Grès Monsieur fragrance notes

  • Head

    • Lavender, Bergamot
  • Heart

    • Carnation, Cinnamon
  • Base

    • Moss, Tonka, Amber

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Latest Reviews of Grès Monsieur

I have a vintage 75ml eau de toilette tester spray flacon of this with the notes listed on the side in French. There’s more than what’s listed up top there although there is no cinnamon, carnation, tonka or bergamot. To my nose, the scent pyramid listed on the tester flacon is on point. I cannot sense any of those notes mentioned.

Head: Mandarine de Sicile, Estragon d’Italie, Laurie du pays (Grasse)

Heart: Sauge du pays (Drôme), Lavande des Alpes, Géranium de Grasse

Base: Tabac des Indes, Ambre, Santal des Indes, Patchouly de Singapour, Mousse de chêne de Yugoslavie

In English…

Head: Sicilian mandarin, Italian tarragon, locally grown laurel from Grasse France

Heart: locally grown sage from Drôme France, Alpine lavander, geranium from Grasse France

Base: Indian tobacco, amber, Indian Sandalwood, Singapore patchouli, oak moss from Yugoslavia

The condensed version…

Head: mandarin, tarragon, laurel (bay leaf)

Heart: sage, lavender, geranium

Base: tobacco, amber, sandalwood, patchouli, oak moss

The ingredients used are all top notch. I’ve smelled this before a really long time ago or something like this, somewhere. I’ve been going crazy trying to figure out why this aroma is so familiar. I’ll catch wafts and wisps of it occasionally in the sillage. As soon as I catch it for a brief moment to dissect where in the world have I experienced this ‘feeling’ before, it disappears from my nose. I must’ve been a kid because as soon as I smelled this that little bell in my head went ‘ding’.

The perfume is ridiculously awesome. The Mysore sandalwood seriously bumps this mysterious elixir to the next level. Patchouli is the dominant note. Very classy and dressy/creamy like but dark and smooth while always easily wearable. Gres Monsieur definitely has gentlemanly sillage. There’s this deepness to this that’s so hard to explain but so pleasurable. It smells like dark fuzzy purple. Somehow in its sillage there resembles almost what a manly fabric softener smells of. It’s difficult to discern specific notes as the blending is superb but the overall effect is that of freshly laundered clothing that was softened with some seriously awesome smelling fabric softener. I am not one for scented laundry products but somehow Gres Monsieur creates this illusion in its sillage and it really does smell super cool. Entirely unique to a degree.

This is definitely patchouli focused with lavander and amber as supporting roles. There’s a woody back drop of intoxicating, creamy Indian sandalwood, a hint of tobacco and oak moss but the star of the show is a patchouli/lavender/amber/geranium/sage foursome blended so tightly and neatly that I can’t even begin to explain how cool this smells. This is definitely a killer perfume.

There’s a tad of OG Azzaro Pour Homme and Balmain’s Ebene floating around in Gres Monsieur which is not a bad thing at all. Gres Monsieur though is very unusual in character to set it apart from anything else from the 80’s. This perfume is quite elegant and wears beautifully with nothing dated at all where the dry down is to die for. It is not stuffy and actually quite casual in feel. The sillage on this is phenomenal with lasting power we’ll into the next day. I rate this within the top 10 best vintage 80’s perfumes for Men, it’s that good.
31st October 2022
A lot of waxing poetic by others seems to have been done about Grès Monsieur by Parfums Grès (1982), although honestly, the former men's range of fragrances for this house had never been a big deal, and always was at least a little behind-the-times compared to contemporaries. Still, there is something to be said of the appeal conservative style has for a scent, choosing to keep things rooted in what is known to be good, rather than exploring some provocative olfactive landscape. Such was the case with the first Grès pour Homme by Parfums Grès (1965), even if that scent is ironically called a low-rent Dior Eau Sauvage (1966) by some without understanding the futuristic wizardy lying under the hood of the Dior made it incomparable. Unlike it, Grès pour Homme was no such masterpiece, nor is any Grès masculine really, or else perhaps the house would still make one of them, like with the inimitable Cabochard de Grès (1959). Quidproquo by Grès (1976) would follow, and then this fragrance would come to market by the early 1980's, followed two years later by the only flanker any men's scent from the house ever received, Grès Monsieur Sport by Parfums Grès (1984). What makes Grès Monsieur so appealing is its likeness to Azzaro pour Homme (1978), which by 1982 was still climbing in popularity for that house, respectively. Un Homme Charles Jourdan (1979) would take a darker, more seventies-like baroque approach to the style, while Grès Monsieur would be something of a "Goldilocks" inbetween the two, adding more spice than Azzaro on it's own has, while dialing back on the heavy "brown" aromatic woody tones that define the Charles Jourdan. Like I said, this had a conservative appeal for men not looking to be loud and proud with contemporaries such as Yves Saint Laurent Kouros (1981).

The problem with this approach though, is it's a safe bet that leads to a short-term success story that will be forgotten once the also-rans run their course, as both Un Homme and Grès Monsieur ultimately did. Newcomer Aramis Tuscany per Uomo (1984) would prove the true challenger to the Azzaro title belt, and would continue boxing with it until its own demise at the hands of the Estée Lauder folding the Aramis name back into the main brand portfolio and retiring it as a separate house. The truth is most people smelling Grès Monsieur now will just see another lemony aromatic fougère of vague familiarity, one the likeness of which has scented dozens of men's grooming and haircare products throughout the decades, and will probably call it "old-smelling" if they don't value that context. It's not to say Grès Monsieur isn't good, as there is just a cozy comfort to the overall design of the stuff, just not enough good to make it worth all the pearl-clutching I see people doing. You get a lemon and anise opening with a bit of aldehydes, minus the dimetol and dihydromyrcenol soapiness that defines Azzaro. In exchange for that high-tech sophistication we see cinnamon, cardamom, pine, and carnation enter the mix, things neither Azzaro nor Un Homme have in abundance. Geranium, lavender, and patchouli form a core that is then laid upon a background of oakmoss, tonka, a pinch of leather, and some labdanum. This is more fougère than chypre of course, while the later Homme de Grès by Parfums Grès (1996) would be this same exercise in reverse, showcasing a chypre structure with the occasional flick of fougère aromatics. Performance in comparison to other early 80's masculines may seem flaccid in the projection department, although I think Grès Monsieur is equally long-lasting to most of the era's heavyweights.

You have to really understand the history of house Grès to get where this came from, as the brand was in severe commercial decline by then. Painter and sculptor Germaine Émilie Krebs had originally formed La Maison Alix in 1932, dressing people like Greta Garbo and using the pen name Alix Barton until the German occupation of France in 1940 made using any names alluding to her Jewish heritage dangerous. By 1942, the "Madame Grès" name was born, formed of a partial anagram representing the first name of fellow painter and husband Serge Czerefkov. Madame Grès became the new label of her house, although she would be shut down by the Nazi's for failing to comply with their requests to make uniforms a la Hugo Boss; but she'd resurface mid-century with flowing dresses and the aforementioned perfume, Cabochard de Grès. By the 1980's, "Madame Grès" herself was in her 80's, living in a tiny apartment paid for by her haute couture peers, and only kept relevant by the very same; as designers like Hubert de Givenchy still ordered bespoke pieces from her, that she was still making by hand up until her death in 1993. Meanwhile, Grès the house was sold to Japanese firm Yagi Tsusho Limited, who never achieved any real success with the house and effectively only administered its further decline with various other creative directors until it finally shuttered in 2012. Unlike Coco Chanel, Krebs was not shrewd in her business dealings, and never saw the same profits from her perfume. This is the world Grès Monsieur was born into, and its basic-but-dependable construction shows the risk-adverse nature that defined nearly every masculine fragrance they ever made, save maybe Homme de Grès, which was highly anachronistic for its time. Thumbs up
11th July 2022

An enchanting treasure, Gres Monsieur has a more introspective, contemplative quality than that of its contemporaries at the time. After all, just a year prior saw the release of such bombastic scents as Kouros, Antaeus and Quorum. Monsieur has a laid back, sleek feel, but still emits a resonance. Monsieur is not shy, but is also not an extrovert either; choosing to let his presence speak for itself, with just enough volume to maybe make a head or two turn. I can relate to Monsieur.

The opening in my vintage, while inevitably oxidized, still retains most of its citric essence, the bergamot still seems a bit zesty and pithy despite all these years (who knows how this bottle had been stored), and there is this herbal accord that is almost reminiscent of spearmint or cornmint. It's this touch of herbal sweetness that merges with the cinnamon and carnation, that makes Monsieur so alluring. It also is another one of those fragrances that hits deep in the hippocampus: where have I smelled this before? At what time? Was it years and years ago, and my childhood mind somehow stored its imprint for all these years? Whenever I experience this, it feels baffling and bittersweet.

What is most stirring is when this all melds into a hazy, woolly ether of oakmoss with a dash of tonka bean, smelling much like the way the aromatic ferns of the Northeast US as dappled sun enters through the tall pines, a resinous ambery glow, a Zen drydown. Even as an old (who knows exactly how old?) vintage, there is this naturalism that is so seldom present in the tidal wave of modern releases that desperately cling on to fables but fall short of expectations. The desire for authenticity today is often sullied by pretense, and the end product is outlandishly adorned to distract from the reductive, derivative, soulless scent that has immediate diminishing returns in true value. I know it sounds like the same cynical, curmudgeonly discontent with the present and a romanticized vision of the past, but I truly think that with progress there is regress, it's all in flux. And with fragrance, we could all stand to reach back and reflect on whence we came, and where we need to go moving forward.

Forward I go, wearing Monsieur on a cool September morning, feeling hopeful and inspired.
9th March 2022
I am not a fragrance expert, but I just wanted to share my experience with “Grès Monsieur” fragrance. I was given a sample of edt in the late 1980s. I immediately fell in love with it. I felt that it was “my scent”. I couldn't stop smelling it. I finally got some from Paris. In the next 25-30 years that was the only fragrance I ever used. I eventually got some other items from Sport line ( shower gel, shampoo, shaving foam, etc). I can't tell you how many times I was approached by total strangers asking me what I was wearing and where I got it. Some of my friends, when we met, always smelled me first. They knew my scent by now even before I entered the room. It was incredible. Of course, the scent was not available in the U.S., except for a very brief time when I saw in in New York at Bloomingdales. Then it disappeared. Every trip to France I would buy bottles and bottles of it, gift sets around the holidays. But one year, when I was in Paris, I had hard time finding it and someone told me that it's being discontinued. My heart stopped. I later wrote to Parfums Grès asking them if it was true. They said that it's still being produced and enclosed a little gift set. I was so pleased. But around late 1990s it was discontinued. It was very sad. I couldn't even imagine what else I could possibly use. On one of the trips to Paris a friend who lived there took me to the last Grès boutique still open for a surprise: they had a leftover stock of Grès Monsieur ( about 30 bottles). I couldn't believe my eyes! Of course I ended up getting them all. That was the last “official” purchase. The store closed in 2012. Over the years I purchased some random bottles online from different countries, but it was never the same: the color was dark yellow instead of light green and it smelled nothing like the original. My only hope and dream that, perhaps, one day, they will decide to reintroduce it to the world in the original formula. That would be the day!
28th August 2021
A fine man-classic from the Grès maison. Madame Grès, born in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century, initially was trained as a sculptor but soon became famous as a fashion designer synonym for elegance and class, creating garments for aristocracy. The first (and probably most iconic) fragrance of the Grès house was the great Cabochard (1958) performed by the genius Bernard Chant (Aramis, Aromatics Elixir, Jhl, to quote several). Cabotine, Homme de Grès and Monsieur utterly enhanced the olfactive fame of the maison. After an adventurous life (often out of France, far away in to far lands) she decided to sell the fragrance-section of the house in order to dedicate herself mostly on fashion. Today Parfums Grès is based in Switzerland. To me Monsieur is mostly an aromatic masculine amber tonkinian-fragrance. It opens citric and vaguely minty with a sort of salty-resinous twist, jumping up from the background. Carnation is soon evident on the floral path while cinnamon becomes gradually powerful, perfectly linked to amber, tonka bean and oakmoss. Tonka bean is well calibrated (especially considering the amber-presence) and never too sultry or cloying. Dry down is drier, warm and cozy (powdery but never in a stuffy way). A super refined piece of mossy ambery masculine a la Ungaro Pour L'Homme II (but less bombastic/animalic and more fine), full of class and discretion. Unfortunately hard to find nowadays I recommend it to lovers of vintages willing to revive by perfumes left back golden ages of class and optimistic refinement.
12th July 2021
This was an oddball at first, with a disturbing note I could not identify. Like warm mayonnaise..
I think the juice in the plastic-tube had been sitting there for too long, 'cause after a couple of 'trial-sprays' the fragrance had completely changed and the off-note was now a beautiful spearmint that, in cahoots with lavender, moss, carnation, cinnamon, bergamot and amber, now relayed a simple but intoxicating fresh green and warm aromatic fragrance. A new fav of mine. Great stuff, man.
28th July 2018
A very pleasant opening, in which the cardamom, bergamot and lavender combine in quite a unique way, with a fresh-ish impression. The drydown warms up with a delightful cinnamon, but the base is a bit of a letdown on my skin, a bit nondescript. Still, overall a nice spring scent. Limited silage, decent projection and six hours of longevity. Borderline - just a positive score at a whisker.
4th April 2014