The first male fragrance by Jean Paul Gaultier. The bottle is in the shape of a male torso and packaged in what looks like a baked bean tin. The bath products are shaped liked paint tubes. The prestige version of the fragrance features a 'bulb puffer spray'.
Le Mâle fragrance notes
- mint, artemesia, cardamom, bergamot
- lavender, orange blossom, cinnamon, cumin
- sandalwood, vanilla, cedar, tonka bean, amber
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Latest Reviews of Le Mâle
Sugary sweet, cinnamon and cumin add a spiciness while vanilla, tonka and amber ensure a rich, cozy drydown. I find nothing off-putting about this fragrance as other commenters have, but I also don't find it terribly exceptional or unique. I prefer it to the cloying sweetness of 1 Million, but I think Eros is better-blended overall.
Good for cooler weather, and/or a night on the town. Sexy and youthful.
There’s a very pleasant and quite interesting blend of notes in the fore front for the entire duration that consists of lavander, cinnamon, orange blossom, cumin and musk but, the serious problem is in the sillage department and in the back ground. Wearing it is actually very nice if you wear teeny, tiny, minuscule bits. As in one dinky spritz, or a couple of dabs, like 4 drops. When applied heavily though as in atomized numerous times and smelled from an outside nose on someone else, there’s this seriously nauseating funk, this deep funk like greasy body odor, hangover breath, almost an odor of tooth rot, halitosis and this unexplainable bad hygiene smell that hits you right in the gut, hard. Kind of like if you went out, partied real good and had raunchy, sweaty sex all night after working all day, didn’t sleep or shower and went straight to work still fucked up from the night before, in the same clothes, after slathering on some Lé Male.
It’s a bizarre perfume. There’s something very alluring in its overall accord that’s being violated by dirty sex, but not erotic dirty sex, more like filthy haven’t bathed in a week dirty sex, but with some perfume sprayed on top to freshen it up a bit.
I think almost everyone knows what this smells like by now, but if you don't, it's basically a lavendor/tonka fougere, sweetened with vanilla, cinnamon, and coumarin, kind of soapy and powdery, but kept from turning into a gourmand by a mix of exhaust-fume terpines, bleach, plasticky diaper musk, and smegma.
It actually kind of reminds me of Shalimar, but if Shalimar were reimagined by a punky gay weirdo who thought it would be funny to get unsuspecting people to wear a classic musk perfume that uses bleachy dried up sperm instead of musk. As such, I get the joke, and I acknowledge the artistry, and the wink-and-nod to history, and the iconoclasm. But I still think this smells nasty.
The current formulation has decent projection without being too loud and lasts 7-8 hours.
In fact, Le Mâle has perhaps become too successful for it's own good, which fuels the controversy around it's artistic merits because everyone was just overexposed to it back then like they were 1 Million, and more-recently Dior Sauvage (2015). The scent's famous artemisia and mint opening is much to blame for it's shrill piercing of hot nightclub air, but it isn't quite an ozonic as it doesn't have a huge grapefruit note, but just the usual bitter bergamot and a contrasting cardamom note. Le Mâle is all about contrasts, which is how it gets to be so freakishly loud without being cloying like Joop Homme (1989) at similar volume levels. Cinnamon and dirty cumin is opposed by fresh lavender and orange blossom, showing Francis Kurkdjian borrowing a play from Edmond Roudnitska in the "dirty but clean, virile but pleasant" department, but the base ends up taming this beast at the end. Sandalwood, cedar, tonka, amber, and vanilla act as a forgiving security blanket that hides the diametrically-opposed notes in the top and middle. By the time Le Mâle is (finally) a skin scent, only wisps of the mint and lavender really remain to mix with the heavier, creamier, and powdery base, making this a very barbershop-like smell in it's final throes. I actually get a bit irritated by this finish, but wearing it on shirt helps keep the top around longer. There really isn't another fougère like this one (outside of clones), and the performance is beyond this world. Expect 10 hours plus of good detectable sillage and projection way past an arm's length. Best use is pretty much all seasons save the dead of summer, but obviously this smell is associated most with the night life.
Le Mâle is finally starting to appear dated around it's 25-year mark, and like other notorious period scents from the 90's such as Nautica (1992) and Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger (1995), is so inexorably linked to the decade of its birth that even in the gay scene (where it had the longest clubbing lifespan), it's seen as "old-school", which hurts it's wearability. If loud mint, bergamot, lavender, spice and vanilla traffic jams sound like something you could dig, you can't go wrong with Le Mâle, but if you were duly overexposed to it like I was, then you can appreciate it's importance but never bring yourself to wear it more than occasionally, a single bottle lasting a lifetime, or wear it again in some cases. Nuclear performance is the name of Le Mâle's game, but much of the notes used here inform of later Kurkdjian creations for his own MFK label, and has come in so many different packaging editions that it's also become a darling with collectors. The scent has always been something of a love/hate, but in no way am I dismissing the entire Le Mâle line, as there have been many different and nice flankers in the years since, a good portion of which are also designed by Francis Kurkdjian. A famous fresh, jarring, semi-powdery fougère scent that is instantly recognizable but not versatile like most things of its ilk. Thumbs up
Being the second perfume I ever got back in 2000 (5 years after its release and still being extremely popular back then), there are so many memories tied with its smell. I believe that Le Male is the kind of male perfume that every single perfume enthusiastic should smell as an introduction to what male perfumery was and still is all about. It is exceptional in its own way and - while it may smell a bit dated after so many copies of its smell being released, from male perfumes to... car deodorants, still stays relevant to JPG brand philosophy. You may love it, you may hate it but you have to give it a try.
Nice longevity, ideal projection - I feel that it is a bit watered down nowadays, compared to the original formula though, which is not a bad thing, considering the fact that the original formula could stay on skin for 24 hours and more. I remember going to the pool wearing the original formula years ago and having people around telling me that the whole pool water smells like Le Male.
Apart from all the flankers of Le Male that JPG released (which all have been kind of fail - except Ultra Male and the new Le Male Essence), in my opinion the only perfume that took Le Male base and developed it to something modern and powerful is Prada Luna Rosa Extreme.
In conclusion Le Male is a milestone in male perfumery, something that being in market for 21 years proves. While I am not sure if it is the way I want to smell in 2016, it has always been a steady presence in my perfume collection, something I love to visit from time to time.
*This review was written after several full wearings of the perfume and not just after smelling this on paper or on wrist.