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Géranium pour Monsieur - Clever, original, but name change recommended

I’ve been reading perfume blogs for the past couple of days – just to broaden my mind. There’s a lot of good stuff written about my favourite subject, but I’ve also scrolled through some self-serving junk. I just read a blog about a recent launch that made me wonder if the person could even smell – kind of important if you’re blogging about perfume. This blogger told me that the perfume was a failure, and not worth sniffing. Excuse me???  I’ll make my own mind up about that, missy!!

How we experience a fragrance is so extremely personal, for all the reasons we talk about at perfumeniche – memories, skin chemistry, nose sensitivity, place, time. The ONLY way to assess a fragrance is to SMELL IT, on your skin, for a couple of days, and then you decide if you like it, love it, or..............meh. Sample, sample, sample.

The Géranium pour Monsieur sample from Frederic Malle is placed carefully in front of me by Gwen. “Try THIS!!”  No explanation, but a slight smile – she’s setting me up. Pour Monsieur? Mais je suis une femme – but gender labels are meaningless. Geranium – I love geranium – garden containers full of them -  a green, earthy, slightly citrus, resinous aroma which is like no other.

I spray my wrist and.......MINT!! Cool, clean, airy mint!  Not sweet mint, as in candy, not overwhelming freshener as in mouthwash, but the cool green garnish floating in a frosty summer drink. Do I like this? It is really different, and it smells pure, clean, slightly bitter, and very COOL. I’ve never smelled anything like this in a perfume, it’s almost cerebral, abstract.....I imagine icy vapours rising from my skin.  After two or three minutes or so, the mint lifts slightly, and there it is - earthy geranium underneath the cool leaf.

But the mint is still dominant, not just a top-note - it’s a key component of Géranium pour Monsieur – and this first phase lasts for about 30 minutes. It smells cool, aloof, never too strong or demanding. The geranium becomes slightly rosy, and the icy vapours disappear, revealing a garden of herbs and spicy geraniums. I’m liking this a lot!

I realize there are two stages to this wonderful, odd fragrance by Dominique Ropion.  After half an hour on my skin, the mint geranium is softened by spices - aniseed, clove and cinnamon - and musk, notes which reveal the feminine side of Géranium pour Monsieur. As the drydown continues, this transformation is stopped short of "pretty" by sandalwood and incense base notes, which keep it smartly ungendered. But under it all, I can still detect the geranium, resinous and rosy green, and the cool mint leaf.

Géranium pour Monsieur is smart, charming, extremely chic, and very original. I can't think of any other fragrance which has this unusual combination of green herbal and floral notes. Because it is so unique, I bought a bottle, and I’ve worn it a lot. I can tell you that, on my skin, it is beautiful - in very hot, as well as very cold weather - and it has a light quiet sillage with good duration.

It's called Géranium pour Monsieur – but I think it should have been named Géranium pour Monsieur et Madame.

Can you think of another “original” fragrance that combines odd notes? Send me your comments.