Reviews of Bandit by Robert Piguet

BANDIT is a real knockout, not for the namby-pamby type. It is beautifully vulgar, unrelenting, a tale of grief, passion, and wonder, a historical parable of a fragrance with its gussied-up florals dirtied up and manhandled, with some animal husbandry thrown in for good measure. It's fierce and ferocious, daring and cruel, bleak and just GORGEOUS.

The opening may be the most intimidating, but to me, its a sensory thrill, with all its soapy aldehydes, bitter galbanum, and sharp artemisia. To my nose, there is nothing characteristically feminine about this phase whatsoever, and its clear, where Aramis and all sorts of subsequent 70s and 80s men's leather stalwart fragrances took their cues.

The mids are more floral, but more of the florals with all the leaves and thorns and dirt. I sense wet vegetation, walks in meadows on late summer days after a long, tempestuous rain. Metallic gardenias and tuberoses dancing around all cabalistic, no proclamation of fecund beauty, but rather violating all the rules and conventions of what is feminine, delicate, and good-natured.

The beast is not tamed in the base, but it growls rather than roars, ashy with desiccated oakmoss, lingering cured leather, and a civet curled up on your lap after a long day of emissions.

(Oh, by the way, this is for the golden capped older formulation EDT with BANDIT in caps on the bottle).

8th March 2022
My review is for a sample of Bandit EDP that I received two days ago from on online site called I'm not sure what vintage it is, but it appears to be a 1ml decant.

My first impression is-- wow. I can't say anything about it that hasn't been said.

This is Chanel No. 19's much older sister. She sits in a dark corner of the bar, drinks absinthe, and tells stories about the war. She wears a black leather jacket given to her by Ernest Hemingway (that jacket is where the smell of smoke comes from btw. She kicked the habit ages ago).

If you are a man, can you wear this? If you have to ask, the answer is no.
8th March 2021

This is my second review of feminine scent. I'm not one to go on about chypres and fougeres...particular notes. I don't think I can pull off wearing this but I agree with another reviewer that this is a alpha female scent.

This is one of about three scents that I smell on a woman and she has my undivided attention. (I love perfumed women and there are probably many more I would love, but this one really grabs me).

I'm sure the vintage versions are best, but the EdT sample I have of fairly current issue is plenty dangerous. I love the kind of dirty floral aspect of this stuff: "Sure I'm girly but watch it buddy."

A dark haired women, late 30s to 60s, really dressed up and wearing this...that's a BAD girl. If she's wearing this and wearing ClaireV said- naked aggression. YIKES!

18th August 2020
I give Bandit by Robert Piguet a "Neutral" rating because there are two different Bandit fragrances that I will review.

* The vintage eau de toilette concentration of Bandit was the absolute BEST! It contained all the chypre notes and smoky tar characteristics that made it a true classic, unlike any other. This eau de toilette concentration actually wore like an eau de parfum or pure parfum. It was absolutely heavenly.

* The current eau de parfum concentration of Bandit is less than desirable when compared to the original eau de toilette version. Although it claims to be an eau de parfum, it lasts only about 1/10th of what the eau de toilette did. This is a shame. It is also missing that one characteristic smoky note that made the original eau de toilette so unique. It is totally gone and I cannot smell it at all when comparing the vintage to the new. Without that smoky trademark note, it is NOT Bandit. They removed the very thing that made Bandit what it was.

For those who are unfamiliar with the vintage Bandit eau de toilette, I suppose they will not know the difference, but for those of us who were lucky enough to experience the original vintage eau de toilette, only we know what a gem the original was.

So, to sum it up, I will no longer be purchasing Bandit eau de parfum in the future, and I will be cherishing the last two vintage bottles of Bandit eau de toilette that I have still remaining in my stock, and use it very sparingly and only on special occasions. (I used to wear it by the gallon when going out on the town, and used to get many, many compliments.) Had I known the formulation was going to be changed, I would have stocked up on 50 bottles of the eau de toilette and sold it on e-Bay for $300 a bottle, lol! Nonetheless, I fell very lucky to have two bottles of the vintage eau de toilette in my possession, to cherish and protect! Just another true classic whose reformulation ruined it!
11th June 2019
Robert Piguet Bandit (1944) is nothing short of a masterpiece in the realm of dark and imposing leather chypres. It surfaced in the wake of things like Caron Tabac Blonde (1919), Molinard Habanita (1921), Chanel Cuir de Russie (1927), and would inspire perfumes like Miss Dior (1947) or Cabochard de Grés (1959), but Bandit always struck a chord as a perfume for a woman "not to be trifled with" as intended upon release. Inspired itself by the pirate's life and other romantic malfeasance, Bandit was Robert Piguet's ode to the "can-do" women of the WWII and immediate postwar period, filling in for men off fighting tyranny in roles traditionally deemed "masculine" domestically. Bandit was also originally seen as a smoker's perfume, like so many focusing on leather, tobacco, and animalics made in the early to mid 20th century, so it has a deliberate level of opacity crafted from a wall of "kitchen sink" notes. Love it or hate it, you will remember this perfume. Period.

Bandit opens with lots of green and aldehydes, which is no surprise given the era. An early use of galbanum which would inform later green chypres of the mid 60's through early 80's can be seen among the many florals and bergamot of the opening, leading into a typical rose/jasmine/iris group that seeks to balance clean with indole in the heart. Carnation, neroli, and tuberose fatten up the waistline of the heart then smooth it out for the approach of the leathery oakmoss base loaded with animalics and a warm ambergris note, but there isn't much note separation after the first 30 minutes, so these are all impressions. Castoreum, civet, and musk are balanced by sandalwood and vetiver in a dry leathery finish full of green warmth and surprisingly masculine allure for a scent marketed to women. Wear time is all day and sillage is more than enough, but where to use this is your call.

Worshipers of oakmoss at the altar of Kerleo won't find Bandit to be their vintage olfactive narcotic of choice, but lovers of the sharp and stiff stink of an adequately mossed-up animalic base will be all over Bandit if they already aren't before reading this review. Modern noses trained on coumarin and woody amber overloads soaked in Iso E Super or rootie tootie fresh and fruitchouli galoxide-dipped shower gel perfumes will not understand the appeal of Bandit, which is why it (along with house Piguet) now exist in the niche/luxury realm rather than at the mall, but open minds may want to try this renegade in perfume form, if only to satisfy morbid curiosity. Vintage is excruciatingly expensive when found but current production gets the point across just fine. Fans of literally any of the photorealistic shoe leathers littering high-end department store counters absolutely must sample Piguet Bandit, as it is the progenitor of those accords. Thumbs up!
3rd May 2019
Bandit is my favorite fragrance. I first purchased it in Seattle, Washington and thought it smelled like insect spray! Later I found the eau de perfume and the pure perfume at The Perfume House in Portland, Oregon, what a difference! Layering the two latter is intoxicating. I am not a fan of florals. They are too sweet without a warm base to ground them. This chypre concoction leans toward the masculine (maybe that is why I love it. Men are yummy). All the same, on my skin Bandit smells sweet and warm, earthy and green. It is certainly not for the youth market nor can I imagine it on an ultra feminine woman wearing a sweet pink sundress. It's not for the beach or the bedroom or a walk in the park. I think maybe a sophisticated suit, a silk blouse, a leather bag and some spendy heels would describe this fragrance.
20th July 2018
The Murderess by Edvard Munch 1906
11th April 2018
Bandit is majestic, great but also a tad unapproachable (perhaps because of my gender). Great leather-chypre with tremendous presence and tenacity. Leather is balanced by galbanum, bitterness of oakmoss, and embellished with bone dry herbs. It is similar to Azuree in some respects, but I find Azuree less dry, friendlier and more unisex.

Bandit is definitely not a conventional women's perfume, but I'm having a hard time imagining any guy who could pull this off. Forget all other 'butch' feminines, this one here is indeed THE alpha female perfume, the sort of thing a true dominatrix would wear. Leather preferred, high heels mandatory. Having said all that, let's forget the stereotypes (however blatant those may be), and wear it if you love it. Contradictions are always interesting.

Surely not everyone's cup of tea, but it is terrific.

13th October 2017
I love chypres, but I now realize that leather chypres are simply too much for me to handle. Azuree and Cabochard and Aramis and Bandit all make me want to run for the hills. Each one is too bitter and too loud and too harsh, while mixed unconvincingly with powdery florals that do nothing but jar and point out the dissonance between the two divisive camps. There's a war going on here, and I don't want the battle to take place so near my clavicle. Eeek.

I have nothing but admiration for those who wear and love this perfume because it is such a ballsy interpretation of a feminine fragrance. I just can't join these militaristic ranks myself.
5th October 2017
I was expecting an earth shattering monster, given it's reputation. It smells, to me, like Azuree. Lovely, but a let-down.
26th July 2017
A classic. Reminds me of 1970s musk perfumes. Not so much leather as musk, white floral, and a sharp astringent maybe amber. Smells like a bit of cumin in the top note, but it disappears quickly. Definately a vintage style musk. First made in 1944, It is of the same genera as Jicky. Definately a feminine fragrance.
12th June 2017
I wanted to love this, because it's such a classic. However, I can't bring myself to like it. All I get from this is leather, civet and oakmoss. It's so bitter, so harsh. There is no relief of sweetness or light. I suppose that's why many people love it, but I'm weak. I want to smell pretty.
27th January 2017
In todays world of fruity saccharin bombs, it's inconceivable that such a remorseless leather chypre as this - adorned with citrus, spice and the barest minimum of florals - could ever have been dubbed a feminine.

Black patent leather emerging from a shimmering rainbow sillage, Bandit remains - despite reformulation - an enduring and protean masterpiece, created from under the boot heel of Nazi oppression by that greatest of iconoclasts Germain Cellier.

16th January 2017
Stardate 20161005:

If you want to know what would 'bitter leather' smell like, get Bandit.
The Galbanum is my most feared note and I do not buy anything that has galbanum in it blind.
I bought bandit blind before I realized I dislike galbanum and I am glad I did.
Galbanum here is not over the top (like Jules, Devin) but supports the leather in the background and gives leather the bitterness.
I have both the 70s version and the modern one. The vintage is definitely better but current does a good job.
Thumbs up

5th October 2016
Every time I try Bandit, I wonder why I don't love it. I should love it – I love chypres, I love leathers, and I love the idea of a perfume so bad-ass you can almost visualize its resting bitch face.

Maybe it's because there's nothing to distract from Bandit's core brutality. Chypres are bitter, leather is bitter – leather chypres are therefore doubly bitter. Tabac Blond takes you almost to the edge but drifts into a sweet, smoky amber drydown that softens the landing. Habanita covers it up with flowers and face powder. Jolie Madame has the sweet sparkle of violets.

Bandit apologizes for nothing, and covers nothing up. It's a tough, bitter, raw-edged leather that winds up in ash and sweat. The flowers that are there are putridly creamy in a stomach-turning way, and the civet forces your head into its crotch.

Putting it on is like fighting your way into a tight black leather jacket that crackles with hostility as you try to make it bend. Once on, there is a raw, salty meat smell that crawls up at your nose from the seams of the jacket, as if bits of cow flesh still cling to the underside. I was always disappointed that Lady Gaga's first fragrance didn't smell like I imagined her dripping meat dress to smell – but Bandit does.

But that's not what turns my stomach. What gets me each and every time is the jarring clash between the raw, salted-meat leather notes and the creamy floral side. The florals are calorific, full-fat renderings of themselves – a rubbery tuberose, a petrol-like jasmine – mashed into a cream cheese texture that when it rubs up against the dark, dry leather causes my gorge to rise. The civet plays a key role here, of course, both heightening the pitch of the brutal leather accord and giving the florals a slutty growl.

To my surprise, it's the smoky ashes of the dreaded galbanum that rescue Bandit for me – cutting through the overly rich florals and brutal, salted leather, the ash weaves in and out and draws my attention to a campfire in the distance, a successful (and much appreciated) piece of misdirection. Every time I get to this part of the dry down, I wonder if it's worth at least getting a decant.

On the plus side, Bandit is distinctive, bold, and full of character. It is also ageless. In its cleaned-up, reformulated state, the current Bandit EDP is firmly modern in its minimalism. There is nothing in it that pegs it to any one year, let alone a year as far back as 1944. As Teutonically ergonomic as an Olympian swimmer's waxed chest, it feels like it could have been debuted in the same year as Rien (Etat Libre d'Orange), even though 62 years separate the two.

On the other hand, Bandit is a fragrance whose high proportion of green notes makes it vulnerable to the ravages of time. In two samples I've had (vintage and concentration unknown to me), the green elements – the moss, hyacinth, artemisia? – seemed to have wilted like lettuce in strong sun. The resulting vegetal, decaying mulch does nothing for me, not because it is unpleasant per se, but because part of me associates that wilted green note with perfumes I find dated. I won't name names, but basically anything with coriander, peach, gardenia, and sometimes that 70's way of treating patchouli.

In the end, though, Bandit is just a curiosity for me, and a placeholder – it smells much better and richer than the brown-grey drudgery of the current Cabochard and less herbally-up-its-own-ass as Miss Balmain, but not nearly as good as Jolie Madame, whose rush of violets makes me smile. Habanita and Tabac Blond are its sisters-in-arms, equally at home with a sneer and a cigarette dangling out of their mouths, but I would take them – any of them – over Bandit. I just don't have the personality required for such naked aggression.
3rd July 2016
Qualifier. This is a superb Perfume. Therefore I've given it the Thumbs up. My personal subjective view affects only me in this way.
I love the opening as it greets me with the same green,green,green bitters as Givenchy III, Aliage and Cabochard. Lovely that!!
Then it turns ugly, my stomach turns slightly. I suspect something like Tuberose.
I am drawn through the muck by a light smokiness and land into a rather Linear Dark Leather paralleled by this feathery smoke.
This leather is plastic,severe and yes,"Butchy" and forbidding.
Reminds me of an event in the 80's. I joined a gay friend on an excursion through a Dyke bar. We were the only two men. There were quite a few very beautiful women on the dance floor and the air full of heated Estrogen. I thought I was being careful about my glances. A short, stocky "Bull" walked past giving me a shoulder shove, a hard stare and "That's my Bitch...Bitch". She was scented like Bandit and angry Estrogen.
I mumbled "No I am with him" pointing at my friend.
Friend and his sister thought it was hilarious!!
I could not get out fast enough. Nearly soiled myself.

Bandit remains as such today. I certainly wouldn't wear it and I am not likely to want to have anyone I am with wear it.
Bandit Plastic, Tuberose and Leather. Shudder Nooo, Thank-you.
9th June 2016
Outstanding unisex, slightly animalic, floral leather, the circa 2000 parfum version.

The floral and the leather are the same smell, as if a zealous tanner made a dark, heavy leather jacket floral and shiny. A thick leather, but soft.

The base isn't a million miles away from the effect in Antaeus, I think they may have a similar patchouli.

The 2016 version (edp) is recognizably the same scent, and nice, just not as nice. It's like a pencil drawing of the same scent. Pencil drawings can be really interesting, and this is like one of those.
6th February 2016
Bandit has been called the edgiest of "butch leathers," and I suppose it is, but for me it always enters the room with a wink and a healthy capacity for enjoying its calculated effects. Bandit's bitter notes are interwoven with indolic floral airs - glorious discord, fragrant (and flagrant) irony!

Comparing the 2015 EDP with a vintage extrait - which might be too much a case of apples v. oranges, even for Bandit - I find the vintage juice much more bitter, with accords that are smoother but at the same time harder to pin down; nevertheless, the core personality of this reference leather fragrance is intact and alive in its current iteration. Bandit will always be among my favorite leathers, but it is so much more than that: like all noteworthy incarnations, it is greater than the sum of its parts.
14th September 2015
Dangerously sensual.BANDIT has the most wonderful scent of sex appeal. there's something very passionate about this perfume that men follow intensive you around every time you wear it.It is a perfume for the mature,unique and impertinent women who knows where she is going. sultry,classic,seductive, attractive, intriguing,leathery and headstrong passion.

All about BANDIT is an intoxicating blend of galbanum,bergamot,aldehydes, vetiver,oakmoss,civet,patchouli and especially leather.the dry down has a deep alluring and animalistic that leaves an impression and makes it for women are not afraid of their sensuality and also modern women who feel nostalgic about glamorous eras past.

Totally You can smell leather for a long time.BANDIT is perfect for cold winter nights with someone you would like to seduce.It is not absolutely feminine and i found a masculine characteristic in it but if any woman wear it,reminds me a Femme Fatale with hot emotion so i don't recommend it for the faint of heart at all.test it first before buying.
30th March 2015
The current version of Bandit by Piguet smells something *like* its vintage version, which means a classic aldehydated-leathery chypre, with “humid” and heavy floral notes on a gloomy base of leather, woods, civet, galbanum, patchouli, benzoin, and the usual green-floral breeze: shortly, a feminine "femme fatale" scent like Habanita or Cabochard (which means men can easily wear them as well, as such scents now became more masculine than the masculine ones). But as for (new) Habanita and (new) Cabochard, this current reissue has not the slightest resemblance in terms of quality with its predecessor. It is plain, artificial, inoffensive to all extents: the notes are apparently more or less the same, but their texture, their substance is remarkably different. The new Bandit completely lacks in all the smoky, dark, raw animalicness of the vintage versions, its organic dark shadiness, and the thick richness of each note. And obviously, civet and oak moss are just pale echoes in today's version. The smell “seems” somehow similar, so in a way it may be considered kind of decent as they did not apparently reformulate it that much; they just tamed down what had to be tamed down due to regulations and changes in customers' taste. Comparing Bandit today to its vintage ancestors feels like watching a mediocre photograph of a scene, and be where it has been shot – you miss all the palpable “living” feel. Plain and weak, simply put. No evolution of the notes also, they all just become drier and more rubbery. It's not a disaster, but as much costly as it may appear, if you truly *like* perfumes go for the vintage.

5,5-6/10 (current)
9/10 (vintage)
24th December 2014
I realize that this is a classic scent, that its tar note was revolutionary for chypres up to that time (1944), that it was Marlene Dietrich's scent, that its revolutionary mix of ingredients (including one percent of Isobutyl Quinoline, the bitter tar note, which changed the entire molecular structure) places it in a perfume hall of fame niche…..

However, it is vile to my nose. The rich, ripe fruit opening is quickly followed by the oak moss, IQ combo, and makes it to my nose repulsive. I love chypres. I hear that this inspired my favorite scent, Cabochard, and also Aramis, which I also loathe. So, I am attracted to the recipe, but Cabochard refines it, Aramis trashes it, and Bandit just sits there, smugly laughing at me.

Turin gave it 5 stars, deemed it a "bitter chypre," dark with no softness. Barbara Herman called it a "bitter, smoky leather chypre," noting that the IQ note was rubbery and bitter. Roja Dove calls it "brutish."

Top notes: Artemisia, Bergamot, Galbanum, Neroli, Orange, Ylang, Gardenia
Heart notes: Jasmine, Rose, Tuberose, Orris, Carnation
Base notes: Patchouli, Oakmoss, Vetiver, Musk, Mousse de Chine, Castoreum, Myrrh, Amber, Civet, Isobutyl Quinoline.

Excessively masculine, not at all feminine, tres dominaitrix - perhaps Dietrich used it to repel suitors.

Do experience it, but at your own risk.
15th October 2014
Take Miss Dior (Originale), add a dash of Kouros, a twist of lemon... and voila, you have Bandit (current version EDP), well just about.

BUT, as Bandit is the predecessor of these modern classics, all credit must be given to Bandit as the true masterpiece.

I eagerly smelt Bandit for the first time recently after reading many reviews... I was expecting something very strong, smoky, leathery, a touch abrasive and very polarising. I found none of these traits. instead, I found a very subtle fragrance that stays close to the skin. To start, there is a blast of lemon shadowed by the earthy muskiness / green cleanness blend reminiscent of Kouros before it dries down to something very very similar to the dry down of Miss Dior Originale (the thieves!), but a bit less musky and a bit less sweet. I get no leather, no animalic tones, no engine oil, no femme-fatale in kick ass boots.

Instead, Bandit is the skin of a woman with quiet confidence, chic sophistication, but strong independence and originality and a penchant for all things new and unexplored. This lady refuses to be type-cast, cannot be stereotyped, she is simultaneously classic, current and avant-guarde.

This fragrance is stellar and such a perfect blend of its components, that the components cease to exist, instead melding into one single note, that of the skin of the woman every woman want to be. Divine!
23rd July 2014
Genre: Leather

Critics lament the decline of masculine fragrances, but ah, how women's scents have fallen! From the heights of Piguet's Bandit to the depths of Herrera's atrocious Chic. Would anyone make a scent like Bandit today? Certainly no mainstream perfumer, and most assuredly not for women.

Bandit is a bold, confrontational leather scent on a scale that rivals Knize Ten. It's magnificent birch tar opening takes on a salty animalic pungency that few modern scents can match. It smells like and amplified version of a man's skin after some light exertion in the sun, but before the reek of testosterone-fueled sweat sets in. Spice and wood notes temper the mammalian flesh accord, but never go so far as to prettify it. If anything, Bandit breaks the butch leather scent mode by becoming more animalic and not less as the accessory notes pile on. Eventually Bandit dries down to reveal plenty of vetiver, moss, musk, and briny labdanum, the last of which maintains the scent's animalic leather aspect to the very end.

All I can say is thank goodness it's been reinstated!
9th June 2014
I wish this smelled right on me. My skin just does NOT do it justice. On others, it smells the way it should - like an amazing awesome woman wrapped in a leather jacket on a motorcycle. I wish I could pull this off, it exudes confidence. I tried the vintage edt.
20th May 2014