Paloma Picasso (1992)

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Minotaure by Paloma Picasso

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About Minotaure by Paloma Picasso

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Paloma Picasso
Fragrance House
Paloma Picasso
Packaging / Bottle Design

The Minotaur is a reoccurring theme in Pablo Picasso's work, and this is where his daughter got the name for her only masculine fragrance. The name "Minotaure" is sculptured in the glass circling the whole bottle. The fragrance itself has citrus topnotes, herb heartnotes and basenotes of musk and amber.

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

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Reviews of Minotaure by Paloma Picasso

There are 76 reviews of Minotaure by Paloma Picasso.

Minotaure is distinctly masculine and sexy, but still friendly, youthful, charismatic, and charming. It is sweet and comforting. At the time of it's creation there were not so many sweet fragrances for men around as nowadays. Many of the fragrances of this type put on the market in the last years tend to be strong, seductive in a very bold kind of way, they are fragrances for a night out on the disco floor, they catch the nose but they lack subtlety. Minotaure is not like that. It's the perfume for a romantic man. It's very seductive but in a subtle way.

The male notes are very gently represented by tarragon, coriander and cedar. The aldehyde and bergamot fades within minutes and then comes barely perceptible, velvety bitter galbanum. Going towards a delicious heart of jasmine, geranium and rose. It becomes richer and more sensual as it develops into the soft-woody (sandalwood) and resinous base, anchored nicely with vanilla and tonka bean. The effect is very comforting, the same vibe as the delightful Dior's Dolce Vita. Totally it is strangely warm and cooling at the same time.

I was only a teenie-bopper in 1992, but I was imprinted with that sexy intrigued sensation at first encounter. IT was so captivating and mesmerizing of a scent that I will never forget!

I have an earlier Cosmair formulation as it has been stressed over and again that any that followed were inferior. If it's mentioned numerous times and with much conviction, I felt it made sense to just go for it, and I am pleased with this 90s fruity tooty, orange creamsicle, dreamy amber.

I have an earlier Cosmair formulation as it has been stressed over and again that any that followed were inferior. If it's mentioned numerous times and with much conviction, I felt it made sense to just go for it, and I am pleased with this 90s fruity tooty, orange creamsicle, dreamy amber.

The opening is aldehydic and spacious; Minotaure isn't dense by any means, and for that, it creates an atmosphere around the wearer. I love that I am reminded of cherry Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip, Tang and Crystal Light powder, some dried apricot, Durkee vanilla extract; it's a bit like exploring my grandmother's pantry. That is not to say there isn't anything substantive here: beneath this is a warmth and woodiness that belies the candied fruit, and a floral accord with what my nose detects as a sheer lily of the valley washing over the sweetness, adding this alluring contrast.

Several hours in, I am left with a delightful sandalwood, cedar, and amber that occasionally extends its sillage with movement. It made sense that Bowie wore this; sort of a subtle counterpoint to his complex personality. The appeal is there, for sure.

Paloma Picasso took after her father, Pablo Picasso, but channelled her artistic abilities into jewelry and perfumes, seemingly taking a page from the playbook of Salvadore Dali by using her father's name to create a perfume house in the process. The range never escaped the 90's and out of the six known, several are discontinued (including what I'm reviewing here), but Paloma liked to factor in a bit of La Belle Époque flair to her perfumes, making them a bit left-of-center compared to their peers of the day. Minotaure (1992) was the first and ultimately only masculine fragrance released by the house, supplied first by Creations Aromatiques (for whom perfumer Michael Almairac worked at the time) but eventually became a discount darling of mall perfume kiosks everywhere after L'Oréal acquired the brand as a part of their legacy perfume holdings. Almairac, who also worked on Joop! Homme by Parfums Joop! (1989) then later Sculpture Homme by Nikos (1995), can be seen as something of a godfather for the "clubber" fragrance, especially since Minotaure has some connective tissue between the Joop! fragrance and the later Nikos one. The sweet orange blossom found in all three, combined with the almost "creamsicle" quality found in the latter two, show some sort of thematic progression. I can tell you right up front I'm not the biggest fan of this stuff, but I've smelled worse, and think that for what this is and what it tries to do, Minotaure mostly succeeds. I wouldn't want to get lost in a maze with this stuff at its center, that's for sure.

The opening of Minotaure does a familiar trick of opening with sweet citruses and aldehydes, to carry aloft a certain fruity spiciness bolstered with tarragon, coriander, and sweet tonka. Like many of these 90's proto-clubbers, the tonka and later vanilla will define the final dry down of the scent, something the super-popular Jean-Paul Gaultier Le Mâle (1994) would champion in force. Like Le Mâle, Minotaure eventually focuses on minty vanilla sweetness, but closer to the later Roma Uomo by Laura Biagiotta (1994), this scent adds in warm sandalwood and amber to feign a certain degree of romanticism. I hated Roma Uomo for the way it crudely and sharply handled the synthetic sandalwood and laundry musk compounds in the final phase of wear, but Minotaure at least gets that right, since the heart of rose, geranium, ylang-ylang, indolic jasmine, and sweet Spanish lavender help give a buffer to those final notes. Before long, the sandaxol sandalwood note popular in 90's semi-orientals does come into play, alongside the token white musk, tonka, cedar, vanilla, and amber, but the blending here is way better than Roma Uomo. Some cite leather being present, but I detect none. I'm still not a huge lover of this kind of accord overall, since the contrast of oriental woodiness, animalic amber, and laundry clean just feels kinda wrong to my nose, but remains pleasant enough here thanks to Almairac's execution. If it isn't obvious, I'd call this a clubber or semi-romantic evening sort of scent for cooler weather if used outdoors, but being as it is of a more "dated" variety, may not be suitable for younger party-goers. Wear time is above average at 10 hours and projection can be monstrous with some body heat, so be careful.

I think Almairac would do better with Sculpture Homme because he would mostly ditch the semi-oriental elements and green elements this shares with Romo Uomo, adding in neroli to the top, and ambrette seed to the base whilst keeping the dandy florals of the heart intact, making for a much more sophisticated night-out kind of scent. Sculpture Homme is something of a timeless underdog clubber champion for this reason, as it brings the volume and the sweetness but does something enlightened and artistic with its key components that this does not. Don't get me wrong, Paloma Picasso Minotaure is definitely an attention-getting, potentially compliment-pulling all-eyes-on-me sort of fragrance, but the mint and green elements run counter to the softer, more indolic, and muskier side of the fragrance, making for an uneasy tug-of-war that to me is like adding a symphonic accompaniment to a Sex Pistols record. In other words, there is just something here that is at odds with itself here and that keeps me from fully liking Minotaure, although I totally respect the fanbase it has accrued in the years since launch. Being discontinued, some vintage heads in the online community will point to this as being the best of its ilk simply on merit of that alone, but I'd rather give that title to Fath pour L'Homme by Jacques Fath (1998) because there is a lot more going on and zero conflicts in the blending. Still, this bull has horns and will fight if you want it to, I'd just prefer it stayed in the pasture myself. Decent for what it is, but not my thing, although sample if you can and judge for yourself. Neutral.

I finally acquired a new old stock Cosmair era bottle of Minotaure. I used to see this fragrance in the department stores and always wanted to try it. Hard to find and pricey so I obtained the vintage.

This fragrance opens up clear of citrus and aldehydes. The citrus tames down while the florals reveal themselves which are attached to the aldehydes. This fragrance becomes fruity. Sandalwood in the background which becomes creamy from a rising texture of vanilla which touches the fruit. I don't get leather...but I do get a slight patchouli in the finish.

So why a neutral rating?
I'll give Minotaure props for inspiring this early 2000's fragrance it reminds me of...but not when comes to cost. Thallium by Jacques Evard instantly came to mind...that's a $15 fragrance. Now I like both Thallium and Minotaure's style... but the resemblance was so uncanny to Thallium it was ridiculous. If there was a knob to control the vanilla in Thallium and you rolled it back?...it would reveal itself as Minotaure. Bottom line is I'll stick to Thallium. Minotaure in any formula is overpriced.

It took me a couple of weeks to realize that it's the leather in this scent that is a bit off putting to me. Once I had found that out, it became easier to wear, but I will probably not buy this one again.

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