Frédéric Malle’s Synthetic Jungle (2021): Bright & Lush, Mysterious & Provocative
The master perfumer’s latest creation with Anne Flipo is an intriguing frolick in a spicy, verdant botanic garden.
Bright and lush, mysterious and provocative, Synthetic Jungle is a stylized landscape in technicolor greens. An ode to cult perfumes of the 1970s, Synthetic Jungle offers a modern vision of nature reimagined. Flipo retained the opulent basil of the original composition, along with a recomposed bouquet of hyacinth, lily of the valley, natural jasmine, and Ylang Ylang oil.
“When one smells Synthetic Jungle, it feels like a civilized, stylized Jungle”
To modernize and sharpen, she then added synthetic black currant and styralyl acetate, effectively putting the bouquet through a glossy, sparkling filter. Flipo simplified the Chypre and leather notes, resulting in a cleaner, more streamlined accord. Finally, she added patchouli.
Below, Malle provides a little insight into the creation of Synthetic Jungle.
You’ve mentioned that you wanted to create a green perfume for the longest time. Since scent and memories are so intertwined, what are your earliest and most significant memories of nature in your life?
I suppose that it’s cut grass in Biarritz, but it could also be the smell of the woods in autumn in the north of France. I’m not very good with knowing which of these comes first as childhood is a long kingdom without any order as far as I’m concerned.
Among the major perfumes of the 1970s, you adore two fragrances: Chanel N19 and Estee Lauder’s Private Collection. You suggested to Anne to work from Private Collection to create Synthetic Jungle. What aspects of Private Collection did you like and which aspects did you remove?
Most of Private Collection was eliminated to keep just a very short, green accord, which was sitting in the middle of this formula as an overlooked gem. It was mainly composed of basil, galbanum, and hyacinth. From there, we composed a more floral perfume, adding an enormous amount of Lily of the Valley, blackcurrant, and jasmine. We made this complex floral green accord more carnal by adding a leathery accord, mostly made of patchouli.
Imagine a day or night in the life of a man that wears Synthetic Jungle. When in the day or night would he choose to put on this scent, what will he be wearing, where would he be going and what will he be doing?
Although this perfume was designed mostly for women, some men elect to use it already. Most of them being great art collectors. They are free with their own very specific style, so it’s difficult to create a stereotype for this very unique perfume.
Which fragrances do you personally wear these days?
I go from Geranium pour Monsieur to Vetiver Extraordinaire, but sometimes I’ll use Monsieur, French Lover, or Bigarade. The first two are my every day.