M.Micallef Le Parfum Denis Durand Couture: The Oud That Wasn’t There


That day my morning started at 6:30, a good three hours before my comfort waking-up time and at least ninety minutes before I force myself into the regular work day, with a call from the office. While I was trying to ascertain the problem and decide who else to wake up, with a sudden clarity I realized what was that pleasant scent that haunted me from the sleeve of my bathrobe for a couple of days:
Le Parfum Denis Durand Couture by M.Micallef.

A PR person of M.Micalef brand had contacted me several times in the past offering samples for the review. I truthfully explained that I did not do actual reviews, even for perfumes I liked, if they din’t come with a story – and I never knew when (or even if) I’d think of one. But they still kept sending me samples that didn’t speak to me (even though I liked some of the perfumes). So when they’ve announced M.Micallef’s release of Le Parfum Couture Denis Durand and suggested to contact them for a sample I decided not to – since I felt bad enough not writing anything yet.

But I got Le Parfum Denis Durand Couture sample from the company anyway. I avoided reviews that started to appear on the blogs until I could try that perfume (sorry, guys and girls – in case you wondered why I didn’t comment).

When Le Parfum Couture arrived, I sprayed it, sniffed and told to myself: This is how agarwood perfume should be done! Not too much, not too sweet – just right.

The Oud That Wasnt There

How do you feel when you do a blind sniff, clearly smell some note but later find out the perfume doesn’t contain it? Since I don’t think much of my nose I don’t get upset when it happens. I was rather surprised – not as surprised as when I actually get the note right (then I feel both surprised and proud of myself) but still.

When I started reading other bloggers’ reviews, I discovered that I wasn’t alone: many reviewers reported smelling agarwood (oud) in Le Parfum Denis Durand Couture. If you haven’t read theories/explanations on what we all smelled in the perfume, I recommend reading the first two links below and choose which explanation works for you.

What I want to point out is that for all intents and purposes we can say that Le Parfum Denis Durand Couture has agarwood among its notes. How did I figure? Most modern perfumes do not use real agarwood anyway (as well as many other real notes but it’s a different story) so who’s to say that this aroma chemical or accord is less oud than any other one if we all smell it like such?

I wish I could take a picture of Rusty with that beautiful black-laced bottle. Maybe one day I will since I like Le Parfum Denis Durand Couture a lot. But for now I’ll leave you with a picture of a sample vial – one of the 10 that you can win if you live in the U.S. (thanks to Jeffrey Dame at Hypoluxe, an official representative of M.Micallef in the U.S.).

Micallef Denis Durand Parfum Couture Vial

To be eligible for the draw all you need to do is to leave a message saying that you live in the U.S. before 11:59PM on Sunday, July 21. You do not have to write anything else (but do not stop yourself if you do have what to say). I’ll choose winners using some random method.

Read actual reviews of Le Parfum Denis Durand Couture by M.Micallef:

Ca Fleure Bon, Now Smell This, That Smell, Kafkaesque, Chemist in the Bottle, The Scented Hound, Perfume Project NW, The French Exit, The Non-Blonde.


111 thoughts on “M.Micallef Le Parfum Denis Durand Couture: The Oud That Wasn’t There

  1. I’m glad you liked Denis Durand Couture. It’s a lovely perfume and I agree, an oud in perfect amount.

    I love the picture you’ve composed!
    Looks like a poster for a cool movie!


  2. That is a great poster. :) I haven’t smelled this one, but since you have liked it, I will next time I see it. No need to enter me in the draw.


  3. For some reason, most of the Micallef fragrances just don’t appeal to me, including this one. I thought it would be up my alley given all of the great reviews and the fact that I like both oud and big dark fragrances, but there is something in the base of this one that is just beastly on me and I couldn’t wait to scrub it off both times I tried it. So far, the only Micallef fragrance that is “me” is Vanille Orient (which reminds me of Guerlain Spiriteuse Double Vanille, only I actually like Vanille Orient more than the Guerlain).

    Loved your movie inspired artwork for this!


    • Thank you, Suzanne! I enjoyed a lot making that “poster” :)

      It’s really strange how it works with perfumes: some leave us cold but with others something suddenly “clicks.” The only other perfume from the line I also lked so far was Royal Vintage – though I’ve tried just 7, I think.


  4. for me the Denis Durand Parfum Couture for Micallef never gets dirty or goes to the sticky, oily, black aoud direction. It stays elevated, smooth and clean and balanced, the florals diffusing and blending out the darker woody notes. It almost has a creamy character.


  5. Hi – I’d love the opportunity to win a sample of DD Le Parfum. I have a few perfumes by M. Micallef which I adore: Gaiac ( a gorgeous woody fragrance), Patchouli (so smooth and rich), Royal Muska (soft and very wearable musk).

    I’ve been very impressed with the craftsmanship of the fragrances by Martine Micallef.

    Thanks for the review!


  6. Interesting that you liked this one, as I associate your taste with green sort of elegant fragrances like No19 and Portrait of a Lady, but this one was animalic. Woof! (Not to startle Rusty.) So much so that I thought it was for the guys really.

    On the other hand, their guy perfume Royal Vintage is a winner on me. I agree with Parfumista. So with this brand I now ignore the gender recommendations.


    • Believe it or not, Rusty liked Le Parfum as well :) But, in general, you’re right: I’m more of a green-floral perfumes person.

      I like Royal Vintage on my vSO. I need to try it onmy skin again: maybe my vSO needs a bottle of it? (or should I try Le Parfum on him? ;) )


  7. Undina, as always, love your blog and the stories/reflections you share. I live here in the U.S.A and would love to try Le Parfum Denis Durand Couture by M.Micallef.


  8. I love your poster! Hilarious. I do live in the U.S.

    I see a lot of reviews for Micallef scents but have only tried one of them thus far… Ananda. It’s an intriguing one, it reminds me of something else I can’t put my fingers on yet.


  9. Dearest U
    Aren’t missing notes the oddest thing?
    I can clearly smell juniper in Hermes Voyage, but nowhere is it to be found in the official blurb, others have tried to convince me it’s cardamon but no I’m convinced and then I read a review or to from elsewhere sensing the same and I am relieved.
    So yes, I’ve walked this road too!
    This perfumed sounds more than intriguing, just when I thought we were all awearied of this great oud…
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy


    • I recently had a change of heart on Voyage d’Hermes: I used to like it (it was our shared scent with my vSO for travelling) but recently it started bothering me to the extent that I went scentless on a couple of the flights recently because I couldn’t bear the thought of wearing Voyage :( But maybe I need to smell it again – just to see if I detect juniper in there?


      • Dearest U
        So sad to travel scentless… time to find something new for you to voyage in.
        I like to wear Sisley’s Eau de Campagne as the galbanum serves to keep me cool while the intense greeness gives the illusion of out of doors.
        I hope you’re not off Hermes Voyage forever as I do think it has quite a lot to recommend it.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy


    • Oh yes, even my husband, who is not as versed in notes as us perfumistas, thought Voyage smelled like gin, so there you go.


  10. Enjoyed your post- and great poster lol! I’ve smelled only two from this line- Mon Parfum and Ananda..They smelled similar to each so now i don’t know if it is an ‘M.Micallef thing’ or if they are from the same ‘category’. They both smelled like very well done fruity florals though that is not a category I tend to gravitate towards. Now oud ..hmm…i’ll be curious to smell this.
    [I live in the U.S]


    • Thank you, Lavanya. I enjoyed working on that poster.

      I haven’t tried Mon Parfum yet so I don’t know about “the thing.” If you win the draw you’ll tell me if this one smells similar to your nose.


  11. Hello Undina! So when I was at Osswalds in early June, Le Parfum Denis Durand Couture was not yet available; however, I tried Vanille Orient and liked it quite a bit…except that I did not need another 100 mLs of anything…besides, I had my heart set on a Parfumerie Generale Indochine. In any case, I would love to be entered into the drawing for this and yes, I live in the good old U.S. of A.!

    P.S. Nice poster! I bought a T-shirt with the exact color combination on a recent vacation :-)


    • hajusuuri, you’re in the draw.

      Thank you but I cannot take credit for the color scheme since I was mimicing the original DVD cover for “The Man Who Wasn’t There” movie.


  12. I love the bottle for this one but, haven’t had a chance to try it except for a quick sniff on a paper strip. I recently tried Ylang in Gold, Vanille Cuir and Vanille Fleur of this line – all were nice but, nothing I needed to rush out and buy. Would love to try this one though and I have a US mailing address. Thanks for the draw!


    • Ylang Gold didn’t work for me. Vanille Cuir was my favorite from their four vanillas but not enough to want more. Le Parfum is the first one that make me thinking about a FB – and not because of the bottle.

      You are in the draw. Good luck!


  13. I’ve recently become a fan of Micallef; really enjoying Pomelos as a summer scent; it’s citrus done very well.

    I have to say Mr. Dame is very generous with these samples, and very nice to deal with.

    I live in the U.S.


    • I haven’t tried Pomelos yet but I will if I get a chance (it would be interesting to compare it to Jo Loves Pomelo).

      You’re in the draw (and I agree about Mr. Dame).


  14. I love the poster! Nice job, Undina! As for the perfume, I’m glad you like it. I didn’t think you would as the costus that is part of Synarome’s Animalis accord is actually quite… well…. animalic in its natural state, and I know how little you like that sort of thing. In fact, costus is actually a huge part of Opus VII with all the attending reasons why that one wasn’t your cup of tea. That said, the Denis Durand is a completely different scent, and I can see how the sweet oud would be your cup of tea. :) Was it as intensely and heavily oud in focus on you as it was on me, or did you get more of a balance with the tangerine and other notes?

    (No need to enter me in the drawing, obviously.)


    • Thank you, dear Kafka.

      What I cannot smell in DD is said tangerine :) The perfume is very nicely blended for my nose and my skin doesn’t magnify any of the elements. A couple of days ago I wore it to the office (and got a compliment) and then in the evening I decided to wear it to the friend’s birthday (I almost never wear the same perfume throughout the day – so it says something about the perfume :) ).


  15. I do love the bottle for this fragrance and liked the opening. No need to enter me into the draw, but I’m glad you liked this one. Beautifully done poster, by the way! :-D


  16. I’m in the US! I love what you described, catching that wonderful leftover perfume on a robe (or scarf, or sweater) and the fun of trying to figure out what the lovely smell is.


  17. Ooh, I live in California (still in the US :-) I’d love to be in your drawing. Thanks, too, to Jeffrey for facilitating all this. He led me to your blog, and I’m enjoying it a lot. Mille mercis!


  18. “Most modern perfumes do not use real agarwood anyway (as well as many other real notes but it’s a different story) so who’s to say that this aroma chemical or accord is less oud than any other one if we all smell it like such?” This is the conclusion that I came to as well. :) No need to include me in the draw as I’ve already got a sample of this (and am wearing it!)


  19. I have not tried this, and have yet to find a Micallef that really moves me, but a phantom oud perfume sounds just the ticket! I love the way you had that light bulb moment of recognising it on your bathrobe, and how that was able to fortify you for whatever the working day was about to throw at you.

    And that is a very valid philosophical point you make about whether a non-oud aromachemical is any less valid than one setting out to replicate oud if they both smell similar!


    • Vanessa, you should definitely try this one! Not because I’m sure you’ll like it but because the whole situation with the non-existent oud is so very you.

      On a couple of occacions I was contemplating adding “What I wore” field to my perfume database to reverse-look-up what was that great trace scent on my freshly laundered blouse. Luckily, usually I can backtrack it by memory :)


  20. I live in the U.S. and would like to be included in the draw. I wear M7 in the cool weather, but don’t have much access to other oud fragrances. Thanks for the draw.


  21. I live in the US and would love to be included in the draw. I was fortunate to be able to sample Ananda recently, so this would be only my second potential M.Micallef perfume to try.


  22. I live in the U.S-Please include me in the drawing, I am new to perfumery and i am sure getting educated here! Thanks so much for everybody’s input.


  23. I live in the US and I a serious collector and fan of Micallef. I own 12 of them the most recent purchase is the collection rouge no.1 I am excited to try this juice.


  24. I live in the US; thank you for the article and the draw.

    Does it drive you crazy when you smell a faded hint of something on a robe or jacket and you can’t figure out what it is/was? It does me…but then it’s a short drive :)


    • You’re in the draw, anne1iese. Good luck!

      It’s awful when I like a trace scent but cannot figure out what it was. I keep sniffing and sniffing… But then if I get it… I run and buy at least a decant :)


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  28. Wow, I’ve sampled this now, and it is terribly beautiful. As much as I love your poster — and I do — it gave me a completely different notion of what this perfume might be like (without my even realizing I had drawn any subconscious conclusions). The mind is just so odd. The perfume is just so great! Thank you again for the draw.


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  30. I usually don’t like perfumes with synthetic oud (the exception being the two that Jo Malone has as part of their intense collection). I have tried agarwood essential oil and that I can tolerate.

    The most interesting part of this post for me was from where the sample originated from…Jeffrey Dame….as in Dame Perfumery?

    Liked by 1 person

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