One of the things that has happened over the last twenty years is I have become a fan of green perfumes. What that means is intense biting fragrances featuring vegetal smelling ingredients. The perfume I credit with putting me on this path is Chanel No. 19. The mixture of florals and green remains one of my favorites. It was with interest when I was watching the video announcing Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Synthetic Jungle that perfume was mentioned as a starting point. Creative director Frederic Malle uses Chanel No. 19 and Este Lauder Private Collection as inspirations for this new fragrance. He asked perfumer Anne Flipo to find the best of those and use it to synthesize a new modern green perfume.
What the video goes onto say is M. Malle wanted a perfume of galbanum and sap like those two earlier perfumes. What Mme Flipo took was to make that fresher in effect. More akin to 2021 trends instead of the 1970’s when both of the inspirations were released.
The concept of galbanum and sap comes right away. Using galbanum and blackcurrant bud. The latter has a very sticky green reminiscent of sticky sap. It also is an ingredient which perches on a knife edge at the concentration where that becomes apparent. When it goes just a bit too far it smells like a well-used urinal. When it is just right as it is here it exudes this green matrix for others to imprint themselves upon. Mme Flipo slides an equal concentration of galbanum into it. This would be extremely intense if not for the third piece of the top accord. Basil adds its own vegetal verve as it lightens up these intense greens with its own unique freshness.
The heart accord of florals is led by the fresh green of muguet. This carries an expansiveness which contrasts the darker green of the top accord. It is made fuller by adding in some jasmine and ylang ylang. Muguet can be inconsequential sometimes. The supporting florals provide some spine to it, allowing it to stand up to the top accord. At this point I compared it to the inspiration perfumes. Synthetic Jungle is fresher and lighter. Not transparent just a lot less intense than those 1970’s powerhouse florals.
The base accord required a shift of thinking because Mme Flipo couldn’t create the leathery chypre of the inspirations. There are two choices use the atranol-free oakmoss and add something back to create the lost bite. The other option which she chooses is to create a modern chypre using the modern source of oakmoss and patchouli. This creates an abstraction of a chypre accord. It was here where this made me realize the entire composition was an abstraction of those 1970’s inspiration.
Synthetic Jungle has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
While I have enjoyed many of the current releases from this brand it has been years since I have been as engaged as I was with Synthetic Jungle. It does exactly what they wanted by taking the best of the past to make a perfume of today.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.