Jean-Paul Gaultier Ultra Mâle (2015) is the reinvention of the original Jean Paul Gaultier Le Mâle (1995) to celebrate its then 20 year anniversary. The fragrance that literally made the career of Francis Kurkdjian and made possible the status needed to successfully launch his own ultra-luxe niche perfume brand was surely deserving of his return for its 20th anniversary sequel, and considering he has worked on much of the Le Mâle line anyway, it only made sense. Kurkdjian and Gaultier were very smart about this one, taking what made the original so iconic and cutting free the elements that date it, while grafting on elements that would lift the accord up to make it "ultra" appealing to modern-day clubbers of the 2010s and beyond. Sadly, this means axing the fougère elements since that century-plus aged genre has finally fallen off its throne as the mainstay of men, with oakmoss/tonka bases taking on a "mature" quality that reads like "old man" with anyone born after the original Le Mâle launched. In their place, elements of modern post-aquatic "blue" fragrances and bubblegum-sweet "fruitchouli" scents were added, bringing Ultra Mâle into the age of the ambrox and tonka bomb, aka the children of scents like Gucci Guilty pour Homme (2011) and Paco Rabanne Invictus (2013). Fragrance One: Date for Men by Jeremy Fragrance (2019) is said to copy this scent extensively, and I can see some similarities, but that scent's perfumer (Alberto Morillas) is no fool and knows better than to ape the work of someone like Kurkdjian.
Perhaps Kurkdjian studied the success of scents like the aforementioned Invictus and its forebearer, Paco Rabanne 1 Million (2008), when he was tinkering with Ultra Mâle, since the start is very sweet just like them, with impressively strong ethyl maltol notes that wrap around lemon, bergamot, pear, and lavender. There is a bit of the original Le Mâle's trademark cooling mint, but it is buried in a mire of sweetness, folding into a heart of spiced vanilla, which JPG cleverly calls "black Aztec flower" since for them, vanilla was a black ripe flower when used as currency for trading. Cinnamon and a small dollop of cumin surround the vanilla, with hints of lavender and what feels like a raspberry ghost note further the gourmand-like interpretation of the original Le Mâle along into the syrupy base. A gigantic tonka dose mixed with cedar, a denatured patchouli isolate (pick one, there are so many), ambrox, and an amber accord very reminiscent of the one Kurkdjian uses for his own Maison Francis Kurkdjian Grand Soir (2016) finish this off. Performance is ungodly, and longevity is until you scrub it off with 300-grit sandpaper, so be warned this also doubles as a chemical weapon in high doses. This stuff is perfectly awkward in it's forced extroversion for the "please notice me so I can get laid" 21st century nightclub scene. Best use is basically at night if you're going to use Ultra Mâle, although summer nights are better for the original stuff or one of the fresh flankers.
For people who don't like extremely thick and sweet fragrances this is a no go, and for people who furthermore don't like their fragrances doing the talking for them so they can just shuffle and sulk to an endless trance loop won't find much favor here either. I don't blame Kurkdjian for turning his original gaudy gay scene club champion into a CISHET internet generation mating ritual monster, because that's where the money is for the line, although you'll have to make your own Tinder account before use, it's not included. I'm not the biggest fan of the "fruitchouli" and "tonka bomb" styles and have given big thumbs down to most entries in this class, and the original Le Mâle DNA is the only thing saving Ultra Mâle from wholesale rejection, but I still can't recommend this for any self-respecting person club scene or not. To me, there are still plenty of loud sweat-enhancing perfumes out there that cook under the body heat of dancing and grinding on someone who's caught your eye, but still have enough class self-respect about them that they leave someone caught in the wake of your sillage a chance to react before they're choking on niceties. Ultra Mâle takes everything that ham-fisted about Le Mâle and dials it to 11, which is exactly what JPG and people looking to buy this want but maybe not what they necessarily need, if you catch my drift. Neutral.
A mix of the classic musky-aromatic Le Male and the following Le Beau Male minus the "watery-marine" accents and plus the nowadays usual cinnamonic musky/ambery woodiness. Not so distant from Jesus del Pozo Halloween Man.
A millennial version of the former legendary Le male original.
It starts very candy sweet and stays strong for the first 2 hours. It then loses its power and whiffs at you every so often. This strong sweetness becomes off putting unless you are on a tropical beach holiday.
Prominent notes I detect are: lavender, cinnamon & vanilla.
I have a full bottle but sadly I do not love it enough to wear it more than a few times a year.
This is one of my FAVES. The one i wear when i WANT to be noticed... The beginning is VERY sweet (sugary hard candy kind), and it kicks back with a confident swagger. Fades to close range, but keeps the tasty vibe going.
My sales girl showed me this scent and described it as "Very Raspberry". The dry cinnamon plus a bit of rose or geranium layered into the sweet powdery musky Kurkdjian base note results in a light raspberry floral spice to this scent. The smell is sunny, uplifting, with some powerful soft sweet powder at its core. Ultra Male is anything but a masculine scent to my nose. A teenage girl crush, maybe but is this "ultra male"? I don't think so. It is a nice perfume, but definitely not one for me.