Frédéric Malle: Synthetic Jungle

Bright and lush, mysterious and provocative, Synthetic Jungle is a stylised landscape in green technicolour. An ode to the cult fragrances of the 1970s, Synthetic Jungle offers a modern vision of nature reimagined.
It marks Anne Flipo’s first contribution to the Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle collection.

Synthetic Jungle is the latest in a series of fragrances that draw inspiration from nature while using the precision of synthetics – an approach that fascinates Frédéric Malle. “The paradox is that using naturals leads to reminders of ‘old perfumes’,” explains Malle. “To actually replicate nature as we know it, you need synthetics. Perfume becomes interesting the moment chemistry comes into play.” Extracting a natural perfume using steam or solvents cooks and alters the floral component – a natural and complex process during which many of the freshest and most fragile components disappear and become altered.
The use of synthetic elements, on the other hand, allows the perfumer nose to reintroduce detail.
This translates not only into the possibility of more exact replicas, but also of interpreting something more complex, multidimensional and intriguing than nature itself. In the case of Synthetic Jungle, Anne Flipo
has created, not the literal representation of a jungle, but a true dreamlike experience of vegetation
and warmth: natural and stylised, hyper-realistic and fantastical.

A luminary in the world of fragrance – and a frequent collaborator of Dominique Ropion, designer of several of Frédéric Malle’s cult fragrances – Anne Flipo has always used meticulous technical skill to reconstruct gardens that reminded her of her childhood. She describes the process of developing Synthetic Jungle
as “the joy of composing without time constraints” in an ongoing dialogue with Frédéric Malle where “everything is possible”. The result is an opulent fragrance that is richly evocative, green, vegetal and floral.
Anne Flipo’s vision of a jungle.

Inspired by the green accord of Estee Lauder’s personal perfume, Private Collection, Anne Flipo has 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. To modernise and refine, she then added synthetic blackcurrant
and styralyl acetate, effectively putting the bouquet through a glossy, shimmering filter. Anne Flipo simplified the Chypre and leather notes, resulting in a cleaner, more streamlined accord. Finally, she added patchouli – one of the most complex, multifaceted and evocative ingredients in the perfumer’s palette. Earthy
and classic at the same time, patchouli oil links the vegetable and the human, effectively rooting a scent
to the skin. The resulting scent is both contemporary and warm, a seamless blend of organic and synthetic.

In creating Synthetic Jungle, Frédéric Malle’s inspirations were as varied as Henri Rousseau’s delicate swarming canvases, the crisp world of James Cameron’s Avatar and Stevie Wonder’s visionary 1979 album ‘The Secret Life of Plants’. The result is cosy and enigmatic, sensual and refined.