Portrait of a Lady Frederic Malle

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I wasn’t at all impressed with POAL the first time I tried it.Β  I was at Barney’s in Las Vegas deciding between this and Lipstick Rose. I ended up going with the Lipstick Rose lol.

The first time I tested this, all I got was tons of sandlewood and smokey incense. It smelled kind of bitter and very dry. It left me wanting more rose, more rasberry, more amber.Β  I couldn’t, for the life of me, see what all the hype was about.Β  So I just dropped it, moved on.

A few months later on a trip back to Vegas, I went back to Barneys to purchase another bottle of my beloved Iris Poudre, which a good friend/perfumistahood mentor got me hooked on, and I received a little boxed sample of POAL with my purchase.

I didn’t give it another try until months later, after I sampled Hand in Hand by Ramon Monegal. It was the first time I was actually turned on by the scent of oud. And it was glorious!

I almost always test on my wrist, but for some reason, I tested the Monegal in the crease of my elbow and I found that to make ALL the difference in the development of Oud with my chemistry. My wrist is too dry and not as warm. Also, I live in a very humid climate and that makes a difference as well. I had originally tested POAL in the Nevada desert, on my wrist, no less.

So after the Hand in Hand incident, I decided to give POAL another try. This time testing it at home, in a humid climate, and on the crease of my elbow.

I pulled out the sample box from my stash, applied it, and was almost blown away. It developed so much differently than the first time, so much richer. I was flooded by all the notes and finally understood what all the fuss was about!

POAL is a powerhouse of a perfume. One cannot wear this timidly. On initial spray, I am blasted with sandlewood, incense, rose, and patchouli. A few minutes in after drydown, the rose really starts to dominate and the patchouli backs off, allowing the fruiter components to peek in.Β  The heart is very spicey, woody rose. I pick up the cloves and oud (I wonder why oud isn’t listed in the notes, because it’s definitely there).

This sillage beast lasts easily 18 hours and I can still smell the lovely musky base, sandlewood still going strong with hints of vanilla, into the next day.

This is a pricey frag, even for a collector, but it’s so worth it. One spray will last 2 days, so a bottle will last a very long time.Β  The quality and craftsmanship is evident.

I have a few rose/oud combo frags now but this one tops the list as the Queen of them all and is also the easiest to wear and most interesting I think.Β  I’m so glad I gave this one a second try because I love it!

Season: Fall/Winter

Top notes: Cinnamon, Clove, Rose, Rasberry, Black Currant

Heart notes: Sandlewood, Patchouli, Incense

Base notes: Amber, Benzoin, Musk

Purchase Portrait of a Lady Here

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