A very distinguished nostalgia scent with an air of dignity and masculine mastery. like the classic 70's and 80's "power scents" (Quorum,Drakkar Noir,Aramis, Ferre,etc.) it lacks the metallic aquatic that seems to dominate popular men's colognes right now.smells mature,but not dated. Patou PH is one of those masterful blends that makes me understand why i truly love vintage fragrances.a timeless masculine of good taste and class with a great sense of style.
The first whiff initially is garden greens, freshly cut vegetables,basil,spices,and broiled lemons.loud at the beginning then sets into something more complex, as other subdued notes join the party like oakmoss,vetiver and sweet tonka bean. a touch of leather, and civet comes in as it dries down, with a dash of sandalwood and it becomes even more complex.the bitterness has slight medicinal quality, especially wgen the dry down starts. for the first few hours it has massive projection and the sillage is very strong.after this stage it settles down and releases a complex blend of herbal notes and aromas that continue to ptoject and linger everywhere you go all day long.
This is it gentlemen. This is the alpha, the omega, the first and final word in masculine perfume supremacy. This fragrance is the ultimate holy grail of vintage male fragrance gurus, the unicorn of unicorns, the king of kings, the there-never-will-be-better-so-you-might-as-well-give-up-on-perfume-period of discontinued men's fragrance. If you think about the brand, the context, the fact that its release was at the beginning of arguably the biggest and most stylistically overblown era for men's perfume, you can sort of understand the "doesn't get better than this" sentiment attached to what is likely the single most over-hyped discontinued men's fragrance in all of the online fragrance community. Patou pour Homme (1980) wasn't the first fragrance brought to market by the house for men, but it was given fanfare as if it had been. Costing much more than other designers when new due to uncompromising amounts of precious natural materials, and presented initially by sales associates with silk gloves, Patou used the sales pitch of "the extraordinary in a man's cologne" in English-speaking countries to communicate exclusivity. While not pricey on the level of Creed fragrances, Patou was nonetheless further upmarket than even Chanel and compared somewhat closer to Guerlain during their heyday despite Patou being a design house; middle managers wore Chanel, while the owner could afford Patou. Patou house perfumer Jean Kerleo loves oakmoss, and it's no secret if you look at the fact he nearly made every one of his creations for Patou as a chypre, but with Patou pour Homme he chose to go into the fougère genre, attaching elements of the chypre and even some oriental tones onto it. Patou pour Homme helped set the stage for the semi-oriental fougères of the late 80's, so for that it is important, but isn't a must-have. Patou under Proctor & Gamble relaunched a heavily-reformulated mostly-synthetic version to meet cost and regulations in 2013, but it was panned. Considering how expensive materials were part of the original's appeal, are you surprised?
Because Patou pour Homme presents itself as a three-headed hydra of fougère, chypre, and oriental, with mulled spice, amber, labdanum, and Mysore sandalwood smashed into a note pyramid that really has a fougère start with a chypre finish, it recalls some early 20th century experimental work done by perfumers before the three genres were quite so defined by formula. Those knowledgeable enough with antique masculine treatments will likely recognize a strong similarity to Sumare (1925) by The Crown Perfumery in Patou pour Homme, which is another totally extinct fragrance also from a totally extinct perfume house, plus bits of the masculine chypre craft Italian houses like Gucci and Gianfranco Ferré preferred in the era Patou pour Homme entered. For this reason, the opening is rather "brown" with pepper, tarragon, lavender, and galbanum over clary sage and geranium into the heart. The "brown" effect only intensifies as the oriental elements of patchouli and a creamy Mysore sandalwood take over. Bits and bobs of earthy vetiver and something like a small peck of castoreum leather enter the picture, but these just play tug-of-war of the main elements until the labdanum and oakmoss show up to take you home. Patou pour Homme sits between the aforementioned Sumare or other "lavender + chypre" scents like Arden for Men Sandalwood (1957) and something like Gucci pour Homme (1976) or Gianfranco Ferré for Man (1986). The overall effect is handsome, mature, and warm but not something you need if you already own any of the above, as the real point of distinction for Patou pour Homme is the level of polish used in execution that makes it feel more luxurious per the marketing than most things of its style on the market in the 80's. Wear time is about average and sillage is glowing, but not radiant beyond your personal bubble. Best use is for formal wear in cooler months because Patou pour Homme reads so spicy, warm, and rich. I can't imagine something this dense smelling good in summer.
If you're someone that believes this is "the greatest masculine fragrance ever made", you either drank the Kool-Aid being passed around online vintage fragrance forums circa 2005-2015 or you're a late boomer/early Gen-Xer that hit his prime in the decade this scent did, seeing Don Johnson sporting a bottle on Miami Vice, but being unable to afford it then. Once Patou switched hands to Proctor & Gamble from Shaneel, everything made up to that point was flushed down the toilet, with the then-recent Voyageur (1994) dwelling in discounter Hell for being the luxury aquatic nobody asked for while bottles of this and it's also then-recent flanker Patou pour Homme Privé (1994) quickly being snapped up by those same people who ogled it decades before. Like with the discontinued Gucci masculines a decade later, scarcity and price soared as hype spread. Claptrap by the "haves" echoed by the wishful "have nots" hoping for a taste of precious nectar turned Patou pour Homme into the blood of the lamb, but nothing can ever objectively be the greatest fragrance ever made. It's true we won't see materials like these in commercial perfume ever again, since Humanity has over-harvested Mysore sandalwood to near-extinction and oakmoss is heavily regulated, plus designers want to minimize cost while maximizing profit regardless of price tag, which excludes using costlier naturals. You've got to enjoy these "brown" sort of fragrances, full of dirty amber, spice, woods and mosses to really appreciate Patou pour Homme beyond the hype. Otherwise, this is a $1000+ collectable trophy that like a Spirit of Dubai or Roja Haute Luxe perfume, you'll be too scared to waste. I like Patou pour Homme but part of me thinks "Is this it?" after choking on years and years of community hype, plus when something is this scarce, I'd rather let the dead rest. It was a privilege to finally experience, though. Thumbs up
Wow - this is one of those classic powerhouses that seems to be pretty much everything all at once, but somehow makes it work. Good_life's review describes it best as a simultaneous fougere, chypre, and oriental. For example, in the topnotes I can clearly make out powdery lavender (fougere), aldehydic herbal bergamot (chypre), and vinegar-soaked peppery cloves (oriental).
This could have been a monstrosity without the deft blending, though I'll take the unpopular position that it's probably a bit more "busy" than necessary - though it's possible that time has amplified the vinegar aspect in my vintage sample, which is causing what little awkwardness is there, but I still think (for example) that there's a lavender/pimento juxtaposition that doesn't really work for me while the tarragon adds an unnecessary greasy sheen. I guess it feels like some of the complexity is there just to show off and isn't necessarily improving the overall scent.
You may have heard the parable about the professor who fills a jar with rocks and asks his students if it's full. They say yes, but then he pours in sand and asks again, then pours in water and proves that there's always room for more. Patou pour Homme is like that jar and the tarragon is like that final addition of water, filling in all the nooks and crannies with greasy oil. From an artistic perspective, I appreciate its dedication to opaqueness and density, but I feel like it comes at the expense of beauty and charm.
That being said, there's a point, hours in, where the tarragon is mostly hidden and the honeyed, piney hawthorn melts into the chypre base and it's beautiful, highly detailed, and definitively masculine, and I know that's the magic point that's earned Pour Homme its legendary status.
In a way, I'm just nitpicking, but I feel like I'm supposed to like this, being touted as the world's most perfect masculine scent and all, and I kind of don't. I guess this is destined to join Mitsouko, Jicky, and Shalimar in the pile of perfume-expert favorites that I "get", but just don't like as much as I theoretically should.
So is is the greatest men's fragrance of all times? That would almost be something of a backhanded compliment in a business where the all-time classics are amost entirely "pour elle" - the L'Origans, Mitsoukos, Shalimars, Tabac Blondes, Chanels. Let me thus boldly state that Patou pour Homme ist one of the greatest perfumes of all times, period. And this is not a question of subjective preference - the near mystification of this fragrance is for once justified, for Jean Kerléo truly created an aesthetic and conceptual masterpiece for the ages, a dazzingly beautiful and technically mindblowing astrolabe of scent in which the spheres of Fougère, Chypre and Oriental are entwined in perfect harmony, a miniature cosmos with an invisible and inexplicable mechanism. Looking at the construction plan, i.e. the scent pyramide, in its most explicit and, I believe, accurate version from the "H&R Duftatlas," one first notices the plethora of materials: Lavender - Hay (Coumarin) - Moss forms the Fougère-Axis; Petitgrain, Patchouli, Moss and Leather, that of Chypre; Cinnamon, Jasmin, Sandalwood, Olibanum, Castoreum, Ambergris, Vanilla and Tonka form the Oriental. Added to this are clary sage, basil,carnation, geranium, vetiver and spruce.
In the beginning Fougère appears on the horizon, a tartly herbaceous lavender, almost strenuous by today's standards. But soon a spicy sweetness rises in the background and a three-dimensional scent-space opens up as the astrolabe magically unfolds. Patou pour homme becomes more accessible now and the cinnamon planet becomes increasinghly potent over the next twenty minutes, accompanied by jasmin and carnation. What an olfactory "sight": Fougère lighting up the sky and oriental waxing beside it and rather than interfering beginning a beautful cosmic pas de deux. But it doesn't stop there: the mediterranean herbs have already gently heralded the chypre(the petitgrain will have done so as well, but is probably weaker now than it was when the juice was young)which now rises on its green orbit, supported by vetiver and spruce, as a patchouli-moss complex (and yes, some components spitely jump between the genres or connect them. Amazingly, instead of growing thicker with increasing complexity, the masterpiece gains in transparency, it remains an aerial ballet. Ètonnant! Monsieur Kerléo, how did you do it?
When Patou pour homme is frequently identified as either a fougère, chypre or oriental, it is so classified by the famous blind wise men each touching one part of the elephant, by astronomers who can only see their segment of the heavens - but Kerléo's creation is the cosmic whole, an unfathomable transformation of the aethetic brutalism of the powerhouse era with its sometimes excessive "everything but the kitchen sink" attitude into masterful harmony. I do not believe that has ever been achieved before or after and would today be well-nigh impossible due to the unavailability of certain raw materials alone, not to speak of regulatory limitations. I doubt that most contemporary perfumers trained on post-modern fragrance aestheitcs would even be able (or willing) to create such a perfume or even just copy Kerléo's formula. It borders on alchemy and one is tempted to believe a Robert Johnosn-like narrative, that the ability to weave this masterpiece required a deal with the devil. But for that to be true Patou pour homme is too muchthe embodiment of a divine order of the fragrance world, which perfume adepts must and should admire and enjoy both with awe and deepest pleasure. For this is the ultimate of its achievements: that with all its amazing clock-work-like complexity and sublime artfulness, this weave of scent projects seamless, effortless perfection,which, moderately applied, will even smell agreeable to an unschooled 21st-century nose.