In Appreciation of: Frédéric Malle's Uncut Gem
The new beauty icon about to be inducted into Liberty's prestigious Beauty Hall of Fame smells like nothing you've smelled before. Let the ceremony begin.
Uncut Gem, £270 is the latest fragrance from cult perfume brand Frédéric Malle. But before you ask – no, it’s not a tribute to that Julia Fox film. It is, in fact, a delicious and delicately spicy scent that might never have made it on to our dressing table at all if it weren’t for the powerfully persuasive skills of the man behind the brand.
The Rise to Fame
You'd be forgiven for imagining that the world's top perfumers would float above the rest of us in a haze of sweet scented glory. But perhaps not. According to Malle, most perfumers tend to wear no scent at all. Except, that is, Maurice Roucel, the former Chanel perfumer and long time collaborator who Malle admits has always smelt ‘radiant’. And thus, began the process of Malle persuading Roucel to share his signature secret scent, which he was (unsurprisingly) reluctant to share. But, under the proviso that they'd tweak and tinker with the original formula, Roucel agreed to share it with the world. And that's how Uncut Gem was born.
So, what does Uncut Gem actually smell like? It's full of “smooth, vibrant, sexy amber-y notes,” Malle explains, but there's also ginger and nutmeg in there, adding a little spice. Bergamot and mandarin provide a squeeze of citrus and then there’s vetiver, frankincense and musk to help make it a bit moody and leathery, too. It’s almost like if your favourite leather handbag had been in the wash; it’s fresh, clean and comforting but underpinned with an addictive hint of leathery spiciness. Like the rest of Frédéric Malle's scents, Uncut Gem is technically genderless, although Malle admits that it's probably one of the most 'masculine' scents he's made, traditionally-speaking.
The Star Quality
We expected big things from two of the world’s most renowned names in fragrance, and Uncut Gem did not disappoint. Between the spice, citrus, leather and musk, there's a lot going on, but like magic, the big bold flavours come together to form something that smells elegant, refined and infinitely wearable. If it’s good enough to be the signature scent of a perfumer, then it's certainly good enough for us…