Monday, January 18, 2010

Geranium pour Monsieur by Frederic Malle : Perfume Review

Happy New Year everyone! I am hijacking the first part of this review to thank you all for your lovely wishes and the warmth you’ve shown me through your messages in the past month after my attack. I am fine now. I spent three days in bed, not really wanting to travel to Greece - I was so down I didn’t feel I could go celebrate the holidays with my family. However, after just two days with my family, my spirits were lifted and my emotional as well as physical wounds healed. I had a lot of writing to do for the university through the holidays unfortunately, and although I finished delivering papers yesterday, I now have to study for one more exam and my thesis group is beginning later this month. Wait, WHAT? Oh darlings, this year is truly kicking my ass. No matter, as long as I don’t have to be writing day and night like I have been doing for the past two weeks, then I am here, dontcha know? :) Yup, that’s what I call commitment! What can I say, I love perfume and I love you so forget about rest (or shopping), here I am, ready for another review. Enough about studies and pressure and all that: Let’s just pause and breathe in the rarefied air of Monsieur Malle!

It has to be said that Geranium pour Monsieur is not going to be everyone’s favorite: with a rather toothpaste-like, strong mint-spearmint opening, it is unlikely to float everyone's boat. Not a universally accessible scent thus, but an extremely innovative, unique and beautiful one nevertheless. The mint opening is supremely cool, like an icy breath, perfect for cooling down in the evening with a couple of spritzes after a gloriously sunny, hot day. Give it five minutes and the mint loses its toothpaste qualities and calms down to an herbal, bitter-sweet breeze of freshness with gentle camphoric undertones. A slight earthiness, too, struggles to emerge, bringing the senses on the cusp of delicious anticipation.

The heart notes are dominated by geranium. If you haven’t smelled geranium essential oil (Pelargonium Odorantissimum), do it now: any perfume lover that wants to train his or her nose to better pick out notes can start successfully with this one. Its scent is extremely pungent and extremely unforgettable. Alone and in good quality high concentrations it is rather unpleasant, smelling profusely of citronella and leaving a rather sour, dry and ever so slightly earthy trail. The reason I so eagerly suggest it as an early tool to train your nose, is that once you smell it, you won’t forget its scent again, preparing you to readily pick it out in complex compositions. In Geranium pour Monsieur the dose is just right. Yes, it is used generously, so that the end result is instantly recognizable as a composition in which the geranium note steals the starring role, but it is used with such consideration along with the supporting notes, that it shines brightly, jubilantly, youthfully, all its harshness beautifully tempered by the lovely bitter-sweetness surrounding it. So let’s return to those supporting notes then: the mint is unbelievably still there, providing quiet freshness and a cool breeze. Its herbal aspect is underscored by a dill note (oh yes, don’t laugh, I am quite serious), whose inherent soft anise aspects are enhanced by sweet fennel and barely-there anise. You see how genius that progression goes? From the is-it-there, is-it-not anise aspect of dill, to the stronger aniseedic scent of fennel, and finally, to the oh-so moderately used anise? Beautifully considerate, isn’t it? The result is beautiful too, balanced and calm - never a spiky note. Finally, hints of clove and cinnamon underscore the sweetness gently, provide a good bit of dark spiciness to the mix and enhancing the quietly camphoric impression.

The drydown is pure glory. The freshness dies down to a whisper and allows itself to be superseded by clean musks (think fresh sheets), but the beauty truly comes from the round voluptuousness provided by the sweet ambers: soft incense rises through a cloud of yummy, vanillic Siam Benzoin and beautifully balsamic storax. It is all gorgeously rounded off by creamy-sweet sandalwood. Despite this being a predominately masculine scent, it really can work like a charm on a woman. While its signature is definitely masculine, at no point is it even close to aggressive. Proof positive of how well it can work on a woman is Sniffapalooza’s Karen Dubin. She bought this while on our trip and her sillage was so magnificent I had to immediately ask her what she was wearing. Do give this one a try, it might just surprise you. If I am honest, I’ll even admit that I like it better on women than on men. Hey did I say this out loud? Apologies in advance to all the Monsieurs reading my blog - Sorry guys, we’re stealing this one from your shelf!

Images: toothpaste tube via Flickr by twenty_questions, Geranium pour Monsieur flacon


Zazie said...

Welcome back Divina! And a happy new year, too! I am so glad to hear everything is going well - even though you are still quite busy, it seems! I loved your review, as always. I thought GpM wouldn't be "me", but of course now I will have to try it!

Suzanne said...

Yay!! You're back -- and in fine form, as always, Divina!

I was just thinking the other day that I would love to find a strong mint fragrance, as I love to add peppermint essential oil to my bathwater. Completely forgot about this one, so I'm happy to read your review. I'll definitely seek out a sample of it.

Flora said...

Dear Divina, I am so happy to hear that you are well again!

I have been very curious about this fragrance - it does not sound like "me" at all, but I do love geranium if not all that spearmint, at least not in a perfume - I do love mint in other ways. I must try it soon!

My word verification security word today is "coldia" - it must have read your review. :-)

Linda said...

Dearest Divina!
I am OVERJOYED to see you back, and hope that this term will be a good one despite the heavy workload. This was a lovely review, and I'm especially intrigued by the fragrance of dill, which I use a lot in cooking fish. It is a subtle and pleasant aroma: I'm going to try the fragrance itself this weekend, but maybe leave it on a wishlist if I like it. As you know I have lots of new fragrances to explore!
Hugs to you,

Ines said...

OMG, you're finally back! :) And with what a great review! I have to admit I wasn't a bit intrigued by this (didn't think I might find it interesting) but after your review, I will definitely try it.
I'm so glad you're back. :)

waftbyCarol said...

Welcome Back Darling !!
I have been SOOO_OOO thinking about you and worried that you were not coming back to fragrance .
of course you are , you just have a life too !!
Don't like mint in my frags , but really feeling great to know you are back on the blog .
SMOOCH , Carol

Divina said...

Hey Zazie! I am still busy, but things are definitely getting calmer. It is going to still be a difficult academic year with too much to do, but writing here and connecting with all my perfume friends always makes me feel so good!

Divina said...

Suzanne, if you like peppermint, do give Tigresse a try: it has a really strong peppermint note. Just enter Tigresse in my search box to find the full review.. It's made by Josh

Divina said...

hahhaha yeah, must have ^_^
I love mint in perfumes, it is geranium that I usually don't like in big doses unless sweetened greatly with vanillic notes (such as in Tocade). This one really gets it right. Definitely worth a try just to see what its about and to admire its construction, although I suspect it won't be you indeed if you don't want mint in perfume - it's quite dominant.

Divina said...

Oh my Linda hi! I've been thinking of you, wanna mail you but haven't found the time yet. After I finish with this last exam (monday) I'll send you a note! Sooooo glad to see you here (and even gladder to have read the good news in your last message)

Divina said...

Carol, such a beautiful message, it warmed my heart ((HUUUUG))

Of course I'm not going away! :))

love ya, girl

Divina said...

Ines, I've missed you too! Been passing by your blog but haven't had the time to comment. Will do so soon :)