New Micallef releases: orientalism at its best

Back in my first days of incessant sample buying I came across Parfums M.Micallef, a luxury perfume and beauty brand founded by Martina Micallef and Geoffrey Nejman. Micallef creations although created in France, in Grasse, by a French perfumer and under the direction of Martina Micallef, have a clear middle-eastern orientation. They are soft, inviting, sweet in a very balanced way and full of velvet hues. What I liked about them is that they exude orientalism without shouting it out and this is a big plus in our days, where “oriental” is as catchy as “clean” used to be in the 90’s. I remember liking their Red Sea and Guaiac. A chance to sample their latest releases was very welcome. A quartet of vanilla interpretations, a masculine and a voluptuous feminine

Style: the opening is a musky, spicy and floral but very quickly this changes into a smoky nutmeg with hints of citrus. This very quick change is impressive and you know these initial notes will pop up again later. In a few minutes some sweetness is added to the composition. I imagine it must come from the floral components. Lavender starts becoming apparent but in its herbal form, no musty barbershop here. The drydown is very classy: lavender, a little citrus and smoky incense. Although Style is not ground-breaking it is a very elegant masculine scent with spiralling progression through deep, natural notes . Sweet lavender on top of bitter, smoky vetiver and woods.

Notes from M.Micallef: lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamome, jasmine, lavender, lily of the valey, musk, patchouli, incense, sandalwood (and I still cannot believe vetiver is not listed!)

Notes from my nose: musk, nutmeg, lavender, smoke, incense, vetiver

Ylang in Gold: This is the feminine star and it certainly makes an impression. It opens with an extra juicy peach coupled with hints of coconut. Of course this doesn’t sound original but the execution is. Despite the fruit-coconut cocktail and its sweetness there is a strong resinous undercurrent. I have never smelled a more bitter fruit or coconut! As development progresses the fruity opening turns into a floral heart and ylang ylang becomes apparent. This is a big, sweet, creamy floral but there is always a mysterious shadow cast over familiar and cheerful ingredients. Sophisticated tropical cocktail.

Notes from M.Micallef: sage, rosemary, artemisia, mint, magnolia, ylang, coconut, musk, moss

Notes from my nose: peach, coconut, resins, ylang ylang, musk

 Vanilla Flower: I get a lot of ylang from the opening of this one. Officially it is just “floral notes” but I recognize the acerbic, peachy volatility of ylang. Very quickly however the bitter-sweet aspects of thick, natural vanilla extract dominate the composition justifying the name. Full bodied vanilla with the lift of ylang.

Notes from Fragrantica: floral notes, vanilla, peach, rose

Notes from my nose: ylang ylang, vanilla, musk

Vannila Orient: now this is supposed to be a feminine, like all the perfumes of the new Vanilla line but to my nose it isn’t. I can smell oud right from the opening. Warm spices and saffron. Vanilla is there and gradually gets stronger but overall remains part of the base and never the centre of attraction.In the drydown I can smell a very unexpected blackcurrant note that complements oud like those two were meant to be together.  The drydown is a deep purple oriental blackcurrant, slightly more feminine than the opening. I really loved this one! A very unisex, warm, fruity oriental.

Notes from Fragrantica: spices, vanilla, sandalwood, amber, musk

Notes from my nose: oud, saffron, vanilla, amber

Vanilla Marine: as weird and unappealing this might sound it smells quite good. The opening is fruity with ozonic hints. Like an unripe apricot. It remains a fruity vanilla fragrance without an artificial marine note. Vanilla is sweet and round.

Notes from Fragrantica: lemon, blackcurrant, vanilla, white flowers, sea water, benzoin, musk, woody notes

Notes from my nose: apricot, marine notes, vanilla

Vanilla Leather: saved the best for last as you can imagine (or quite close). This really smells complex, with lots of things going on. A beautiful etherial opening with spices, flowers and lift. Warm woods later on and a smoky, leathery base. I get a lot of similarities with Style, which means that Vanilla Leather is not just for women. Vanilla is still not the star here so do not let the name scare you if you are not into this. Sweetness is moderate and watching this beauty unfold for hours is really worth seeking a sample of this.

Notes from Fragrantica: bergamot, lavender and mint, cinnamon, caraway and orange blossom,vanilla, suede, tonka bean, cedar, sandalwood.

Notes from my nose: lavender, mint, vanilla, leather, earth

Most developing: Style

Most feminine: Ylang in Gold

Most complex: Vanilla Leather

Most cheerful: Vanilla Flower

Most unexpected: Vanilla Marine

Personal favourite: Vanilla Orient

Samples offered by Parfums M.Micallef

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About Christos

Scientifically minded but obsessed with the subjective aspect of things. Photos copyright of MemoryOfScent, with special thanks to Pantelis Makkas You are welcome to link to my blog but you are definitely not allowed to copy text or use the photos without my permission. All text and main photos are originals and property of MemoryOfScent All perfumes are from my collection unless stated otherwise.


  1. Cristos, at some point in time we just have to meet up, compare notes and have a smellathon together. I’ve also been trying the Micallefs in this post and I did not get along with them. Vanilla Marine is the only one I’m ok with smelling on myself, but the way you describe them, they all sound gorgeous!

    • That would be great Sigrun! I think I read you have come to Greece on holidays, we just missed that chance.

      Actually Vanilla Marine was the one I had less to write about but I have always liked the sweet vibe of the line. Style is definitely bitter and masculine. I loved Vanilla Orient though!

  2. I tried Ylang in Gold and found it definitely feminine.

  3. Christos, I have to skip reading your review for now since I plan to test those four myself soon. But once I’m done I’ll come back and read it.

  4. I just got these samples too. Thanks for giving a good precedent. I love the idea of doing vanilla in several different ways. I can’t wait to review them.

    • Vanilla was an ingredient I always approached with caution. Un Bois Vanille and Boisé Vanillé changed this for me so it’s a good ting that these got to me now. I will be looking forward to your views.

  5. I was going to try to resist reading your reviews since these samples just arrived to me, too, and I was planning to be good like Undina and not read anything about them first. But that tactic was useless … I can never resist coming over here. 😉

    Now that I’ve read your mini-reviews, I know which samples I’ll be cracking open first: Ylang in Gold and Vanilla Leather. You make both of them sound intriguing.

  6. Pingback: Art Collection Vanille by Parfums M. Micallef | Scentsate

  7. ginzaintherain

    I do like the sound of these: I loved Micaleff Patchouli and its lovely campari-like bitter orange top note, and they tend to do things differently to other people (the bottles, though: the bottles!)

    • Ypu are so right about the bottles but I didn’t want to bring it up 🙂 I think the bottle is trying to be young and cheerful where there is no need for it.

  8. Pingback: Perfume Reviews: Micallef Collection Vanille fragrances (Vanille Cuir, Vanille Fleur, Vanille Marine, Vanille Orient)

  9. Pingback: M. Micallef Style | The Scented Hound

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