Frederic Malle Angeliques sous la Pluie ~ fragrance review

Frederic Malle Angeliques sous la Pluie

While the rest of the nation has suffered from heat, we’ve had moderate temperatures and summer rain. I’m not talking about the wild, ozonic thunderstorms that erupt late afternoons in the eastern states. (How I miss them and fireflies.) I mean cold rain that eases earthy smells from the city, while soft, warm air pillows its splatter. In other words, it’s been perfect weather for Frédéric Malle Angéliques sous la Pluie.

Angéliques sous la Pluie was part of Frédéric Malle’s initial release of perfumes in 2000. Among the house’s line, Angéliques sous la Pluie doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention. I think it’s worth a second look.

Iconic nose Jean-Claude Ellena created Angéliques sous la Pluie, adding notes of angelica leaves, juniper berries, coriander, musk, and sweet cedar. In Perfumes: The A – Z Guide, Luca Turin compares Angéliques sous la Pluie to a wormwood-based Swiss liqueur, and not favorably. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a Swiss liqueur, so that comparison doesn’t prejudice my opinion.

To me, Angéliques sous la Pluie is all about texture. The fragrance kicks off with an assertive pepper tinged with fusty coriander and gin-like juniper. This is the part that reminds me of the rain. It is bitter, sharp, and cool. The coriander dirties it, separating the fragrance from the opening of peppery colognes like Marc Jacobs Bang. At this point, Angéliques sous la Pluie smells traditionally masculine. But what sets the fragrance apart from other peppery colognes is what happens in the next fifteen minutes. A warm, round musk accented with sweet wood fluffs up Angéliques sous la Pluie, changing its character completely. The musk isn’t clean like laundry or dirty like perspiration, but is the classic, sweet musk that made Jovan famous. Except that there’s no way you’d mistake it for Jovan.

This musky, woody landing is similar to what sets a summer rain apart from a long, drizzly winter — and believe me, living where I do I know what I’m talking about. In winter when it rains, you’re simply cold and perpetually damp. Bare trees are hung with wet-black branches, and the world seems cement gray from street to sky. In summer, warm air lightens and softens the rain. Raindrops feel rounder. They fall on full-blown roses and absorb into humid asphalt. The play of sharp, dry pepper against gentle, sweet woody musk is nice to smell but even more wonderful to feel, just like a late July rain.

Angéliques sous la Pluie is a refreshing, quiet fragrance that lasts about half a day on my skin. Ideally, I’d spray myself liberally with it before I left for work, then punch up its musky side with a spritz of, oh, L’Artisan Parfumeur Dzing! or even Worth Courtesan for evening. I’ve been enjoying wearing Angéliques sous la Pluie again and again over the past few days. I know full-on summer is coming soon, though, and Angéliques sous la Pluie will get pushed back on the shelf until that special time of year when it again feels so right.

Frédéric Malle Angéliques sous la Pluie comes in a set of three 10 ml travel sprays ($90), or in 50 ml ($125) or 100 ml ($180) spray bottles, or a 250 ml splash bottle ($330). For information on where to buy Angéliques sous la Pluie, see Frédéric Malle under Perfume Houses.

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52 Comments

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  1. I love this fragrance, it is truly a masterpiece fragrance in my book. It would be HG scent for me if it only lasted more than one hour on me. The longest I could get it to last was 2 hours. You are so right about the musk, it is the perfect musk – not the dreaded bug spray at all. I cannot justify owning a FB due to the lasting power, so I just keep a small decant for those early fall days here in the northeast when I just have to have a hit!

    • Angela says:

      Wouldn’t it be nice to be rich enough to have a shelf full of the 250-ml bottles? Then you could fill up an atomizer–heck, use an old windex bottle–and spray it all over all the time.

  2. austenfan says:

    This, together with En Passant, was the first Malle I bought 2 years ago. This spring I got a bottle of Thérèse, and there are a few more that I would not mind owning. ( of the Malles I mean)
    Angéliques is one of those wonderfully quitet scents, without being a wallpaper scent at all. I really really like it.
    Thank you for a wonderful review.

    • Angela says:

      I do love the Frederic Malle line. I have a 10-ml travel spray of Carnal Flower, this one, and small decants of a few others (including Parfum de Therese), but I long for a bottle of Dans Tes Bras. And Iris Poudre. And Fleur de Cassie….

      • Filomena says:

        Angela,
        A lovely review of Angeliques. I have to agree with your Malle choices. I like quite a few of them. The first one I ever purchased years ago before I knew anything about the line was En Passant, but went on to many others, including Angeliques. I do love Carnal Flower, Therese’, Noir Epices, Leau d’Iver, Musc Ravangeur, etc. but somehow seem to neglect Angeliques even though I have a small bottle. When I do remember to spritz myself with it, I am always delighted and vow to wear it more often…it is like the quiet one, until you wear it for a few hours and then grow to love it. However, one of my absolute favorites of the Malle line is Dans Tes Bras, although that one always seemed to be much maligned by reviewers. As much as I love Carnal Flower, if I had to choose only one, it would be Dans Tes Bras.

        • Angela says:

          I’m so glad to hear you like Dans tes Bras! You’re right, it doesn’t seem to get a lot of love, but I find it compelling. Someday I’ll have a bottle of it.

    • boojum says:

      Those were my first two as well, though I followed up with a decant of L’Eau d’Hiver instead. :)

      • Angela says:

        A pretty nice choice!

      • austenfan says:

        When I bought Thérèse I used the opportunity to try Portrait of a Lady, L’Eau d’Hiver, Carnal Flower, Noir Epices and Vétiver Extraordinaire. Like Angéliques, L’Eau has a way of sneeking up on you. I found it a very subtly sexy scent, and one I wouldn’t mind owning a bottle of.

        • Angela says:

          It’s a good one, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t mind a bottle, either.

  3. TallulahRose says:

    A Swiss wormwood-based liqueur? That would be Absinthe. Funny, because there are several absinthe perfumes out there, and this creation is missing many of the herbal notes that you find in a true (Swiss) absinthe, so I don’t get the comparison.

    Angèliques Sous La Pluie is lovely, and not reminiscent of absinthe (which smells pretty good, btw).

    • Angela says:

      Turin mentions a liqueur called “Génépy” and says it is “pleasant, peppery-herbaceous” and does mention wormwood as part of it. I’ve never tried Génépy, but I’ve had a little absinthe here and there and agree this doesn’t smell like that.

    • austenfan says:

      Génépi is not Swiss per se. It’s made in the Savoie region in France, which has changed hands quite a few times in the past, and borders Switzerland and Italy. There are a lot of different kinds of Génépi, and different kinds of wormwood are used for them.
      Also he compares the smell of Angéliques to the wormwood used and not to the liqueur.
      As I have never smelled wormwood I don’t know whether to agree or disagree with the comparison.

      • Angela says:

        Thanks for the info! Where I grew up, a weed we used to call wormwood grew wild, but I don’t know if it’s the same plant. It had a tart and sour smell, if I remember right.

      • TallulahRose says:

        Genepi? The EU “appellation” system only protects Genepi which comes from the Val d’Aoste and Piemonte. So, it is neither Swiss, nor French, but northern Italian. (There is probably some made in Savoie too, but it’s not the real stuff according to the EU).

        BTW: The House of Savoy is fascinating; their seat was in Turin (briefly in Chambery, in France), and they tried to capture Geneva, and briefly held a chateau in Vaud, the Genevans drove them out. It’s a feat Genevans celebrate every year — La Mère Royaume and her cauldron of boiling vegetable soup having done the trick according to legend. NOT being part of Savoy is something the Swiss are very proud of! (I live in Geneva)

        • austenfan says:

          The Italian Genepi 9 of the Valle d’Aosta is the only protected by an AOC ( or the Italian equivalent of that). Which does not follow that there is only Italian Genepi. Only that the French version does not have the Protected Geographical Status.
          Which makes sense, as you get loads and loads of different kinds of locally produced French Génépi in the Alps.

          • Angela says:

            You two are very smart about your liquor. Just the kind of people I like to know.

        • austenfan says:

          Sorry, I realise that I am kind of repeating your comment, which is very remiss and silly of me.
          Apparently Genepi, or the making of it is not as protected as say with Cognac, or Champagne. So local variants can still be sold as Genepi.

          Have you ever tasted it? I rather like it, especially on a cold day.

          • Angela says:

            I don’t know about Tallulah Rose, but now I’m committed to trying some some day!

        • Angela says:

          Fascinating! I love learning about things like this, and who wouldn’t love a story featuring a scalding cauldron of soup? Thanks for the info.

  4. Tamara says:

    I’ve never tried this scent Angela but being in Snohomish,Wa. I know exactly what you meant about the different kinds of rain and the way it provokes all those types of feelings about it! I love the way you write.<3 Being in weather the way we are helps that creativity I think.
    Nobody can appreciate and loathe rain at the same time the way Pacific Northwesterners can! lol ;) This summer has thoroughly confused my senses. None of my perfumes feel right. And I couldn't sleep all last night- my hands and wrists ached so bad. I should have known-I woke up to the rain falling on the roof ……

    • Angela says:

      Your hands ache in the rain? Oh boy, living in Snohomish you must go through a lot of advil!

      I woke up to thunder at 5 this morning. It poured outside. Where the H-E-double-hockey-sticks is our summer?!

      • 50_Roses says:

        I think your summer is here in Texas. We have really had a double dose of it this year–withering heat and practically no rain for the last 8 or 9 months. We just got back from a vacation through Texas and New Mexico, and everywhere we went it was over 100 F and dry as dust. It was actually a relief to think we were coming back to where it is “only” in the high 90’s.

  5. AnnS says:

    I love the smell the earth gives up when it’s very hot and dry and then the rain comes along. I was in eastern Washington state once when a big rain came up in the high desert heat. There is nothing like it! We are finally breaking from the excessive heat over here in the NE with a nice drizzle today, so I have rain on my mind too. (And when I lived in PDX, I missed great thunderstorms, fireflies, *and* red cardinals and good deli sandwiches!) I’ve never tested ASLP, but it sounds like I should. Thanks for another great review. Just the other day I was contemplating why someone hasn’t made a cologne that smells like Tanqueray gin. I love juniper berry. Ah, now you are making my mind wander some more: once I was very lucky to sip junipero in Bassano Italy. Nice relief from the heat too.

    • Angela says:

      Oh yes, cardinals! I miss those, too, now that you bring them up.

      A gin and tonic cologne would be very nice. I bet lots of people would sniff about us appreciatively.

  6. Tamara says:

    Gone baby gone….might as well hope for an Indian summer at best!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I’m with Turin: I would rather drink Angeliques than wear it. I haven’t tasted wormwood liqueur either, but ASLP reminds me of a bracing gin cocktail. And now I really want a Gin and Tonic to cut through the New York summer heat!

    • Angela says:

      There’s too much musk happening for me to confuse it with a gin cocktail, but it might be my over familiarity with gin talking….

    • AnnS says:

      I feel the same about Chanel No 18 – it is so herbal to me. It smells like a digestif.

      • Angela says:

        Gosh, you guys are making me thirsty!

      • Joe says:

        Ann, that is so interesting to me because 18 to me is totally floral. (Hello, by the way!)

        • AnnS says:

          Well hello to you too! For as much as I love roses, I don’t get one stitch from No 18. I retest it every few months or so, and it just never works. It’s baffling. Just cold, bitter herbs.

  8. cinnamonster says:

    Angela-I think Demeter do a gin and tonic scent.

    • Angela says:

      Hey, thanks! I’ll check it out.

    • AnnS says:

      Oh – I’ll have to check that out too!

  9. Amanda says:

    I had a sample right next to me so I got to ‘follow along’ with the notes as the opened up while reading, I wish i could do that with every fragrance bc it just made my day. Totally apt review and helped me notice individual notes that i may have jumbled together were they not pointed out! AND weirdly enough when i was about to spritz my left hand, i was like, ohhh wait i hit that with Dzing this morning, better to the right hand! And then you mentioned Dzing so I could experience that too right away! Its a sign I need to buy this…. Everything is always a sign I need to buy a perfume….

    • Angela says:

      That sounds like fun–following the review with an actual sample. Isn’t the musk and sweet wood nice?

      I see a lot of things as perfume signs when I’m in that frame of mind, sadly.

  10. Tama says:

    I went through a mad Malle testing period a few weeks ago when I was preparing myself for him being in town. I know this one was one I liked, but it didn’t seem to “go all the way” for me and I wonder if it is the musk. I am a bit anosmic, so next time I try it I will see if I can pick the musk out. I wound up with a bottle of l’Eau d’Hiver, which was the sleeper dark horse (I was mostly comparing Iris Poudre and Parfum de Therese). Mr. Malle was quite charming and dapper, and since it was a Q & A session, a number of topics were touched on.

    Lovely review, as always.

    • Angela says:

      I’m so jealous! That really sounds like fun.

      Really, I wouldn’t mind a bottle of every one of the Malles.

  11. nozknoz says:

    In principle I want one or two FMs, but I can never decide, although I do have several of those 10 ml vials rustled up from ebay. Every time I’m about to pick as my FB, I change my mind.

    Le Parfum de Therese and Lys Mediterranee are the current leaders – to me the most wearable – but the other day I just HAD to get out my decant of POAL. I also like Une Fleur de Cassie but I find it a bit hard. His perfumes are very dense – almost masculine – wonder if I’d prefer dabbing them….

    • Angela says:

      Dabbing is a good idea. A lot of the perfumes are definitely intense–but that’s good!

  12. Haunani says:

    Thanks for the review, Angela. I remember liking this one a lot, and need to give it another test drive. I now have decants or travel sprays of my favorite Malles, which are Une Rose, En Passant, Dans Tes Bras, and Carnal Flower. My newest love from the line is Geranium Pour Monsieur, which seemed perfect for our hot and dry summer weather. Might need a bottle of that one some day! Here’s hoping that August brings some real summer to the NW!

    • Angela says:

      How did I forget about Une Rose? A great one.

      Thanks for your wishes for the NW! It rained again today. I just don’t get it.

  13. Joe says:

    Hi there, Angela. I agree with those who have longevity problems, and Angeliques is also a bit too quiet on me, though I really enjoy it when first applied. You’re correct about that juniper/gin note being so delicious. I also hadn’t noticed the musk in particular, but maybe I wasn’t looking for it… what I was appreciating in this was the soft herbal quality.

    Since I really have to drench myself in this one to enjoy it, unfortunately it’s not going on any wish list.

    • Angela says:

      I guess the dream would be to have the jumbo bottle and just splash it on whenever you pass it. But until my ship comes in, that won’t happen.

  14. latoureiffel says:

    Hi Angela,
    I also happened to have a sample of Angeliques in hand and tried it after a long pause. Suddenly I thought it reminded me of Cartier Declaration that a close one used to wear a very long time ago. Is my nose / olfactive memory completely lost :-) ? I did briefly google Declaration and saw that it is also by Ellena at least.

    • Angela says:

      That’s interesting! I haven’t tried Declaration in ages, but now I want to wear them side by side.

  15. Olfacta says:

    When I read or hear “Nobody’s making good perfume any more” I think of the Malle fragrances (and the Tauers and PG and some others). I tried this awhile back and it was fleeting on me but your commentary makes me want to try it again.

    • Angela says:

      The Malle line really stands above most perfume out there, I think.

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