Mouchoir de Monsieur 
Guerlain (1904)

Average Rating:  65 User Reviews

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Mouchoir de Monsieur by Guerlain

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About Mouchoir de Monsieur by Guerlain

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Mouchoir de Monsieur is a men's fragrance launched in 1904 by Guerlain

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Reviews of Mouchoir de Monsieur by Guerlain

There are 65 reviews of Mouchoir de Monsieur by Guerlain.

I have a bee bottle from the early naughties - I don't believe Guerlain makes this anymore. It's a shame, but with a caveat.

This definitely play with the proportions of Jicky - amped up lavender and civet, no noticeable florals, and overall more intimate.

The MdM-Jicky connection reminds me of Feminite du Bois and its family. Exactly the same vibe, but with a varied recipe.

Would I survive without this when Jicky is still kicking around? Yes. Should you pay top dollar on eBay? No. Should you snag a bottle of you find it cheap, absolutely.

This is without question my favorite Guerlain fragrance, and indeed, quite possibly, my favorite fragrance of all time. In a word, it's magnificent! To be brief, this is how it goes (for me, in plain talk) from start to finish: lavender (which is incredible!) - extremely well blended, unobtrusive florals - vanilla tonka. Glorious. All the talk about "dandy" and "animalic"? Doesn't mean a thing to me - all I know is that I can't get enough of this! But I will agree that this in not a casual scent (unless you just want to wear it because you dig it so much), but more formal. Seasonally, I prefer this the most in early spring, when it's still a bit chilly; but I do wear it throughout the year (except in extreme heat, unless I'm mostly inside with good air conditioning - like today).

I was introduced to Mouchoir de Monsieur during a visit to the terrific Colonial Drug in Newton MA (formerly in Harvard Sq, Cambridge, MA) by the owner a few years ago. I was just beginning to explore the house of Guerlain, having only been really aware of Habit Rouge and Vetiver at the time.

As it was sprayed on the paper strip (and in due time, my own skin) I was immediately intrigued by the history Mouchoir represented: in the very midst of the Edwardian era of British history, it epitomizes the dandy of this time period. The dandy has his accessories: his monocle, his boutonnière, silk hat, cane, and his handkerchief (mouchoir). The handkerchief is lustrated with a fragrance for his delight.

Mouchoir de Monsieur IS this lustration and it's a delight to the right of set of nares, with its opening fanfare lavender, verbena, and bergamot and a noticeable Guerlain 'DNA,' if you will. However, something happens just mere seconds in: something a little, hmm, impertinent, just a tiny bit sullied and profane. This isn't a Disney depiction of the Edwardian era, let's just say. These dandies may have very well had some skeletons in the closet and Guerlain knows the importance of code (perhaps this was the first hanky 'code'?).

Even the cleanest pair of drawers laundered in orange blossom water may have residual spots by eveningtide that could be perceived as naughty and sensual. Mouchoir de Monsieur deftly represents it here, but it does not wear out its welcome (was it invited? who cares!) as moss, iris and florals distract you just enough from this lascivious civet (why is it not a listed note??) so that you start to think it wasn't out of place at all. It may actually BE the representation of both the dandy's rapier wit and unspoken sexuality. Remember, this is all understated. Mouchoir is certainly not a beast, but it's definitely not a wallflower, either.

It's all theory though, and in the end, a dry down of classy yet melancholic Guerlainade brings it all back home after a detour into debasement and secrecy. It's all really relatable in a way.

One of my absolute favorites.

Guerlain Mouchoir de Monsieur (1904) was created by Jacques Guerlain and likely released in response to the unexpected male interest in Guerlain Jicky (1889), created by his uncle Aimé Guerlain, the preceding steward of the house. Rumor has it he originally made it as a wedding gift for a male friend with no intent initially to release it for public sale. Jicky is often considered the Western world's first truly abstract perfume, as it was built along similar "fougère" lines with lavender, tonka, and oakmoss, much like Fougère Royale from Houbigant (1882) a few years prior; but itself not considered part of that nascent genre because of how different and undefined as a smell it truly was. However, there must have been something attractive in the heady combination of aromatics, florals, animalic tones, and citruses in Jicky that drew men to it like a magnet, something virile yet sophisticated, leading them to buy it almost as much, if not intially more than women who were thought to be the original target market for Aimé's creation. Still, there were others who liked the way it smelled, but would not bring themselves to wear a perfume potentially shared with "the fairer sex", because that's just how things were then. So, with an ever-increasing interest in grooming and fragrant products thanks to the popularity of the dandy aesthetic into the 20th century, it became advantageous for Guerlain to modify something they already knew sold well to men so that it now would be labelled as for them, opening the door to those guys that needed security in their masculinity with their choice to wear fragrance. Guerlain Mouchoir de Monsieur is therefore only really a stone's throw away from Jicky in style, and if you were to decant them each into unlabelled bottles you might be hard-pressed to tell them apart from a glance, which may be why it was finally axed after over a century of production.

The biggest difference for me is that Mouchoir de Monsieur makes an effort to be more of a proper fougère than Jicky. Of course, this was before the term had quite been established as one defining an entire genre, as said genre was still only emerging as such into the 1900's; so what I really mean is more "like Fougère Royale" and less "like Jicky". This is not altogether surprising since Jacques Guerlain is famous for innovating on the backs of others' inventions, with his most famous perfumes being "improvements" on designs laid forth by peers like François Coty. If you view Mouchoir de Monsieur in this light, you find it less of an "improvement" on Paul Parquet's work in Fougère Royale and more of a grafting process where characteristics of Fougère Royale's design were smashed into Jicky to replace some of it's more scandalous elements, then finessed into form. The opening of Mouchoir de Monsieur hits you with a ton of sweet lavender, bright geranium, lemon verbena, and bergamot. From the get go, this is already more in the direction of what would eventually be a barbershop trope, and away from Jicky's sweeter initial tones, but Mouchoir de Monsieur does inherit Jicky's lack of a proper structured dry down, collapsing into a huge base swimming with notes just like Jicky. Indolic florals have been toned down some, as have spices, and the structure leans more into smooth musks and aromatics as per the male preference of the day. This means civet and tonka do most of the talking, with a creamy powdery sandalwood note replacing the orris butter and benzoin in Jicky. Vanilla is still here, as is patchouli and amber, but Mouchoir de Monsieur is more polite even if only by a few degrees. Oakmoss lends its bite, but this is not your standard "truckstop" fougère as Jean-Paul Guerlain would later say of the genre, and this kind of roundness really set early French fougères apart from their drier, greener "fern" brethren across the pond in the UK.

Wear time is sufficient for a day, although I don't know if I would want to spend a day in something this rich. Mouchoir de Monsieur has semi-oriental DNA that would later see repetition in other fougère scents from the first half of the 20th century like Caron Pour un Homme (1934) or D'Orsay Arôme 3 (1943), and that DNA makes it feel very redolent and luxuriant like more modern semi-oriental fougères from brands like Creed and Roja Dove. Mouchoir de Monsieur is properly gorgeous, don't get me wrong, but it's so gorgeous that it doesn't feel relaxed enough to just enjoy at work or on a chill day, so I'd recommend formal use. Luckily, Mouchoir de Monsieur is also a fragrance that has survived the generations of its own existence relatively unmolested by reformulation, even if subtle reductions in civet musk over the years have rendered much of the shock value it had in days gone by as inert. Smelling vintage Mouchoir de Monsieur side-by-side with modern will at first feel like removing a NSFW filter from your web browser then turning it back on, because that civet just unzips its fly and lets everything hang out in the vintage, but then barely registers a blip in modern iterations. However, once things dry down and settle, the lavender and geranium get quiet enough in the modern version that they stand on even footing with the deep musky vanillic tonka and oakmoss base like they do from the onset in vintage, making old and new smell about 90% alike. At first this was an "if you know, you know" kind of scent one had to ask for, with decants into separate bottles coming from a big bee Flacon, then eventually this was bottled and sold outside the Paris boutique. Simply put, if you want to smell like an old Burlesque but refuse to share your perfume with the dancers, you wear Mouchoir de Monsieur, the advertised scent of a gentleman's handkerchief. Penguin suit and top hat sold separately. Thumbs up.

This is one of the frags that I bought, but didn't like enough to keep using-- I just dug it out of storage and I'm using it again. I mainly get a root beer/ sassafras note, which is pleasant enough- but worth it? Not sure.

The opening is an array of time-honoured of tow couples of olfactory delights: the refreshing dyads of bergamot and verbena, and of geranium and lavender. This is traditional in concept, but the verbena adds a refreshing twist.

The drydown adds the traditional vein by adding jasmine to the lavender, and then the floral plot really thickens: a lovely rose develops, virtually all blossom with a touch of green but no major stem and wood component at this stage. On top of that a tuberose is added on. Is is rather a bright tuberose, more elegant than heavy and without and significant waxy or indolic components. A light and smooth patchouli together with a uplifting neroli keep up the cheery brightness; the neroli again lacks and major woodsiness.

Later, in the base however, wood notes finally arrive, a sort of blond wood impression. A rather gentrified and domesticated musk-civet note adds sone darker edge, but all this is counterbalanced with a smooth sweetness courtesy of a vanilla with some tonka. The vanilla is unusually transparent and is never thick or cloying; there is a bit of playfulness in its character. Towards the and I get whiffs of caramel at times, as well as an undertone of cinnamon.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and a tremendous longevity of thirteen hours on my skin.

This is a classic spilling and autumn scent in the traditional way, whose hallmark is a certain youthful freshness in all its herbal-floral glory. It reminds me of Monsieur Couturier or Torrente Pour Homme. Never stuffy, confident and not at all prone to flattering sweetness: a scent for grown-ups young at heart. The ingredients are of superb quality, and the blending is sublime. 4/5.

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