Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Learning to Love Orange Part 3 – Fleur du Mâle by Jean Paul Gaultier & Fahrenheit 32 by Dior : Perfume Reviews

With releases such as Narciso Rodriguez for Him, Gucci Pour Homme II, Amouage’s marvelous Jubilation XXV, Frederic Malle’s French Lover and Dsquared²’s He Wood, I find 2007 to have been a great year for masculine fragrances. But even if it weren’t for all those perfumes just mentioned, I’d still consider 2007 an excellent year. You see, if I am honest, the two releases I’m most excited about, even more excited in fact (bizarrely so perhaps), than I am about the excellent Jubilation XXV, are Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fleur du Male and Dior’s Fahrenheit 32. More than a year later now, these two fragrances still seem like bright highlights in my mind. I remember being terribly excited at the time of their release about the fact that two mainstream masculine fragrances were breaking the mold of “smell one, smell them all” bland freshness that has been the usual offering in the men’s fragrance department during the last decade. Both heavily featuring orange blossom, they still managed to steer away from the usual bracing eau de cologne background in which the note has traditionally been placed in masculine fragrances. Two sides of the same coin – one warm and comforting, one steely cold – I am still as excited about them today as I was when they were first released.

Fleur du Mâle by Jean Paul Gaultier: On the same musky, ambery, vanillic base that made his original Le Mâle so popular as well as unmistakably recognizable, nose Francis Kurkdjian has built this utterly gorgeous orange blossom scent that embraces femininity in the most faultless manner. After the initial freshness of the top notes fades, the gorgeously sweet orange blossom scent that has all the while been struggling to be freed is finally allowed to bloom. Different facets of it waft in and out for hours: it begins quite indolic and strong, but it becomes rounded and soft over time, its scent often coming across as tinged with accents of tobacco and at times with sunny hay, but presenting itself most beautifully when it finally becomes one with the beautiful vanillic lavender which cradles it warmly underneath. The drydown is at once milky and spiced, sweet and musky, utterly sexy.

Fahrenheit 32 by Dior: While Fleur du Mâle wears its lineage proudly, Fahrenheit 32 veers far away from its original. The first whiff is at once woody and fresh, packing a nicely done –if rather conventional- punch of masculinity in a plume of smoke. Give it a couple of minutes to settle and the absolutely delicious sweetness of freshly chopped spearmint leaves starts to emerge. If you love spearmint as much as I do, this is definitely one fragrance you have to try: the note is realistic, strong, beautiful and long lasting. The orange blossom arrives, frozen, cold to the touch, its usually warm breath surprisingly icy and heart-stoppingly beautiful. Its coolness is further enhanced by the aforementioned freshness of mint, as well as by a combination of dark, cold, earthy vetiver and an incense accord that remains as cool as the interior of a shady, abandoned church. Like Fleur du Mâle, Fahrenheit 32 also presents the wearer with accents of tobacco now and then, but even these threads of warmth don’t manage to dilute the steely cold edge of this perfume. Metallic, salty and iodine, Fahrenheit 32 makes the heart pick up speed with its strangeness.

Both of these fragrances present excellent reinterpretations of the orange blossom’s scent for men. Which one to choose? One is cold, the other warm. One is sexy and inviting, the other is an interesting intellectual, slightly reserved with its affections. I personally would have to go with the Gaultier, for I find it so attractive I have to nuzzle my own arm when wearing it. It must be said however, that I can’t help but be stimulated by the otherworldly coolness of the Dior. It is not often that the juice matches the name so very well – Fahrenheit 32 really is frozen and my nose loves to be intrigued by it.


Jenavira13 said...

I really wanted to love JPG's Fleur du Male, but here is the the thing JPG's base which is featured in both his women's and men's fragrances just does not work on me. Where as the Dior one well that becomes a lovely vanillic musky orange blossom on me.

Divina said...

Hey Jen! I'm glad someone else also noticed that indeed, the JPG frags do have a recognizable base. I just realized this this morning, as I was testing Fleur du Male one last time.

Anonymous said...

Mmm, minty notes! They are so hard to find yet so delicious! You know what? I'm gonna go out and test this right after work.