It is well liked by vintage folks and I had high hopes. Alas, a big disappointment. Too many notes resulting in a confused composition that goes nowhere.
Performance is weak too.
Musty, dusty and spicy.
One of the great beauties of the early 1980's that defines elegance, reserve and understatement.
The bright citrus opening leads into a very complex heart filled with dry herbs and spicy florals, while the refined woody base mixes with leather, moss and amber fighting for dominance. I've always detected a somewhat dry tobacco in Versailles pour Homme, although there is no reference to this being verified.
One of the joys of wearing this well crafted elusive scent is that it's so rare and unknown that you'll be the only person in the room who is wearing Versailles pour Homme. An exclusive to you and you alone, especially now that it's been long discontinued.
I have always enjoyed wearing VPH with suits for business and formal. When it was discontinued in the late 80's I bought a surplus of various bottles that I safely stored away. Now 20+ years later, I'm down to about two bottles that I use very sparingly.
Alternatively I have found that Tiffany for Men and Corolian by Guerlain are the closest relatives to Versailles pour Homme, and they all share that dry, reserved masculine elegance. A reflection scent of a time when men dressed to impress and their selection of a fragrance was just as important as choosing the proper tie or the right pair of shoes. Sigh.....
Elegance in a bottleThere is an elegant opening, combining citrus with green clary sage as well as a peppery note. In the drydown floral tones and jasmine appear and then merge into warmer aromas, like cinnamon and vanilla. Never really sweet, it is an elegant and convincingy blended and balanced fragrance. Projection is all right, and the longevity over four hours. Traditional but not boring.
Versailles pour Homme opens with a sharp citric herbal combination of lemon and pimento with an underlying floral carnation accord before moving to its heart phase. In the early heart the herbal lemon accord turns bitter as it joins a powerful mossy leather accord rising from the base that is quite harsh, with only the remnants of the carnation and a very subtle underlying cinnamon spice addition to temper its assault. As the fragrance enters the late dry-down the carnation disappears and the aggressive oakmoss laced leather finally moderates as mild amber and patchouli tandem is unveiled to considerably soften the overall accord. Projection is very good and longevity is excellent at 11-12 hours on skin.
Versailles pour Homme is a very complex scent to be sure. There are a lot of notes and accords, and my description of the scent's development does not nearly include all of them. That said, the open and the late dry-down are the most appealing aspects of the scent's development to this reviewer. The initial herbal lemon, carnation and peppery pimento meshes extremely well together and while others have found it unappealing, I love it. My problem with the fragrance profile is in the heart accord, as the oakmoss laced leather just becomes overpowering and way more rugged than I would have liked. Once you get to the late dry-down all is well again and the scent softens considerably to turn into a highly enjoyable composition. I really have a hard time assigning an overall rating for the fragrance as it is kind of a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde kind of ride from start to finish. When things are going good (which is about 70% of the time) the composition smells truly great; and when things aren't, the composition is extremely challenging, somewhat dated and quite difficult to wear. At the end of the day Versailles pour Homme has its issues but it manages to overcome them on the whole, earning a "very good" 3.5 stars out of 5.
If you love vintage ties and old tweeds you might enjoy this old-fashioned jewel. Its opulence, complexity and ingredients mark it as a member of an extinct species of masculines at the head of which stands Patou pour homme, one of the greatest creations ever. Versailles EdT is its unruly, brasher, less disciplined relative. From the very start it overwhelms you with citrus, piney green, hard-hitting clary sage and already florals and cinnamon announce themselves and soon blossom into heady jasmine alongside rich woods. But that is not yet the final act, reserved for a deep dark-orientality of leather and moss sparring with vanilla and amber, styrax incense between the two. It is truly Versailles: baroque spectacle, grandiose pageantry, but with royal composure.
The rare EdC version is much subtler, quite excellent though, smooth and cultivated, a refined bourgeois with aristocratic leanings in taste.
Alas, when Jean Desprez du Paris discontinued this epic blend and I was no longer in supply, I ceased wearing any fragrant adornment, altogether. It is with great trepidation that I would now purchase some vintage cache of this long lost decanted treasure, as my fear is its empowering qualities were but a dream and will not be as I remember. Can love be recaptured or should it remain a warm memory reserved for waning days?