The Night by Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle (2014) is more or less a halo perfume in the same way Clive Christian No 1. (2001) once was, the most expensive and exclusive perfume using the rarest materials (or what the house claims to be the rarest), offering the most opulent experience possible from the brand. In this case, Frédéric Malle released an entire collection of such fragrances called "The Desert Collection", no doubt to court the disposable income of royal families that still rule much of the Middle East, by influence of government if not directly in monarchy. This collection represents ingredients precious to the area, and uses a high quotient of naturals, even though it still goes through IFF perfumers and processes, in this case being Dominique Ropion. Of the collection, The Night is the most expensive at about $1,600 for 100ml, and likely one of the most expensive niche perfumes on the planet period, outside of royal-serving Middle Eastern perfumers like Spirit of Dubai or ridiculous bespoke creations. For the kind of money spent on The Night, you could easily furnish a wardrobe completely, or at least snatch several standard Malle fragrances in one go. As for oud connoisseurs, this may scratch the itch if you're into very barnyardy Indian ouds, but they tend to prefer more authentic attars than alcohol-based French interpretations. The rich collectors of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle are the likely buyers outside of said Arab royalty.
The opening is a huge kick to the face of pure animalic Indian oud, smelling like unwashed gym shorts and grated hard cheeses mixed with post-coitus glow. I imagine for some people this smells better than any amount of pretty flowers or aromatic mosses, but clearly it is not for everyone. If you're someone who has trouble even with things like Montale Black Aoud (2006), you definitely can't handle this. The nastiness does eventually calm down, especially as Turkish rose and saffron enter the picture. It's at this point that I realize Ropion has made a sequel to Portrait of a Lady (2010), something he would seemingly do again for another Desert Collection entry called Promise (2017), which is cypriol based rather than built on oud. The frankincense and real mysore sandalwood accent the oud and rose, but sneakily in the mix are some filler materials like various woody amber notes and some leathery compounds plus a bit of patchoulol too. Add some missing civet and you'd get Oudh Infini by Parfums Dusita (2015), which while still terribly expensive, gets you in the same ballpark for a third of the price, and is more complex to boot. Diptyque Oud Palao (2015) will also do ya just fine too, even though it is softer, more ambery, and less strong. Overall, The Night remains pretty linear with the oud, rose, and oriental woody base until the end, unrelenting in longevity but surprisingly not a projection beast past 3 hours. My imagination places wearing this to bed with someone you're rapturously smitten by just before embracing in passionate lovemaking, but perhaps that's just my love of animalic fragrances talking.
I'm not going to seriously suggest where you'd use something that costs more per ounce than some top shelf wines or scotches, but I am going to say for the real hardcore oud lovers, you can do better with artisanal oud distillers like Russian Adam, Ensar Oud, Sultan Pasha, and others who deliver pretty much what this does but with a wider palette of oud flavors. You'll arguably get less liquid for more money, but we're talking attars here so a handful of them is a lifetime supply anyway, plus you get the satisfaction of helping small business as opposed to lining the corporate coffers of Malle or IFF. I am still shocked and surprised that "big fragrance" suppliers can still manage to procure the ingredients and have the hands to develop perfumes like this, not that I'm besmirching Ropion, but he works with aromachemicals and mass-appeal designer or luxe-niche fragrances all day, so who knew he could make a whopper like this? The Night is limited edition, on top of the price, and it's no doubt because of the supply of ingredients needed, but isn't musky Indian oud considered among the more common varieties of natural oud oils out there? Another one to consider is Montale Aoud Cuir dArabie (2006), which dispenses with the rose but does the Indian barnyard oud style with a twist of leather similar to this. Overall, you gotta like stanky ouds to like The Night, and have to be a Fortune 500 CEO to afford a bottle, but if you want the real deal in a French alcohol-based format, there aren't many options out there that aren't insanely expensive, so I can't find much fault. Thumbs up
This is a tough one to review. I purchased a 3ml decant and am wearing exactly one spritz as I type this. IMO this is the most glorious Oud scent in my collection. I am riding a thoroughbred race hose, that has been working up a lather for the last 24 hours. The scent is rugged, yet reserved. This scent is NOT a Montale Rose/Oud. This scent is NOT an Oudh 36 Nuit. Those scents slap you in the kisser. This scent takes both of your ears and pulls you in close. This is NOT the scent of a gentleman. This is a scent of a hero with more than a few rough edges. If I had unlimited funds, I would mos def purchase the largest bottle of this juice I could find and seriously consider abandoning every other bottle in my collection...and I have some really nice scents. What a work of art this perfume is. I am damn-near speechless.
Update: Just scored a 90% full, 3.4oz bottle for 1/2 retail cost. :-)
Update 2.0: I am loving this perfume with all of my being. Indeed, I just received a 1ml vial of Cambodiya Oud Oil from Oudimentary and want to tell you that the Frederic Malle is 2x as potent and room-filling as compared to the oud oil. The Night is my most prized bottles and every time I spray it, I am transported...
The Night has furry,personable aspects that do smell for luck of a better word like an animal,the kind of enigmatic furry creature that skulks around in the shadows,marks it's territory,and slinks back into the Night fur shimmering and eyes gleaming.It's a classic refined oud blend that's not as offensive yes It's pungent strong but all in a timid manner compared to other Arabian oils that is.The oud and rose are distinct and raw,with an skanky animalistic leather lifting the whole frag to where it needs to be.the oud is certainly a synthetic interpretation but doesn't hide from it's natural origins.It smells exactly like some guy's leather jacket with a touch of his girlfriend's perfume lingering around the collar.an extremely dark manly scent. definitely not a blind buy.
Adorned with a wonderful Indian Oud note, The Night is a brilliant take on the classic rose/oud combo. It's quite refined, though full of the cheesy/barnyard notes that oud connoisseurs will recognize from a certain distillation process of oud(sometimes with mild fermentation). This is a great crossover scent for the luxurious lovers of East-meets-West opulence.
Many Westerners will find it too loud and beastly, many serious oud connoisseurs will find it overly-indebted to the POAL base.
The price is absolutely obnoxious but I'd wear it if I had it!
Intensely rubbery and faecal for about 30 minutes so that you wince then settles into a rapidly dwindling mild Oud.
And to think this is the same brand that came up with the stunning French Lover.
Who would have thought.
Promise has no clear application apart from perhaps an oddity in the Tate Modern and Moon is redundant.
Someone at FM has lost the plot.
So, I managed to get my hands on a little sample of the hyper-limited extrait version of The Night. It's quite nice, but not possibly worth the price.
It goes in with a nice, realistic oud, lightly rubbery and a pinch fecal. It's quickly overtaken by what amounts to the standard mix of ingredients western brands usually use to simulate oud: saffron, rosy patchouli, sandalwood, and some artificial oud for good measure. This stage is nice enough, but very familiar from a lot of westernized oud perfumes. The smell over the course of the day is a long, slow fade from the western ingredients down to the lingering natural oud.
As a $300 exclusif, this would be accurately priced considering the market, but I just can't imagine paying $2000 for this. But it's still a nice perfume, so thumbs up.