Malle Dries Van Noten EDP Perfume Review

Malle Dries van Noten

If you come home to your little condo after a day of shopping and sniffing and you sit next to your significant other on the sofa and you chat for a minute and then s/he suddenly gets up and checks the garbage disposal and starts running it and then sits back down and then looks at you funny and says, “I thought that smell was something rotten in the garbage disposal but it’s you!” then maybe you should reconsider your perfume choices.

And let’s say this same perfume is sniffed by three of your friends who just so happen to know a thing or two about perfume, sniff your arm and tell you that you smell like rotten garbage, then maybe you should reconsider your perfume choices. Especially when one of your honest friends exclaims, “Disgusting!’

This was my experience with Malle Dries Van Noten. It’s still a mystery to me on how someone’s creamy sandalwood is my Turkish bakery’s dumpster. Dear readers, this is why we try before we buy.

Dries Van Noten par Malle is a shocking mess on my skin. So much so that I thought about not writing this review. It opens with this disturbingly “moldy” or rancid tahini. It smells like sesame seeds; it’s nutty. But, it has this unusual earthy, mushroomy quality to it. The rancid tahini mellows out leaving me a metallic saffron mixed with something that reminds me of Barbasol shaving cream – clean spice. This heart is a jarring bridge to the base of sugary sweet vanilla frosting and a slightly smoky sandalwood.

There is weird-good and there is weird-bad. This is weird-bad of the unintentional kind. It’s a huge bummer for me as I’m quite a fan of Dries Van Noten’s aesthetic and Malle perfumes. Now that I think about it, I’m more than bummed, I’m mad because I know that it can smell good; yet, it decides to hate me. I refuse to believe that I’m the flaw here. I blame the perfume.

Paulette Goddard

Notes listed include sandalwood, guiaic wood, tonka bean, vanilla, saffron, jasmine, musk, bergamot, lemon, nutmeg, clove, patchouli, woody notes and peru balsam. Launched in 2013. PERFUMER – Bruno Jovanovic

Give DvN x Malle a try if you love sandalwood. Or if you like perfumes like L’Artisan Safran Troublant, M. Micallef Gaiac, Guerlain Shalimar Parfum Initial, Diptyque Eau Duelle and/or Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille.ย This fragrance is unisex.

DvN x Malle is a mellow fragrance. Projection is below average and longevity is average. Some fragrances seem hyper, this one seriously seems like it is on a sedative for recreational purposes.

This comes in two sizes with prices ranging from $185-$265 at Barneys.ย 

Victoria’s Final EauPINIONTechnically it’s a creamy sandalwood vanilla with some spice. My skin gets the rancid version. Why me?

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– I resniffed this in October 2014 and here are my thoughts.ย 

*Sample obtained by me. Pic from Barneys. Paulette Goddard pic from I’ve been waiting forever to use that pic.


31 thoughts on “Malle Dries Van Noten EDP Perfume Review

    1. I could smell the disgusting.
      My thought is that maybe there is a % of something natural, like sandalwood that for whatever reason does not work on my skin at all. It’s a shame because I have sniffed it on others and it was creamy/soft/sweet.

      Oh, well. I guess I’ve some money ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Yeah, it’s on downers. And this surprised me.
      But, seriously this was Turkish bakery garbage on me.
      I think they took Dries’ aesthetic too literal. Throw in some saffron to look exotic, sandalwood to look soft…

  1. Funny how skin chemistry works. I won a sample of this from a perfume blog and it was just sickeningly sweet on me, like some cheap teenage girl body spray. Not what I want to smell or smell like, but at least it wasn’t rotting garbage on me!

    1. I wish a chemist or somebody would try to explain it to me.

      The dry-down was like that on me (like a tub of store bought frosting) but everyone within 2 feet on me kept commenting on the “rot” smell.

    1. Disappointing to me as well. I love the Malle line but something was wrong with this one on me.
      I think I’ll try it again in a few months and see if it was a “me” thing or maybe it does better in cold weather. But honestly, I’d rather have a bottle of Portrait of a Lady and just forget about this one.

      1. I’m super duper late to the party, having just rediscovered the world of perfumes a couple weeks ago, but I’m so happy to have stumbled onto your most awesome blog! I also LOVE Portrait of a Lady, bought a FB and I am in love, it is my JAM!!! Dries Van Noten is rapidly heading into FB territory for me too, so sorry it didn’t work out for you :-/

        1. I love the Malle line and there are plenty of others that are for me, so I don’t mourn the Dries van Noten one ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. I`ve always been very skeptic about skin chemistry and its ability to change perfume wearing, until, after trying hundreds of fragrances I`ve had a similar experience to yours. It is really bumming, especially when its an actually good fragrance. Dries Van Notten actually disappointed me a bit. I was expecting a much richer fragrance from the notes I’ve read, so I could indulge in it during winter. On me it was light sugary vanilla with sansalwood and a bit “lemonish”. Not the Bee`s Knees in my opinion.

    1. Yep, it seems the more you sample and wear on skin the more you see this happening. From the comments, it seems that all of us have some “rancid” perfume experiences with a perfume that actually smells excellent on others and even on paper.

      That’s what a few other fragrance friends have told me. They found it lackluster and not as exotic as they expected. I say if one doesn’t work for us or wow us, there’s one out there that will. So keep on keep’n on!

  3. This happened to me with the new Le Labo chypre–which I’d been so excited to try. It just smelled horrible on me. I asked my perfumista companion, “Is it my nose?” She sniffed my hand and said, “No. It’s terrible.” But I’ve been wondering if this has something to do with modern synthetics. Does this happen with vintage perfumes? Yes, we didn’t always agree on whether we liked the smell (some of which could be due to smell perception, like I’m one of those Shalimar haters), but I don’t remember perfumes actually changing so drastically on application in this way. I’m actually married to a chemist, so I’ll ask him and see what he thinks. (I know that he does believe we can become hypernosmic to ingredients, which explains the spike up the nose effect for some of us of certain synthetic woods.)

    1. This seems to be something that has happened to all of us.
      With this one, it wasn’t just my perception but others thought it was gross. And then another person could wear the same perfume and it smelled all creamy-cozy-sweet. So, like you said it’s more than just taste. This is the same perfume but it went “rancid” on me.

      I don’t know about vintage vs. non-vintage. But, I do know that with all naturals that sometimes certain people seem to “emphasize” certain notes with their skin so they seem to wear differently on different people (but rarely ever “gross”, just different like more floral instead of woodsy and vice versa).

      I’d love to know what he thinks. I’m guessing (as someone with no background in chemistry) that factors like hormones, diet and medicines could play a role. And possible these compounds could change the aroma compounds? I mean, I used to not believe it but I do now. Something from the same bottle was awful on me and creamy-delicious on someone else. There’s something to it.

  4. Dries was very very nice on me…but I know what you mean. I have this issue with Chanel no. 19. It is fabulous on everyone else. On me it is incredibly vile. I have had people not believe me, but then after I put it on, they encourage me to wash it off! Sorry it didn’t work on you.

    1. I know that it can be very nice because I’ve smelled it on others and it was very nice.

      Oh, I used to think that when something was gross on me that my nose was “broken”. I thought it was my perception, but then I’d have others sniff it and their opinion was often more negative than my own! Like with this one, wash off requests were given ๐Ÿ™‚ And this is why I now believe in the skin chemistry thing. Before I used to think it was personal perception but I don’t think that is always the case. Sometimes bad is just bad.

  5. Dude, that sucks. DvN is one of my favorite releases of 2013. But, when it’s wrong it’s wrong and you can’t change it. I’m still mad that The Smell of Weather Turning smells like a magical mint lightning-struck meadow on everyone else and smells like burnt rubber on me.

    1. I don’t think this one is terrible…just terrible on me. I wrote this as the friendly reminder that we have to try on our skin before we buy. You don’t know what could happen.

      Burnt rubber? I’m sure there’s a market for that…for the race car driver wannabes.

  6. I’m still laughing! My best one was my dh walking into the living room and saying: “Did one of the kittens take a shit in here?” We foster cats and the answer was no. Well, I’ve not worn that one around him. This has a likeness to Un Bois Vanille? Really? I have that one and really like it.

    1. OMG. I’m still laughing about that. Sounds just like my husband.

      Un Bois Vanille is much drier and less sweet but I could see how one could like both of these. They have more going on than many vanillas out there. This reminds me that Un Bois Vanille is on my to-buy list.

    1. Yep. I tried another manufacturer’s boxed sample and sprayed from the tester at the store. I don’t get along with this one. And I accept this fact.
      ^I really should add to my review that this is a review from 2 manufacturer’s samples and then from the tester at Barneys.

    1. I thought I could use my olfactory assault onto other people as a PSA. I’m happy you found it amusing because it was amusing to me as well.

  7. I’ve has this happen to me more than once so I can sympathize. Perfumes are like people, sometimes no matter what you do one of them is just not going to like you.

    1. True. And I’m fine with it.
      It’s like with people. For every person that you dislike or find annoying, there is someone that loves them for who they are. It all evens out in the end ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Poor dear. Sorry this didn’t work for you at all. I didn’t mind it so much, but it wasn’t anything that I needed. But DVN seems to be a love it or hate it scent for sure… you just got the wrong end of the stick!

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