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A peek into the world of Frédéric Malle

Desert Gems,
A Tribute Collection

A collection paying homage to Middle Eastern perfumery,
by the greatest perfumers on the planet.

Frédéric Malle’s abiding love for Middle Eastern perfumery prompted him to ask the greatest Western perfumers to create perfumes that pay homage to it, with total freedom and with no limits as to the use and quantity of ingredients.

Today, the Desert Gems collection contains four major works:
The Night, Promise, Dawn, and The Moon.

Frédéric Malle “fell into perfumery at a very young age,” somewhat as a poet falls into poetry. At almost the same moment, he discovered and fell in love with Middle Eastern perfumes—at the time little appreciated in France and in the West generally.

Some years after the creation of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, during a conversation with Dominique Ropion, he made the enthusiastic decision to create a perfume that would pay homage to Middle Eastern perfumes.

What followed was an in-depth analysis of Emirates perfumery, centered around two principal ingredients, oud (used mostly in women’s perfumes) and rose (used mostly in men’s)—and of course amber, incense and patchouli, to mention just a few others. Ingredients that for centuries have been honored by a tradition that goes back to the Egypt of the pharaohs.

Oud trees


For Frédéric Malle it is clear that, although Middle Eastern perfumes are traditionally stronger and more intense, the vocabulary of Emirates perfumery has many points in common with its Western counterpart.

Keen to declare his love for the perfumes of the desert, Frédéric Malle decided to create a collection dedicated to them: the Desert Gems collection. Faithful to his concept of himself as a perfume publisher, he asked the greatest talents to create perfumes that pay homage to Middle Eastern perfumery, with total freedom as to the use and quantity of ingredients.

Logically enough, he entrusted the first volume to Dominique Ropion, who in 2014 produced The Night. Bursting with roses and oud, this perfume is an homage to the night, that vivid moment when, in desert lands, man connects with the stars and devotes himself to love.

The Night by Dominique Ropion

There followed Promise, composed in 2017, also by Ropion. This second, more abstract volume was explicitly conceived as an homage to the sacredness of the spoken word.

Promise by Dominique Ropion

In 2018 it was Carlos Benaïm who asked Frédéric Malle for an opportunity to compose a perfume that would evoke spirituality. And so Dawn was born, an homage to the sunrise, that moment which, like ourselves, is reborn every morning. A moment of grace, inner reflection and prayer that is a celebration of renewed energy.

Carlos Benaïm photographed by Brigitte Lacombe

Dawn by Carlos Benaïm

2019 saw the birth of The Moon, the fourth volume in the Desert Gems collection, created by Julien Rasquinet (a disciple of the great Pierre Bourdon).

The Moon by Julien Rasquinet

A perfume that is like an ode to love, gentle and mysterious femininity, a perfume worthy of an offering to the love of one’s life.