A strange name for a fragrance you may think! Back in the fifties, the four big US cosmetics brands were Estée Lauder, Elizabeth Arden, Helena Rubinstein and Charles Revson's, Revlon. As you can imagine, the rivalry was immense, and Arden couldn't even bring herself to call Revson by his name, instead calling him "That Man". Charles decided to give the name to this men's fragrance, which must have really peeved Liz!
That Man fragrance notes
- Bergamot, Petitgrain, Lemon
- Geranium, Carnation, Cedarwood
- Oakmoss, Tonka bean, Musk
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Latest Reviews of That Man
I have nothing but admiration for the old classic style of perfume making, and That Man is typical of this. That Man is a masterpiece standing the test of time! It's community indeed a big orchestra of citruses and spices and flowers but so delicately blended that the actual aroma that comes out of this blend gone of the most comforting, self assuring and tasteful creations I have ever had the pleasure to smell. The fragrance opens up with a host of notes that can be almost overwhelming but which work together really well to give the impression of a well dressed, slightly conservative image of a man. Pure masculinity in the old tradition. With citrus, lavender, carnation and herbs, followed by geranium, oakmoss and cedar, with leather, coumarin and tonka constantly in the background. It can be dense and a little heavy, but it dries down beautifully with leather and earthy, herbal florals to give this impression of some serious masculine shit... But at the same time gentleman-like, classy and just an all around manly and interesting composition you need to smell in order to fully grasp it's beauty. In fact It has a strong opening but don't let it scare you. Your reward comes an hour or two later when the inner notes become active and surround you with a scent of authority and confidence. The ladies that are too shy compliment you will smile inside as you pass by.
Maybe I am THAT MAN (take that as you will). Maybe I am the one that insists on singing when I don't always have great pitch. Maybe I am not the perfect weight and I no longer have the six pack I had when I was 32 (did it really matter that I did anyways?). Maybe I am just a little too obsessed with fragrance and need to dedicate time to other hobbies.
Maybe it's Maybelline. Or rather, Revlon.
That Man was originally released in 1958 to the delight of the proper bachelor, looking to impress and undress. What an awful decade it was, but that is another story for another time. This fab fougere, however, is one of the finer products of the time, at least as it was reintroduced in the 80s, perhaps at the time slightly amping up the clove and geranium to put it more in line with the power-fougeres of the time period.
That Man trades lavender for petitgrain to accompany bergamot and lemon to create this sharp, bracing opening that soon surrenders to the spice. The base is more cedar than musk, perhaps a somewhat musky cedar. A cedar that's been with a few too many trollops but has good hygiene. The cedar is THAT MAN, apparently. The coumarin and oakmoss is what gives this a classic fougere drydown. It doesn't wear out its welcome and really just hangs out by the water fountain shooting the breeze over a cuppa.
I think I am just in love with any fragrance that has geranium and cloves together. For that alone, I am sold on THAT MAN. I am willing to sign contracts with him, make him the godfather of my first born, and maybe start a small business with him. Does he go to the gym? I need to lose a few and hit the weights again. THAT MAN, will you be my gym buddy? Wink wink.
Well worth the price of admission.
Dandy culture had evolved into mainstream culture, so short hair and clean square-jaw faces in neatly-tailored suit lines was the standard, while smells had to follow one of a few inflexible paths including traditional barbershop/wet shaving tropes, or strictly non-floral, non-spicy, non-sweet aromatic citrus chypres that were basically anti-perfume. Most of these evolved from things made at the turn of the 20th century, and That Man followed lines of trajectory originating with things like Moustache by Rochas (1949), favoring sour musks and sharp woods over tart, bracing citruses and muted florals. The opening of That Man is going to very much remind those who know Moustache of its telltale top notes, but more so the concentrated eau de toilette version than the more modest eau de cologne. Bergamot, lemon, and petitgrain form the sour/bitter citrus start, with a bit of urinous civet musk already letting you know where this is going. Now guys in the US were not as fond of the "pole cat" musks as guys in Europe, so the civet eventually fades into the background so geranium and carnation can take the fore. Carnation notes were a staple floral for men during this period, and it basically stems from the same chemical as clove notes listed in perfume (eugenol), so some places list this note as clove instead. The base is that musk, alongside cedar, sandalwood, labdanum, tonka (listed as "tabac" by Revlon), and oakmoss, Ultimately, this is a a "forthright masculine" accord as the box flap on original 1958 specimens claim, with zero softness to it at all. Wear time goes over 6 hours and sillage is there but not loud; more on that in a bit. If you daily-drive That Man, you'll find it to be equally suitable in most weather conditions and social events, as it was made like all men's fragrances then to be a signature scent.
This kind of versatility-focused balancing would only return to men's fragrances with the advent of modern post-aquatic woody-amber blue juices, meant to be a one-size-fits-all that works anywhere and any time. Here with That Man, this applies only if you're okay with smelling completely humorless and unapprochable, as the fashion of the day dictated. Serious to a fault were men's conformist sartorial styles of the period, seemingly almost in direct contrast to all the pastel colored cowboy shirts, bowling shirts, and Hawaiian shirts worn on weekends, but That Man definitely was made to fit into the former and not the latter. The fragrance even reassures the would-be purchaser in the pamphlet that it is not overstated, another move in line with masculine austerity of the period as guys did not want huge scent trails, because to have one would be to come across "perfumey" and thus feminine (oh no). I love this period in men's fragrance for being so vastly different from anything we have now, but I do admit that deliberately chasing conformity for its own sake (rather than just chasing successful formulae like today's men's offerings) can get boring just like modern "blue" juices can. Still, the overt levels of masculinity combined with a level of materials quality you can't find anymore without paying a fortune is noteworthy, and people will turn their heads to ask about That Man. Unfortunately, the reliance on real sandalwood and cedarwod oils, bergamot oil, and oakmoss would make this completely untenable to relaunch nowadays, even if the style somehow miraculously returned, and That Man was spared the indignity of being reformulated into oblivion by being discontinued long before those materials even became taboo. Thumbs up.
This is a very discrete and versatile nice fragrance. Projection and silage are ok, and the longevity is very respectable at over five hours.