Patou pour Homme Privé (1994) is a very highly lusted-after discontinued masculine fragrance from Jean Patou, perfumed by then house perfumer Jean Kerleo as an oddly late-coming flanker to the original Patou pour Homme (1980), which he also composed. Those who know about this house will tell you that among all the exorbitantly-priced discontinued collector's gems in the designer realm (almost universally called "unicorns"), that the original Patou pour Homme is often considered the top of the top, the holy grail of them all. Meanwhile, this scent is arguably rarer because it had a much shorter production life, presumably on purpose due to the "Privé" designation, and most of the time trades places with the OG Patou pour Homme as the most-expensive discontinued designer masculine in recent history you can buy. With a price tag that can float between just a few hundred under a grand to clear and far above it, Patou pour Homme Privé is unobtainium for most, making its legend grow only taller and the desire to own it all the greater. This is the kind of fragrance that people will convince themselves they love after they've already spent the cash to get it, no matter how they secretly feel about it or what their initial reaction is. I'm insanely fortunate that enough people actually care about what I think that someone was willing to let me sample this risk-free, so I'll try to ride the middle as much as I can on this one, to give the closest thing to an unbiased opinion as humanly possible. From what I can tell, this seems like Jean Kerleo's intended next male fragrance exercise for Patou, and not Voyageur (1994), which came out the same year as this but as a then-fashionable aquatic-type scent, got far greater production numbers and marketing push. Ironically, you can still source unsold original 1994 bottles of Voyageur with only a modicum of effort, while people sacrifice their first-born for but a taste of the nectar that is this fragrance.
Smelling Patou pour Homme Privé, you can clearly see the genetic link to Ma Liberté by Jean Patou (1987), itself an odd floral fougère/chypre hybrid for women that crashed and burned sales-wise. Now the two fragrances aren't nearly as identical as the old Patou hypebeasts will tell you in vintage fragrance forums or social media groups across the internet, as most of that is just self-convincing on their part to make do with Ma Liberté because it is so much less expensive (but still obviously costly) to procure second-hand. The best way to describe what is going on here in Patou pour Homme Privé, is Kerleo taking the bones of that fragrance and stretching new skin and hair onto it in order to make a floral fougère for men that honestly would have done better had it appeared in the late 80's than in the mid 90's like it did here. The opening to Patou pour Homme Privé has a lot of sweet citrus tones from orange and a bigger, rounder lavender in it than Ma Liberté, which then joins with a bit of galbanum but also gets walloped by a boxing glove full of vanilla. The vanilla here is of the sweet sage-infused kind that you'll find in Clubman shaving creams and soaps, giving Patou pour Homme Privé a wet shaving vibe by association that it never shakes. There's a bit of jasmine and rose here too but they also get buried under the clary sage and vanilla, which dominate along with the lavender until a bit of iris emerges in the base, full of the plush oakmoss Kerleo so loves to heap on in his compositions. Patchouli, tonka, and vetiver round out the fougère accord and the wear time is going to push past 10 hours. Smelling like a versatile signature in all weather save the hottest, Patou pour Homme Privé is a dandy dream that is hobbled in its intentional purpose only by scarcity and extreme price. I bet the after shave balm I see floating around of this one also smells positively divine, since the overall nature of the fragrance lends itself extremely well to creamy skin products like that.
The final verdict is this does not really smell much like Ma Liberté past maybe the opening moments, as that scent ultimately strikes as a fatter and fuller representation of the ideas in Eau de Patou (1976), while this one feels like a proper classic wet-shaving fougère that the original Patou pour Homme wasn't because of rich oriental elements like sandalwood dominating its structure. Whereas Patou pour Homme feels more like a luxury fragrance made to impress others with its density, Patou pour Homme Privé feels more like a luxury fragrance meant only to impress the wearer with its filigreed refinement and comforting redolence. Ma Liberté becomes a dry, powdery, mossy, floral chypre after the opening fireworks, while its "son" Patou pour Homme Privé takes mom's good looks to the barbershop and gets slathered with vanilla shave cream and some sage-heavy after-shave. While I'm not trying to disparage people who say this is worth the money, Clubman Pinaud Classic Vanilla after shave (modeled after the smell of their soaps and creams) is about 70% of the dry down in Patou pour Homme Privé, just minus the obvious high-quality oakmoss and orris butter bits that make the Patou well... a Patou. In other words, if you're looking for a cheap thrill to scratch the same itch as this stuff does (or to keep you away from using your bottle if you own it), grab that for $8 and call me in the morning. Otherwise, Privé is as fine a vanilla floral fougère as I've smelled, so I totally get the hype (like I did with OG Patou pour Homme), and this one smells an awful lot like they let Kerleo make the men's fragrance he really wanted to after forcing him to deliver the misunderstood Voyageur. Privé was a real treat to sample, but like with Patou pour Homme, I'm not of the appropriate stock to be chasing unicorns of such caliber. Still, I can understand why people do with this one. Thumbs up.
What a stunner!! None of the Gentleman conservative of it's older brother. Here we have life in Technicolor. Big, bold, Fireworks display of perfectly blended, quality ingredients. Rich with bright flavour. My reaction to it is somewhat the same as to First Growth Sauternes. Just as the sugar threatens to cloy, it is incised by a fruit fragrant acid, light tannin and a touch of dry Hay.
This, is, a big, big fragrance of finesse and exquisite beauty.
Solid unisex cleanliness and still way, way, sexy!
Lavender, patchouli, a neutral sweetness (coumarin?), sandalwood.
I am not a huge fan of lavender, but here it's done so smoothly that it is absolutely wonderful. The patchouli makes a nice counterbalance to the slight sweetness from the coumarin. This is just a wonderful blend. Very smooth, and with a slight barbershop vibe from the lavender. This is one of only a handful of fragrances that have held my attention over the years. Not pretentious; you could wear this every day.
Every time I smell it, I like it more, and that is rare.
Classic, perfectly executed, floral fougere. Soft notes of lavender/rose/iris/jasmine at the top, with a follow up of tons of coumarin/hay and green notes, finished off by a great, oak-mossy, vetiver, patchouli with a hint of vanilla/amber. Understated and not at all bold or assertive like Patou PH. A throwback to classic form done with a perfectionist's obsession for quality.
I'm getting iris (orris root) in the base, making this the first mossy iris I've worn, and it really is nice, although it may be somewhat on the lighter side compared to my preference. I'm not finding a strong connection with Patou Pour Homme, although maybe a subtle one.
The bergamot is great and the lavender is bumped up with a green hay/grassy scent and supported by sandalwood and patchouli. It jumps between a sweet soapiness to a green earthiness. It's hard to compare this with anything because it's so original. This should be sampled by anyone who likes fragrance. Good longevity and sillage. Just amazing stuff. Too bad it's discontinued.