Not mandatory, but definitely recommended for aromatic fougere enthusiasts who favor such hallmarks like Azzaro pour homme and Patou pour homme.
The opening begins with a round and full lavender/ anise that is really well done.
Over the course of a few hours, the moss / cedar / patchouli surround you with an aura of just got a fresh shave goodness, mercy!
Charles Jourdan Un Homme is clearly a legend in the masculine barbershop category and as such has achieved unicorn status on the grey market. Limited availability pushes this one near or above 2 dead presidents for 100ml. Good luck and happy hunting because this one is worth it!
I like this ok. Everyone on here seems to like it, and I've received a glowing compliment while wearing it today, but I'm not quite enthusiastic about it. I'm not a fan of Azzaro pour Homme, so this near-smell-alike didn't have the best prospect of becoming a personal favorite. It's fine, though.
Un Homme goes on with a highly aromatic lavender and bergamot tandem with supporting anise-like herbal French tarragon before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart, a distinct anise note emerges, co-starring with moderately smooth aromatic patchouli, mossy-green oakmoss and slightly sweet sandalwood, as a just detectable cedar underpins the focal ingredients in support. During the late dry-down, the anise vacates as the sharp cedar moves from support to co-star, with a relatively dry amber from the base unveiled also as a late co-star, with remnants of the sandalwood, patchouli and oakmoss trio remaining, now in support through the finish. Projection is average, but longevity very good at 10-11 hours on skin.
I confess that I am not much of an aromatic fougere lover. Many compositions in the genre that wow others I am only remotely enamored with. That said, there are definitely exceptions like Patou pour Homme Prive, Azzaro pour Homme, and now Un Homme by Charles Jourdan. As fougeres go, Un Homme, along with Patou pour Homme Prive has got to be one of the two bests I have sniffed to date. The composition immediately draws the wearer in with a fabulously balanced aromatic lavender and bergamot citrus open. It only gets better from there, as the anise, oakmoss, patchouli and sandalwood driven heart again displays perfect balance with none of the key notes jockeying for position, instead perfumer Caron brilliantly has them all harmoniously coexisting to amazing effect. Possibly the weakest aspect of the composition's development is in the late dry-down, as the natural smelling cedar wood and amber driven finish is somewhat simplistic in comparison to the rest, but make no mistake, it smells heavenly too. So in the end, even one who does not seek out aromatic fougeres like this writer, has to admire and acknowledge greatness as found in Un Homme by Charles Jourdan. The bottom line is the approximately $100-$150 per 100ml bottle on the aftermarket discontinued Un Homme is just about as fine an aromatic Fougere as has ever been created, earning it a "Near-masterpiece" to "Masterpiece" 4.5 to 5 stars out of 5 rating, and an easy super-strong recommendation to all vintage perfume lovers.
I once bought some Blend 30 from a generous chap who sent along a nice bit of Jourdan Un Homme.
This, that, and vintage Azzaro pH are the epitome of the masculine aromatic fougere standard set back in the late 70s (to me, at least). If you like the anisic quality turned up to high volume... check some old Captain Molyneux as well.
Charles Jourdan, much like Christobal Balenciaga, would ultimately become much better known for shoes in the modern era than anything else, and just like the late Balenciaga, would not live to see any masculine perfumes bear his name (although Balenciaga was alive to witness a few feminines at least), meaning this creation was made entirely without his input. Another uncanny similarity to Balenciaga is the fact that this debut masculine from the house would be an equally mild, traditional, almost palatial aromatic fougère like Balenciaga's Ho Hang (1971), both in a decade when bold and brash was the standard. There are differences however, and owning one doesn't rule out the need for the other, and if one enjoys either than one should possess both, for they are of a unique style that was rarefied even when new. The house of Charles Jourdan wouldn't explore perfume very far, as the children of the late house master would inevitably run the company into the ground after a series of very controversial stiletto heels marked the brand. Only a singular masculine was made and Un Homme (1979) is it, being released right on the cusp of the powerhouse era, making it even further against the grain than perhaps Ho Hang was, but those in the know often favorably compared it to the barbershop standard of Azzaro Pour Homme (1978), which preceded it by a year. I can definitely see what those folks are on about, because there is a similar anise and lemon top to this fragrance, but it is buried under a much more complex pyramid of herbal notes that merge with a base that borders between chypre and fougère, while Azzaro stays in it's neat and tidy fougère fast lane. The nose here is Françoise Caron, sister to the more prolific perfumer Olivier Cresp, and herself the nose behind the famed Hermès L'Eau d'Orange Verte (1979) which debuted concurrently with this obscure gem.
When I tell people what this is or show them the bottle, they either have zero idea who Charles Jourdan is, or didn't realize he had fragrances if they remember the name, always citing the shoe boutiques inhabiting high-end shopping districts as where the name rings a bell. The scent opens with that familiar anise and lemon, but it's far drier and more subtle than Azzaro, sour even, plus darker compared to the later Aramis Tuscany Per Uomo (1984), which is far brighter yet. The lemon/anise accord in Un Homme is quickly swathed in an herb bath of tarragon, majoram, and cradled in piquant bergamot and medicinal English lavender. Before you know it, the anise is barely present in the company of all the greens and lavender, allowing the heart quicker access to the nose of the wearer. Supposedly the note breakdown of this heart contains patchouli alongside carnation, cyclamen, geranium, and cedar. I smell the last two notes here, as they're unmistakable, but the rest is buried in blending. The base here has a creamy sandalwood and castoreum leather, both which are present but quiet compared to how they're usually presented, with oakmoss doing most of the talking, and a dot of coumarin for to complete the hay-like fougère accord. This is still clearly a fougère, but it's chypre-like gentle dryness sure blurs the lines, and when combined with the soft and mildly sour citrus/herbal top, draws this closer to the aforementioned Ho Hang than Azzaro to my nose (outside of the anise), and with the sharp geranium/lavender mix, incidentally pairs very well with many vintage mid-century after shaves. It's not mega-classy, super macho, or particularly romantic, but Françoise Caron delivered a very relaxed and understated brand of masculinity that was most certainly an underdog in an age of baroque aromatics and bulky leather scents. People who fell in love with this upon release likely used it as a signature and stood apart from the crowd of guys using more popular scents at the time, and it still easily could be due to it's relative subtlety for the style and the era in which is was made, feeling rather "niche" if not for it being long discontinued.
Un Homme Charles Jourdan must be a well-kept secret by perfume collectors in any case, as it still gets some love on forums and the rare Instagram post but barely gets hyped by the YouTuber FragBro set, although there are still some shameless types trying to charge niche prices for surviving stock as if it was, so don't jump on the first offer you find for this if it sounds like something you want to explore. Un Homme Charles Jourdan is an underdog in the same barbershop family as anything mentioned above, but is definitely greener and more herbal than any of the vanillic or metallic stuff in the same category. To be sure, something this relaxed and confidently masculine can be an everyday wear but will date you unless you work around folks who love really old-school compositions (or just work alone), but as a weekend day wear in spring or fall, this won't let you down. It's not sharp enough for summer and loses power in cold weather, so keep that in mind. Fans of vintage smells won't need much further convincing to try this, but for those of you out there running more streamlined wardrobes, Un Homme may seem a needlessly expensive and precious variant of something already owned that's much easier to replenish (like Azzaro or Tuscany), so that's some food for thought too. I just love an underdog, so this is definitely right up my alley, and I also love barbershop smells, particularly herbal ones as they're less common in the mainstream that they used to be and are so smooth, they make a perfect generalist alternative to the "blue stuff". My roommate commented that I had that "just shaved" smell when I put this on before going out for food, and I said "that's exactly what I love about this", and perhaps you will too. A certified obscure classic here, and unlike Charles Jourdan's vintage stilettos, it won't give you varicose veins from wearing it too much. Thumbs up.