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