice from the black currant. It makes me think of a beautiful woman all dolled up in a red velvet dress walking through the Sistine Chapel. Portrait of a Lady is without a doubt one of my favorite fragrances, it’s so gorgeous and I absolutely love it!

Aug
08
2013
dbrii24
dbrii24

The note pyramid above is incorrect. Cinnamon and blackcurrant should be MUCH higher on the pyramid. I tested this for the second time and it's still not working for me. Portrait of a Lady is a very heady and intense smoky rose. Usually I love this combo but this is simply too much. This rose is a striking and dark vixen. She's a beauty but I think it's the overwhelming combo of incense, patchouli, cinnamon and black currant that's killing my nostrils. Headache inducing for me.

Jul
25
2013
siauseque
siauseque

For rose fiends. Three sprays and everything is coming up roses, giant Kaiju roses, I'm just a little bug stuck in the eternal folds of a rose maze, being digested by stomach of rose, Help me but only roses answer..the world is nothing but roses.

Jul
25
2013
Killercolours
Killercolours

Red rose, velvety incense, earthy patchouli.

This is what I wear when I want to get noticed. Not noticed like "wanna make out?", it's the scent that lingers and even forces stiff Swedes to ask what that perfume was. It has happened sooo many times!

When I worked at a perfume counter my boss let me know that I couldn't wear it at work because it was far too good. People would ask what it was, and I wouldn't be able to show it as we didn't sell it. That was definitely the smirkiest "I'm sorry" I've ever given anyone.

My latest experience was when I went shopping during a recent heat wave, when I bought a pair of shoes the girl who sold them totally lost her seller face and asked me what that FANTASTIC FRESH PERFUME was! Soon I'll have to print some goddamn business cards with the perfume name on it, as often as I get to write it down on napkins and receipts.. ;)

I wish to have a bottle of Portrait of a Lady until the day I die. I can't see myself without it.

Jul
20
2013
anguslairdmcangus
anguslairdmcangus

OVERALL RATING: * * * * *

Found it--the perfect rose scent.

I've been looking for the perfect masculine rose summer scent and was about to give up hope.

Azzaro Acteur: bug spray
Noir de Noir: too sugary and treacly
Une Rose: too simple
Fleurs de Bulgarie: too green and aggressive
Lyric Man: too diffuse
Incense Rose: Too cinnamon
Aramis 900: too aldehydic, more onion than rose
Black Aoud: too linear (but close!)

Portrait of a Lady: Just Right

This is a complex, confident rose, supported by patchouli, sandalwood, and light incense. Unlike so many rose scents, the primary note persists throughout the heart notes and drydown. It is also highly natural-smelling. Whether Mssrs. Malle and Ropion used natural ingredients or not, I have no idea, but the experience is of a simple, pink rose on a breezy day. Clean, crisp, deeply satisfying.

For men worried about wearing a "women's fragrance:" fear not, this is as unisex as a scent can be.

It is powerful stuff--a single spray or perhaps two should give most people 8-10 hours of relatively strong projection. I'll be buying this is the 50ML size and expect it to last many years.

Scent: 5/5
Sillage: 5/5
Longevity: 5/5

Jul
19
2013
Smunky
Smunky

I ordered a small decant of this just to try it out. I have to be honest - upon first spray I was ready to write it off. It simply smelled of pure cigar on me. I kind of like the smell of cigars, though I don't really want to smell that way personally. And after a couple of minutes, I started picking up the rose. So now it's like someone smoking a cigar in a rose garden. Again, thinking, not really my cup of tea. But a funny thing happened - I could not stop sniffing my wrist. Who knew? I like the smell of cigar smoke in a rose garden! Especially on my skin. This goes on my want list, almost to my surprise.

Jul
15
2013
ms rochambeau
ms rochambeau

With such a great name, I was really expecting something moody and mysterious. This definitely opens with notes of rose, patchouli and incense which is not a combination that I'm crazy about and whenever I see black current listed I get apprehensive, but I withheld judgment until I let it all play out. The scent does evoke that vintage make up smell, which is interesting, but what ruins everything for me is that the overall scent seems a little too synthetic smelling and transparent in the way the L'Artisans can be sometimes. I know that nearly every scent these days is composed of mostly synthetics due to regulations and cost and there's no getting around that, however when they smell obviously synthetic, my suspension of disbelief goes out the window and it's hard for me to imagin I'm smelling something straight from the garden or forest and all I can think of is someone in a lab with test tubes.

Jun
11
2013
Roshap
Roshap

i'm definitely in the minority on portrait of a lady, so here is my...

disclaimer:
more often than not my skin turns sandalwood and cedar to pencil sharpener or funky/nasty/needing a shower. there are several serge lutens i can't wear. incense is also a problematic note for me, as it can sometimes smell unwashed. and, yes, i am one of those prosaic, simpleminded, "unsophisticated" americans who like to be clean (all the time) and smell clean. seriously though, i do have pretty severe ocd, which affects my skin and influences how i experience fragrances and how i form my oddball opinions.

obviously i get rose. but "portrait" is so intensely woody on me that it overpowers everything else, and the whole fragrance immediately devolves into a dirty, disgusting nightmare. i usually like cloves in perfumes (black cashmere, japon noir, champagne de bois), but here they only serve to exacerbate an already serious problem. i can't help but feel that portrait is a variation on a feminite du bois theme. they both offer lush and sweet (rose versus plum) paired with stinky wood (sandal versus cedar). i'm just saying.

for this genre there are so many others i prefer. encens mythique, lyric for women, liquid night and even (a stretch, i know) narcisse noir pure parfum are the first to come to mind. liquid night is a rare gem for me where the cedar (hinoki) actually works beautifully with my chemistry.

i got a comment today that portrait smells girly. for the significant number of people who are claiming "masculine"...yes, it smells like a sweaty "male dancer" who has been shaking what his mama gave him in a club for 2 hours. not that i should really know.

it does get quite nice after 6 or 7 hours. i don't have that kind of time or patience.

EDIT: okay, so yeah...i oversprayed. did you figure that out when you read the above? seriously, this stuff is crazeballs strong. duly noted. i have since learned how to get along with "the lady". one spray, 2 max. even so, she is still more a courtesan than a lady, and not really for me. violetta valery loved camellias. her bestie, flora bervoix, would have worn portrait.

Jun
01
2013
Terese2
Terese2

Straight from the bottle it singes your nose hairs! POAL could cause or cure swooning. It is THAT strong. THAT invasive. THAT rude. My first blast made me want to run for a can of Ajax. Get it off!
I scrubbed it down to the patchouli scent. And there it lay. I was trapped into spending time with the residue. PAOL was like a long car trip with a person you hate. 3,000 miles later and I was in love.

Yesterday I bought a bottle at Barney's. I filled the car with it's tangy-luscious-spicebox-sexy A-bomb cloud and thought how grateful I was to own this juice. When I got home my husband reeled back and said, "Man, what STINKS?!"

I just smiled and thought, "Give it time, my darling. Give it time."

May
28
2013
rinz09
rinz09

This is a yummy yummy little number. On my skin it smells of expensive raspberry jam, lush roses, and rooty patchouli. It's divine. It reminds me of those awesome rose and raspberry Saint Honores pastries at Laduree in Paris ( if you go to Paris, have one! They are exquisite.) It's an experience wearing this perfume, and I adore the journey it takes me on. I can not imagine anyone not loving this perfume. 10/10 for me!

May
26
2013
rzetzm
rzetzm

Love Portrait of a Lady! Such a complex weave of scents. For me lots of rose and incense.

The rose in this is done well. It does seem similar to the rose I find in Declaration d'un Soir by Cartier. Sorta metallic, maybe kinda oceanic. It's done beautifully.

It's different, though, from the rose I smell in Lyric Man by Amouage. That's more of a powdery, creamy rose.

Having a complete obsession with fragrances, I've come to own many and sample hundreds. I have to say, that combining Declaration's rose with Bond No. 9's Silver Factory's incense creates a pretty convincing facsimile.

Probably would have bought this one could I not tincture up something so easily from bottles I already own.

Apr
17
2013
Jack_Hunter
Jack_Hunter

In the opening I can smell fruity incense mixing in with patchouli followed by a sweet rose. This is a very complex fragrance with a lot of notes coming at you all at once.

Once it settles the rose becomes more prominent and floral but with fruity undertones supporting the rose.

In the basenotes the incense becomes more dominant and the rose note recedes from the spotlight.

What makes this fragrance better than most other similar scents is it's superior execution. It has a symphony of notes that have been carefully orchestrated to bring you a complex and enjoyable olfactory experience. Very well done!

Apr
14
2013
Cereza
Cereza

This grew on me.
I did not like it at the first moment as it opened sour and very dry from rose and incense, but after a while I cached myself wanting to get more and more whiffs of this. Almost hour and a half has passed since the first whiff of this and I must say - this is drop dead gorgeous rose fragrance, it's smoky from incense, extremely dry and very sensual. Full bottle worthy indeed.

Apr
11
2013
Kiera79
Kiera79

A beautiful sandalwood scent. It reminds me of a delicate sandalwood fan someone once gave to me when I was a child. The rose is a lovely compliment, but it's overpowered quickly by the sandalwood.

I love this, but sooooo expensive!

Apr
03
2013
LuxRouge
LuxRouge

I am really new to perfumes in general, especially ones of this caliber but I can honestly say I'm in love with this fragrance! It is the only Frederic Malle scent I've had the pleasure to try out but I'm so happy that I did.

It is extremely strong and long lasting, I put a few dabs (from a sample) on one wrist and 8 hours later I was still getting lovely whiffs of it.

It has a lovely rose scent which has a very slightly sweet note to it which makes it very wearable.

The thing that I find most amazing about this scent is that it develops with time. For the first hour or so I got the lovely sweet rose and a heady note which I can't quite put a name to but gradually some fruity berry notes appear and then an hour or two later the slightly sweet rose, heady note and berry scents all mix together to mellow it down and change it slightly to make such a beautiful and unique scent.

I know this perfume is extremely expensive (well to me it is) but I can honestly say one/two sprays of this lovely little gem and you will be set for a good 10 hours so it really is good value for money in regards to how much you have to use/how long it will last you.

-Sorry I can't put a name to the heady note, like I said I'm really new to perfumes so I don't know the names of the notes my nose picks out so please just take this review as it is intended.......one newbie to another :)

Mar
28
2013
woodlandwalk
woodlandwalk

This is so lovely at times it makes me feel slightly weak in the knees! But I find I can't wear it until evening, because it does have powerful rose notes and persistent incense.

I can't see what it has to do with Isabel in Henry James's Portrait of a Lady mind you, this perfume feels like a grounded sort of woman who tends her rose bed with leather gardening gloves and spends the summer months gathering damsons then making them into rich, boozy preserves for the winter months.

My favourite part of this is the way the sandalwood-like incense curls around my nose in little wisps which almost convince me there's real incense burning somewhere.

It really softens the rose (which I sometimes find a bit clean and sharp in perfume) into something more sensual.

Still not sure if I want to buy a full bottle, but I'm beginning to crave this perfume of an evening, so let's face it I'm going to splash out at some point. I think late August/September would be perfect

Later edit: And lo - it is late Autumn and I have a bottle! Happiness. When I smell it I think of the scene in The Princess and the Goblin, where Irene's Grandmother takes a fire opal set in a beautiful ring from a bed of roses all aflame!

Mar
17
2013
darrshan77
darrshan77

REVIEW OF DARRSHAN

WELL I AGREE WITH A PERSON REVIEWING BELOW TAT TIS IS MONTALE BLACK OUD DONE IN A PROPER AND BETTER WAY, STILL POL IS AMAZING AND I JUST LOVE IT, IT STAYS CLOSE TO SKIN IS A COMPLAINT OF MINE VERY LESS SILLAGE AND PROJECTION IS NILL . STILL ITS A VERY SOPHASTICATED ROSE WITH INCENCE

Mar
13
2013
marinaw90
marinaw90

Portrait of a Lady opens with a big blast of incense and rose. The incense does overpower for quite a while, and one spray (if that) is really really enough. It's a perfume that needs to be left a while before going out the door...use sparingly! When I first put it on I thought "oh no this is way too strong for me!", so casually wiped it off. But the thing with this fragrance is, even having wiped it off, it works with your chemistry so deeply that about half an hour later, I smelt the most exquisite fragrance ever in the dry down.

The dry down is where this perfume really shines. The incense softens and the rose lightens into a wonderful elegant scent, you catch a whiff of it and you have to ask yourself "is that gorgeous smell really coming from my wrist?!"

So far, the opening is slightly too much for me, but it's worth being patient for the dry down as it's so beautiful. It's almost a scent you want to use behind your neck, or on your back. I don't know, there just seems something secretive and seductive about this fragrance that having it "on show" seems to be too much. Sometimes I confuse myself, but that's the best way I can describe it!

Mar
12
2013
aveilhe
aveilhe

I can't avoid hyperbole in this case: Portrait is heartbreakingly beautiful. It is quite honestly one of the most complex and moving fragrances I have ever had the pleasure to experience.

Despite what the official notes state, to my nose this is an exquisite oriental-rose-oud fragrance (I'm assuming that oud is part of the incense note here, but Malle didn't want to market it as yet another oud fragrance, so it wasn't emphasized). I also pick up on Saffron -- there is an earthy-leather-medicinal quality that both oud and saffron can impart, and I feel the presence of both quite strongly.

Patchouli plays an important role here, as well. Patchouli and rose are a classic duo, and the potent patchouli note does something magical to the rose in Portrait: it enriches, thickens, and complexifies the rose. It imparts a strength, a sense of force. This is not a delicate-petals-and-spring-garden rose, this is a rose with fortitude.

There is also a delicious jamminess in Portrait -- it's not sweet, but slightly tangy and fruity -- oddly mouthwatering, without being at all gourmand or saccharine.

And the incense...oh, the incense. Portrait somehow manages to evoke the sacred aura of incense without being particularly smoky or powdery. It is a dry incense note, but incredibly smooth and intoxicating. The Ambroxan in Portrait contributes a velvety, woody quality to the overall composition (as far as I'm concerned, Ambrox is like the "crack" of synthetic perfume notes -- I find it completely irresistible and addictive).

Lastly, but not least important, there is an animalic aspect to Portrait that cannot be overlooked. What is it? Is it the earthy, natural patchouli? I can't be certain, but now and again, I get faint whiff of something bodily, something carnal...something secret.

Portrait is perfection in a bottle. It evokes strength and delicacy. Mysticism and sensual pleasure. Earthiness and refined sophistication. The longevity is stellar (12+ hours and going strong!) and sillage is medium (just how I like it --personal but still noticeable).

When I wear this I feel utterly enlightened. You can't say I didn't warn you about hyperbole!

Mar
03
2013
the scent of life
the scent of life

Looking for the perfect rose-patchouli scent i did adventure myself trying this perfume. On paper is very sensual, interesting. But once on my skin after drying up the incense is the dominant note with a hint of musk and cinnamon (which i truly hate...).
To me this smell fantastic for a man (again, sorry I have the same convinction regarding Une Rose). I also let it smell to my boyfriend and he reacted "what a nice men perfume!"
Unfortunately it is not what i was looking for (sensual,, spring-summerish) but perhaps i found a very interesting scent to give as a gift ;)

Mar
02
2013
DresdenDoll
DresdenDoll

Portrait of a Lady confused me for a while. The name and the reviews which describe this as a soft, feminine, lady-like scent seemed very far away from what I was smelling.
In my review of JHAG Lady Vengeance I expressed the view that the names of that scent and this one should be swapped to be more fitting which I have to reiterate here.
Portrait of a Lady is a strong rose scent, with spikes of cloves, swirls of incense, mashed raspberry and piles of earthy patchouli. This Lady is beautiful but has dirt under her fingernails and her slick of red lipstick is smeared.
This fragrance isn't really about rose I feel, the rose acts as a canvas to be built upon. Portrait of a Lady gives us a new rose that we couldn't possibly associate with the innocent and pretty rose we think we know.
This scent feels tempestuous and unhinged. It feels like the expression of an alter-ego that has been poorly kept under wraps in Jekyll and Hyde fashion. But more than anything, this scent feels well made. It's fantastic and explosive and distinctive, an entirely individual fragrance. Wear with aplomb.

Mar
02
2013
ranchorita
ranchorita

A package arrived Saturday with this fragrance and I have waited to review it because it is unlike any other I have experienced, having ordered this fragrance blind. The initial spray was a shock to me and the rose seemed overpowering at first. Over time, the rose receded and the dry-down is the most subtle and elegant musk and amber I have experienced (and musk doesn't generally work on me, but this one does in a big way). The scent seems vintage and very refined, but never little-old-lady. I keep envisioning a very modern woman deftly navigating the changing cultural tides of the Edwardian period, spanning from the Victorian to the birth of the Modern. She is unapologetic, assertive and absolutely refined. If she were a piece of music, she would be Daphnis et Chloé by Ravel, with its brilliant, ecstatic finish.

Now after four days, this Lady has me besotted and utterly in her clutches. This is too rich for me to wear daily, and frankly, my coworkers don't deserve it, but this will be in permanent rotation for me. If you don't get this for yourself, try to befriend someone who wears it, so you can at least have the vicarious pleasure of standing near them. And what a pleasure it is!

Feb
19
2013
londoner20
londoner20

Words cannot do this justice and hence why I will not even try. But please if you are going to do one thing in your life before you die... Smell this, and ask your loved ones to wrap your body in a cloth that smells of this when you do die. There is no better way to leave this world. Seriously.

Feb
16
2013
ivy818
ivy818

This did NOT work for me. Based on the notes, I thought it would be a no-brainer, but it was horrible...scrub off horrible. It was so much drier than I expected and almost soapy on my skin. I would definitely not define this as in the Oriental family...it was well in the Chypre family to my nose. As far as niche fragrances go, I'm afraid that Frederic Malle has been a disappointment for me in general. I like Dans Tes Bras and Musc Ravageur but not enough to buy.

Feb
15
2013
Lanlisa
Lanlisa

Purchased a sample after seeing a raving review on Youtube. Was excited to get it on for a try. For me, it's dusty Potpourri with aspirin sprinkled on top! Wore it to church this morning and it bothered me so bad I didn't want to greet anyone. My husband who was forced to sit next to me said it gave him a horrible headache (needed that aspirin!). I didn't even spray it on, I dabbed on my wrists and neck. It's a scrubber for me. Not a fresh rose. Reminds me of how I felt in the 90s when I set potpourri out in a bowl and would keep moving it from room to room away from me until I finally threw it out after a few days. Way overpriced and I wouldn't buy it if priced reasonably. Still prefer Rose The One and Stella, but on the lookout for that perfect vividly fresh rose. Sorry if I disappoint those who love it...

Feb
10
2013
Marco Chau
Marco Chau

An absolutely beautiful rose fragrance that is complex yet soft. My kind of rose.

Post Note: The dry down to me is like a warm, delicious, slightly spiced raspberry and rose petals preserve being served at a prestigious 5-star historical hotel.

Feb
02
2013
Pbeschi
Pbeschi

FANCY AND SOPHISTICATED. If you like Coco Chanel Mademoiselle and Miss Dior Cherie, but are sick of them this is your cup of tea. Lovely, persistent and not outrageous.

***EDIT: the more I use my little decant, the more I love this perfume. There is nothing like it on the market. It is so feminine without being cloying at all. Staying power is amazing and sillage is as good as it gets. Don't buy it though: I want to be the only one having it ;)

Jan
10
2013
bacall
bacall

When this stuff dries down I can honestly and unequivocally say that it is the softest most stunningly beautiful fragrance I have ever smelt. So original and edgy -- Its the first unisex perfume that I've fallen in love with! Steals the show effortlessly. Not once have I ever worn this without receiving compliments.

Jan
07
2013
Bbjr
Bbjr

I'm going out on a limb here. I'm a man and this fragrance is one of the best I've ever smelled. I can't bring myself to go to Barney's and buy it, it being a women's fragrance and all but this wears well on me and it smells masculine, not feminine.

Edit: bought it, it's not cheap but it is worth every penny. What an amazing scent.

Jan
05
2013
melancholybaby
melancholybaby

A dark rose opening, surrounded by spices and an earthy depth; the rose seems to fade, but the fragrance retains the spicy darkness with rose intertwined throughout. Fairly linear, but the complexity makes it remain very interesting. Downright wonderful!

Dec
27
2012
chem1cal4r0mance
chem1cal4r0mance

I just have to leave another review: I wore this perfume out last night to a Misfits show in the city and honestly, it was just perfect!!! So dark, smokey, but then the fruit and rose helps maintain it from going over the edge, and the clove is to die for! The silage is amazing, so even over everyone else's "scents" you could still smell my portrait of a lady. Even the Bartender asked me what perfume I was wearing because she said she loves it, but I couldn't believe that she was able to smell it in a room filled with other people. Sometimes I wonder if "Portrait of a lady" is meant to be used as a sarcastic title for the perfume and not as a literal title. Dark, mysterious, and always confident, I Love it!

Dec
17
2012
Assiduosity
Assiduosity

Portrait of a Lady is as simple as a rose garden made scent.

It may carry the notes of various varieties and species, but ultimately they unite to form a fragrance that is pitch perfect.

There are summer fruits here too, crushed raspberries and blackcurrants, their juice released directly onto the prying fingers that try to pick them.

For me, the incense comes and goes and is as much sweet benzoin, spice and sandalwood as it is smoke. It never shouts down the floral heart of the perfume that is so attractive and enduring.

The English Rose is of course a Lady, and this is a particular, accurate and charming picture of her.

But the rose is also the symbol of England itself and no Englishman, indeed no man of any country, should be embarrassed to wear the bloom in his buttonhole and the scent next to his skin.

Dec
15
2012
smellhunt
smellhunt

I tried this one some days ago, after reading the reviews and I was badly disappointed!
I didn't like it on paper, all I could smell was something grandmotherly, but I like to keep an "open" nose so I tried it on my skin too.
I waited for a couple of minutes before I sniffed at my wrist, with my eyes closed and again the same feeling of an old Dame's perfume.
I waited some more and nothing changed much, except that I could smell the roses more...
Hours later, I gave up and I washed it of.
I think despite of how it's been named, this is a unisex scent.
The clove and the incense take away the freshness of the roses making them smell like those you kept for too long , kill its feminine side too, not the sweetness, just a woman's sensuality!
If this is how a Lady supposed to smell like, exactly how long after her prime this Lady is?!
Of course that's how it felt for me
As for the unisex part? On my husband's skin it turned into something masculine and spicy! Very peculiar indeed!!!!

Nov
26
2012
midos
midos

This Perfume is the definition of : masterpiece !!. herbal , woody earthy smoky unisex Perfume! long lasting & great sillage! ever and ever! Damn man! when the salesgirl recommended it to me, I thought that there was something wrong in me ! coz of it's name lol. I couldn't imagine it will be wearable by men !!! . but after I smelled it I really thanked her a lot! so men don't look to the name : this is really unisex perfume! and very fantastic. love it.

Nov
25
2012
annabolina
annabolina

It is unisex. I swear. It is soooo dark, so smokey, so woody, beats down most of the man's frags easily. I dont have the fruits and even rose is muted to my nose - pepper, incense, spices added with light hand, and of course the green side of great amount of patchouly. If you love patchouly for the wet, dark sweetness - go away from this. It is something else. It takes an hour to the rose to break out from the crowd. But remains earthy and smokey for the rest of the scent. Well - it is a good piece of art, but not for me.

Nov
03
2012
SkinTemple
SkinTemple

Heaven in a bottle...and on the skin! LOVE!!! If you buy one fragrance from Frederic Malle, this should be it! Sophisticated beyond compare. Excellent longevity.

Nov
02
2012
Galya
Galya

It's smells as some kind of dust for cleaning persil or something similar,too bad for niche....

Oct
15
2012
chem1cal4r0mance
chem1cal4r0mance

This perfume is just beautiful. I really didn't think I would like it, much less love it, due to just it's name alone. I was expecting some stuffy old lady fragrance that adores roses and whose very excitement in life comes from the "incense" note alone. I couldn't have been more wrong, or maybe not so happily but, the point is that this is not for old ladies playing bridge, to me this smells so dark and mysterious. Maybe the woman wearing this looks like a lady, but do not be fooled....she is wearing her office appropriate dress with a leather bra and lace panties. Also, if a man were wearing this, I wouldn't think anything ladylike about it.....I can picture this being very sensual on anyone.

Sep
29
2012
sweetnspicey
sweetnspicey

Now here is a perfume with sillage and longevity that I so greatly long for yet rarely find in modern perfumes. Most fragrances today should be called "scents" or something like that because they are so weak and quiet, even if they are high-quality niches. Portrait of a Lady is truly worthy of being called a "perfume." It takes a while for it to really meld and become one with my chemistry, but it's worth the wait. For the first 1-2 hours, it's so strongly patchouli and black currant. I have never liked patchouli, yet lately it seems to be growing on me. The patch here is nice and smooth, damp, earthy, and pairs very nicely with the sweet, fruity currant. After about 2 hours, the patch softens up considerably and blends a lot better with the other notes. I know the notes mention spices, but they are so subtle that I would never think of this as a spicy perfume.

Out of all the Malle perfumes I've tested, Portrait of a Lady is the most grown-up, the most like an old-fashioned, full-bodied perfume. I am on the fence as to whether I really think it's a modern masterpiece or not, whether I want to own it or not, whether it's really "me" or not, whether I can handle all the patchouli or not....but in any case it's very beautiful.

Sep
19
2012
black_orchid
black_orchid

This is a great example of art. A gothıc line. As if dancing in the dark. Certainly very special and so different.

Sep
01
2012
globalscene
globalscene

Exquisite! ! !

Aug
31
2012
Mujo
Mujo

Portrait of a Lady starts a little harsh, but settles down very nice and quite soft. The sillage is big and the longevity is extremely good.

I mainly detect rose, patchouli, incense and fruit with a clove and cinnamon kick. It's fresh, but not sour (maybe a little sourish, but not the usual disturbing kind) and there also is a bit of sweetness in there.

I've read somewhere that it's very similair to Montale's Black Aoud and I agree. But where Black Aoud is linear (the initial notes are indeed comparable) Portrait of a Lady changes and has so much more facets.

If you disregard the name this could easily be unisex and therefore also be worn by a man.

Aug
25
2012
guest_
guest_

I normally don't add reviews on here simply because I know once I start I wont stop! Infact this is my first one. And it's all thanks to Portrait of a Lady...

I got a sample of this from Liberty in London a week or so ago, and wore it the next day throughout the day at work. I was anticipating some embarrassment as I knew all the guys would ask me what I'm wearing as this perfume just is so damn fine and I'd have to say "Oh its called portrait of a Lady"...Which in my social and work groups would seem fag like. Much to my delight though it was all the ladies asking what is this sexy scent I am wearing - I didn't hesitate to tell them!

I'm not gonna bang on about notes and such things as everybody seems to do so. But as a guy I was surprised to see that this was so wearable and had a positive effect on women from a broad age range (23-45!). No surprise then that I bought a 100ml bottle the next day :) Not for women only as it says... For a guy, it's quite potent if you can wear it with confidence and pull it off however!

Aug
02
2012
clover.chen
clover.chen

i remember passing up on trying this scent a couple of times but one day i just decided to ask for a sample of this without thinking much about it. i did like the scent in store but it was a mere 'it's lovely' but continue smelling other scents. after getting the sample and trying at home over a week or so, i can honestly say i have found my signature fragrance. i dont say this easily and really didnt think i will become one of the signature fragrance person. but this just completely and utterly drawn me into its magic.

this fragrance represents everything i want in a signature fragrance when i dont even know i had those boxes to tick! it is what some are calling modern oriental or new oriental. it has the headiness and richness of oriental, but done in a more precise composition. it definitely dont smell like any traditional oriental i smelled, and i do like some classic orientals. however i would not wear those because i tend to like my fragrances as newly released as possible. it is very contemporary but without compromising on "traditional" perfumery, so it really does smell like a perfume rather than imitating or exagerating nature.

it has elements of floral, fruity, dirt, green, incense, spice and everything nice, but works in perfect harmony that makes you smell neither very fresh and young, nor mature and too grown up. i wouldn't say this scent is sexy or sweetly feminine per say, but very very sophisticated and elegant. hum...not an "easy" fragrance to wear, i think you have to be certain types of women to pull it off seamlessly. when i smell it, i want to wear my more sophisticated but understated clothes. there is nothing casual about this fragrance.

this fragrance does not sit sharp on me, it is quite rounded...wouldnt say soft but no hard edges. it is quite linear but not a problem with me because i love it from the start. fantastic sillage and longevity. not much bad things to say except the price is high. from what i read that it is 50% parfum...if it is true, i can justify the price somewhat.

i havent been able to buy it yet...but i am looking forward to it. during the time from sampling malle to now, i seems to have lost interest in smelling other fragrances! my mind somehow always wanders back to portrait of a lady. i wonder if this is when you know you have found 'the one'?

Jun
30
2012
lisa o
lisa o

at first it was strange to wear that perfume: everybody I met, was attaching his/her nose to my neck, inhaling deeply, asking: "oh my god..what is it that you're wearing?"
now, that I'm used to that effect, I can say: this is love.
a cassis and very strong, thorny rose and gooseberry(?) in the beginning, then there come the spices, cinnamon, sandalwood, incense (wow!) and patchouli (masses of it) and fades out in a way (raspberry in the drydown? is that chemically even possible? don't know..) that I myself have to attach my nose to the bright-red silk-blouse I wore yesterday. simply great.

tenacity: it's like a tattoo. f.e. hair smells still after proper shampooing...

edit: still, every time I wear it, I get several compliments and questions about the name and where to buy it. even married men who want to buy it for their wives;-)

May
28
2012
glorious1
glorious1

For some reason this was sharp on me. Too sharp. Not for me. :/ Liked it a lot at first........

May
09
2012
duskangel101
duskangel101

I'm honestly not in love with this fragrance, or really any of the FM scents besides Musc Ravageur. I could tell they're of very high quality and all, but they generally don't work well with my chemistry, or maybe I'm just a little too young to be able to appreciate them. Many of the FM scents are unique, strong florals; wonderful creations, just not my cup of tea. Portrait of a Lady is exactly that. The sharpness of the patchouli and rose combo is simply too much for me.

Apr
13
2012
plasmacundite
plasmacundite

Wow! excellent perfume, ultra feminin, very elegant...it is strong yet subtile at the same time. Very complex perfume, reminds me of Lumiere Noir but the notes are blended in a much softer way...It lasts all day ( + day after!).To my nose it ends up a bit soapy after 8 hours which I really enjoy. This is a masterpiece if you like sofisticated rose- patchouli perfumes.

Feb
19
2012
Arvydas
Arvydas

One the best perfume.Very sensual,very elegant and modern now.Prima!!!

Jan
26
2012
sherapop
sherapop

The lady is a tramp! After the blaring, elephantesque opening of Frédéric Malle PORTRAIT OF A LADY, I was not surprised in the least to learn that the perfumer was none other than Kenzo JUNGLE L'ELEPHANT creator, Dominique Ropion!

Huge opening with a massive blast of patchouli along with incense and rose. The spices are quite a bit tamer here than in L'ELEPHANT, but this is still much more of an oriental than a floral perfume to my nose. I would compare this composition to Juliette Has a Gun VENGEANCE EXTREME, except that PORTRAIT OF A LADY is much sharper (partly due to clove?) and more declarative, even intense. They definitely occupy the same general neighborhood on the grand olfactory map. PORTRAIT OF A LADY is much closer to VENGEANCE EXTREME than to either LIPSTICK ROSE or UNE ROSE, the other two Frédéric Malle rose perfumes.

The longevity is great and the sillage big enough to make this a wear-at-home-only perfume for me. Very voluptuous and, frankly, unladylike in its brazen, almost animalic sensuality. I like it a lot, I really do. This is a no-holds-barred oriental patchouli perfume with some rose accents. Seems omnisex to me.

Jan
03
2012
jufconnie
jufconnie

I really like this fragrance very much. But why is everybody talking about the rose and allmost nobody about the incense in this beautiful perfume? The insence is very very strong. I like that but it makes this perfume not exactly versatile. I don't mind smelling like a Roman Catholic church. I was practically raised in it. But not everyone appreciates that insence blast. When I purchased this perfume I thought it would be my new all time favorite, that's how much I liked it. But it turned out to be just a beautiful fragrance in my collection. I don't wear it that often. I don't regret buying it though. By the way, I bought the purse spray refills. It's practical to have three little spray bottles instead of one large one. It's also more afordable. (If you don't buy the rediculously expensive purse spray itself)

Dec
06
2011
Αλεξάνδρα
Αλεξάνδρα

Beware of this Lady,
Once noticed, you will be delighted titillated
SEDUCED* enticed OVERWHELMED* infatuated piqued PROVOKED* SPELLBOUND* ENAMOURED* ensnared riveted COMPELLED* CHARMED* intrigued LURED* transfixed enthralled aroused beguiled HYPNOTISED* tempted thrilled BEWITCHED* OVERPOWERED* intoxicated CAPTIVATED* enraptured attracted attached stimulated DRAWN* ENSLAVED* ALLURED* engrossed entranced MESMERISED* RAVISHED* tantalised...

Dec
04
2011
chickenpotpie
chickenpotpie

Though I'm a great fan of Dominique Ropion, this is one of his creations that I unfortunately am unable to wear. After many tries it just dosen't sit well with my skin.

Its a beauty but a dark beauty. On skin I get mainly middle/base notes from this perfume and later on the bottom notes make an appearance. But after 3 wears, the top notes are virtually nonexistent; I get some faint rose, no cinnamon or clove at all, and a small amount of rasberry but I've got to plant my nose to my skin to smell it.

It has a smell of 'perfume' to it, this is not merely a 'scent'. And its quite a long wearing one. 10+ hours each time I've tried it though I don't awake with the smell still on my skin.

On paper this is an amazing scent, and I can appreciate the structure of the scent, but from what I smell on my skin, or NOT smell as is the case, its not worth a purchase.

Nov
29
2011
armchair sailor
armchair sailor

On paper, it's fantastic. It has the consistency of dreams. I pictured a beautiful blonde lady looking out of the window of her white mansion, smiling. It reminds you of all the things you wanted in life but couldn't get, but the memories aren't painful. It brings you back to the beauty of desire.
On my skin, though, it lost everything. The dream was over, and all that remained was a pale, cold rose.

Nov
24
2011
Jellybean
Jellybean

I tried this one on several weeks ago and I love it. dusty roses, incense; slightly creamy and spicy. a bit stronger scent not overpowering, perfect for evening occasions. classic vintage scent; i'm thinking victorian era - reminds me of that type of a lady.
excellent lasting power-all day.

Oct
30
2011
al.to
al.to

at my inexpert nose:
It begin with raspberry blackcurrent and a sea of rose
after you find incense and rose.
a very unusual composition very liquid intense and feminine
for a lady:-)

7.5/10

Jun
15
2011
LOVERS
LOVERS

Portrait of a lady is startling beautiful. Dark, sensual and provocative to my senses. This is not a scent i would associate with the term "lady" especially one from a Victorian era who would one day face an ill-fated future. This fragrance offers me many things i love, the powerful and sesnuous smell of roses with the scent of freshly crushed berries, i can almost taste the berries and the way they would roll around in my mouth, my teeth ripping through their flesh and my tongue massaging it softly but eventually swallowing it and leaving that beautiful and very bittersweet aftertaste in my mouth. The incense note is beautiful to, it gives the fragrance depth and darkness. This scent is AU$510 here in Australia because i think it is still relatively new here but it is a masterpiece and one i feel honoured to have in my collection.

Jun
09
2011
HappyShopper123
HappyShopper123

This was nicely gourmand on me and smelled exactly like Turkish Delight. If that's the smell you love, this is a must!

May
31
2011
mister_chaz
mister_chaz

I was so confident I'm going to love this, as I thought it is going to be something like Back to Black by Kilian, which I liked.

But, Portrait of a Lady somehow turned out sharper and harsher than I anticipated. I think, the separate parts of these fragrance are perfect by themselves - jammy rose, cinnamon&spices, aoud&patchouli... But when they are smacked all together, it resulted in too much sourness and sharpness. PofL also has this air of old-fashionness, which often works for some perfumes, but here, I think, it becomes a bit annoying.

Maybe, I wasn't in the right mood when I sampled it yesterday, but at that moment, this perfume did scare me off.

May
27
2011
Perfume lover London
Perfume lover London

I've just purchased this wonderful creation from Barney's New York during my vacation.
On my skin the oriental notes appear to come alive.
Whilst dining at Balthazar last evening a female guest sitting next to me to ask what fragrance I was wearing and recorded the name into her mobile. She said that it was exquisite and had to ask!
I was so pleased as I too fell in love with it after a trial in Barney's.
Guys don't be mislead, if you love it buy it; don't worry if it is marketed as a female fragrance!
Enjoy.

May
20
2011
alfarom
alfarom

Don't let the name misleading you, Portrait Of a Lady is a perfect unisex fragrance. Despite the fact oud is not listed between the notes I get a consistent dose of it together with pepper and, obviously, rose. In the opening, the pepper/rose accord brings to my mind of a sort of Parfum Sacre without civet, but then incense and oud make their appearance giving Portrait Of A lady a different twist. Patchouli and spices add extra depth to this solid composition. Amazing drydown.

A master composition that If you're into bold and spicy rose fragrances you'll surely dig. Comparisons with Black Aoud are inevitable.

Rating: 8/10

May
20
2011
adrienn99
adrienn99

I did not see the film, I am merely adding my opinion on the perfume ...

I was looking for a smokey rose and this one got many votes, so got the green light. I had a little preoccupation that it might be high on patchouli but being FM and Dominic Ropion fan could not let this slip away from my radar.

Honestly, this is not a new favourite for me. It is very medicinal indeed. When i applied, i was wondering , oh god why the blackcurrant had to be there and what else is giving the sour smell in it (this time i can be utterly sure the fume is fresh - my sample i got from the manufacturer).
With the fruity references I was hoping for a sweet rose but all i got is a rose pickled in apple-vinegar, mint(?!) and patchouli (guess the mint-like aroma is given off by the 'incense' note).

This rose is dark indeed. It is not red any more - it is dead, brown and dry - killed in a conspiracy by the rest of the notes. And the murderers are enjoying their feast of kill in utter delight. So sad.

P.S. This smells like my grandma's wardrobe. She had a real timber one and she stuffed it with dried lavender and/or naphtalene to keep the moths away. She had some other dried flowers there too

P.S.2 If this perfume is a real fit to a certain person's personality - I don't want to know that lady

May
01
2011
lucifera
lucifera

:-( i usually LOVE all creations of the great Dominic Ropion but this was not good on me, im sad bc the notes looked very promising and would usually smell good on me! but alas...not for me

Apr
18
2011
adele l
adele l

Opens as a deep patchouli incense rose- cinnamon gives it a hint of spice without coming to the foreground...and thank goodness I cannot detect the cloves! This reminds me of L'Artisan's Voleur de Roses but a touch sweeter; I think there may be saffron in it as well as a touch of powder(clean patch?). POAL is very much inspired by middle eastern fragrances though it is certainly softer and cleaner in the drydown (westernized a little, if you will). The rose seems to subside in the far drydown though it is still present, intermingling with the subtle spices and incense- this lady is relaxed and none too wild!

Jan
31
2011
oona noir
oona noir

I have a feeling that this is a love it or hate it perfume. At the moment, I am definitely in the later camp. I will probably torture myself with it a few more times, but it feels really conservative, uptight and depressing to me. There is something about this one that reminds me of Rue Cambon- same suffocating feeling in both. Maybe they will work come spring or summer? Sigh.

Jan
13
2011
Doc Elly
Doc Elly

Starts out as a woody rose, strong and muscular and harsh. I really don’t smell the fruits and spices that are listed, but I suppose it’s because they blend into and help form the shape of the rose. It’s a full-flowered, dark rose, accompanied by patchouli and a lot of ambroxan - so much that it almost overpowers the rose but never quite succeeds, so the two engage in a push-pull game, twirling around in circles, vying for top billing.

As the perfume dries down, the notes eventually blend into a whole, a golden rose carved out of aromatic, resinous wood, swallowed by a whale, and vomited back up again coated in ambergris, aged in the sea for decades, then washed up on the beach and put in a Victorian lady’s curio cabinet where it combines with the scent of the cabinet wood.

I like Portrait because it’s assertive. Like a good Arabian perfume or 80s perfume, it doesn’t tiptoe around worrying that it will offend someone. It has character. It has just enough sillage, and it lasts and lasts. I’d be willing to bet that it will still be on my clothing after at least one washing. It’s fairly linear, so if you don’t care for rose and ambroxan, here’s fair warning that you’ll be stuck with it for a long time.

Jan
08
2011
Kterhark
Kterhark

Ooh, Perfection! But this is one of those fragrances that will be all over the place, it seems. I really love it. The opening sniff smells like a cardboard box holding a bunch of spring leaves, but this quickly gives way to an incredibly gorgeous floral.

Unlike other reviewer's comments, the rose sits loud and proud on me. It stays right under my nose and I feel like it fills the room. It spends 2 hours being an art nouveau rose, and if you wanted to know what color I would say chartreuse. Yes, I know this is a funky shade of green, but that's what came to mind. But I must add: my chemistry strongly amplifies green notes and this is what I get here. I'm also getting a powdery accord, probably from the benzoin.

Parting thoughts: I have two fragrances that rotate in and out of my 'favorite perfume spot': Mitsouko and Caron's Pour une femme. Une femme (parfum) is very similar to this; both are incense rose frags with a patchouli/amber/musk base. Now that Portrait is strutting off to the dry down it is becoming more and more like Une Femme. So much so that I may not need to buy it.

But my take is that this is a big Woot Woot!

Dec
13
2010
gabyvinki
gabyvinki

On my skin it's a beautiful soft rose in a bed of spicey incensce, the rose much weaker than I'd expected from the perfumer's own description. In the top notes I ll get a lot of cinnamon and clove and rasperry but not rose..after an hour or so I can detect the rose in a whiff of musky amber and incense..it stays very close to the skin and has not a big sillage in my opinion. I have to spray and layer it again and again to get the rose out..maybe it s these cold days and dry heating air, it may turn out totally different in hot humid summer days:) can't wait to test it again then... For now I'm sticking to my stronger roses like Rose Chypree or Eau Suave d'Empire.

Dec
13
2010
debbborra
debbborra

This sample came as a surprise in a swap with Celina. Thank you!
Absolutely a beautiful fragrance. I hope people will not mind if I speak about my impressions rather than the notes, because, well, you can all read the notes, right?
The opening was sort of like a soda at the beach - fizzy and a hint of salt. (No suntan lotion, I promise. It's a very elegant scent.) After a moment when my brain started to deconstruct the total total effect into components, it becomes clear that this is a rose fragrance. The light rose that was popular in late century green chypres, if you see what I mean. Remember the smell of walking into a department store? Like that.

If I have a criticism, it's that the perfume is cooler in the drydown than I anticipated. Often fragrances warm on the skin. It's not even really a criticism, more an expression of surprise.

Edited to clarify, that I'm not calling this perfume a green chypre, just to draw a comparison in the way rose is used, and clarify what kind of rose I'm getting.

Dec
11
2010
Catnip
Catnip

Portrait of a Lady is softer, fruitier, and sweeter than I expected it to be. I could sense the berries clearly in the initial and middle stages of development. They are quite pleasant, actually. I can also feel the cinnamon, which, like the berries, gives Portrait a slightly sweet (though not gourmand) undertone.

The rose declares its appearance surprisingly gently, and it is a softer rose than the one I imagined (purplish, maybe, but not truly dark). It remains a constant presence in the composition. On my own skin, the incense makes a strong statement though it is softened by modern, delicate musk notes. What I especially liked in this fragrance was the spicy nuance (the cloves, I think), which tickled my nose warmly. I wish I had felt the benzoin better.

It is a tastefully done, beautiful fragrance, and if you like a combination of roses, berries, and incense, you should rush and try this one. It turns out I am not a great lover of incense after all.

Longevity is excellent.

Dec
05
2010

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Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle 4.19 out of 5 based on 548 ratings and 103 user reviews

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