50ml eau de parfum bottle of Portrait of a Lady by Frederick Malle

Portrait of a Lady perfume

Meaning of sillage

There is an expression in perfume called “sillage” which refers to the aura or trail created by perfume when it is worn on the skin. Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle certainly creates a stunning, profound sillage and it is often accompanied by a question “what is that perfume?”

Portrait of a Lady is a niche perfume that through its “projection effect” has become one of the most desired fragrances. It is a must-smell, and a must-have.

Portrait of a Lady is perhaps Dominique Ropion’s most sublime achievement. His creation is “old school” using fabulous tried and tested perfume standards such as an overdose of the finest Turkish rose, 400 flowers per 100ml bottle no less, patchouli, and other exotics.

Turkish Rose blossom used to make essential oil for Portrait of a Lady by Frederick Malle eau de parfum

The clever part is how to blend these with the addition of:-

Sandalwood, frankincense, clove, black current and raspberry to make Portrait of a Lady perfume one of the most outstanding and most recognised fragrances in the World.

List of top, middle & base notes used in Portrait of a Lady by Frederick Malle eau de parfum

It burst onto the perfume stage in 2010, in a low key bottle, that in its time was revolutionary, focusing on the perfume rather than the packaging. 

Men, don't be scared off by the name unless you're of the 'real men don't wear rose' school. As others have noted, all of Frederic Malle's fragrances are what most perfumers would call unisex, the name "Portrait of a Lady" refers to the Henry James novel, not to the niche fragrance.

Frederick Malle Portrait of a Lady, 50ml - £165