Reviews of Versailles pour Homme 
Jean Desprez (1980)


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Versailles pour Homme by Jean Desprez

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Reviews of Versailles pour Homme by Jean Desprez

There are 33 reviews of Versailles pour Homme by Jean Desprez.

These days, the new generation are often looking for perfumes with high feedback, but in my philosophy perfume is first and foremost about you, how you feel comfortable wearing it, and not about attracting men and/or women with it. If you are into those perfumes of today that all smell the same and in your 20s-30s, this will not be for you. And to those that call this an old man scent. I say that is a compliment! There is nothing wrong with smelling like a distinguised gentleman no matter what your age.

Versailles Pour Homme is a true 80's classic that still smells great today. For a drugstore fragrance it is blended very well and goes through many changes on my skin, an underrated gem. It’s an apparently simple, sweaty, balmy, aromatic fougere with some of citrus, oriental and floral notes to give it depth and complexity. Smells great once it starts to drydown on skin. It has a perfect bergamot/galbanum accord that is so polite, unlike so many to follow. Also in the opening, adding a green note to the citrus and marking this fragrance, structurally, as an oriental aromatic fougere; a really splendid. It's soft leather heart accompanies the sandalwood, patchouli and oakmoss bouquet. I always got a little cinnamon. Carnation and geranium leads right into the smooth musk/styrax/vanilla foundation.

Versailles pour Homme by Jean Desprez (1980) was not a work of Jean Desprez himself, who had passed away in 1973, just a year after finishing his final limited-edition fragrance called Jardanal by Jean Desprez (1972). I'm not sure who composed this as information on it is just about non-existent, and it didn't last on the market very long at all, making it not just a unicorn, but a supercalifragilisticexpialicorn that gets vintage gatekeepers and flexers all moist in their drawers, meaning you don't really know what it actually smells like amidst all the "lost masterpiece" and "true perfume art for the TRVE KVLT perfume lover" comments that get left on it in various places across the internet. Well, your old pal Varanis has you covered here, as I am actually going to talk about what this smells like, in detail, then let YOU decide if it's worth the hefty finder's fee resellers charge for surviving bottles of Versailles pour Homme. For the most part, this is an unrelated leather chypre, bearing almost no "floriental" properties that defined the original Bal à Versailles by Jean Desprez (1962). If you love things like Portos by Balenciaga (1980) or Lanvin for Men (1979) with that pissy floral woody vibe, this may suit if your pockets are deep enough. On the other hand, if you already have a lot of things in your collection that wear the way Versailles pour Homme does, and you don't get off to wearing fragrances "nobody else has" or whatever, you can safely skip it and just sample it like I have.

First off, this smells like a lot of things, as it is your typical "kitchen sink" fragrance of the late 70's through mid 80's, so there is no shortage of complexity or abstraction to be had here if that's your cuppa. For the most part, Versailles pour Homme registers somewhere between Aramis by Estée Lauder (1965) and Lauder for Men by Estée Lauder (1985), with bits of Estée Lauder Private Collection (1971) tossed about here and there, making me wonder if the owners of Desprez at the time didn't just buy an unused formula from IFF (who Lauder used a lot) that was in the running against others for a Lauder brief. Bergamot, aldehydes, pimento, galbanum, styrax, all that spicy green sour-ish goodness is in the opening that sometimes hints at Dunhill for Men by Alfred Dunhill (1934). Later, geranium and carnation show up in the heart, flanked by jasmine and lactonic fruity notes like those in Capucci pour Homme (1967) and Revlon Charlie (1973). The base is pine, incense notes of olibanum, a terpenous patchouli, oakmoss, sandalwood, labdanum, isobutyl quinoline leather, and a touch of urinous civet rounded by vanilla, to connect this very tenuously to Bal à Versailles proper. The ride down to the incense, woods, leather, and sharp musk base is where the complexity shows up, but the final skin scent is deceptively simple chypre tones like many of the things I mentioned above. Performance is long but projection is rather muted for something from this era, which is puzzling as gentlemanly and discrete wasn't trendy in the age of Studio 54.

Where would you use something like this? Well, Versailles pour Homme was made in the days when a man was expected to own just one signature scent, so much like Chanel Antaeus (1981) or Van Cleef & Arpels pour Homme (1978), Versailles pour Homme is balanced in such a way as to be a Jack-of-all-trades in that it doesn't particularly feel suited to one type of weather or situation, but can slide past just about anywhere you use it. Modern noses will read this as formal at best, or musty and old-mannish at worst; for Versailles pour Homme has absolutely no sweetness or anything overtly pleasant, holding onto the traditional mid-century belief that a man's scent needs to be aggressively masculine, ergo not pleasant or inviting by design. Obviously, this still smells very pleasant as it's still perfume, just don't expect to smell anything but sharp aldehyde chypre accords and punchy citrus-and-woods tropes as per the style once all the complexity fades away into the dry down. Versailles pour Homme is a good example of enjoyable aromatic chypre design, even if some of the density is lost on the final effect. I think if this had been a bit more daring with the animalics like its older sister, Versailles pour Homme may have survived the 80's like Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent (1981); or at very least, this should have been released a decade sooner, although it may have been a very different scent since Jean Desprez himself would have been alive to compose it as he saw fit. Thumbs up

Do not be mistaken, this is not a counterpart to Bal à Versailles; this is a fougere-chypre of sorts. However, there is a robustness that is in line with its classic namesake.

From the start, it is a radiant, bracing, spiced green citrus accord that soon yields to a spectacular floral heart. This is one of those extraordinary fragrances where the diffusion seems to increase as it enters the heart. A projection of carnation, jasmine, and geranium with a somewhat bitter green undercurrent creates a bubble around me. This stage is as blissful to me as a cool spring day.

Further in the development of Versailles, we detect the styrax in increasing volume, the bitter green crossfading into this leathery, resinous sweetness. Styrax as a perfumer's material has the capacity to extend green notes into the base, and this is no exception. Then when the incense hits, it's sort of the crescendo, the piece de resistance, when all the elements coalesce, the true spirit of the fragrance. It's beautiful down to the traces of musk that linger on the skin.

This is niche that predated the "niche" label by 30-plus odd years. Breathtaking.

Stardate 20190214:

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?

a total masterpiece, rich and opulent, the precursor of lost of niche heavy juices

Just terrible. Worst of the eighties?

Thumbs way down for the scent itself. Thumbs up for strength and longevity.
Can't give it a neutral, though.

whatever it is that is as aggressive on my nose as the sludge that is opium really wrecks the enjoyment of this scent for me. perhaps i should remain in my ballgown, dancing barefoot among the stars etc etc (wearing BaV) rather than taking the occasional tumble down a flue into a tepid heap of ash and half-eaten meringues and the cloth that was used to dry off the dog after he leapt into the moat.

Most masculine scents conjure up oppressive notiions of leather, lavender, sandalwood, or a watered down unisex version of the ocean for the latest generation. Versailles Homme is truly in a category by itself, elegant, gorgeous sillage, a symphony of notes... think Rachmaninoff... romantic, passionate, unreserved and confident yet somewhat quiet and deeply personal It's a refined scent that takes some understanding. The initial explosion of top notes is blindingly bright, overly green, terribly intense. A previous reviewer described it as potentially off-putting to the modern man. I would agree (for the first five minutes). There is such a distinct smell to it's green notes, something unforgetable-- perhaps cypress, moss, and sage.

The real magic is in the dry down. Seriously, this one needs heat to amplify and soften the general fragrance... but not too much heat. This is a perfect spring and early summer fragrance. it would never reach it's potential in truly cool weather, and in hot weather I think it would burn off and lose the orchestration of the complex and divers notes. Spices quietly reveal themselves, clever and quietly. I swear I smell saffron, jonquils, earth, woody moss, orange blossoms, geranium, and coriander, basl, and cilantro moving into cloves or carnations, patchoulli, lavender, amber, and woods like sandalwood, maybe even rosewood or cocobolo.

It gets somewhat of that old-tyme barbershop powdery smell to it.. which I find pleasant... and then it slowly vanishes (10 hour duration??) without a trace on the skin, and somewhat longer duration on clothing.

Again the fragrance spells pure luxury.... confidence, elegance without trying, savoir-faire, true gentlemen, sophistication without pretense. It a coimplicated amalgam of beautiful classic notes arranged in a very unexpected but pleasant score. There is a longing to it that I enjoy as it travels the hours... from green, to spicy, to warm, to lost.

I wore this fragrance for years in the 80's as my go-to fragrance. Santos de Cartier, Van Cleef et Aprel, and Ted Lapidus carried me through the winter months... but Versailles was the only fragrance for me in the sprng and summer. it is unusual, provocative, alluring.... very romantic. When it fell off the market, I was very disappointed and hoarded all that I could. I recently was able to obtain some vintage EDT bottles and I must admit.... it smells exactly like it did back in the 80's. I was expecting the old stock to have deteriorated or become rancid yet it was still stable and utterly gorgeous.

Gentlemen.... if you ever have the opportunity to sample this masterpiece, take a moment to consider it's personality, and give it plenty of time to introduce itself to you. Again, it is surprising, unexpected, and friendly. This fragrance is a novel.. not a poem, sit back and enjoy it's depth, it's character, it's untold story. I think any member on here who has worn or possesses this fragrance would agree... unlike today's modern fragrances.. Versailles is something YOU wear, and not something that wears you.

Thanks for your consideration.

As much as I now admire Versailles Pour Homme, my first impressions were certainly less than favourable. It felt too sharp, haughty, and perhaps even a little hostile. However, these characteristics seem confined to the top notes, and it quickly becomes more expansive as it begins to receive some reflected glow from the heart.

A spiky and dirty floral accord adds an antiquated dimension, but each passing hour sees VPH soften a little more, and it becomes woodier and spicier. The allusions to Patou Pour Homme appear valid, but Versailles feels less polished and lacks the X factor.

By the drydown it has completely slipped its tether and perhaps Desprez have finally managed to loosen their tie. The spiciness has all but been extinguished, but there remains ample time to take in the aged leather, imbued with generations of tobacco smoke.

If you've sampled Tiffany for Men, then imagine if it were smoothed out so that all "rough edges" were gone. That is more or less what this is, and I really like it. For me, a dry, slightly powdery spice fragrance with several supporting notes providing dynamism. Longevity is excellent and projection/"sillage" is deceptively good. I've been looking for this kind of spice-dominant fragrance for a long time. All the others I've tried seem to become irritating after a while, but this one is too smooth for that to happen.

Just as the bottle design presents a compartmentalised view of the fragrance, each element seems to present itself clearly without being subdued by a melange of tones. It is without peer. Or, perhaps, the golden lines that cross the bottle vertically and horizontally reflect something like the bars of a cage that contains a beast of a fragrance whose intoxicating power requires containment and limitation? Unleashed, this fragrance is magnificent and sophisticated and raw and powerful and elegant and uncompromising. This is one of the greatest creations - a shooting star that burned brightly but not nearly long enough. Please Jean Desprez bring it back.

I like this. Standard old school stuff with a nice bergamot opening. Then the beauty of it shows up. There is so much going on that it never stops tickling the nose. I have been looking for something like this for very hot conditions. 2 sprays under each armpit in 45 clesius weather generates a beautiful aura that envelopes the wearer in a classy intriguing air. That being said, i doubt this is wearable in any other conditions. 30 clesius minimum, and you must be in the heat.

They'll never bring this scent back on the market. Sophisticated scents are not what is selling now. Enjoy what little you have, hoard it, and use it judiciously.

A most beautiful and elegant of fragrances since its inception in 1980 until it disappeared awhile back. I remember both Versailles and Jean Patou's Patou Pour Homme were launched in the same year and I bought both at the same time at Rich's (a preeminent department store now mournfully gone, too). Versailles was so rich and complex. It's sillage and longevity were paramount to the senses....elegance rarely experienced in perfumes today. I once owned Versailles, Patou, and Guerlain's Derby (original) all at the same time back in the 80's, and how I dearly miss them. I'd wear them today in a heartbeat because their way of fashion never goes out of style!

This is a very complex classic old style masculine spicy/woody oriental.A sharp galbanum/bergamot/allspice opening leads into the herbacious green top notes with just a hint of lemon. The heart notes are at once coniferous, floral and woody (I'm smelling carnation, cinnamon, geranium, pine and cedar). It takes quite a while for the heart notes to completely bloom but they do so with a very pronounced sillage. There is much going on here. Once the basenotes take the reins, the scent veers into a very rich, sweet and balsamic/animalic drydown that lasts for many hours. The base is frankincense rich with a good dose of oakmoss over storax, leather, vanilla, labdanum, ambergris and animalic musks.This is a spicy oriental in a similar vein as Patou pour Homme; although it is not quite as satisfying to me as the Patou. I can't imagine this scent would do very well in the current market, but it's really a luxurious scent that would find its place if it weren't for the fact it's discontinued and very difficult to obtain.

This is a complex, substantial scent. While its rich elements make it something not in my style, I can appreciate it. It has an extensive list of ingredients! It is marked by several phases.The first phase has green, spicy notes. Clary sage is prominent here. The second is of spicy wood. It is smooth, and brightened by a bit of pine. The third phase is a light vanilla-leather. I don't usually like these elements, yet they are not sweet here and are controlled. I can go with the flow. The fourth phase is of dry patchouli. This has an earthy, leathery aspect. The fifth phase, several hours later, is a mossy patchouli chord that is elegant and genteel.I agree with the comment that this scent is better experienced as sillage than close-up. The cloud blends some of the more heavy elements into a pleasant cloud.For my taste, I would stop at the end of phase two and be satisfied. Then this would be bottle-worthy for me. However, it is a good scent overall.

This is a fragrance that probably should not be smelled close to the skin… Its special beauty is in its sillage. Close sniffing gives primarily a massively amalgamated accord that is substantially linear, and, likely, to most of the younger generation and even many of the older generation, extremely off-putting. Versailles Pour Homme is a rich, spicy, resinous, and grossly animalic complexity, but its complexity is not in its traditional movement or level-to-level development. Its complexity is accomplished in its sillage that richly sends out its captivating essences in various wafts of spice, wood, resin, jasmine, greens, amber, leather and musk. For those who love this kind of olfactory art form, Versailles Pour Homme could well be the art form's supreme masculine expression. It's a fragrance only for those who understand and value that distinct animalic masculinity that is often called “outdated.” As for me... I have to award it a thumbs up - but only for its audacity. In actuality, it frightens me... Strong sillage and unreal longevity.

Aside from a crisp, bergamot opening, there's nothing else I get out of this that I like. The drydown reminds me of a stale bottle of Stetson. Versailles is a floriental with a bitter drydown that smells old. Yes I'm using a subjective term so let me define it. Old as in stale and expired. It just sits there on the skin and doesn't develop into anything other than a bitter resinous accord with too many base notes.Hate to compare it to something I can only remember but it smells like the backstage of my university's auditorium where the practice rooms were. Needless to say, I never wanted to practice there ever.

Received a generous spray sample from a cool Basenoter. All I can say is that Versailles Pour Homme comes off with a dark, sophisticated, and sexy character.The opening accord is the most unique I've ever smelled, strange beautiful and remarkable. As it disappears, there are strong musky (styrax) and green notes. People definitely know that you are not some castrated clone of the modern age--you definitely know what type of person you are and not afraid of telling the world!Dark and powdery notes emerge, with the zing of pine, the spicy note of carnation, and jasmine and geranium in the background.The base is warm, woody and resinous, though not as animalic. There are leathery tones to the scent but the effect is more powdery. I look back at the transitions of this scent and this is no doubt a powerhouse scent that should've never been extricated from the perfume world! Scents that also come to mind like this powerhouse would be Patou Pour Homme (also defunct), Third Man, Bel Ami, and Antaeus.

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