Episode 28: Editions de Parfums

Frederic Malle on the Ultimate Creative Freedom in Perfumery



About the Episode

When Frederic Malle launched Editions de Parfums in 2000, he did something no other brand had done: credit perfumers on each bottle. Seeing perfumers as true artists, he gave them free rein to express their ideas in bold, new ways without feeling constrained by briefs, budgets, or deadlines. This approach has attracted some of the greatest perfumers in the world and led to iconic fragrances like Musc Ravageur, Carnal Flower, and Portrait of a Lady.

In this episode, Frederic sits down with guest host Jenny B. Fine, Executive Editor of Beauty at WWD and Beauty Inc. He brings us into his creative mind and how he thinks about the art and craftsmanship of perfumery. He shares recommendations for classic scents and tells the story behind his most famous perfumes, including one inspired by Louis XV’s mouthwash and another that took 690 iterations to complete.


• An intro to Jenny, today’s guest host
• The idea for Editions de Parfums
• Bringing perfumers out of the shadows
• What does it mean to give perfumers complete freedom?
• 690 tries to get a perfume right
• How do you know when a fragrance is finished?
• The story behind Carnal Flower by Dominique Ropion
• “When you smell this, it’s like a rocket”
• The ingredient that creates milky notes
• “Perfume has to be part of today’s life”
• Are the rules of perfumery changing?
• “You have to master the technique to be able to push it around”
• Scent Spotlight: Musc Ravageur and Portrait of a Lady
• The story behind Musc Ravageur by Maurice Roucel
• “I thought the perfume needed a bit of foreplay”
• Opening the first boutique and offering personalized service
• The first person Frederic ever sold a perfume to
• Why Frederic wanted neutral bottle designs
• The story behind Portrait of a Lady by Dominique Ropion
• You can still buy the mouthwash Louis XV used
• Turning this mouthwash into a men’s perfume, Geranium Pour Monsieur
• Frederic’s family history with perfumery
• The first fragrance Frederic bought for himself
• How you can hone your sense of smell
• Frederic breaks down the “genealogy” of Paloma Picasso
• Scent Connection: Art & Culture Edition
• The scent Frederic is never tired of
• Advice for people who want to follow in Frederic’s footsteps

Featured Fragrances

Carnal Flower by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle
Musc Ravageur by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle
Portrait of a Lady by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

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