Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Portrait of a gentleman: Monsieur by Frédéric Malle



Few months ago the French perfume house of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle announced for their latest release, Monsieur, that sooner or later hit the markets all around the world in their stores. Bruno Jovanovic, the tailor behind the release, borrows the concept of creation from Alfonso de Portago, Mark Birley, Jose-Luis de Vilallonga and Gianni Agnelli, the main seducers of the 20th century.


Malle who frequently keeps an eye to quintessential classical compositions and glamour of past, releases his creations in a modern-retro accent adapted to contemporary taste.
While it is mentioned by officials that more than half of the volume of the fragrance component is patchouli, there is no surprise that Monsieur immediately attracts audiences. It embodies fully masculine and chic, the way classic patchouli fans dig for, but no, it's not a damp and hippie type of 70's patchouli, nor Davidoff Zino type of Christmas night fragrance to imitate vulgar, angled-chin, dark-skinned men. It's gentle and well-behaved warm musky patchouli and male equivalence of Portrait of a Lady, both in title and in context.


The perfume initially is a bit boozy and on soft smoky camphorous vibe. The camphor air is Malle's signature that contributes in all the creations of the house, and its utmost level presents in Geranium Pour Monsieur that, plus green geranium, smells like fumed up toothpaste. This signature is metallic, earthy and semi-indolic floral. The opening exhibits bitter tangerine; sparkling that mixing with rum delivers a warm oriental leathery foundation which is commemorative of the intro of vintage M7. This must be for the impact of patchouli and pseudo-oud that is strong enough to conjure up such dusty picturesque.
Then patchouli appears and takes hegemony to all entire performance. It's a handle-with-care note placed in the cannon of the fragrance. It's dusty a bit, soft leathery, woody and camphorous. I avoid to use terms like bomb or so in my description for enormous presence of the mint, cause although it's the core, it's not fierce or overpowering. Very refined and rendered, it plays softly and if the effect of camphorous notes was not imparted, I would like to exemplify it to Guerlain Heritage EdT for some common aspects of patchouli. The base of the fragrance meets soft gray'ish musk and tender smoky amber. Plus patchouli, this combo is deliberately noble and spectacular.

Charlie Chaplin in Monsieur Verdoux is the very answer to who resembles the perfume?
A classic man, smart, chic, and bold is the persona of Monsieur.
Since the fragrance is recently hit, there are not so much reliable statements here and there. Comments in Fragrantica, as there's not much integrity between them, seem to be based on first impressions mainly. The boldest point, or let's say objection about Monsieur - as much as other Malle's creations - is resemblance to renown compositions to prepare a scentscape and indication of there's no innovation in the release but reinvention of wheel.
Personally I don't find repeating a formula an unethical fact to condemn, heritages should continue. It's like celebrating the same thousand years old ceremonies annually to keep their value alive. Secondly, I don't find Monsieur a replica of a fragrance hundred percent, even though, the overall effect looks so familiar from somewhere. By this, I believe this would be one of Malle's most successful fragrances just as Van der Noten which was delivered by the same artist.

Carpe Odor!

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