I've discovered a number of wonderful fragrance lines at Barneys New York in Beverly Hills. Each trip I've only been able to sample a few since the nose can only take so much and there is only so much arm space before the spritzes start to blend/mix altering the true scent. I've been eyeing Carnal Flower by Dominique Ropion for some time but hesitated due to the heavy floral notes and steep price tag. I don't consider myself a tuberose-loving kind of person, yet I'm strangely drawn to L'Artisan's Nuit de Tubéreuse. A week ago I had on my wishlist to purchase one fragrance from Frédéric Malle: Carnal Flower, En Passant or L'eau d'Hiver. I had my sister and the sales associate help me choose. The final vote went to Carnal Flower in the 10 ml trio ($155 for the set) so I could split it with my sister. Little did I know that while I was distracted browsing the other goodies at Barneys, my sister (in stealth mode) made her way back to the counter to purchase the En Passant by Olivia Giacobetti trio for me. I didn't realize until late in the evening after I was home that she had slipped in a little wrapped black Barneys box with a sweet note. I am truly blessed to have such a sweet and thoughtful sister. (Thank you CL!)
The perfumes by Frédéric Malle typically come in two different sizes for the bottles, 50 ml and 100 ml. Prices per fragrance have a diverse range due to ingredients (so I'm told). Carnal Flower unfortunately is one of the priciest at $230 for a 50 ml bottle. Fortunately they also carry these in trios of small 10 ml vials. I find these perfect for me since I have a finicky nose that tires easily of fragrances. Here you can see the size of the 10 ml vials. (On the nails is Chanel Pirate Le Vernis.)
Carnal Flower is strong floral primarily tuberose. There are varying descriptions online of the notes, but what I can smell includes hints of white musk, coconut, jasmine and orange blossom. I agree with Scent Hive that this is a fragrance that will either have you swooning or nauseated. I personally was not fond of the scent upon first impact but fell in love with the drydown. On my skin I found it turned slightly to give a luscious floral that is slightly creamy, most likely due to the notes of coconut and musk. The Non-Blonde described it perfectly as a luscious floral that is well balanced without being too floral. On me the scent gets better as it wears and fades, although the lasting power is excellent and doesn't fade too much like many other scents. I think it's a lovely scent, on the stronger side for me, but not too strong that it is overwhelming. One single spray is sufficient for me for all-day wear. I love that it has depth and is complex, but still fresh and soothing.
En Passant is one of the lighter scents by Frédéric Malle. It has been recommended to me on numerous occasions by virtually every fragrance specialist I've worked with at Barneys once I tell them that I adore L'Artisan's L'Été en Douce. The price points for this one is easier to justify ($95 for the 10 ml trio, the 50 ml and 100 ml versions are also lower in price point compared to Carnal Flower). This is a green scent, less complex, more straight or linear (as described by the ladies at the Barneys counter) with blend of cucumber, lilac and wheat. It's simple, fresh, elegant. The initial spritz feels more floral (noticeable lilac) but dries down to a more green scent that isn't quite as floral on me. The wheat becomes apparent in the drydown and helps balance out the floral notes. The lasting power of En Passant isn't quite as good as Carnal Flower, but still decent. There is a softness that makes this a well rounded comforting scent. I adore it.
The travel sizes are sturdy in the packaging but still rather delicate. Definitely too delicate to carry around in a makeup bag or purse. Due to the strong lasting power, I don't really need to carry these with me in my purse to freshen up. I almost never carry fragrances with me (except for the rare occasion I have a small sample) because I worry about breakage or spilling in my purses. However, I have found that the Trish McEvoy Delicate Beauty Voyager set (reviewed here) I bought houses 2 Chanel lipsticks and 1 vial of Frédéric Malle perfectly if the double-decker card is removed.
Bottom line: I'm in love. Have you tried Frédéric Malle? What are your favorites? I'm all ears for recommendations! The sales associate kindly gave me sample cards of L'eau d'Hiver and Lipstick Rose which I'm dying to dive into.